Yellow Dot Fever

Submitted into Contest #151 in response to: Write about somebody breaking a cycle.... view prompt

57 comments

Funny Fiction

The old doctor sat back and rubbed at his chin. 

“And when did the symptoms start?” he said after a fashion, his eyes scanning over the young woman before him. 

“W-Well doctor,” the girl said as her tongue danced along her lower lip and her fingers gently drummed her legs, “I-Eh-I think about two months ago or so.”  

“And all the symptoms started at once?”

“Eh, I-I-I don’t think so doctor. It’s just gradually got worse and worse. And now, I-I can’t control it, I-I-I need help!” she stammered out, the drumming increasing its rapidity, a slight rocking to her body accompanying. 

The doctor nodded sagely and reassuringly being sure to hide the lack of a diagnosis behind his eyes. 

“So tell me,” he said warmly, “how did it start? Take me back to the beginning.”

The girl took a deep breath allowing herself to sink back into the chair, the plastic-leather imitation snickering at her. 

“It started with the thoughts,” she said, her eyes fixed beyond herself, “intrusive thoughts and ideas. To be honest, I enjoyed them at first. The ideas, the images, the words, the people; it was like a flurry of snow running through my mind and I was caught in the middle of it with my tongue out catching flakes. They used to whirl up now and again, little triggers that would send the heavens to surround me. And I enjoyed that. But then... Then they came more and more. They came when I was working. When I was driving. When I was talking. When I was trying to sleep. They were all I could think about. I-I-I can’t stop thinking about them!”

The stammer returned hard and the doctor laid a hand to soothe her. 

“Ok,” he murmured in gentle tones, “It’s ok.” 

She settled herself with her breathing once again. 

“And how did you manage these thoughts?”

“Well,” she said, “I wrote them down.”

“And that helped?”

“So much! It gave me a thrill like you wouldn’t believe! As though a thousand fireflies were dancing around me, sweeping me off my feet! My life became a kaleidoscope of stories, a cacophony of yarns!”

The doctor screwed up his face a little as he looked at the girl before him, so wrapt in her own little world. 

He paused a moment before continuing, just allowing enough time for his next question to form. 

“So when did you feel things turn for the worse?”

The girl returned his gaze blankly but the doctor allowed the silence to build, wielding it as a surgeon does his scalpel. 

“About three weeks ago,” she finally broke. 

The doctor smiled at his small victory. 

“And what happened then?”

“Then? Then the agitation started. It was mild at first, I didn’t really even notice it. I would just hit the button to content myself. It wasn’t a problem then. Or at least I told myself that. But the more I tapped the more I needed to see the yellow dot. Just to-”

“The button? The yellow dot?” the doctor cut in. 

“Oh yes!” the girl squealed, “the yellow dot! That beautiful yellow dot like the morning sun, shining its light upon me. That yellow dot that could warm the deepest recesses of my soul! It was all I yearned for, all that I still yearn for, like a princess locked away in the tower waiting for her lover to set her free. I had to see it. I needed to see it!”

The doctor sat back satisfied and nodded. 

“I see,” he said with the slightest air of self-satisfaction, “I think we’re getting a clearer picture now. I do apologise, please, continue.”

He gestured and the girl smiled as she went on. 

“The more ideas, the more I wrote, the more I would see the yellow dot. Ideas, writing, yellow dot. Ideas, writing, yellow dot. But soon the ideas became agitation. The writing became compulsion. Agitation, compulsion, yellow dot. Agitation, compulsion, yellow dot. Round and round it went, like a never-ending merry-go-round of torment that tore my soul from the seams and cast my mind down into the fiery pits of hell that it had created where I was burnt up by the yellow dot of the sun!”

The girl finished dramatically whilst the doctor looked on. 

“Alright,” said the doctor, “And have you noticed any change in your speech or has anyone mentioned anything to you about how you’re talking?”

“Do you mean like slurring words?” she asked. 

“No,” he said carefully, “I mean more like how you phrase things. Has that changed?”

The girl thought in silence for a moment. 

“Well, one or two people have said I’ve been overly dramatic. And when I was talking with my mother last week about work she said that I was being very descriptive and that I should cut out my flowery language.”

“I see,” the doctor smiled, “well, I think we have our diagnosis at least.”

The girl grimaced and dug her nails into her legs. The doctor laid a comforting hand on her and said heavily, “it’s Yellow Dot Fever.”

The girls eyes widened and she swallowed hard. 

“I’ve never heard of it doctor, is it- is it serious?”

“Well,” he screwed up his face as he spoke, “it’s treatable, but I’m afraid there is no cure. In truth it’s quite a nasty wee infection. Well, it mimics a infection. Part infection, part addiction I suppose. You see once it infests the host it attacks the mesolimbic system, particularly the dopamine pathways. Sorry, I’m getting too technical. In layman’s terms it’s the reward pathway. Anyways, it sends that pathway into overdrive, in the same way that a drug would. But the highs are better than any narcotic could create. The problem is that it’s short lived and then leaves you craving for more. So you feed it and you get the high again but it dies away and so you end up stuck in this feverish cycle. Anything to see the yellow dot and taste that high.”

“Oh that sound horrific doctor!” the girl cried hiding herself behind her hand and peering between her fingers.

“Yes,” he said with a hint of dejection, “I’m sorry. There are seven stages to it; the same as any addiction. And it creeps up on you like any addiction, just in the way you said. Firstly you have Initiation, the first exposure, that first idea of a story. Then followed by Experimentation where you submit that first story, that thrill that fills you. Thirdly comes Regular Use. This is where the problems start to begin. Then comes Risky Usage when you submit that story that’s a bit outside your comfort zone. But the yellow dots keep coming and it lures you in all the more. This is quickly followed by Dependence and from there it’s a short step to Addiction where we find ourselves now. The last step is Crisis and Treatment.

“How do we treat it? Antibiotics?”

The doctor allowed a chuckle to escape. 

“No, no,” he said warmly, “this isn’t that sort of an infection. And sadly it’s much more difficult to treat. To be honest, it’s far beyond my expertise. So what I’ll do is refer you on to the Reedsy Rehab Centre. They have a specialist there who deals with Yellow Dot Fever. She is excellent and I can speak from personal experience on that.”

The girl sat up a little straighter, her hands wiping away the remnants of tears. 

“You…?” she trailed off. 

The doctor smiled back, leaned over to his desk and withdrew a golden pen. He held it up between them. 

“One year clean,” he said, the corners of his smile falling slightly as he looked at the pen. 

“And are you all better now?” the girl asked quietly. 

The doctor regarded the pen for a moment, his tongue dancing along his lower lip. 

“I miss the yellow dots.”

June 22, 2022 13:00

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

57 comments

22:37 Jun 22, 2022

I'm taking total credit for this masterpiece, Sean.

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
22:48 Jun 22, 2022

Ah you should! Copyright D. Lovegren 2022

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Riel Rosehill
10:59 Jun 23, 2022

Haha this is brilliant! Reedsy Rehab Centre... I need that 😂 A couple line edits (ignore me if you already know): "And when I was talking with my mother said last week about work she said that I was being very descriptive and that I should cut out my flowery language.” - cut the first "said" "The problem is is that it’s short lived and then leaves you craving for more." - cut one "is"

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
18:04 Jun 23, 2022

Thank you Riel!! Had missed those, fixed now!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kate Winchester
01:19 Jun 29, 2022

This is hilarious! I loved it. I might be a hypochondriac, but I think I have yellow dot fever too lol. Hope you enjoy the yellow dot from this post. 🤣

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
10:49 Jul 01, 2022

Thank you for the yellow dot Kate! And thanks so much for reading, so glad you enjoyed it!!

Reply

Kate Winchester
14:43 Jul 01, 2022

Welcome, and thank you, your comment gave me a yellow dot. 😉

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Debra Koffski
17:16 Jun 27, 2022

Awesome story, very creative!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
10:51 Jul 01, 2022

Ah thanks so much Debra! Really appreciate it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Wendy M
13:26 Jun 27, 2022

I don't sleep because I chase the yellow dot til stupid o'clock every night. I so get this! Brilliant, well done.

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
10:52 Jul 01, 2022

Thanks so much Wendy! I think we suffer the same!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rebecca Miles
05:33 Jun 27, 2022

A perfect story for all us suffering from Yellow dot fever. This will unite the reedsy community and it's lovely when stories can do this. I love the twist with the doctor and you nailed him completely.

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
10:53 Jul 01, 2022

Ah thanks so much Rebecca! I really appreciate that!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Carolyn Brown
20:09 Jun 26, 2022

Well done! I didn't see that end coming at all. I got right in there, diagnosing all sorts of things, and then you really struck home with something all too familiar. Now I can see those symptoms in myself. I have early stage yellow dot fever...

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:42 Jun 26, 2022

Welcome to the addiction! 😂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting Carolyn, means so much!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Beth Jackson
18:32 Jun 26, 2022

Haha Seán!! This was hilarious! I just loved it! Quite a bit of truth in there too, right?!?! Thank you for the giggle and for sharing. :-)

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:43 Jun 26, 2022

Thanks so much Beth!! And yes… a bit too much truth! 😂

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jay Mc Kenzie
06:28 Jun 26, 2022

Another yellow dot for you, sir! I've been trying to get around to reading this for days and it didn't disappoint. And, holy crap! I must have the fever. Need rehab. In the throes of Risky Usage at the moment - come back comfort zone! A funny read. 😁

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:44 Jun 26, 2022

Thanks so much Jay!! So glad you enjoyed it!! And thank you for the yellow dot, was starting to go into withdrawal! 😂😂

Reply

Jay Mc Kenzie
01:46 Jun 27, 2022

Happy to oblige, sir!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Felice Noelle
12:56 Jun 25, 2022

Sean: Will she suffer a r elapse if I provide another yellow dot? Well, here's one anyway, for a story that diagnoses what we all enjoy, rather than suffer from. Thanks for such a well described analysis of our shared affliction. Who knew it could be contagious and spread over the internet. I wonder what would happen if the yellow dot was changed to a pink lipprint or the bell to an apple or whatever. Exactly what is it that triggers that spike of dopamine we get from that thumb's up symbol. Thanks for a great story. Maureen/Felice

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:45 Jun 26, 2022

Feeding the addiction! 😂 Thanks so much for reading and for commenting, means so much!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michał Przywara
20:57 Jun 24, 2022

Ha! Love it :) The seven steps are eerily accurate, and I love the doctor's process here, as he gradually zeros in on the diagnosis. The rehab centre was funny, as others said, but the golden one-year pen is magnificent :)

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:47 Jun 26, 2022

Thanks so much Michał!! Was a fun write, that’s for sure!! So glad you picked up on the golden pen! 😂 That’s my favourite bit!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Cindy Strube
19:23 Jun 24, 2022

Well, here I go, feeding your addiction… Seán! I loved this! So funny, clever, eminently relatable to all of us writers. (This week I’m at “Risky Usage”😬) I immediately knew from the title that it was about Reedsy addiction, especially being aware of your profession - and I just knew it would be a fun read!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:48 Jun 26, 2022

Thank you so much Cindy! ❤️ Really appreciate it!! And thank you for feeding the addiction!!! 😂😂

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ace Quinnton
17:57 Jun 24, 2022

At first when I was reading this, I thought this was about someone with ADHD who is hyperfixiated on making stories. People with ADHD have naturally addictive personalities (I should know because I have it myself.) Making stories is addictive/the pure focus, or in this case, the yellow dot. Once you start, you can't stop, and you have to be pried away from it. If you do get pried away from it, you become calmer in the delay, but you are anxious to get back on it. MC really reminded me of myself. Dramatic talking, stimming, getting off to...

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:50 Jun 26, 2022

I might need to check into the rehab myself! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Chandler Wilson
14:23 Jun 24, 2022

Very well done. I think I need rehab. 😁

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:50 Jun 26, 2022

You’re not the only one!! Thank you so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
08:04 Jun 24, 2022

Just read this, when I figured out what the yellow dot was 😂😂😂😂 so true! "The girl returned his gaze blankly but the doctor allowed the silence to build, wielding it as a surgeon does his scalpel." what a brilliant line. cutting edge satire!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
20:50 Jun 26, 2022

Thanks so much Scott! Really appreciate it!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jon Casper
16:14 Jun 22, 2022

So, so true. Speaking as someone whose yellow dots have waned in recent days, it can be a painful withdrawal. "The girl returned his gaze blankly but the doctor allowed the silence to build, wielding it as a surgeon does his scalpel." -- love this line. I chuckled at the bit about the "Risky Usage." Spot-on. Thanks for the fun read!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
18:07 Jun 23, 2022

Thanks so much Jon!! Really appreciate you taking the time to read it and to comment! Means so much!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Zelda C. Thorne
15:06 Jun 22, 2022

Seán! Love this! Reedsy Rehab Centre made my laugh out loud. Brilliant. I definitely have yellow dot fever. You're welcome, btw 😉 A couple of typos, but I'm sure you'll catch them. Good luck!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
18:08 Jun 23, 2022

Thanks so much Rachel for reading and commenting! And thank you for the yellow dot! 🟡

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Aesha Amin
14:27 Jun 22, 2022

I knew what you were writing about from the get go (because of the title) and I was so curious as to how someone could pull off the idea of a yellow dot addiction. But you did it so well! And I couldn’t stop reading. Every writer on here definitely relates to these characters. Also, I love how the doctor turned out to be a former addict too. Honestly, this was such a cool story!

Reply

Seán Mc Nicholl
18:08 Jun 23, 2022

Ah thank you so so much Aesha!! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your lovely words!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Tommy Goround
01:58 Nov 19, 2022

At 3 in the morn -- Scott told me this was the only story on Reedsy that he remembered. I think it was only 7pm in Hong Kong. He was probably sober.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Anne Marie Miles
14:29 Oct 11, 2022

Here's a yellow dot for you: thanks for making us all feel a little more normal! I'm just happy we're addicted to a wonderful community that supports our creativity and craft. Well done!

Reply

Show 0 replies