Michael Fischer: “Aim for the Moon” from a Collection in Progress



Mrs. French, the head children’s ward nurse, slides the catheter inside your fifteen-year-old dick.

“Easy,” she says.

In the hallway, on the other side of the nurse’s station door, Moose and Royce laugh. It’s your first and only bladder infection at Mid-State Psychiatric. The ceiling light burns your eyes. Moose, who’s been catheterized the most, said to stare into the bulb until Mrs. French finished. “Aim for the moon,” he said. The bulb’s the moon, and if you shoot it with your piss, you’ll be discharged. The game’s rules are simple: do x, attain freedom.

“Don’t squirm,” Mrs. French says.

If, during intermission of A Christmas Carol in the campus gym, you yell, “sick motherfucker” to Curtis Wilson, the serial killer unfit to stand trial with shackles and four armed guards, you’ll be discharged.

“It’s not so bad,” Mrs. French says.

If, on the payphone, you prank call the house of Jacqueline Greenstein, the children’s ward resident psychiatrist, and say, “me love you long time,” you’ll be discharged.

“Almost there,” Mrs. French says.

If, in the campus infirmary, you tell the doctor who ordered the procedure and his bright-eyed, Brylcreemed resident that it burns when you pee, you’ll be discharged, but only after he winks at the resident and says, “make sure he’s telling the truth—they lie,” and only after you wonder why the discharge even matters, because you’ll have to live with this shame forever: the six-figure wink, the resident’s polished, box store shoes, the shared, cocky smile, the way the sun slants against the wire screen window when you turn your head to hide your eyes.

“There,” Mrs. French says.

The catheter enters your bladder.


Read Michael’s Interview with WIPs about “Aim for the Moon” and his story cycle in progress, Crybaby Lane