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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Additional Character

Short story By: Tatia Shurgaia
Literary fiction


As I was ending my junior year, my english teacher assigned our last project. We had to add an additional character and place him in the story. I thought of a new character named Riley. He is just another patient in the mental institution with a past he rather move on from. Unfortunately, McMurphy doesn't allow this and the rest follow..


Submitted:Nov 20, 2012    Reads: 14    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


McMurphy Meets Riley:

McMurphy continued shaking hands with everyone and starting his random conversations with other patients. I didn't want him to come near me, but I know there was someone even more scared than me. His name is Riley. Riley is a nervous wreck. He sits alone, playing those nights over and over in his head like a movie reel. Everybody stays away from him since they're all scared he'll throw the table over just like the psychotic break down he had back in college that lead him here. They're even more scared to look into his dead eyes that have the smallest ounce of life left in them. That small ounce of life is only seen when he sits in his room painting portraits of the faint faces he remembers. I guess they're meant to remind him of the life he had before he went completely insane. Riley is 26 years old and has been in the ward for 7 years. He has chocolate brown hair and oceanic looking eyes. He's regular height and the same color as the paper before he draws on it. He is the son from a wealthy family. The son of a loving German mother and an abusive American father. Sometimes Big Nurse talks about him just because he's been here for almost as long as I have, but unlike me he's one of the youngest in the ward. I remember the day Riley was forced into the ward, in 1962. Big Nurse would always be asked about him by other nurses because he was young and she would explain his story over a hundred times. He was nicknamed Arty. Short for artist. When Riley was younger he was normal, but at age 6 he experienced the wrath of his father for the first time. After that he never touched another bottle with a ship inside again. Although that didn't stop him from receiving frequent bruises and telling constant lies to nosy people. When the black boys took him to the shower room I was able to see a scar on his back and a date carved on his wrist. Big Nurse would always say something about that scar.

"How's that scar on your wrist, Riley?" She would ask staring sternly at him.

His eyes would run around then fall to his wrist for a few dreadful minutes. Big Nurse sure liked taunting the patients. The happiest day for Riley must have been when his family received a letter notifying them of his father's death, 8 months after he was drafted to combat. McMurphy made his way to Riley. Staring at him for a quick second, then he reached his hand out and let out a sigh.

"Well hello there," he said. Riley didn't say anything and didn't shake his hand either. He just looked at McMurphy with his lost eyes. Something about him made McMurphy seem bothered.

"Don't you speak?" he asked. He seemed to get more annoyed and annoyed and I was scared he would blow up. Finally Riley let out a voice.

"H…Hello," he stuttered.

"What are you drawing over there, huh?" McMurphy snatched the paper away from him and turned the opposite direction to look at it. That's when Riley got up and softly said: "Give me my paper back,"

"Why would I do that? I can't look at this picture for a lil'? he said chuckling. Everyone else started chuckling too. And that's when Riley was letting out steam. He was going to burst open, letting all the loose screws and rusty metals fly all over the place. He reached to grab McMurphy's shoulder and once he did McMurphy grabbed his arm.

"What do you think you're doing? I wasn't done looking at it," he glanced at his arm. "What's that scar you got? A date?Riley tried to retreat back to where he was before. Suddenly looking nervous and overwhelmed. Billy began to answer McMurphy's questions.

"That's the date his mother and sister d-died in a car accident. He carved that there on his own,". McMurphy dropped Riley's arm. Staring down at him. I couldn't figure out what was going on in his head. Then he asked:

"Now who the hell does that? But I did hear this one over here survived it. Now how'd that happen?"

"Well, he got l-lucky, I guess," chuckled Billy. "You wanna hear m-m-more?" McMurphy looked at him allowing Billy to know he has his attention.

"Arty might throw a t-table at you. He's schi-schizophrenic. Same thing happened in college. Right, A-Arty?"

Riley looked like he wanted to run away somewhere. Probably his room to sit in the corner of his bed. Then Harding added:

"You know, he's actually tried killing himself before. He even had times as a kid where he would freak out on someone. That's when his parents decided it would be the right time to get him checked. I mean who else comes to the ward at the age of 19? Arty had a pretty lonely life. No family left alive,"

"Well, now I know why he's here. Loneliness is a drag ain't it, Arty? Just sometimes leaves you hanging at the edge of the world holding on with just one finger," said McMurphy. He handed him back his paper and began to walk away. That's when he heard the loudest scream in the ward. Riley was sending out vibrations that made my head hurt a little. Big Nurse comes running in with her boys to get hold of Riley. And they get hold of him and I knew where they were taking him… Shock Shop. As he is being dragged away, like a dead deer, he lets out a few loud words: "That'll be you pretty soon, McMurphy!".





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