The Unfortunate Happenings of Jonathan Smith

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is the story of how I, Miranda Tate, was stripped of my Medical Doctor label in under 5 minutes. It was all a misunderstanding! And all in the name of science...

The Unfortunate Happenings of

Jonathan Smith

(As told by me, Miranda Tate, M.D.)







I wasn’t always like this. I used to be a socially awkward Graduate student, who was specializing in Pathology and Anatomy. I occasionally dabbled in some physics, mainly Electrostatics, and Genetics. Oh, and did I forget to mention that I’m a self-taught Mortician? The latter led to my demise. So now, I’m sitting in Waverly Hills Sanitarium across from a paranoid schizophrenic named Jeremy. Now, how did an aspiring female scientist fail out of Yale’s prestigious Medical School? Let me start from the beginning, and let me add that it was all a misunderstanding. I don’t hear voices in my head that tell me to go to the grocery store naked. I didn’t stab my cousin at a family get together because he took the last hard roll. I’m not like the others. I don’t deserve to be here. My story’s different.


“Your Medical Doctoral Thesis will be due by the end of this month. Remember, it’s not mandatory, but recommended, to bring in an example or your own personal experiment to back up your paper and your findings. So we should be finishing up by now and making your last minute corrections so it’s perfect. Come on people, you’ve had all year! Do not disappoint me!” Professor Nathan called to myself and classmates as they got up to leave the room. “Oh, Miss Tate? Can you stay after for a second?” I pushed my glasses up my nose and slowly got up from my seat. I picked my backpack up and slipped my laptop and five subject notebook inside. I walked to the front of the room, “Yes, Professor?”

“I had a question regarding your thesis paper.” Professor Marx said as he turned around from behind his desk. “And that is?” I said as I rocked back and forth on my heels. “I know your topic has to do with regenerating life…but I’m interested as to what you’re bringing in for your experiment, if you chose to do one.”

“I did – well, I am planning on doing one…” I could feel the back of my neck start to burn, as if I was standing outside at noon in the middle of July. Marx stopped what he was doing and cried out, “What do you mean you’re planning on doing one? Haven’t you already started?”

“I mean, I’ve been bouncing ideas around but I haven’t actually picked one yet. But I must get going, I have a shift at Blue State Coffee in 10 minutes. I promise, I won’t disappoint you!” I said as I slipped out of the lecture hall.

I have no idea what I’m doing for this project, I thought to myself as I booked it down the hallway. I threw myself into the door, almost hitting peers. “Sorry!” I shouted to them as I ran across Old Campus towards the student busses. Oh crap. “Wait! Wait!” I yelled. I’m pretty sure I looked like a bird with my arms flapping around, trying to catch the driver’s attention. The only attention I knew I had successfully gotten was everyone’s on campus. The bus screeched to a stop and the door slowly opened. I stepped on and thanked the driver, while huffing and puffing. I chose a seat in the back, away from everyone. As I closed my eyes and attempted to calm my breathing, I heard the seat to my right become occupied. “I know you. You’re Miranda Tate.” Oh great. I opened my eyes slowly and turned to look at this person who supposedly knew my life story. My dark blue eyes met black ones. Well, not black, an almost dark chocolate color. “And you are?” I said turning back to face the front. “I’m Charlie Mason.” He said sticking out his hand. I ignored it. “Well, Charlie. I don’t know you, and it just so happens to be my stop. I would say it was nice meeting you, but it wasn’t. Goodbye.” I jumped up from my seat and scrambled to escape the suddenly too small contraption called a bus.


I was only 10 minutes late, and for me that isn’t all that bad. Tuesday tend to be their slowest night, so I read my newest library selection: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I kept getting distracted thinking about that Charlie guy. Something about him seemed…off. I live with my mother in a one-story house. You could barely call it a house, the only thing that made it a one was the fact that we lived there. Realizing it was almost 11:00 and the late night busses didn’t run by my place, I cursed loudly to myself. I tried to think of the fastest way to get home. Oh! Right, through the cemetery. Great.

Friskily, I turned on the road towards the cemetery. Upon arrival, I started to sketch myself out. I noticed the gate was already cracked open, but I let that slide. Come on Miranda, you’re just working yourself up. You’re fine. Just go inside so you can get home to attempt to start your project portion of the thesis. I pushed open the gate and walked right on through. It was dead quiet…ha, good one self. Always the jokester when confronted with possible danger. I followed the path until I reached the mausoleum…that I noticed was also open. I heard was sounded like voices coming from within. I went to turn around to return from where I came, but I turned too quickly and slammed into something – or should I say, someone.

“Hello Miranda.” Charlie. “Uh, hi…” I quivered as I backed up. I frantically looked around, searching for an alternate escape route. Obviously hearing the fear in my voice, Charlie asked, “So, what is a young lady like you doing in a creepy cemetery at night…all by herself?”

“I was walking home, as a matter of fact.” Oh my God, why would I say that?? Now they know my agenda. “Charlie, who is that?” A man shouted from the mausoleum. “What’s he doing in there?” I wondered aloud. Charlie grabbed me by my right shoulder and dragged me towards the building. I started screaming, but he pressed his hand over my mouth. I closed my eyes and the next thing I saw when I opened them was the body of a rotting corpse. One guy held a flashlight into the coffin as the other looted the gentlemen’s pockets and took anything valuable within the grave itself. “How could you do that? Those were once someone’s possessions…What about the family?” I mumbled to him. One of the other men spoke up, their voice was raspy, “Look at this place. Does it seem like anyone has visited this dude in the last four years? Didn’t think so. No one’s going to miss it. Besides, we’re done here anyway. Our only problem now is you.” I looked like a dear in headlights.

“Trust me, gentlemen, I won’t snitch. I won’t say a word! No one would even have to know about this!” I attempted to laugh, but no one else found it funny. They started to walk towards me, making me step backwards. I bumped into the opened casket, and I looked down at the corpse. Surprisingly, he wasn’t in bad shape. You could tell he was buried in the last five years. That’s when it hit me. Thank you, Mary. “Wait! Wait!” I put my hands up in front of me. “I have an idea! I won’t tell on you…if you leave me the body.” The 3 of them froze.

What???” Charlie asked me, his eyes the size of saucers.

“I said, leave me the body. Take all the things you want, but leave me the corpse. I need it…for a project. For school.” Cool, now I’M the crazy one. “Dude, I told you she was crazy…” One guy whispered to the others. “Fine, you want them? You can have them.” Charlie said, shaking his head towards the man in the Oak box. Perfect! “Wait! You can’t leave yet! I need help!” I cried out to the boys as they started to walk away from the mausoleum.

“You got that right, sister.”

“What do you mean you need help? We gave you what you wanted!” I face palmed, “I mean I need help moving this thing!”

So as I stood guard, Charlie and his two henchmen, whose names I learned were Jacob and Kyle, carried the corpse from the coffin, through the mausoleum door, and into the back of their Grand Cherokee. “God, that thing was so heavy. You’re lucky that thing doesn’t reek…I mean it doesn’t smell like flowers and sunshine and rainbows, but it isn’t vomit-worthy either” Kyle complained loudly on the way back to my house.

“Where are you going to put that thing anyway?” Charlie turned to me and asked as we stopped at a red light. “Stop referring to him as thing. He has a name you know, and it happens to be Jonathan Smith.”

“Wow, what a creative name…” Jacob mumbled to himself from the back seat of the car.

“But to answer your question, I have no idea…”


Jonathan Smith went from a comfy little box to being contorted to fit in a small cabinet in the backroom of my basement. Poor guy, he deserves better. But I deserve an M.D. after my name, so someone has to take one for the team and I chose him. Usually, I complain about my mother having the night shift at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, but tonight was unlike any other. I didn’t want to have to explain why three strange boys were dragging a dead body through our kitchen.

I threw myself down onto my black comforter and sighed. Now it’s time for the hard part. I need to figure out how to bring it back to life. I turned off my light and rolled over onto my side. I thought of Re-Animator and how that medical student brought his dead professor back with a special serum, but I don’t do medicine or alchemy or chemistry. The closest thing I could think of would be creating my own Frankenstein using electrostatics, but I highly doubt it would work. Besides, the only thing strong enough I could possibly think of would be a machine I saw a long time ago at the Boston Science Museum. I rolled back over and grabbed my iPhone, opening Google. I searched ‘Vaan De Graff generators’. Perfect. Thanks again, Mary Shelley. Because of my GPA and extracurricular activities in high school, I snagged an almost-full ride to Yale. So because of that, all of my graduation money has been sitting in a savings account untouched. If you ask me, it’s never too late to send high school graduation ‘Thank You!’ cards to your family and friends thanking them for the money to purchase a device that’ll make a dead man live again.


“I still don’t get how you’re going to bring a dead guy back to life…” Charlie said as he walked beside me. “It’s simple! I purchased a Van de Graaf generator last week on some website, it should be here soon. All I have to do is let the generator shock him in an attempt to restart his heart, at least for a minute or two.”

“So by the time the generator gets here, you’ll have one shot to see if it even works?”

“I mean, hopefully it will.” I said, starting to feel anxious. Oh God, what if it doesn’t? “What happens if it doesn’t?”

“I already finished my paper, so at least I have that. And besides, it will work. I’m sure of it.” Charlie looked down at me smiling, his 6’2” frame towering over my 5’4”, “Okay, Dr. Frankenstein, whatever you say. I’m going to be late for class, this is where I leave you.” Ever since that night in the cemetery when he and his friends almost committed homicide on yours truly, Charlie and I have been seeing each other more frequently. Half of me believes it’s because we both have black mail against each other, but the other half believes it’s something more. I’ve finally found my creepy Prince Charming.

Since my last class was that morning, I decided to head home for the day. When I arrived, I was surprised to see my mom, still in her scrubs, up and about fixing something for lunch in our cramped kitchen. “Hey Mom…”

“Hey honey, what’re you doing home so early?” She said as she smeared peanut butter on a piece of bread. Though she was only 42, my mom looked much older. Her face screamed fatigue and her body yelled exhaustion. Knocked up at 20, my mother was a college dropout who then returned to school when I was 7 to become an RN. My dad left shortly after that, though if you ask me, he was never really much of a father anyway.

“My last class ended at 12 so I figured I would just come home.” I put my backpack on the counter, opening a cabinet to grab a glass for water. As I filled it at the sink, sitting down at the kitchen table my mother said, “Well, I’m glad I caught you because there was something I needed to ask you. Have you been in the basement recently?” I choked on my water and spit it out onto the counter. “Miranda! Oh my God, are you okay?” She said, starting to get up to assist me. “Mom, I’m fine. Just went down the wrong pipe. What did you say?”

“I asked you if you’ve been in the basement recently…I had to go down there to get a box of your father’s old things to get rid of, and I noticed a strange smell coming from the backroom that I don’t remember being there before.” Dear Lord, why? WHY!? “That’s odd…no, I haven’t been down there. I’ll check it out later though.” Attempting to change the subject, I added, “Why are you still in your scrubs? Shouldn’t you be napping or something?”

“No, Nicole Smith went to the cemetery yesterday to visit her father and it turns out his grave was broken into so I’m covering her shift.” My God, it just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it? “What!?” I half spoke-half screamed.

“I know, right? The people in this city…messed up if you ask me. Not only did they rob the building they built to bury him in, they stole his corpse. I don’t even know how they managed to get inside, since the family doesn’t even go in. What is wrong with people? No respect for the living, or the dead.” My mom got up from the table, and put her milk glass in the sink beside me. “I’ll be working my shift as well, so I’ll be home tomorrow morning like usual. They’re giving me tomorrow off to rest.” She kissed my cheek, picked up her purse from the counter and left the house.

“No wonder why it looked like no one had been inside…it’s a tomb! It wasn’t for the public, it was just for him!” I sunk down to the floor cursing aloud to myself.

Why do you care? You didn’t last week when you took the body for your own selfish needs…

Because, self, because. I didn’t know we practically knew the family! I can’t take it now…I can’t use it.

I’d like to see you try to return it. How would that look? “Don’t mind me, just returning a corpse I borrowed for a science project!”

Ugh, you’re right. Fine. Besides, no one would know it was me anyway. If anyone asks, I took the body from the cadaver lab at the hospital. Nobody labels those things anyway…

The doorbell rang, distracting me from the conversation with myself. I picked myself up off the floor, and stumbled to the door. Of course, my foot had to fall asleep during that predicament. Mental problems aren’t my only handicap, apparently. Opening it I stuttered, “He-hello?”

“I have a package for Miranda Tate?” The UPS Man said, holding out an order form with a pen for me to sign. I scribbled my name, questioning him, “So, where is the package?”

“In the truck, I just have to wheel it to you because it’s pretty large.” He walked back to his truck, stepping up inside. I propped the door open and walked back inside. I started to get really anxious, I could feel my heart racing and my palms starting to sweat. This is really happening. I’m going to electrocute a body, trying to bring it back to life. What went wrong? “Have a nice day!” The UPS Man shouted to me as he left. I walked down the hallway and was met with a large box. I squatted down and attempted to pick it up to bring it downstairs to Johnny. Unless I wanted to give myself a hernia, there was no way in hell I was going to lift that box. I got down behind it and pushed. After getting it caught on a rug, tripping down the stairs backwards having it come crashing down on top of me, the box and I finally arrived in the backroom of the basement.

The backroom was my ‘playroom’ growing up, and technically it was still that. I just exchanged a Barbie mansion and my Care Bears for an old gurney my mom got from the hospital and equipment meant for scientists. And did I forget to mention the rotting corpse shoved in the closet? Instead of attempting to open the box and pulling the machine out, I cut it apart and removed the box from around it, since it was so heavy. After setting it up, I just looked at it. The Van de Graaf generator was beautiful. It wasn’t as big as the box, but it would still be enough for me, since I am so expert. I put on my goggles, safety first people, grabbed the controller and turned off the lights. Don’t try this at home! I hit the button and a crack erupted from the machine, making my ears ring, and a bright strike of lightning lit up the room. My face started to ache from smiling so wide, for so long as I kept pressing the button over and over again.

I turned on the lights and pulled the goggles up over my head. I ran over to the closet and pulled Johnny out. I bent down, lifting him up and quickly tossed him onto the gurney. I went over the makeshift desk I had, and opened my first aid kit. Inside there were plyers and scissors, gauze and filers, oh yeah, and Band-Aids. Opening another drawer I took out two bolts. As a homage to Lady Shelley, I decided to stick bolts in the sides of his neck, too. I cut two holes with the plyers and scalpel on either sides of his throat and shoved the bolts in there. Realizing that may not be enough, I put one in his heart, too. Hey, I never said I wanted to be a surgeon.

I made sure they were in nice and snug. A half-an-hour later, I somehow managed to connect my mother’s back up jumper cables and a strange makeshift cable to the generator, and then connected those to Johnny’s neck and heart. I placed the goggles back onto my face. The scientist in me was expecting nothing, since this is all make believe, but the kid in me was wanting more. I wanted that body to jump up off the gurney and start to walk and talk. I closed my eyes and pressed the button. I felt my heart stop. Nothing. I opened them again when I heard the machine kick on. The body jerked around on the bed. Good thing I had the breaks on those wheels. I pressed the button over and over again. Still nothing. I threw the goggles off my face. I stared down at the body, wondering what was wrong. Maybe the corpse was too old? I sent Charlie a text: I need another body ASAP!!! Within seconds I got a response: K.


I paced my kitchen that night for hours waiting. I heard a thump on my back porch, followed by a knock on the sliding door. I opened it up and in stumbled just Charlie, and a body of a 25-year-old guy. “You carried this here by yourself?!” I said, shocked.

“Yeah, ever since the cops got involved, Kyle and Jake want nothing to do with this. You’re lucky I even got this to you…the place was swarmed.” He followed me down into the basement, as I held the corpse’s feet. “Where do you want him?” He asked me, taking control over the movement of our new-found friend. “Oh, yeah, hang on a second.” I grabbed Johnny and rolled him off the table onto the ground.

Three hours and four puke buckets later for Charlie, I managed to detach our new friend’s limbs and cranium from his body, and replace those with Johnny’s. The torso of Johnny and the limbs to John Doe were now being set to flames out back in the woods by Charlie. All I need is a younger heart, a fresher heart, that’s all. It’ll work now. I took the opportunity to fire this baby up now that Charlie was gone. I connected a new metal piece to the new torso, and the jumper cables to the neck pieces. I placed the goggles on my face and hit the button on the remote for what felt like the 1,000th time. All of a sudden, the body shot up, its eyes wide open. We made eye contact. Then its eyes rolled back into its head and fell back down onto the gurney with a loud thud.

Surprisingly, when I want to be, I’m pretty fast. “Charlie!! Charlie!! IT’S ALIVE!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs throwing myself into his arms when I came into contact with him. “Wait, what?? Oh my God! It worked?” He laughed with me. I threw my goggles up into the air, hollering. “This is going to be so great! I can see it now, Miranda Tate M.D.”


I sat through presentation after presentation after presentation. I watched kids crash and burn, and then I watched kid blow the audience away. “Miranda Tate, you’re up.” I got up from my seat in the back. Walking to the front of the lecture hall, I gave my professor a thumbs up. “Now, Ms. Tate. We read your thesis, and though you make some very solid points…we can’t help but notice that it seems very fictional based. You believe electricity can bring a deceased back to live?”

“Professors, now I know us scientists have a very logical mindset. We think that the phrase ‘Seeing is believing’ is one to live by, and that’s why I have proof to back up my paper. Though it isn’t for very long, electricity, if strong enough, can in fact bring someone back to life.” At that moment, Charlie wheeled in Johnny 2.0 on the gurney and a custodian brought in the Van de Graaff generator. “Now, ladies and gentlemen! Watch and see for yourselves!” I ripped the cloth from over the body down onto the ground. Charlie quickly propped the body up vertically on the bed, and I connected the pieces from the generator to their correct spots on the body. The whole hall was silent, expect for a few hushed whispers. I grabbed the controller from Charlie and pressed the red button for the last time. The body, like it did for me, jerked around, eyes wide open. Some people in the audience screamed. One girl fainted, and my professor rushed over to see if she was alright. And, like before, the body froze, eyes rolling back into its skull. Nobody moved. Not knowing what to do, I quietly said, “Ta-da…”

I waited for someone to say something. I watched my professor rush out of the lecture hall, soon to return with two security guards. The next thing I knew, I was being approached and told to stay still. That I was under arrest for God knows what, since technically the only illegal activities were what Charlie, Kyle and Jacob did. But since I wasn’t about to snitch, I kept my mouth shut. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?” The cop said to me as he dragged me through the hall. All eyes were on me. I turned back around, Charlie was nowhere to be seen. The girl who fainted, though? She was sobbing at the gurney.


It turns out the girl who fainted was Nicole Smith’s daughter, Johnny’s granddaughter. She recognized his face. The charges against me are burglary, mutilation of a corpse, trespassing, and vandalism. My mother poured her life’s savings into a highly decent lawyer, who in turn told me to plea insanity. It wasn’t that hard. So, here I am. Eating lunch next to Jeremy, the paranoid schizo, and awaiting trial for a crime never committed. I didn’t do anything wrong, besides, it was all in the name of science.




Submitted: June 21, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Lauren Risley. All rights reserved.

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