This story is a writing exercise in using no discourse markers. Discourse markers are the 'he said', 'she said' parts so you know specifically who's speaking. And, it also has no background descriptions of any kind. It is entirely dialogue. So, it is all dialogue with no discourse markers.
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Allan, what happened to you yesterday?
I'm going to the beach tomorrow, I thought you already knew that.
Yes, I know we're going to the beach tomorrow, but what happened to you yesterday? You didn't come to the party.
I don't know what you're talking about. Today we're shopping and tomorrow we're going to the beach for the weekend.
Yes, don't you remember yesterday? The party? Our conversation?
You're talking gibberish, Nancy. You don't make any sense. There's only today and tomorrow, and hopefully lots of tomorrows.
Brenda, I don't undertand what is going on with Allan. It seems he has no idea what happened yesterday, or any day before today.
What do you mean? Like his memories are just gone? replaced by blankness? nothing? Is that even possible?
I don't know, it must be some kind of amnesia, but I don't know anything about that. I suppose I have to get him to a doctor, but what kind of doctor?
I suppose a psychiatrist or psychologist or something like those, but how would get him to go to any kind of doctor? He's perfectly healthy. How long's it been since he last visited any kind of doctor?
Oh, jeez, too many years to even remember the last time.
Do you have any idea what might have caused this? Has he hit his head on anything? Didn't he go mountain biking a couple weeks ago? Did he crash while out on the trails?
No, not that I know of. After his last ride he came home, gave me a hug and kiss, showered and went to bed. After that the last couple weeks he's been fine. Until he woke up this morning. I, I just don't know what to think about it.
You should ask him about that biking weekend. Maybe he had some little crash and thought nothing of it, and maybe it is the reason for his memory loss.
Yeah, I'll have to remember to talk to him about it at dinner tonight.
Allan, sweetheart, two weeks ago you were mountain biking with they guys, remember? Did you crash and hit your head? Even if it was just a little crash?
What are you talking about sweetheart? Today I worked in the office all day, tomorrow I have to go out to the job site. And no, I didn't hit my head on anything today. And, trust me, I'll do my best to not hit my head on anything tomorrow. I love you, darling.
But, baby, two weeks ago, you and your friends Jay, Mike, Richard, and Daniel went out to the Altar Valley to ride the trails. Surely you remember riding with them?
I like the idea of mountain biking, good suggestion, darling. I'll call the guys on Friday and ask the if they want to go out riding next weekend.
Oh, sweetheart, please, try to remember. Two weeks ago. Just two weeks ago. You were riding with them. Try to remember, Allan, please, think about it, you must remember.
My darling Nancy, please stop talking such gibberish, I don't understand where this is coming from. It's not like you to talk like that. Two weeks ago? What is that? I told you that I was in the office all day today, and tomorrow I'll be out at the job site.
I know sweetheart, I understand, excuse me for the gibberish talking. Hey, I have an idea, maybe we can talk to someone else about this?
About what? Who? Why? What's the problem?
Oh, Allan, there must be something wrong, something very wrong is happening in your head. I really want us to...
What are you talking about? Something wrong in my head? Why would you say such a thing? There's nothing wrong with my head. I'm fine, baby, fine, don't worry about me. I'm healthy as an ox, right? Hehe, what does that really mean anyway? Is an ox any healthier than any other animal? I'll have to look it up on the internet.
Hi, Daniel, how ya doing? Cool. Hey, you up for a ride this weekend? Yeah? All right! I'll call the others and we can all meet at the usual trailhead at 7 Saturday.
Hey, Mikey Mike! How's it hangin' dude? Hehe, really? Okay, too much info, bud. Anyway, hey, you up for a ride on Saturday? Daniel and I already made arrangements to meet at 7. Yeah? Cool, I'll call Richard, can you call Jay? Okay, see you Saturday.
Richie Rich! What's up, man? How's the wifey? Good to hear. Yeah, I'm fine, as always, and so is Nancy. You up for a ride Saturday? All right, 7 at the usual trailhead, we're all gonna be there.
Nancy, it's all set. All the guys are meeting at the trailhead Saturday morning and we're gonna ride across the valley.
Well, make sure you leave me some good info on your planned whereabouts so I'll know where to send help if you guys have any problems.
We won't have any problems, I'm sure.
What does that mean? You've never told me about any crashes.
Don't worry, if any of us crash it'll be a small crash, just sliding in the gravel, or hitting chollas or prickly pears.
Yeah, I remember you talking about how you guys would pull the cholla stickers out of your legs with pliars.
Hmm, okay, if you say so. We'll be careful when it comes to riding over jumps and boulders and other obstacles.
Sweetheart, have you ever crashed when you've been riding?
I'm going riding on the weekend, darling, I promise, I'll do my best not to crash.
Hey Allan, hi Mike, Richard. Is Daniel comin'?
Yeah, he'll be here.
Allan, how's your head? I don't see any bump.
My head is fine. Why? Why would there be a bump? From what? I haven't hit my head on anything this morning, at least, not yet.
No, dude, on our last ride, you did a pretty heavy end-over. I thought you might have suffered a concussion.
I don't know what you're talking about, we're just getting together now, and my head's fine.
Um, Jay, you think he's okay? Something seems a bit off.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Oh, hey, here comes Daniel.
Cool, let's get out there an tear up those trails!
Hey! Nancy, I'm home! Where are you?
In here, sweetheart.
Oh, hi, baby.
Jeez, Allan, go take a shower, you don't smell so good. How was your ride?
It was great! We rode across the valley and back in a big loop, got chased by a few javelinas, scared away some coyotes and jackrabbits, and nobody crashed.
Oh, good, sweetheart. We have company coming over for dinner tonight.
Really? Who's coming?
Oh, you don't know them, darling. It's Samantha, from the building where I work, and her husband.
Okay. I'm gonna get that shower now.
Please do, and I'll be in the kitchen getting started with dinner.
Hi, Samantha, please come in.
Allan, this is my friend Samantha and...
Oh, yes, this is my husband, Brandon.
Nice to meet you, Brandon, I'm Allan. Come in, have a seat. Would you like a drink?
Well, thank you, yes, a bourbon for me.
One bourbon coming right up. And a scotch for myself. You ladies want anything to drink?
Thanks sweetheart, but I have a bottle of wine in the kitchen for us.
Oh, hehe, really? You are prepared. So, Brandon, what do you do?
I'm a psychologist, I have an office in midtown. And you?
I'm an architect. My firm is working on that new shopping center over on 15th and 72nd.
Oh, yeah, I've watching that place going up. It's going to be a big shopping center when it's finished.
Yeah, the second biggest in town. So, you're a psychologist, interesting.
Yes, there's always something new or unusual in this job. It's a job that's full of surprises.
Well, if my jobs have any surprises they're usually not good, so I hope to not have many of those.
Of course not. How long have you been working on the development of such a big project? It must take years.
Well, today we were busy with some last minute changes that the anchor tenant requested.
Uh huh, that must be frustrating when they want to make changes and the building is already going up.
Well, it wasn't anything too big so we were able to accomodate the changes without too much disruption. We'll know more tomorrow.
Oh, you have bowling trophies. You bowl in a league?
Not now. These days I spend my weekends mountain biking, hiking, running, more outdoors stuff. The job keeps me too busy to bowl during the weekdays.
Hey, guys, dinners ready, you can come to the table now.
This morning Allan and his riding buddies were out for a ride.
Really? Where do you guys ride?
Usually in the valley or sometimes the mountains. This morning we rode across the valley in a big loop. You know the Old Stone House?
I've heard of it. All I know is it's out there in the desert somewhere. I haven't been to it, though.
Ah, yeah, well, you should go with us someday, it's pretty cool area. There's nothing much left of the old house, only the exterior walls. But we ride through the place - in the ride door and then jump on our way out the back door.
Yeah. The front door is ground level, so that's easy. The back door has a drop of about 3 feet. I suppose there were steps or a deck or something there originally, but now it's just a straight drop down. So we ride through the house and jump the bikes out the back door down to the trail. It's pretty cool.
Yeah, sounds great. Has anyone ever crashed doing that?
No, today we all did the jump at least a couple time and nobody crashed.
Well, interesting, that's good that nobody crashed. Howabout before, on other rides?
We only did the one ride today. We usually do only one ride, and usually on Saturdays, in the mornings before it gets too hot.
I see, hmm, I understand what you were talking about now, Nancy. This is interesting.
What was she talking about?
Oh, it doesn't matter, darling, is your dinner good? I made your favorite.
Yes, sweetheart, it's very good.
Hi, Jay, this is Nancy, how are you?
I'm fine, and you? This is a surprise, would you like to talk to Alexandra?
No, I want to ask you something.
Okay, ask away.
A couple weeks ago you and the guys went riding, remember?
Yeah, we were in the mountains riding the Sundance Trail. Why?
Did anything happen? Did Allan have a crash?
Didn't he tell you?
Tell me what, Jay?
Yeah, he crashed. It was a pretty good crash as far a crashes go. I mean, it was pretty bad, really. We thought he might have hit his head hard enough for a concussion. After we all rested for a little while we rode on without any problems. Why? What's up? Do you think there's something wrong with him?
I'm not sure.
Well, I'll tell you, before we left for the ride Saturday we were all talking and when Richard asked Allan about his head, if he had any bump, Allan acted like he knew nothing about the crash, like it never happened. We thought that was a bit weird.
Yeah, he's been like that since then. It's like anything in the past, yesterday and before, never existed. It's like he doesn't even know what the word yesterday mean, as if it doesn't exist in his vocabulary.
Wow! Now, that's really strange! I don't know what to think about that, Nans, maybe he should see a doctor.
I'm working on that, but it's not easy getting an otherwise healthy stubborn man to go to a doctor for something he doesn't know exists.
Allan, my friend Samantha invited us over to her place for dinner this weekend, is that okay?
Yeah, sure, I have no plans, other than watching the game on Sunday.
Good. I'll call her to confirm.
Hi Nancy, hi Allan, come in!
Hi Sam, thanks.
Allan, Brandon is in the rec room, it's just down the hall, the last door on the right.
So, Nancy, how's he doing? Does he have any memories?
Well, yeah, but only of things today. If something happened yesterday or before, no, nothing. All those memories are gone.
Hmm, that's so odd. Brandon has been reading, researching this situation, all week.
I hope he found something helpful.
He's going to talk to Allan some more this evening, try to get him to remember anything. Do you know if Allan might have hit his head, crashed, when biking?
Oh, yeah. I spoke to his friend Jay a couple days ago. He said that Allan had a pretty hard crash, landed on his head, but thankfully he wears a helmet. But, the other guys thought it was bad enough to cause a concussion. He said the rested for a while then rode on, and Allan seemed to be fine. So that was the end of that.
That's got to be cause of whatever happened to his memory. We have to tell Brandon.
Allan, do you have any memories of what happened about a month ago when you were biking with your friends?
I didn't ride with the guys today. We might be going out week after next, though.
But what about the last time you guys went out there, riding in the mountains?
What? I suppose when we go riding we might go into the mountains, we haven't talked about it, yet. Do you want to go with us?
No, well, maybe, we'll see. I don't think I could keep up with you guys. You're all more experienced with that kind of riding than I am.
No problem, we'd go easy so you could keep up with us. We do it for fun, not competition.
Okay, sounds good. Have any of you ever had any crashes when riding?
Well, we always hope our rides are safe with no crashes, of course. But you never know, it could happen.
I see, yes, it could happen. Has it happened before?
Before when? We haven't decided when we're going next.
Okay, okay, I see, let's go eat.
Good idea, I'm hungry, and Nancy told me your wife is fabulous cook.
Oh, she told you that? When did she say that?
Hi Dr. Morris, how are you?
I'm fine, thank you, don't be so formal, call me Brandon.
Okay. So, my assistant said something about a case of amnesia unlike you've ever heard of, right?
Yeah. My friend suffered a blow to his head, and within a couple weeks he had no recollection of anything before today. In his mind there is no yesterday, not even the concept of the word. It simply doesn't exist in his mind. When you ask him anything that pertains to yesterday or before he simply turns it around and talks about today or the future.
Hmm, that is very unusual. What about this blow to his head?
Well, he was mountain biking with friends and apparently he crashed, landed on his head, and the other guys thought he might have suffered a concussion. They rested for a little while then rode on without any problems or concerns. They all forgot about it after that. Then the appearance of the amnesia took about 2 weeks according to his wife.
Okay, I think we need to start with some scans...
Allan, sweetie, I've made an appointment for you.
What? An appointment for what?
To see a doctor.
I'm fine, darling, perfectly healthy, you know that.
Well, not perfectly heathy, sweetheart. There's something wrong with your memory. I think it started when you crashed when biking a couple months ago.
Nans, baby, I have to plans for riding this weekend, remember? We're going to the beach. Maybe you have the memory problem?
No, Allan, darling, I remember just fine. I'm serious darling, I want you to see this doctor, Dr. Joseph Breans, he already knows your history.
What history? I don't know what you're talking about. What's to know? We woke up, had breakfast, did the chores, cleaned the garage, ate lunch, now we're talking. What else is there?
Oh, darling, I wish you would understand, there's definitely something not right in your head. Now believe me when I tell you this, a couple months ago you were riding with your friends and you crashed and hit your head...
Wait, wait, wait. What are you talking about? I don't understand you at all, Nans. What's a couple of months ago? What is that?
That's the problem, darling, your mind seems to have forgotten everything in the past. You need to see the doctor and get examined. Please, just do this for me, okay?
Hey, don't cry, baby, sure, I'll do it for you. Why not? Talking to a doctor is no big deal.
Oh, thank you, darling, thank you for understanding.
Nancy, you understand that there is definitely something not right with Allan's brain, his memories. We've done several scans and many interviews with him and we see some indications of a minor concussion, but nothing else obvious came up.
So, what can we do about it? There must be something, dotor, right?
All I can suggest is that he talk with a counselor on a regular basis. Maybe then we can learn something more, something deeper in his mind that he is suppressing.
Okay, I'll talk to him about it.
What do you think, Allan, will you do it? For me? For us? For yourself?
You, and the doctors, all think there is something wrong with me? Seriously wrong with my brain?
Well, it might be more like something hidden away in your mind. The doctor said it's not a physical problem, there's no problems there.
Well, okay, I'll do it for you. And I suppose for me.
Hey, Jay, how ya doing?
Hi, Allan, I'm good, how are you doing? How is the therapy going?
It's going well. The doctor says we're making real progress. Last week he said we had a breakthrough.
Last week? Did you just say last week?
Yeah! Can you believe that? I can remember last week! He said soon I should have my full memories back, soon he said. I don't know how long soon is, but I hope it isn't too much longer.
So do I, this is great news. I'm really happy for you. Hey, want to go mountain biking next weekend? It's been quite some time since we all rode the desert.
Yeah, I'd like that. How long has it been?
Oh, I think the last time was about 5 months ago.
Wow, five months? I don't remember that far back, yet. But, lets go next weekend, I need the change of scenery.
Okay, I'll contact the guys and set it all up.
Hey, sweetheart, this weekend I'm going riding with the guys. Jay said we haven't ridden for five months. I've got to get out there and ride again, it's been too long.
Okay, baby, that's a great idea. I think it will be good for you to get out and away from the normal routine for a day.
After the ride we can go out for dinner, okay?
Oh, yeah, I'd like that sweetie.
Wow! That ride was tough! It's too long since we last rode and I'm getting out of shape.
Yeah, I'd say you are, look at that belly!
Ha ha! Very funny. You're not much skinnier, Daniel. And look at Jay. Hey, Jay, what have you been doing? You look like you've lost weight, and the rest of us have gained some.
Oh, I still work out, at home. I set up a small gym in the basement.
Yeah, and it saves on the cost of the gym. Jeez, the gym is getting expensive these days. And then they charge extra for anything other than weight lifting. It's nuts!
That's why I've never bothered with the gym.
Yeah, Mike, it shows.
Hi, Allan, how are you?
Hi, doc, I'm good, actually, very good.
Why? What's happened?
Oh, I went mountain biking with my friends last weekend. It was great. We hadn't been riding for 5 months.
Oh, great, do you remember your last ride? Five months ago?
No, I'm afraid not, one of the guys told me it had been five months. But I do remember about 2 weeks now. I'm slowly regaining memories, doc.
You know what today is, darling?
Hmm, let me guess, your birthday?
What? Seriously, my birthday, like I wouldn't remember when that is.
Really? So, when is your birthday, baby?
Not important. Today, what is today, sweetie?
Oh, today, well, it's not my birthday, I know that even if you don't.
Ha ha, yes, I know it's not your birthday. No, it's nobody's birthday, okay? Today is 1 year of therapy! It's been one year, darling, and I can remember just about everything. The parts missing are my years when I was a kid.
Oh, well, you never really remembered those years anyway, sweetie. I'm so happy for you, and yes, I know today is the one year anniversary, so I have something special planned.
You'll find out soon enough, go shower and get dressed.
Dressed for what? Casual or formal?
Oh, something between those.
Allan, I think we've done all we can do. I think you're remembering everything that can be remembered. I think you've made a complete recovery.
Thanks to you, Doctor. But we still don't know what caused it.
No, we don't know the cause, but we got you through the problems it caused, and that's the important part.
Yes, and for that I am very thankful to you, and so is Nancy, believe you me.
Allan, darling, tonight I want us to relax, light a fire in the fireplace, and just hold each other. I want to hold you and never let go of you.
I love you, Nans, I love you so much.