In Other News, by Sarah Maria Wiltschek

Donna: female newscaster, late thirties, dressed smartly, blonde. 

Donald: male newscaster, fifties, in a suit. 

Dr Langsley: skinny, skittish, and scandalous. 

Woman

Woman turns on the TV.  

A News Broadcast plays. Donald is sitting, facing the camera. 

DONALD: 

My oh my, I sure am glad that they were able to resolve that issue. In other news, scientists have made great progress in the areas of child psychology. But first, the weather. Donna?  

DONNA: 

Thank you, Donald.  

Gestures to the green screen behind her. 

As you can see the weather is going to be lovely this coming Friday, unlike the majority of childhoods experienced by our viewers. The sun will be shining and clearly visible, just like the trauma your parents put you through. 

Laughs. Forced smile. 

Unfortunately, we are going to be experiencing showers in the coming week. But fret not, these should not be too different from the millions of tears you cry every day. Also, don’t underestimate the wind in the coming storm, because just like your father beating you – it has quite a thunderous clap to it!  

Claps. 

Oh! Our executives just informed me that we have new information coming in. Confirmed now, you will indeed be experiencing a panic attack this Saturday, whereby you will be unable to enjoy it.  

Pause. 

Back to you, Donald! 

Donna’s smile seems to reach from ear to ear as she stares blankly into the camera. It abruptly switches to a smiling Donald. 

DONALD: 

Wow! I’m glad to hear that! Unfortunately, like everyone who’s ever experienced a beating knows, we can’t dwell on the positives! Now we’re going to be talking to Dr Langsley. Known for his ground-breaking theories in the areas of child development and psychology, we are proud to host him.  

The camera pans to a deadpan Dr Langsley. Light hits his hollow, glassy eyes. 

Moves closer to Dr Langsley 

Please elaborate on your findings. But keep it simple for our viewers, who aren’t that intelligent – as their parents keep reminding them!  

DR LANGSLEY: 

Well, I don’t mean to brag but my findings were unanimously agreed upon by any reputable psychologist – child or otherwise. Simply put… 

Chuckling. 

It is all your fault. The abuse? Ha! In fact, I am close to proving that all adult on child violence, be it sexual, physical, or psychological, is all due to the child’s inadequacy – not only as a member of society – but as a human being.  

DONALD: 

I couldn’t agree with you more!  

DONALD turns to look directly into the camera. His smile wider than seems humanly possible. 

It’s all your fault. All of it.  

It’s all your fault.  

Dr Langsley and Donna: who appear behind Donald, join in. They all repeat in unison It’s all your fault.’ Still smiling. Always smiling. 

Woman sits limply in her chair in front of the TV. Dead or alive, it doesn’t matter.  

About the Author

Sarah Wiltschek is a first-year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History and English in Ireland. Suffering from a perpetual American accent, no one can pinpoint her exact origin. Her goals are to one day become a published, non-starving author. Initially starting her writing career as a customer service correspondent, she has worked her way from answering angry emails to writing novels that have yet to see the cold light of day. In her free time, she enjoys reading and writing – in addition to long runs in the rain. Among her favourite authors are Cormac McCarthy and Mark Z. Danielewski, whose works she will never stop recommending. Her must-reads include The Road and House of Leaves. She hopes to have more published works of her own in the future.