Strange Conditions

Write a story about a person with a rare syndrome or disease, such as Foreign Accent Syndrome, but make it a fantasy piece. Make it surreal and beautiful, even if the condition is sad.

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Meg Pokrass

At the dog park, I saw her walking her mother’s Yorkie. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. I had always admired her eyebrows, simple even roads on her face. Her lips turned down, even when we were kids, waiting for lemons.
She told me about her foreign accent, and not sleeping for three years. These things add up, leave their mark, she said, in an accent that sounded like fake British.
Everyone knew the head injury from the car accident nearly killed her. She’d been thrown — they found her nearby. There was a name for what she had. She said the neurologist explained it so well, Foreign Accent Syndrome. Most people thought she was a bitch as soon as she said hello.
Would you like to come over later and hang out? I asked. I had nothing planned.
She seemed pleased, wrote down my phone number and address.
I’m not very modern, I’m afraid, she said.
Her fancy sounding accent whizzed overhead like a dragonfly — harmless, colorful. When she smiled, her lips changed direction, charged up her cheeks.
Later, she arrived on her brother’s old moped wearing wasabi green clogs and a backpack carrying all she couldn’t hold: Slippers, backgammon board, tea bags, a dainty spoon for stir.
I never lose, I told her after the first game. She cried. I made tea with honey, she put on her slippers. I put on mine.