50 Word Story: Tinnitus Cure Study 421-Rotary

Rated M for mature. Not suitable for young or sensitive readers. Contains violence.

Could I write a story in 50 words? It was Halloween 2016, and I wanted to write a quick flash fiction story. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s famous heart wrenching 6 word story: “For sale, baby shoes, never worn.” The result is the Doctor Bell Tinnitus Cure Study 421: Rotary.

I’m no Ernest Hemingway, so I decided to challenge myself and make my story 50 words max. But not heart wrenching. Something horror. I thought, What if?

What if somebody wanted to cure tinnitus, but was only interested in the money. What would the worst case scenario be for human experiments?

For me, the most horrifying worst case scenario for a tinnitus cure researcher is somebody with zero background. Somebody crazy. An optimistic psychopath who fakes their diplomas, resume, and references to bill themselves as the best tinnitus cure researcher in the world. How far would this person go? Let the experimental studies begin.  

Study 421: Rotary 

“I can fix you,” muttered Bell.

She struggled against the restraints.


He carefully selected a bit. Sizing it to her ear canal until satisfied.

The drill buzz was louder than any tinnitus she had known.

“It should work…this time,” he murmured as the drill spiraled into her ear.

© 2016 Jan L. Mayes

I couldn’t stop thinking about Doctor Bell. He’s the character I love to hate. So much fun to write. He kept doing more tinnitus cure experiments. I kept writing them down.

For my latest book edition of medical satire studies, please use this link to the Doctor Bell Anthology of Tinnitus Terror Tales.

Jan Mayes

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