Genre: mystery (I think)
He finally gave in, after ten continuous days of taking the cough mixture, the cough was persistent. It said so on the bottle, do not take for more than ten days without consulting your doctor. He did not have a particularly bad flu and he was sure it was not bird flu or that one that killed you just a few days later. He was still alive after all but the symptoms were really annoying, so off to the doctor he finally decided.
The doctor’s surgery was a recently renovated house in a quiet part of the city. It would have been a cosy house with a beautiful garden complete with a birdbath and some garden gnomes. He had paused to admire the scenery before he knocked once and entered, a bell chimed.
The lady at the reception looked up and gestured for him to wait as she was serving someone. He looked around for a place to sit, to his dismay, every chair was taken. Then he spotted a stool in the corner it would have to do.
Soon as he sat down, the receptionist was motioning him over. Walking back he struggled not to look tortured. He really was not a patient man.
An impatient patient. The irony.
“Good day, Sir, Do you have an appointment?” she asked.
“No, but I would really like to see the doctor, today”
“Well it’s a bit packed today, but if you are willing to wait I will see if I can squeeze you in… Are you alright with that? ”
He looked back into the waiting room, he scratched his head as if in deep thought, what he really was thinking was should I tell her my dad has a pile of money and could buy this two bit surgery, time is money, and it waited for no-one.
“I can wait” he said out loud instead.
“I’ll need your details so I can create a patient file for you. Name”
“They call me XMan”
“Excuse me Mr X but I need your government name and residential address”
He sighed, and ran a hand through his locks “Xinyori Mari, address__”
“Hold on how do you spell that”
He wanted to say you spell it “T H A T” but he instead spelt his name, and gave her his residential address.
As she was filling out the forms he had a good look at her, she must have sensed the scrutiny because she suddenly looked at him.
“Is everything OK?”
“Can’t breath” and in his head added you take my breath away, then said “Can I have a glass of water.”
“There is a water dispenser in the waiting room and tumblers are just beside it, please serve yourself. Just fill this in and you can go sit. I will call you when the doctor can see you.”
“Thank you.” he said walking back to the stool he had been sitting on.
Someone else was sitting on it.
This is like a game of musical chairs he thought, you stand up and someone takes your seat.
He eyed his fellow patients some were really ill, particularly the old lady whose chair was beside the coffee table he was considering to sit on. What if I catch what she has he shuddered.
Casually he walked up to her tried not to stare or breathe, he held his breath as he dragged the coffee table to what he judged a safe distance away from any of the other patients. A trail of magazines that had fallen from the table marked his path of retreat. Retreat that’s what he had done, retreat to the cold comfort of an unforgiving corner
Before he sat he picked up some of the magazines avoiding the ones that had somewhat dubious stains. He tried not to even speculate on what the stains could have been.
After browsing through a couple, he realized they were all old editions, their pages would have been yellow with age had it not been for the old fancy glossy finish and the sample perfumes on the fashion pages saved them from that musky smell of old paper. The Scent of an Unforgettable Woman, read the caption on one of the pages.
The were crossword puzzles in some of the magazines, but they were all completed, badly.
Five down, the sea of tranquility calls this home, someone had scribbled MARS.
How he wished he had a pen, a red one, for corrections. He imagined pricking his finger and correcting the puzzle in his own blood. Blood was red__
His phone rang, he had forgotten to switch it off or put it on silent. There was a sign clearly prohibiting phones, everyone was looking at him and a security guard by the door was already heading his way.
He glanced at the phone screen, it was one of the First Street Savings bank numbers, probably his father calling to ”talk” about his stunt at the bank, he switched the phone off, daddy dearest could wait.
“Sorry” he signaled to the guard showing him that the phone was now off.
Five down was MOON not MARS, which was a red planet; Five across. Someone had written MERCury, of course it would not fit, he sighed.
A pen, his kingdom for a pen.
One of the patients had a hacking coughing fit and tucked behind his ear was a pen. Nope, he was most certainly not going to ask for it especially since he had seen him biting it earlier.
The heat in reception was stifling, a noisy overhead fan spread hot air around, the Met department had said something about a heatwave. He got up, walked to the water dispenser, selecting the cleanest tumbler he could find, then rinsed it, just to be sure. He took a sip, brackish and poured the rest into a large leafy pot plant just beside. The plant was artificial, great. Just great.
“I am in hell” he thought.
Hell is a waiting room.
PS Colleen this is for you.