The Doctor Will See You Now ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp
(Published on The Short Humour Site and in People of Few Words, Volume 4.)
The old man sat in a straight-backed wooden chair against the wall. In front of him a few feet away a nurse sat writing behind a desk, her face without expression. She wore a white peaked nurse’s hat and a white uniform. The old man studied the nurse, noting the web of fine lines around her eyes and the stubble on her upper lip, but she never once looked back at him or gave any indication that she knew he was there.
A woman came in with a little girl and sat down to the old man’s left. He smiled at the woman and the little girl, but neither of them looked back at him. The woman was very fat and she wore a blue dress with white flowers. She sat down in a chair and settled her dress over her knees and spread her legs wide apart and picked up a romance magazine and began reading it.
With one empty chair between them, the little girl sat to the old man’s left. She looked all around the room and, finding nothing of interest, settled her attention on the old man. She stared at him with bug-eyed intensity while he looked straight ahead at the nurse. Finally she reached over and put the tip of her forefinger on his arm, causing him to turn and look at her.
“Are you a man or a woman?” she asked. “How old are you? How much do you weigh?”
The fat woman turned the page of the romance magazine and, without lifting her eyes from the page, said, “Leave the old man alone, Patsy. He might have some disease.”
The little girl laughed and covered her mouth with her hand. “Do you have a disease?” she asked.
The old man said nothing but just looked straight ahead at the nurse, who still showed no sign that she knew he was sitting there.
In a little while he began to feel dizzy. The color drained from his face and he slumped forward and fell off the chair onto the floor, unconscious.
The nurse behind the desk looked over the edge of the desk at the old man on the floor and wrinkled her nose with distaste. She picked up the phone and said, “Got one down on the floor up here. Better send somebody up.” She hung up and went back to her writing.
The inner door to the office opened and a young nurse stood there with her hand on the knob. Her eyes looked straight ahead and her face was empty, as though in a trance.
“Miss Arbuckle,” she said, “the doctor will see you now.”
The fat woman stood up and pulled the little girl to her feet. They both stepped over the old man lying on the floor and passed into the inner office. The young nurse yawned and jerked the door closed, wishing it was time to go home.
Copyright © 2013 by Allen Kopp