Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just a Reminder

This is an essay from my never-to-be-published book, Soul Songs. It is creative non-fiction in that the story is true—the doctor's assistant and I truly do not get along—but I have also jazzed the dialogue up a bit (but not a lot). I brought it out of mothballs because just some grail had a similar experience a few days ago.

The Assistant

Dr. Lung’s assistant called me this morning to remind me that I have an appointment with Dr. Lung today regarding my lungs.

[Phone rings to the tune of “It’s Howdy Doody Time.”]


“Is this Charles?”


“You have an appointment with Dr. Lung today.”

“I know. That’s why you always give me that little ‘your next appointment’ card before I leave the office. It tells me when my next appointment is.”

“Do you know what time it is?”

“Let me check. It’s 9:45. I wouldn’t count on it, though; the big clock on our living room wall stopped working several months ago—I have a suspicion something went wrong with the batteries. To tell you the truth, it feels more eightish to me. Or closer to eightish-thirty. Don’t you have a watch or something?”

“I mean do you know what time your appointment is.”

“Of course I do. I have a mind like a steel septic tank. Plus it’s on that little white card you gave me before I left the office last time. It says 5:15.”

“Your appointment is at 5:15. Did you have a chest X-ray?”



“Because you didn’t tell me to have a chest X-ray. Am I supposed to be psychotic and read your mind? Plus, you didn’t give me a chest X-ray authorization form, either. You know I can’t just waltz right into the X-ray place and get an X-ray without an X-ray authorization form.”

“Well Dr. Lung wants to see a picture of your lungs. Can you get an X-ray this morning?”

“No, I cannot get an X-ray this morning. A careless driver murdered my truck in January. I have no transportation. Dr. Lung will just have to look at some of my old X-rays. You know, like a trip down light box lane.”

“But you WILL be HERE at 5:15?”

“Yes, I WILL be HERE at 5:15. Queen Thunderclap is bringing me HERE in her Royal Toyota, provided I don’t touch anything or bitch about her tailgating.”


“Queen Thunderclap. That’s my wife. It’s a joke. Hello? Hello? Stupid fucklehead.”

[More silence, until suddenly a voice—]


"Oh. I thought you'd gone. I said I'm a stupid chucklehead. Toodle-ooh, then, ’til 5:15."

Every three months it’s the same old thing. She calls, I try to break her balls, and all she does is make me piss me off. Her balls must be made of granite. She must have spent her first six years in Doctor Assistant School emptying over-filled excreta vessels and picking bugs off patients.

Stupid Fucklehead.


Wandering Coyote said...

Oh, yeah, great creative "non-fiction!" Love it!

savannah said...

sweet! how many times have i had conversations with people and then thought i couldn't make this up if i tried! xoxo

Barbara Bruederlin said...

She sounds positively adorable.

Maybe you could bring in a drawing of what you think you chest xray should look like. That aught to make her happy. Or what passes for happy when your balls are made of granite.

Meg said...

"Am I supposed to be psychotic ...?" Hahaha. That made me laugh for a good thirty seconds.

Stinkypaw said...

What do you mean you didn't read her mind? The nerve of you to show up, on time, without any x-rays, such a waste of time...

kara said...

oh man, i'm totally going to use "fucklehead".