by Winnie Kay
A wife seeks medical intervention for her husband's problem.
| Jim consulted his Rand McNally wedged between his beer-belly and the steering wheel. He squinted as the smoke rose from his lips to his eyes. “Should be... up the street here.” Suppressing another cough and raising his left hip off the seat, he pointed through the hazy windshield as he lowered his side window.
The towering Medical Plaza came into view, and he sucked a final drag of Marlboro into his expanding lungs, flicked the butt out the open window with practiced dexterity, and aimed his pick-up into the parking garage. He jabbed the big, red button on the parking-ticket dispenser and ripped the stub out of its slot.
“There’s a spot right here.” Marie tilted her head toward the passenger side window, and the vacant parking space flashed past her. “Did you hear me, Jim?” She glared at her husband and rolled her eyes.
“Yeah... I want to get closer to the garage elevator.” He raised his voice over the rumbling engine which echoed off the concrete walls.
“Right! God forbid you’d have to walk a few extra feet.”
Jim snatched the flip-top box and lighter from the center console and lit up with one hand. “Look, I’m here, ain’t I? Okay? What more do you want?” He tossed the lighter and pack up on the dashboard and turned the wheel into a choice space. “Perfect.” He turned the key and leaned back in the driver’s seat, pointing with his cigarette to the elevator ten steps away.
“How long are we going to sit here? Your appointment is in five minutes.”
“We’ll make it. Let me finish my smoke. Besides, we’ll be sitting in those waiting-room chairs for an hour, anyway.”
“Jim, we talked about this, and you agreed to try.”
“No, YOU agreed I’d try. I‘m fine just the way things are.”
“We’ve got to do something about the smell in the house. I really think this is going to work. Amy White’s husband quit after one session with this specialist.”
“Uh huh.” Jim got out of the truck and dropped the cigarette on the grease-stained floor, crushing it with the toe of his boot. “Let’s get this over with. I got work piling up back at the plant.” The truck's doors slammed simultaneously, echoing through the garage.
They stepped into the elevator already occupied by a young woman carrying a briefcase. Marie punched the button marked 13. “You’re going to feel so much better, and you’ll smell better.”
“Great. That will certainly ease the stress on the loading dock. Me smelling good and all.”
The elevator doors opened and their fellow passenger jumped out, sprinting down the carpeted hall as she waved her hand in front of her face. Marie stared after her and shook her head.
They proceeded down the hall and stopped at suite 1313. “Here we are.” Marie pointed to the posted sign on the door.
Dr. Anton Fartello, Gastrointestinal Medicine