Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Friday, October 27

Part three of three: Tusk

It’s Monday a little before seven am and I’m the first one in the office. I’m in the kitchen at the coffee maker because I didn’t have any coffee at home. I pour the coffee in the filter, pour the water in the reservoir tank, put the coffee pot on the hot plate and turn it on. I go to my office—the office that still has no paintings on the wall—and start up the computer. I check to see if any emergent emails came through over the weekend and return to the coffee maker.

Coffee and grounds are everywhere, running over the counter, under the microwave and onto the floor. I begin sopping it up with bunches of napkins and paper towels, when Mick comes in.

‘So it happened to you this morning,’ he says.

‘This has happened before?’

‘Yeah, about once a week,’ he says and comes over and helps me for a moment. I’m trying to sop up the coffee, but it’s still at the point where the napkins are pushing more than they are absorbing. He stops and leans against the wall and says, ‘Can I ask you a question?’

I’m wiping down the hot plate where the coffee pot sits, but I look up at him briefly and say, ‘sure.’

‘I want to ask you a question,’ he says again, and pauses. With all this build up, I figure he’s going to ask if I’m gay or if my buddy was my boyfriend. I don’t want to have that conversation this morning—let alone without coffee—but I’m not exactly relived when he instead asks, ‘Did you leave my party early so you wouldn’t have to see Christy?’

‘No,’ I say, not expecting that question at all.

‘Everyone seems under the impression that you did.’

I’m quickly thinking about how I had asked people in the office if she was coming, how I had known she was coming around ten, how I had asked my buddy several times about the time and—as soon as I heard it was after nine—made my exit.

So I tell Mick that I went to a nine-thirty movie. Hoping it will clear up everything—before realizing it’s also admitting I’d planned on leaving his party to see a movie.

‘Oh,’ he said, pausing, ‘cause I think they’re trying to set her up with you.’

‘Yeah,’ I say, ‘I’m not too sure what that’s about.’

‘Well, doc, let me just say this,’ he says in a tone that lets me know he’s going to break it down for me, with a slight pause between each word, ‘you’re not exactly ugly.’

We kind of laugh and I try not to burn my fingers as I pick up the coffee filter and throw it out. Then I ask who had that impression.

‘Most everybody,’ he said, then his tone changed. ‘It didn’t really matter though, because nearly everyone went home after you left.’ Then he paused for quite a while and said, ‘thanks for ruining my party.’

In the next tenth of a second a lot of things went through my mind. Not the least of which was: Is he joking?

So two-tenths of a second later, I opted for the option where he was joking and I laughed and left the building entirely. I went to get coffee from the emergency department, at least there I know what I’m doing.


Blogger Spider writes:

WOW - the power you have over people...


Anonymous Craig writes:

The only thing worse than office politics is social politics with coworkers!


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

part three of three? That's the end? I guess we are to infer that you never got the painting because... well, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"??


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

What an uptight prick Mick is. I'll ruin his party.


Anonymous Mike writes:

I have SO missed your writing. So glad you're back.


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