“Fortunately, we can take in only so much misfortune; what exceeds that limit either destroys us or leaves us indifferent.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Michael Lejeune says:
A routine physical was all I left the house for. That’s why I was there. At my age, it doesn’t hurt to have a pair of trained eyes go over your knocks and lumps a little more often than once in a while. It’d been a fair piece longer than that. I was due for a visit. I drove down there and put my Medicaid to work, like I always done.
Doctor Humphrey’s office looked same as always, too. I like that. Forty-two years in the business and he sticks to his method. Like me. I spent my youth as a merchant marine, and my middle years in the wholesale shipping business. A lotta things change in the world in seventy-nine years, I’ll tell you. But hauling goods is hauling goods. Same easy smile, same firm handshake. Nothing solid ever changes.
That’s why I like Doc Humphrey.
But the white box in the office…that’s something I don’t like. I can’t say as I’ve seen it before, but there’s nothing about it that strikes me as unfamiliar. Probably always been there, in the room with me when I’m alone. But it ain’t never talked before.
I told Humphrey about it. How it’s full of needles, and what they told me. He smiled and shook his head. He thinks I’m losing my lugnuts! But I’m not gonna get left in there alone again. Not with that box. When the nurse leaves, Humphrey better be on his way in. If he ain’t, me and my insurance money’s walking out the door.
I was in there for ten minutes with that thing chattering at me! Soon as the nurse left, it starts with the whispers. How there’s so many of them crammed in there, and they just want out. I’d have taken the nurse’s company over that nonsense. And that’s saying a lot. Those nurses of his, they change every month, but they’re all the same. They talk to me like I’m ten years old, not almost eighty. Walk in with their fake smiles and fake voices. What happened to having respect for your elders? It’s nonsense, I say. I have a goddamned lifetime of experience over every one of those girls. They should damned well act like it. Do you know that the last grinning shrew he had in there tried to give me a sucker?
Ten minutes of listening to a legion of conniving little pokers try to talk me into letting them out of the white plastic box. I told them no. I told them that if Doc Humphrey wanted them in there, that’s where they belonged. But they argued. They told me they’d give me things. Like I need what a needle has to give! And they didn’t want no freedom. They wanted blood. They told me they’d be quiet if I cut my finger and squeeze a little of it in there on ’em.
But I ain’t doing it again. No sir, I don’t go in for that nonsense.