by M. J. Nicholls
Fat Jake the
paediatrician, the wittiest doctor in the
hospital, nuzzled his plate past Frances Pomon,
chiropodist, in the lunch queue. Both men could
see the beans depleting fast, and both men wanted
a serving to complement their chips and salad.
Otherwise, the meal was incomplete, and the final
stint of the shift would be irritating and drab.
those beans. I cant spend another four
hours looking at bunions and fungi without the
sweet release of that tomato sauce, the mushy
texture of those seeds. Oh, what a pig he is!
Frances would crave a spoonful of beans, sweet-talked
the dinnerladies into dishing him an extra
portion, leaving three rogue beans in the pot. A
spurt of bile rose within Frances, bubbling hotly
in his throat. Before he could articulate his
rage, he opted for the peas instead. He was too
shy to make a fuss, and Jake exploited this to
his advantage. Snatching the last fork from the
pile, Jake sidled over to nurse Jennifer, the
woman Frances wanted to take to the cinema to see
a pleasant art house film.
doing this on purpose? What kick does he get from
stealing my beans, my forks and my potential
dates? Oh, I cant eat these peas! Look at
them, they look like bunions. Oh, bunions! God, I
ask for a fork, but too afraid to bother the
dinnerladies after serving time had closed, he
nibbled his chips with his fingers and ignored
the peas. At the table across from him, he
noticed a woman awkwardly cutting her beefburger
with the side of her fork, darting her eyes
anxiously to see if people were watching her. It
seemed she was missing a knife. He made his move.
me, I hate to intrude but, I couldnt help
but noticing you have a fork, but dont have
a knife. Thing is, I have a knife but dont
have a fork. Ha! I dont suppose youd
like to swap at all? I mean, I cant scoop
up my peas or salad, and I couldnt help but
notice you were having trouble cutting your
beefburger, Frances said, blushing.
Ha, thats right. So you have a fork? I mean,
a knife? I mean, do you want to swap? That would
leave me with nothing to eat my beans with. I can
swap though, if you want. I dont really
want the beans, she replied, blushing.
share, Frances put in.
Right, I mean
might get AIDS or something.
No, we can share. I mean, you have the knife.
Ill just use my hands, she said,
slamming the table in her confusion.
She hit the
knife by mistake, wobbling on the edge of the
table, and sent it sailing behind her into the
jugular of Fat Jake, who toppled backwards from
his chair and did the appropriate amount of
squealing for such a painful accident. Frances
stared at the charming woman, frozen in horror.
probably take Fat Jakes fork and knife now.
I wonder if this woman will go out with me?