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by Michael C. Keith

Harold Carpenter sat nervously in the waiting room for his appointment with the oncologist. He had been administered a series of tests for his inexplicable weight loss and the dark area spotted in his chest. It’s probably pancreatic cancer, he thought, growing impatient for his meeting with the doctor. Jesus, I hope not . . . anything but that. It’s such a miserable thing to go through.

“Mr. Carpenter, the doctor will see you now,” said the receptionist.

Oh, God, here we go. Brace yourself, ol’ buddy. Gird your loins. This could be the worst news ever, he brooded, as he entered the specialist’s office.

“Mr. Carpenter, please have a seat. We do have the results of your tests and we’re ready to deal with it.”

“So, it’s what I thought . . . pancreatic cancer?” said Harold, exhaling deeply.

“I’m afraid so.”

“So that means . . .?”

“Yes, you’ll have to take two of these pills a day for the next week and you’ll be cured.”

“But I hear they leave such a bitter taste in your mouth, Doc!” whined Harold.