The Doctor Will
See You Now
by Allen Kopp
The old man sat in a
straight-backed wooden chair against the wall. In
front of him a few feet away a nurse sat writing
behind a desk, her face without expression. She
wore a white peaked nurses hat and a white
uniform. The old man studied the nurse, noting
the web of fine lines around her eyes and the
stubble on her upper lip, but she never once
looked back at him or gave any indication that
she knew he was there.
A woman came in with a
little girl and sat down to the old mans
left. He smiled at the woman and the little girl,
but neither of them looked back at him. The woman
was very fat and she wore a blue dress with white
flowers. She sat down in a chair and settled her
dress over her knees and spread her legs wide
apart and picked up a romance magazine and began
With one empty chair
between them, the little girl sat to the old
mans left. She looked all around the room
and, finding nothing of interest, settled her
attention on the old man. She stared at him with
bug-eyed intensity while he looked straight ahead
at the nurse. Finally she reached over and put
the tip of her forefinger on his arm, causing him
to turn and look at her.
Are you a man or a
woman? she asked. How old are you?
How much do you weigh?
The fat woman turned the
page of the romance magazine and, without lifting
her eyes from the page, said, Leave the old
man alone, Patsy. He might have some disease.
The little girl laughed and
covered her mouth with her hand. Do you
have a disease? she asked.
The old man said nothing
but just looked straight ahead at the nurse, who
still showed no sign that she knew he was sitting
In a little while he began
to feel dizzy. The color drained from his face
and he slumped forward and fell off the chair
onto the floor, unconscious.
The nurse behind the desk
looked over the edge of the desk at the old man
on the floor and wrinkled her nose with distaste.
She picked up the phone and said, Got one
down on the floor up here. Better send somebody
up. She hung up and went back to her
The inner door to the
office opened and a young nurse stood there with
her hand on the knob. Her eyes looked straight
ahead and her face was empty, as though in a
she said, the doctor will see you now.
The fat woman stood up and
pulled the little girl to her feet. They both
stepped over the old man lying on the floor and
passed into the inner office. The young nurse
yawned and jerked the door closed, wishing it was
time to go home.