The Waiting Room
by Jerry Guarino
published in the U.S. by Apocrypha and
Abstractions and in Australia by The
Reprinted in Daily Flash Fiction 2012)
Amy had been in many
waiting rooms. Car service centers, banks,
hospitals, etc. But the strangest waiting room
she had ever been to was in her doctors
office in one of those professional suites. Amy
walked up for her appointment and saw yards of
heavy plastic secured around the entrance and
outside windows, maybe 20 feet wide.
There was a sign on the
excuse our appearance as we remodel.
We are expanding to serve you better.
An arrow pointed to the
right of the door to a temporary entrance.
Apparently, her doctors practice was doing
Im here for my
2:30pm appointment; my name is Amy Eng.
The medical assistant
looked on her computer screen. Here
you are. I see youre a little early. While
we are remodeling, our temporary waiting room is
over there. The receptionist pointed to a
small room down the hallway.
Amy walked into the room
and saw office furniture that was older than she
was. Plaid, orange and gray fabric over veneer
oak armchairs, a black leatherette couch, a
cheesy plastic table and the requisite middle
class magazines, none from the 21st
century. On the wall were paint by number
pictures of clowns in cheap frames, an Ansel
Adams photograph that looked like it was taken
out of a magazine and one of those certificates
proving that the doctor had actually been trained.
The rug was industrial grade, tightly woven,
charcoal in color with specks of yellow. There
were no windows and a stale smell.
A young woman in blue
scrubs came in and removed one of the chairs. Amy
sat on the couch and watched. The woman returned
and took another chair. Amy looked around. Then
the woman came back and started removing the
pictures. There was no one else in the room to
commiserate with. The woman took the plastic
table, the magazines and the framed certificate.
Soon the only thing remaining was Amy and the
leatherette couch. She didnt mind the
removal of the eyesore furnishings, the ancient
magazines, the clown pictures or the certificate.
Then a man, dressed in green scrubs, came in with
the woman, holding a straight back, wooden chair.
Were going to have to take the couch.
Would you mind sitting here for a moment?
Amy acquiesced silently.
She realized that this must be someone
elses office that her doctor was taking
over. She looked around the room, then at her
watch. Surely the doctor would be seeing her soon.
Wait a minute, she said to herself,
only slightly audibly. Is this still a
waiting room? She looked down the hallway.
Hello, is anyone here? No reply or
for that matter any sound. Amy walked back to the
receptionists desk. The office was vacant,
without life, like something out of a French
existentialist story. Then a horrible thought
occurred to Amy.
She was missing.