fiction fridays: rusty price, ministry agent 5

This is the special Advent edition of Rusty Price, Ministry Agent. To see all installments, click here
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–present day– 

Tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap. Tap-tap. 

Rusty’s anxious foot is laying down its usual beat. Something about a doctor’s office just produces anxiety, does it not? All those sick people, clutching their tissues or arms or legs or stomachs. Bug-eyed, flushed, washed-out, sick-looking people. And the waiting—oh, golly. What’s taking so long anyway? When will they get to me? The waiting is the worst. Even with a book or magazine or Blackberry in hand, it is still obnoxious. 

Tap-tap. Tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Tap. 

Ok, I’ve about had it with this offi-… “Russell Price? Russell Price?” 

“That’s me.”

“This way, please.” Rusty trails her to the first station. Maybe following instructions to the letter will motivate them to be more timely in his case. “Step on the scale, please…” She guesses which of the weights to move across the scale’s balance-beam. 

“Don’t use that extra hundred-pounder,” says Rusty. 

“But I think I need to,” the nurse replies. 

“Yeah, I know, but I don’t want you to.” Rusty smiles as she breaks out in brief, unexpected laughter. That’s usually a good one. Maybe he’s gained a little favor… 

“Thank you, you can wait in here please.” She smiles and points to exam room four. 

Rusty enters, choosing the chairs on the left wall next to the magazine basket rather than the exam bed with fresh paper covering its stiff “cushion.” Though he’s made as good an impression as possible with the brief travel-time alloted, it is always a better bet to take the chairs. Too much time sitting on that exam bed and you’ve got to add your back to the list of ailments. 

The top magazine advertises “best Christmas bargains” on the cover. Another offers six-month-old coverage of the election. Waiting does not cease with one’s exodus from the waiting room

“Waiting is the vocation of the powerless.” Rusty remembers these words for some reason; heard them in a sermon recently. A doctor’s office would have to be the place to be cured of the power trip. He checks his watch, then glances toward the door. His watch display includes hour, minute, second, day, date. Today’s date is December 19, seven days until Christmas. 

Rusty imagines introducing these two who obviously fail to appreciate the value of his time. 

Christmas, doctor. Doctor, Christmas. You’ve got so much in common, I’m sure you’ll get along famously!

Tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap. Tap-tap-tap. The foot is trying to squeeze in the last word. But the waiting always seems to prevail.

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