I was drinking another glass of ice water when Norma Jean galloped to the front door prior to “Aura Lee” resounding. I staggered through the foyer. Great. Just great. I could see the silhouette of Daddy’s old sport’s club crony, Dr. “Farts” Goldfarb. He’s the medical consultant at Heavenly H.M.O., where I work in the file room. And the one who transported me to the emergency room two weeks ago after I enjoyed one of my heavenly dreams at work.
Norma Jean’s tail was whipping my behind. I gripped her pink collar and opened the door.
“Hello Donna. I just got off the phone with the judge.” The Jack Nicholson look alike marched in and shut the door behind him. He was carrying his little black doctor’s bag. Just like in the old movies. He grabbed my elbow and escorted me to the living room.
“I’m fine. I don’t know why everyone is always making such a fuss.” A wave of dizziness caught me in the lie. I plopped down in the old gold recliner.
The ear thermometer beeped as he inserted it. The living room began a slow spin as he shined a light in my eyes. His face was so close to mine that I could smell chocolate chip cookies on his breath. Gross.
Here I am being examined by a proctologist. In my own home. I need to write this scene and insert it into one of my novels. One of those truths can be stranger than fiction moments.
The room returned to normal as he took my blood pressure and pulse. Doc Goldfarb pinched the skin on my arm and said, “Look Donna, it doesn’t go back down. You’re dehydrated. I need to admit you for I.V. fluids and some more tests. I’ll get in touch with Dr. Claytor, the lady neurologist who interpreted your
“No. I’m not going to the hospital. I have to go to Florida tomorrow...my momma died.” I began blubbering, trying to cry, but no tears came. Farts held my hand and said, “Very well. Come on. I’ll take you down to the E.R. We’ll get some fluids in you and see what your neurologist recommends. I’ll make sure you are at least hydrated, on an outpatient basis. But promise me you’ll make an appointment with her as soon as you get back.”
Tammy brought me another glass of water. “Go with him Oh-Donna. I’ll take care of the house and dog for you. I still have some clothes up in your guest room. I’ll stay the night. We’ll have sweet orange tea and those special cookies from the Giant bakery. I’ll pick some up. I brought your mail in. It’s on the kitchen table. You got a package.”
Cookies, yum. It’s been a couple years since I devoured my last cookie. Package? I wasn’t expecting anything. And how rude and presumptuous of her to dig my keys out of my purse to open my cubby on the community mailbox. She was snooping for something, no doubt. But what?
Sipping my water, I plodded into the kitchen. There it was. A big brown padded envelope from Charlatan Press. Something wasn’t right. Not normal. I hadn’t sent a self addressed stamped envelope for them to shove my manuscript back into with the form rejection letter. I authorized them in my cover letter to destroy my manuscript if they didn’t want it.
Wait a minute. I felt giddy. They must want to buy it and have marked the pages up with revisions! I withdrew my kitchen scissors from the wooden knife block and slit the envelope open. I extracted the cover letter.
Dear Orpha Donna Payne,
Thank you for thinking of Charlatan Press. Unfortunately this manuscript does not suit our current editorial needs. We are sorry to disappoint you. We offer the following comments:
Stupid heroine. Bully hero. Too much plot, everything but the kitchen sink. Not as much emotion as I’d hoped.
Associate Editor, Charlatan Press
I tugged the four pound manuscript out. It was only bound by one horizontal rubber band...and it was plain brown. I’d mailed my manuscript bound with one pink rubber band horizontally and one blue rubber band vertically. They must’ve liked them and kept them. Too bad they didn’t like the story and keep it. I flipped through. It looked like the first hundred pages out of four hundred had been read. The rest appeared untouched.
I shoved it back inside the ugly envelope.
Tammy asked, “What’s that?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
“It must be something,” she pried.
“I thought it was but nobody else does.”