Before we delve into our weekly foray into FLASHY FICTION, be sure to read Marie Elena Good’s (yes, she’s back for a visit) interview with the multi-faceted poet / artist Marjory M Thompson. In her inimitable style, Marie brings Marjory to light in this delightful conversation!

Image 2-20-14 at 5.52 PM


This week, we are doing a bit of self-discovery. Hone in on three of your personality traits. Create three characters out of them, naming and describing them. The three are in a doctor’s waiting room; one of the three is terminal. Write this scene. For the full prompt and posting, CLICK HERE.


UPDATE:      New photos have been posted to William Preston’s collection

in the PHOTO PHOCUS page.

4 thoughts on “IT’S FLASHY FICTION FRIDAY – 21 FEB 2014


    SCENE: The waiting room of Dr. Millhaus’s office. Three patients sit on chairs with empty chairs between them. FRANK, known for his honesty which often comes with unbridled tactlessness; PETER who is terminally ill with colon cancer; and MURRAY, a firm believer in the old adage, “Time waits for no man.”

    MURRAY: (checking his wristwatch again)

    Almost an hour! (more to himself than to the other two men). Why didn’t they give me a later appointment? I look like somebody who’s into wasting time?


    I had the 9:45, so I’m right behind you, feller.

    MURRAY: (smirks)

    Got people to see and things to do.


    I read you, man. Stop the world and let me off! (laughs)

    PETER: (without looking up from the magazine)

    Millhaus likes to give his patients time to ask questions and leave satisfied they’re gonna be all right.


    He should make a CD with the usual questions and answers, hand it out to each patient before he opens his mouth. That’d keep the line moving.

    MURRAY: (checking his watch again)

    It’ll be noon and I’ll still be sitting here twiddling my thumbs. I got two houses to show today. Time is money.

    PETER: (to Murray)

    Ain’t worth getting crazy over it.


    What I hear is Kalajuhara’s a better urologist, and quicker. Practically in and out.


    Why didn’t you go to him?


    I did, but I couldn’t get past his accent. He’s from Iraq or Iran or who knows where. I wanted a good old American doctor to keep an eye on my prostate.


    A doctor with plenty of time, right?


    Ever hear “Patience is a virtue”?


    I dated a girl named Patience in high school. She was always in a big hurry to break up with me. So much for patience.

    (then to Peter)

    Hey, you waiting for somebody in there?

    (Peter shakes his head)

    You here for an annual?


    The Big C. Prostate. Stage Four.


    My God!


    Who would’ve figured, man. Cool as a ––


    Cucumber. Yeah, that’s what I am. What choice do I got?


    It was me I’d be jumping up and down, cursing my head off.


    And then what, Ichabod? It doesn’t pay. You gotta take life a day at a time and hope for the best.


    I guess life’s not so bad.

    (Murray makes a move to check his watch and decides to turn away)


    (to Peter) Good luck in there.


    You guys too.

    (Dr. Millhaus’s nurse appears at the waiting room door)


    Mr. Murray Brown.

    (Murray stands and follows the nurse)


    Who knows how long he’ll be in there?

    (Peter smiles and shrugs his shoulders).


    Everything in its own good time.

    (he goes back to reading the magazine while Frank hangs up his coat and cap on the rack.)

    (End of Scene)

    copyright 2014, William Preston

    Nurse Grins looked out over the waiting room. The doctor had three patients left, Mr. Morgenson, Mr. Mattaver, and Mr. McCovey. She looked at them individually, and smiled. They all smiled back.

    Nurse Grins was a tall, broad black woman. She could look imposing, even frightening if she chose, but she rarely chose. Her face seemed to be happy all the while, and her smile broadened automatically, it seemed, with every patient she met. Years before, a patient had named her “Nurse Grins” for her smiles and because she never used the sing-song “How are we today” that so many care providers used as a throwaway line. Nurse Grins never threw a line away, and all the patients knew it.

    Nurse Grins re-arranged the records for the three patients in the waiting room. Mr. McCovey had come in before the other two, but she placed him last. She decided that Mr. Morgenson would come in next.

    Mr. Morgenson was a little, wiry man, sixty years old, who looked remarkably like Woodrow Wilson, or pictures of Wilson that Nurse Grins had seen, complete down to the tiny spectacles and old-fashioned high collar. He was fidgeting, as usual, in the waiting room: first looking at this magazine, then that, then putting both down to look at the television, then getting up to study the fish in the tank. Then doing it all over again. He had been treated for lung cancer ten years before; he had no signs or symptoms, and hadn’t for all that time. But he never relaxed. His wife, sitting near him, kept her eyes on him as he moved about the room.

    Mr. Mattaver was reading a book, as usual. Except for his age, he was almost the complete opposite of Mr. Morgenson: a tall, heavy-set man with a deeply furrowed brown and deep-set eyes. Except for when he looked at Nurse Grins, Mr. Mattaver rarely smiled; in fact, he rarely acknowledged anyone else, preferring to read his books. He had never married. He had been treated for Hodgkin’s disease five years before, and remained free of symptoms. Nurse Grins watched him as he read. Mr. Mattaver’s face was impassive; his book was a best-seller, a crime novel that made most people gasp and even scream at some of its passages, as Nurse Grins learned when she read it. But Mr. Mattaver could have been reading a telephone directory, for all that his face showed. He had been that way when he leaned he had cancer, and when he learned that it had been controlled. Nurse Grins shook her head, her smile fading.

    When she looked at Mr. McCovey, however, her grin returned. He was looking at her steadily, a small smile on his own face. He was another slight man, twenty years younger than Mr. Mattaver and Mr. Morgenson. He was married, and had four children. He and Nurse Grins exchanged nods. Mr. McCovey was holding his rosary beads, not fingering them, just holding them. Nurse Grins remembered a talk she had with Mr. McCovey months before, when he received his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Nurse Grins, herself a Catholic, had asked if he prayed about his cancer. Mr. McCovey had said, no, he just liked to hold them. They spoke of the churches they attended. Nurse Grins recalled Mr. McCovey telling her that he liked to stay after Mass and look at the crucifix. Did he pray then?, Nurse Grins had asked. No, Mr. McCovey replied, “We just look at each other and love each other.”

    Just yesterday, Mr. McCovey had learned that his cancer was incurable. He had come today to learn how much longer he had to live. Nurse Grins smiled at him. It is good, she thought, that he’s the last patient today. He’ll make the doctor feel better.

  3. “Did he pray then?, Nurse Grins had asked. No, Mr. McCovey replied, “We just look at each other and love each other.”

    That is a most beautiful and encouraging thought! Love your story.

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