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The Waiting Room: Pt.3: Section 2 of 2

It was hard to really make out. For me at least. At the time I felt over-stimulated and as a result I was not as perceptive as I would otherwise have been. It looked vaguely like an insect. I could make out what appeared to be two antennae, a mildly rotund exterior, and two legs. Or at least what I hoped to be legs.

Gill shifted to his right to get a better view of what was outside the door. He gave a start when the most bizarre human I had ever seen in my life (or probably ever will) sprinted into the waiting room and then came to a sudden stop right in front of Gill. Perhaps his most striking feature was his helmet. It consisted of a crudely designed handmade bowl made out of some mysterious metal, copper probably. He had attached brown leather chinstraps to the sides to help it stay secure on his head. The funny man had also equipped his bowl with two antennae which seemed to be made out of generic skewers wrapped in state-of-the-art tin foil. It was all very reminiscent of a classical valkyrie. I imagined him skinny under the trash bag he was wearing like a poncho to keep dry. Under the trash bag, I could see he was wearing multiple shirts, though this didn’t come as a shock to me because it hardly stood out against the rest of his ghastly get-up. In place of shoes he had layers of dirt and grime caked on his feet.

He grabbed Gill’s shirt near the clavicle and informatively warned in Gill’s face, “They’re out there! They’re coming!” as drops of spittle rained down on poor Gill.

“What? Who’s coming?” Gill replied, fearing for his own safety.

The man turned and ran back to the door slamming it shut, “The people in power, man! The men in black; lack, tack, pack, oh Zach, would you like a snack?” Gill stood there as stunned as could be, his lips tried to formulate some sort of coherent statement, but failed each and every time. Finally, the man continued his deranged display, “You, what’s your name?”

For a moment there was an empty silence, then Gill began to studder, “Guh…Gi…”

“Giggity? Or was that Gullible. Gull, gull…Seagull!” Gill was so befuddled that he could not respond, and so the man continued, “No? Gulliver? Yes! I know you, Gulliver! I know all about you and your travels! Say, how was Glubbdubdrib?”

Gill clearly had no idea what this man was talking about, but he played along anyway, albeit, rather unconvincingly, “It was fine. Cool – remote.”

“It’s ok, you can talk to me. You’re in the clear. I read your book. You’re not a government agent. At least, I don’t think you are, are you?”

“No. No no no.”

“How about the rest of the folks in here,” he gestured to us, “Can they be trusted?”

“Oh yes,” Gill nodded. He hadn’t been long around us, but at least he knew what to say. I certainly know I wasn’t a government agent, and I highly doubt anyone else here was either. Although I couldn’t say that for a fact.

“Good, good,” the man said, “I think it would be a good idea to take these extra chairs and barricade the hugglemutt.”

“The what?”

“The hugglemutt,” he reiterated, gesturing towards the door.

“Oh…right,” Gill then turned to address the rest of us for the first time, “Well, you heard him, lads. We’re barricading the hugglemutt.” Gill revealed a grin and beckoned us to come. I had the feeling these guys might become fast friends, or as friendly as you could be with an apparent paranoid schizophrenic.

I was the first one to get up. I took the seat next to mine that provided the buffer between Beth and I and walked towards the door, nearby Gill and the schizophrenic.

As I was approaching the area, the schizophrenic said, “Whoa whoa, hold your horses buddy. Not so fast with that thing, alright? Go on, nice and easy now. No sudden movements, you’re still a person of suspect.” That hurt me, to know that he didn’t trust me. I look back on this now and I think of how silly it was. I mean, he’s a paranoid schizophrenic; he doesn’t have any sort of grip on reality. Yet to hear him say that hurt. It still hurts. It’s ridiculous, but it’s true.

Anyway, I lodged the back of the chair up under the doorknob. The other members of the waiting room, save for the Receptionist and the recluse one, also took chairs from the room to help barricade. The schizophrenic shot suspicious glares towards the Receptionist and the recluse girl; at least I wasn’t the only person of suspect.

“You know, I like you guys. Except for those two,” said the schizophrenic; his eyes split off from each other to glare at the two. He continued, “You fine fellows may call me Charles. That’s not my real name, but I like it. Charles, Charlie, Charfle, Charcoal, Chard, but not Charlatan. That wouldn’t make sense, now would it?”

Gill extended his hand, “Gill.” Charles left Gill’s hand awkwardly floating in the air until it finally retired. Charles certainly wasn’t shy about adjusting the waiting room to meet his own needs. He lithely moved about the edges of the room shutting the dull ochre curtains as a safety precaution against one of his imaginary foes. Gill shot the Receptionist a look and said, “I guess I’ll wait.”

“Very well,” she replied with her usual iciness.

“By the way…” Gill started before he was cut off.

“What,” the Receptionist interjected. Her tone was not that of a question but more as a declarative of her hostility.

“Does the Receptionist have a name?” Gill asked her.

“Ida Amical. Says so on the name tag. Now that you’re satisfied, take a seat {sir}.” The {sir} she added grudgingly in a lovely display of mock respect.

Gill chuckled and grinned, “Sure thing sweet cheeks.” He did his little pseudo-masculine strut all the way to his seat, approximately ten feet away from mine. As he sat he let out a deep long sigh whilst kicking one leg up on top the other to cross them. His studly shoes twitched to the tune he was humming to himself.

“Hmmm, hm, hmm, hm, hmm, hm, hm,” Gill hummed. No one was quite sure what he was humming, yet we all listened intently. Gill caught us all staring at him and immediately stopped humming and blushed. I thought I heard him mutter some apology but I couldn’t be sure.

There was silence after. I’m not certain as to how long it lasted either. All I can say about it is that it weighed heavy on my chest and I assume that of everyone else’s. Like an anvil on one’s chest. The silence lasted too long – painfully long, to tell the truth. My eyes darted around the room. Occasionally, I’d lock gazes with Bethany or Gill, then sheepishly look away, usually to my shoes. {How embarrassing}, I thought as I noticed they weren’t nearly as grand or stunning as Gill’s.

Finally, Bethany chimed in and revived the tune, “Hmmm, hm, hmm, hm, hmm, hm, hm,” then she felt so bold as to even throw in her own spin, “hm, hmmm, hm, hmm, hm, hm, hmmm, hm, hm, hm, hm, hm, hm.” Soon enough, sure as sunrise, she had got us all into humming this completely and totally arbitrary tune. And, by some miracle, we were all in perfect harmony. The only person to not join in was Ida and the recluse girl, surprise surprise. Even Little Ricky was doing his best to follow along.

“Hmmm, hm, hmm, hm, hmm, hm, hm,” we hummers hummed together. We reached the end of what we had remembered as part of the tune and each person went off in there own direction, which ended as a complete and utter train wreck. But as that train wrecked, we all burst out into simultaneous laughter. Gill especially, as I noted the rogue spittle that zeroed in on my right eye. I took my hand to wipe my eye and noticed there was just a little more life in the way the muscles contracted and rippled. Was I enjoying myself? I think that’s what it was. It’s funny, all in a waiting room too. {Shee-ut}…

The laughter faded around us and we all looked at each other fondly. The room was silent again until I, finally feeling like I was part of something, said, “hmm,” and we all burst out laughing again. The schizo especially, hell, it even looked as though his garbage bag was laughing.

That’s when the lady came in. Boy was she was a blub of a woman. Pasty to boot. Like one of those ladies you’d see prancing around in there bathrobes and curlers, shrieking about their face cream melting. She looked ancient, but it was easy to tell that she wasn’t even as old as Bethany. Light blond wispy hair, like fragile straw – so brittle that it would completely shatter at the faintest touch.

Her obviously whipped and obedient husband trailed behind her like a kid on a child-leash. Or maybe it was more like a puppy. The distinction isn’t all that clear-cut.

“Go ahead and sit Ge-orge,” she told her husband with a distinctive southern drawl through her rotting yellow teeth. Her teeth certainly were interesting, but by no means attractive. Each tooth was its own brilliant shade of yellow. One was off-white, the next could be dubbed, “canary.” Banana, butternut squash, corn, all those colors were in there. Even a real corn kernel, too. It was wedged right in between her canine and the first incisor tooth of her jaw. Oh mama, was I getting turned on, or what? No no no. See, that was sarcasm.

She awkwardly teeter-tottered on her massive thighs over to Ida and said, “I’m here for my blood test.” Her thighs were still jiggling even though the lady was stationary. Ida’s eyes widened horrifically. All today, people came in to see the doctor, but this was a job Ida was actually trained to handle. That meant she might actually have to work this day. But she never lost hope. A standard medical question might still have saved her and she knew it. I could have sworn there was a grin, but you can never be sure with Ida – her face was stone.

Ida said coolly, “Alright. Have you had anything to eat or drink today other than water?”

“Well, I did have some coffee.”

“Was it just black coffee?”

“No. It had a little cream in it.”

“I’m sorry. But we can’t give you the blood test. You were supposed to fast.”

“But I did!”

“You had coffee with cream, which would affect the test results. Black coffee is all that is accepted.”

“But…But it was just a little bit!” The {lady} was clearly agitated. She might have to fast again. And that looked like it might be difficult for her. But, then I’m not one to judge.

“I’m sorry, but we cannot perform the test.”

“Just a little bit…” she reiterated meekly.

“Would you like to reschedule the appointment?”

“Oh…Well, I’ll talk it over with George.”

The lady turned away from the receptionist and marched back toward her husband. As she was in motion, her face, arms, and hands took on a life of their own. Her face pinched up tightly, her nose wrinkled, her forehead would have followed suit, however, it was already sagging too much. He arms pumped about angrily in front of her as her smeared lipstick covered lips mouthed some obscenities to herself. At least, I think they were. I was never good at reading lips.

That was a monumental moment. I saw this display from the {lady} and glanced at the recluse girl to see if she was paying any attention to this. She had glanced up, too. We locked eyes for a moment and in tandem we quirked our eyebrows at this absurd display. We then went back about our business; her reading and my observing.

She plopped that tuckuss of hers right onto one of those uncomfortable chairs. She sat next to her husband who was significantly thinner in his khaki pants and red tartanned shirt.

She leaned as far over to her husband as the constricting (for her) chair would allow, and (tried to) whispered, “George, Mikey says he never got his money.”

“I put it in the paper bag for him.”

“He says he never got it.”

“Well I put it on the paper bag right on the counter. All two-hundred and seven dollars of it.”

“You put it where???”

“On the counter. Wha – is that bad?”

“Oh no, you couldn’t have done that!”

“What going on?”

“Mikey thought it was trash. He threw out the money!”

“Oh….”

“Don’t you ‘oh’ me. Mikey needed that money!”

“What for?”

“Who knows? College, textbooks, loans, rent? Could be any of those things. He never specified.”

“Well Marge…”

“No. I won’t hear it. Won’t stand for it.”

Again, the woman started muttering obscenities to herself. It was really quite amusing, looking back on it. Although I do feel bad about the loss of two-hundred seven dollars. I feel a gut-wrenching sickness when I think of a monetary loss for anyone. I wasn’t sure if the lady ever realized all the attention she was drawing to herself.

“Marge, maybe we should talk about this at home.”

“Maybe we should. Let’s go.” I felt bad for George. He must have obviously settled, and then promptly convinced himself he got lucky, as a coping mechanism. Marge had this attitude about her, and the way she was so controlling and dominating her husband. Like her husband and small household things are the only thing she had control over, because she clearly wasn’t competent enough to handle or control anything else.

I can’t say I was exactly sad to see them go, though. They did make me a little uncomfortable. But again, I felt pity for that poor poor husband who was marched right out of there like he was some sort of old and faithful dog. The sound of the roaring gale grew dull once again as the door slammed shut.

Inconceivably, almost as if cued by the shutting of the door, the recluse girl burst out into a rollicking fit of laughter. Bethany and I smiled. It was a happy smile like one might wear if they saw their brood heading off to college or nursed a bird back to health and watched it fly away.

And as quickly as it had come, the laughter died away. The recluse girl coughed and cleared her throat. She then shook, slick with grease, matted, and gnarly hair like a dog drying off and virtually face planted back into her book. I began to wonder what the book was. I hoped it was good. No one wants to be stuck in a waiting room awkwardly reading a bad book. It was a hardcover book, so she obviously took her novels seriously, or at least was trying to stay up-to-date on a series and that happened to be the latest installment. I squinted at the pages whilst reminding myself that it might be a good idea to get new contacts some time soon, like I told myself every time I needed to see something. The pages were my favorite; they were sporting the uneven ruffled edges that somehow made the book look old and vintage.

Bethany finally found her right-proper swaggering personality designed to kick off a conversation and spoke out to our new friend Gill, “So what brings you here to our lovely little tribe?”

“Ah well. It’s a tid bit of an embarrassing story, really…”

“Do tell, do tell,” chirped Bethany, clearly amused, “I just love an embarrassing story.”

“As do I,” grunted Rick while adjusting his trousers. I, myself, quirked an amused eyebrow at Gill, trying to provoke a response.

“We’re all f-fr-friends here, ri-right? Right? No need to get ancy about just tuh-telling a story. You got nothin’ to hide. At least I do-don’t think s-so…Right?” stammered Charles quizzically.

“Well I guess I am compelled to humor you all.” Gill admitted.

“Rightly so,” Bethany agreed. The rest of us nodded in agreement like sycophants. The recluse girl adjusted her position in her seat so she could hear better, though it was probably too subtle for most to notice.

“Well, well. Where to start? Hrmph!” He paused for a moment to consider his next words, “So there I was, in the bar, drunk…”



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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

Aly_Marie said...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm
OMG i love Charles !! He's a great character and he is a person you would want in a waiting room with you :) And by the way I am going to cmment on each :) hehe
 
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm
Based on a true person. And yes, charles is one of my more favorite characters
 
Aly_Marie replied...
Nov. 20, 2010 at 11:41 pm
Youactually know a "Charles" ? that must be fun..kool :)
 
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 8:41 pm
Well to an extent.  I've encountered my fair share of schizos.  The area I live in has a lot of those.  Plus my mom was a social worker who worked with these folks.  So i have my experiences with them, either vicariously or not.
 
Aly_Marie replied...
Nov. 22, 2010 at 11:29 am
That sounds interesting and it's always good to be inspired by your surroundings :)
 
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