CELL PHONE NOISE
“Hello, is this Mr. on the Dead or his official caregiver or maybe the neighbor across the hall who answers the phone sometimes?”
This is Mr. on the Dead.
“Greetings! This is Medicine speaking! I have intricately terrible news and directions to give you. We are going to have a conversation you have been dreading since your teen years!”
Didn’t you used to work for my gastroenterologist?
“I go where the action is!”
“Mr. on the Dead, your chemical therapeutics are about to begin! It is like a marathon, but instead of running, you sit in a mostly-comfortable recliner while we shoot drain cleaner into your veins.”
That’s nothing like a marathon.
“My similes are not to be dissected, sir!”
“Your first session will be the longest. We want to show the cancer what we’re capable of. Leave no question in the enemy’s mind that in order to save the nation, we will destroy the village.”
Am I the nation or the village in that metaphor?
“My metaphors are also not to be dissected!”
“My word, we will be befouling your river! Some of these chemicals you will be ingesting cannot be handled by hand. You need to rig yourself up some sort of Doctor Octopus apparatus to move it from place to place.”
The treatment is aggressive, yes.
“This is beyond aggressive, Mr on the Dead. Translated to a human scale, what we are about to do to you equals a war crime. Do you know that you will be receiving half-a-liter of Siracha sauce?”
“Cruelty, and cruelty alone. Cancer hates spicy foods! It has the palate of a common Frenchman.”
If you say so. Do I need to prepare for the session at all?
“Perhaps some ab training. A strong core cures most ails.”
Anything else? Diet?
“You should, slobbo. And you’re gonna! Our cocktails will knock 30 pounds off of you in no time! If those anorexulimics ever heard about it, they’d be breaking down the door.”
“I do not mean that literally. They would not have the energy or body mass to break down a door.”
“They are small and tired. Stamina has abandoned them.”
“You should also bring a hoodie!”
Ah. Good advice. Finally.
“There will also be significant prep for your chemical adventures! You are going over Poison Falls in a barrel. You want the barrel to be well-prepared, don’t you?”
I never think it’s possible for your analogies to get worse, but yet you surprise me.
“I am a diagonal-type thinker. Thank you for noticing! I will now return to instructing you on your prep.”
“We ask that you take a bajillion pills. We called them into your pharmacy. Go pick them up, but make sure your trunk is empty. You will need the space!”
“I am estimating, but the number is thereabouts. Also, you must take the pills on both a full and empty stomach.”
I’ll figure it out. Anything else?
“You must avoid banana bread.”
“So reads the Prophecy. Do not question the Prophecy, Mr. on the Dead. Your insurance is nowhere near good enough to allow that.”
“Shun the risen loaf of the banana, and that shall be the whole of the law.”
“Remember to bring cash to tip your nurse.”
We’re tipping nurses now?
“You are receiving your treatment at the intersection of ‘Florida’ and ‘Plague.’ Laws have become half-forgotten dreams, and all social mores have been molested. We have molested the mores, Mr. on the Dead! So, please, tip your nurse.”
“Maybe some fairy dust gets sprinkled into your IV line if you tip heavy enough? Who knows?
“You might even buy yourself a magic carpet ride. You can let the sound take you away!”
Something to consider.
“Are you a test subject for the new Trump China Virus Vaccine?”
“Forget I asked.”
“Failure to forget I asked will result in unarmed men yoinking you into an unmarked van, and whomping you all up and down with sticks.”
I’ll forget. I promise.
“We cannot rule out some stick-play, Mr. On the Dead. It is rapidly becoming a new world!”
Can we concentrate on my treatment, please?
“Indubitably! You may order food while reclining with us, or bring a pre-prepared meal. You may not cook in the Chemo Room!”
“I see another panini press, I’m handing out a slapping! I don’t know what it is with you people and those panini doohickeys. Do you see your own terminal slimness in the skinniness of the panini?”
I like that you can get the cheese melty all the way through.
“Irregardless and unrelevant! The devices are forbidden! Similarly, you must leave your George Foreman Grill at home.”
“And though I have not seen it in person, I would wager heavily that it needs a good cleaning. Do not bring your nasty-ass kitchen appliances into my clean Chemo Room, sir.”
I hadn’t even considered it until you brought it up.
“I would not mention were it not a distinct possibility! You sickies are clever, and allowed to wear the baggiest of clothes! It is easy for you to smuggle contraband into areas.”
“But you cannot hide the sound of the sizzle, nor its scent! You cannot deploy the power of the George Foreman Grill secretly! The surrounding gentry will be aware, Mr. on the Dead!”
No cooking. Got it. What should I expect after the treatment?
“Everyone responds to being poisoned in such an individual manner! For example, some people go ACK! and fall over. Others just lie there and cry. Some self-pooping is performed. Humanity is elastic!”
Nothing in general?
“Think of the time you were most efficiently and lovingly orally manipulated.”
“The opposite of that! For a week! There is a reason I have been calling the substances we will be shoving into you ‘poison.’ It does not know the difference between you and the cancer! It will kill indiscriminately! But there are more of you than it, so we will prevail. It is a war of attrition, but fought in your bloodstream!”
Those are the worst kind of wars, and that’s the worst place to have one.
“And yet we will see you tomorrow morning. Bring your hoodie!”