May 25, 2013

Dog Flight

“I asked for a 747, a plane with four engines. She lied to me, the woman on the phone. Look at this plane; it’s nothing. I don’t even know what it is.”

A flight to New York gets complicated.

I reached into the forward seat pouch and found the aircraft’s info card. “It’s a 767,” I said.

“A 767? What kind of plane is that? Just two engines. I should have flown directly to London on Virgin. They have 747s.”

Although he was flying to London, his accent sounded continental, southern, coastal maybe. Maybe a Slav, maybe a Mediterranean Arab. In his early sixties, wearing a floral scent, and carrying an old-fashioned briefcase.

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May 5, 2013

The Pathologist

The eyebrows: White, bushy, cultivated, reaching out like the antennas of a cat. The

David learns whether or not he’s got parasites

office: equipped with the trophies of a life spent vaccinating children in developing countries. Tribal masks, plaster figurines, mysterious carved boxes. The medical equipment: white enameled. Mid-last-century airstreamed lines. Glass bottles with art deco labels: Alcohol, cotton. The waiting area: cramped, complicated. Exotic plants with spongy fronds. A receptionist with a lisp, sitting behind a glass window. Loads of fading photographs, in frames you’d find in attics, of the doctor at stages in his storied life: with a family in an African hut, in front of a hospital delivering a speech, standing in a lobby shaking the hand of someone famous.

“To get the sample, I will insert a finger into your rectum.”

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