“I have to blow my nose.”
I left the office and walked down the hallway to the toilet. The towel dispenser was empty. There was no toilet paper.
I leaned over the sink and pressed one of my nostrils closed. I blew . . .
The sink basin overflowed. I looked in the mirror. My mouth was a hideous gash.
I went back to the office. “I have to go to the doctor.”
The doctor wore a surgical mask. He claimed to be inordinately susceptible to germs.
I said, “Something’s wrong with me.”
Raising an eyebrow, the doctor replied, “The weatherman forecasted rain today. Can you believe it?”
The mask garbled his voice. I strode across the room and pulled it off.
He dove underneath a table and begged me to go away, coughing and wheezing and choking as if in a gas chamber.
I apologized, and excused myslef.
The next doctor made me take an IQ test. Satisfied with the results, he asked me why I came to see him.
I said, “Something’s wrong with me.”
His beard twitched, gesticulated . . . and crawled off of his face like a porcupine and situated itself inside the doctor’s white coat pocket like a handkerchief. His smooth cheeks glistened with sweat.
“Pardon me,” he droned.
“Ok,” I replied, and excused myself.
The next doctor opened a closet and sicced a bantam weight wrestler on me. It took me fifteen minutes to pin him. The doctor slapped the floor three times and blew a whistle.
The wrestler got up, pulled a wedgie out of his ass, and returned to the closet.
Clearing my throat, I stood and asked for a towel.
“Get to the point please,” said the doctor.
I sighed. I asked for a milk bowl.
“I have a bed pan.” He pulled one out of his coat and handed it to me.
I took it and pressed one of my nostrils closed and blew . . .
The doctor puckered his lips. He inspected the contents of the bed pan, sniffing, touching, taste-testing them . . . He took a picture with a disposable Kodak camera. He disposed of the camera. Finally he emptied the contents of the bed pan into a large Ziploc bag and sealed it.
“Wait here please,” he said. He locked the door behind him.
My nose began to leak of its own free will. I got dizzy and passed out.
A nurse woke me up. “I’m here,” she whispered. One of her breasts hung out of her uniform. It sagged down to her knees.
“I’m here too,” said the doctor. He pushed the nurse aside. She crashed into a table of surgical instruments. Her breast wrapped around her neck like a tetherball and strangled her. The doctor pulled the errant breast loose and told her to go see the anesthesiologist. She staggered away.
The doctor looked at me. He gave me a paper cup. “Don’t let your nose fool you. Your memories are leaking out of your head.”
“Yes. Do you know what memories are? Have you already forgotten?”
I put the cup beneath my nose.
“You’re not beyond repair. Allow your memories to drain into the cup. Then drink them. Or don’t. Do whatever you want. You don’t need memories to stay alive. Quality of life is the thing. I’d like to start you on an antidepressant. Excuse me.”
The doctor’s head and limbs disappeared into his coat and the coat fell to the floor in a clump.
My nose stopped leaking. The cup had overflowed and my jeans were soaked. I took them off, dropped them in a garbage can, and put on a pair of surgical pants I found in a cabinet.
The doctor passed me in the hallway and pretended not to see me. He was wearing a grizzly bear costume with the head tucked underneath an arm.
I returned to the office. “I’m back.” A memo lay on my secretary’s desk. It read: “Welcome back!”
I sat behind my desk. The phone rang. I picked it up.
“It’s me,” the doctor grumbled.
“Why did you leave?”
“I’m not sure. It seemed like the right thing to do. I passed you in the hallway. Why didn’t you stop me?”
“I can’t answer that question.”
Sound of an orgasm. “I diagnosed your condition improperly. I want to refer you to another doctor. I’ll send you the prescription for the antidepressant by mail.”
“I have to go.”
I hung up the phone. “I have to go to the doctor.” Nobody was in the room but me.
I came back. I picked up the phone and dialed the hospital.
“It’s me,” I said.
“I don’t know where to go.”
“I know. You hung up before I could tell you.” The doctor told me where to go.
I hung up the phone. “I’ll be back soon.” Nobody was in the room but me.
Somebody tried to mug me in the elevator. I boxed his ears and smashed his face into the control panel. The elevator stopped at every floor on the way down.
The referral doctor lived in Singapore. I took a plane.
He greeted me with a sensual hug, rubbing his genitals against my thigh. He told me my lips were chapped, offered me a balm and said, “I’m sorry to hear about your condition.
Please remove your clothes so that I can see what we’re dealing with here.”
I removed my clothes. The doctor studied me. He flicked my penis and fingered my nipples until they were hard. He nodded. “Go ahead and get dressed.”
I got dressed.
“Is your nose still giving you trouble?”
I stuck my fingers into my nostrils. I took them out. “No. It’s empty.”
The doctor smiled. “You’re suffering from a rare case of memory loss. It’s rare because nobody’s ever had it like this before. According to my analysis, you possess no memory whatsoever. Your body, for some reason, has rejected it. Take one of these daily.” He handed me a bottle.
I took it. “What’s in here?” I twisted off the cap. “There’s nothing in here.”
“That’s curious. But I’m afraid our time is up.” The doctor removed a large pair of amputation scissors from a cabinet and asked me to bend over and bear my neck. Unresponsive, I pretended to be hat rack until he went away.
On the plane ride home I watched a movie and fingered a stewardess in the lavatory. She gave me free wine. I got drunk.
I couldn’t remember how to get back to the office. I called my secretary. The answering machine picked up. It said: “We’re out of toilet paper. We’re out of paper towels.”
It was raining out. I walked to a store and bought an umbrella. I didn’t realize it was a squid on a stick until I tried to open it. Its tentacles stiffened as if electrocuted.
I came to a hill. Tired of walking, I turned the squid onto its head, sat on its underbelly and rode it down the hill like a sled.
We came to a slow halt in a field at the bottom of the hill. Trees rustled in the wind. Clouds passed overhead. Black-eyed Susans stretched across the field as far as I could see.
A rickshaw ran me over . . .
“You look familiar,” said the doctor, inspecting my penis with a magnifying glass.
I sat up on the operating table. “Do I know you?”
His nose had been replaced with a papier mâché elephant trunk. “No,” he said. “Drink this.”
I drank it. “Goodbye,” I said.
The doctor made a trumpeting noise.
I pulled up my pants and went home.
In my mailbox was a prescription. I took it to the pharmacist. He asked for my insurance card. I gave it to him. He asked for my co-payment. I gave it to him. He told a technician to get my medicine. She saluted him, ducked into an aisle and returned with a jar of dill pickles. She handed it to me.
“Dills for thrills,” the pharmacist droned.
They said goodbye in unison and a chain-link fence slammed onto the counter like a guillotine.
Grimacing, I twisted open the pickle jar and ate one of the baby dills inside. It was sweet.
I fell down. My fingers clenched the pavement.
Shadows timelapsed up and down the streets.
I went back to the office.
There was a note on my secretary’s desk. It read: “The sink basin overflowed.”
I sat down behind my desk.
I opened a drawer and removed a handheld mirror. I looked in it.
My mouth was a hideous gash . . .