– What kind of cookie do you want, Dad?
I ask in a cool cat coffee shop near Fan Tan Alley.
– Not the marijuana kind.
He says, referring to a medicinal suggestion I made earlier.
– Do you know what a hernia is?
Asks Dr. James.
– The name of a little girl in a comic strip?
He is in pain.
– This isn’t pain. I suffered from the gout for years.
– That was like walking in the desert on your eyeballs. This is nothing.
Nothing is slowing him down. He’s been waiting months for surgery.
– It’s best we don’t put him to sleep. He’s a high-risk candidate.
Says the anesthesiologist.
– Don’t put this old dog down.
The pre-op consultation is a successful flirtation.
– When will I be seeing the blue-eyed doctor again?
Surgery is now remembered as his next date with her.
He stays in the car while I drop off year-end paperwork to his accountant.
– People will think I’m playing with myself.
He laughs with his hand down his pants.
– But I’m pushing my guts back into my stomach.