Addam’s Family Values!
They call me Doctor Dave. I don’t mind that so much, after all, the exotic syllables of Darvan Kapoor can be tricky. Better than many of the things I’ve been called. I’m a junior doctor in a city centre emergency department. It’s not all blood and doom. Sometimes I’ll get a call from a female doctor – the patient is requesting a second opinion. We both savour that moment as the thick brows furrow at the choice to be made: lady doctor, or towel head can’t speak proper English like wot I do.
I get the call about a tricky case so I’m instantly on edge. In the treatment room I look at two hostile faces. A man and a woman – I think. Definitely one woman. She has nice legs and a firm chest, but a face screwed so far past disgust that I begin to worry about the pickled herrings I ate three weeks ago.
And the other? A man.
But pigtails, and pale face makeup. He is standing awkwardly, elbows resting on the bed, bent a little at the waist. He smiles weakly, shifts a little, and then winces.
There isn’t a hint of compassion from the woman when she says, ‘Oh, darling, does it smart?’
The man straightens. He says, ‘Just like our wedding day.’
He faces me. His long black coat is actually a long black dress, bunched in thick folds around his waist. I’ve seen many things in my time, but nothing as disturbing as those pasty white legs sticking out below that flapping hem.
Quickly, he says, ‘Halloween. My costume.’
The wife cuts in, ‘_My_ costume.’
‘Halloween,’ I say, just for something to say.
The man nods. ‘I know it’s tomorrow, but I wanted to try out the costume, make sure it fits.’
‘That’s right. You must have something similar in your culture, honouring the dead, bringing your dead relatives into your homes, or something. You know, Halloween, pumpkins and trick or treat.’
I smile. ‘Oh. That’s what that is! Halloween, and I thought hordes of small children demanding sweets was merely the decline of western civilisation. Well, then. What seems to be the problem?’
The man looks nervous once more, the woman triumphant. She presents me with something wrapped up in a plastic bag. It feels light, but firm.
She smirks. ‘Perhaps you can reattach it.’
The man squirms as slowly I unwrap the package. It has the look of a large cucumber, but dried.
‘It’s a loofah,’ the man says. ‘For sloughing off dead skin.’
‘I came back from shopping with it,’
I look from one to the other. He squirms, and looks away. She seems almost two feet taller.
‘And what do I find? Him! Dressed as Wednesday Addams, receiving a tasty treat from Uncle Fester.’
The wife strides past me. ‘I’ll leave you to it, doctor.’
She pauses at the door to look at me.
‘Actually, it’s most of a loofah.’