L’ Esprit D’ Escalier: Part Eleven.

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

“Of course. No problem,”Abs replied, lifting the heavy metal chair with one arm.

“Abs, come in. What can I do for you? Is it Maryam?” Lucien asked as the giant squeezed his frame through the opening. The contents of the consulting room shrunk in his presence.

“No, doctor. As I said, it is my problem. I need your guidance and advice, Inshallah.” Lucien somehow thought that the last word uttered was meant to give validity to what was about to come.

“Sit down, my friend. Not there! It is on its last legs, literally.” He waved a hand towards the rickety chair vacated by Raimund and Anna. “ Can you take the one from the corner?” Lucien knew that the man’s one hundred and fifty kilo bulk would render the old chair to match wood.

“Of course. No problem,”Abs replied, lifting the heavy metal chair with one arm.

“Thank you, It’s not like you to be unwell, Abs. Would you like to share with me?” The GP leaned back in the chair to obtain a better perspective on his patient. Abs curled up into the chair like a hermit crab that had outgrown its shell.

“Oh no doctor, I am far from unwell. In fact I’ve never felt better. This consultation involves a third party.” Abs shuffled in his ill-fitting throne, as much from embarrassment as discomfort. Lucien predicted what was heading his way. His erstwhile patient’s reputation for the green and young women preceded him. The only person not party to his antics was his unfortunate partner.

“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to help you. However, I can listen. Fire away.” He looked into the eyes of the other man, but his thoughts were with those needing his medical expertise, on the other side of the door behind him. 

“I’m in an awkward situation, which is somewhat self-inflicted. It involves a young woman.” Abs confirmed Lucien’s worst fears.

“Pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease?” Lucien abandoned his usual reserve as the words slipped out like phlegm. Events were beginning to get to him. Looking down at his watch, he sighed.

Nine forty-five.

Lucien’s harsh words passed over the big man’s head. 

“The former doctor. This could be difficult for both of us. She is a foreign national on a student visa,” Abs replied, raising his hands and placing them together in prayer.  At that moment, one of the tiny threads that was holding up Lucien’s sanity snapped with an audible twang. He stood up sharply, pushing the chair back with his legs.

“Abdulaye, I’m afraid there is nothing I can do for you. If you’ll excuse me, I have patients to see.” The doctor glared up at the giant, for he still towered above him while seated. He opened the door and held out his hand in a final gesture.


Lucien’s attitude had shocked Abs into silent obedience and he poured himself through the door frame, like a disturbed boa constrictor. Nevertheless, the GP’s relief was short-lived as he was replaced by the reprise of Raimund. The big heavy stone made a reappearance in his gut with a dragging sensation. 

“What did that gorilla want? He looks fitter than you and I put together. He’s forever telling me he’s one of us. Can you imagine? Has he looked in the mirror? This country is going to the dogs when the likes of him are teaching our kids! Don’t get me started on that mad woman. She scares what little life I have left out of me!” The old man paused and took a long wheezing  breath and Lucien, still fired up, felt another thread snap.

“Raimund, there’s no need for that attitude. I would like you to leave. Your appointment was nine and you left. You’ll have to make another one.” Lucien repeated the gesture he’d given to Abs. However, unlike the big man, the diminutive elder sat tight, arms folded. Lucien leaned into the wrinkled face of Raimund.

“Get out now. Before I throw you out!” Lucien exercised iron control not to physically eject him. Raimund struggled to his feet, what little colour draining from his grey features. He repeated the hasty retreat from earlier, this time issuing several parting shots; more for the benefit of the audience, than Lucien.

“I’ll have you know, I was in the resistance during the war. I killed six Germans before I was fifteen. This is the thanks I get for laying my life on the line for the likes of that…that.” His last word was thankfully lost in the hallway. As he left the waiting room, he was followed by five of the remaining ten attendees. 

Lucien inhaled deeply and took a page from Anna’s book.

“Next!” He bellowed, which sent one more prospective patient scurrying off to suffer in silence.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    It’s going to be a long day.


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