Publish Novellas 30 October 2022
EPISODE 5 – DATES
Relationships begin heating up as couples become serious about finding an ideal mate. A full-body dermatological exam reveals a problem.
Did you skip prior episode?
In an upscale restaurant for dinner, Jack and Nicole notice another couple and begin drawing conclusions.
“Is that Michael and Beverly, together again?” Nicole asks.
“He’s one of the most eligible bachelors who’s looking for a bride as if he has a time limit. They were together at the festival. So maybe Beverly is gaining traction,” Jack reasons.
“Technically, you and I were together at the festival too,” Nicole points out.
“If you’re referring to the powder blast, that hardly qualifies as a date.”
“It shows you were thinking about me and, you even called me on the radio to meet up, so it was a planned date,” Nicole counters.
“Well, if that’s so, it was a rather lousy first date,” Jack replies.
“Nevertheless, it was memorable and I’ll count it in my book. So does this mean we’re also gaining traction?”
“Feeding one another bites of food from across the table like Michael and Beverly qualifies as traction to me,” Jack points out.
“Give me some time. We’re splitting the meal tonight. Maybe when we have different entrees I’ll give you a bite.”
“Okay. Are you enjoying the food?” asks Jack.
“Yes, everything is exceptional,” Nicole replies with satisfaction.
“You do realize that this is the restaurant that won the blue ribbon for dessert at the festival this year?”
“Really? Being blasted with powder bombs may have distracted me from the blue ribbon awards. I’m too full to eat another bite. If you don’t mind, I’d love to take a slice home.”
“Consider it done!” Jack orders dessert to-go before driving Nicole to her home. “Thank you for coming with me this evening. I had a great time.”
“I did too. As you discovered, I’m always available,” Nicole hints.
With a kiss on the cheek, Jack promises, “I’ll call you again soon.”
As giddy Nicole prepares for bed, her phone rings. By the time she gets to it, the phone is on its sixth ring. Without looking at the caller ID, she answers.
“Hello! That was sooner than I expected. Did you forget something?” Nicole asks, assuming that it’s Jack.
“I was hesitant to call since you told me not to. But it’s good to hear that you really didn’t mean it,” Ricky, her former boyfriend replies.
“In a hurry to catch the call before it stopped ringing, I didn’t look at the caller ID, and assumed it was my date.”
“Oh, so you’re seeing someone?”
“Yes, he’s a police officer,” Nicole boasts.
“That’s quite a contrast! Is that a step up or down from me?”
“Why are you calling?”
“I was thinking about what you said earlier, you know about making changes. We had some good times. Anyway, I was just wondering, what changes I would need to make for us to get back together?”
“I really don’t want to have this conversation now. It’s late and as I said, I’m seeing someone else.”
“So you think I’m unredeemable?” Ricky asks.
“Don’t put words in my mouth. Now is just not a good time.”
“All right. I’ll call you tomorrow,” Ricky says before hanging up without a reply.
Nicole is happy that the phone call ended. Now she has a full day to ruminate on how she will react to Ricky’s question. After one date with Jack, is she confident enough to sever her prospects of reuniting with Ricky?
Everyone should have an annual full-body exam for suspicious moles that might become cancerous. The dermatologists in Agassi also look for tattoos. Applications for residency include photos that they examine and provide referrals for laser removal.
With 5,000 residents, the dermatology office see between 10 and 20 patients per day. Today is the date for the senior dermatologist, Dr. Alison McCarthy, to receive an examination by her associate, Dr. Beverly Jordan.
“Hello, Alison. We have you on the schedule for your full-body exam. I would like to complete that first thing this morning before we get bogged down with other patients,” Beverly suggests.
“Sounds fine to me. Later in the afternoon, we can go over applicant photos together,” Alison replies.
“Don’t you look cute in your lavender underwear? Now turn around,” Beverly instructs. “Sit on the exam table and lift your hair off of your back please. Perfect. Now lay back while I examine your toes and legs.
“Stand up and let me get a quick peek inside your panties. Position yourself against the wall for a photo, please. Turn. Okay, now step on the scale please. Thanks. You can get dressed, now.”
Beverly discovers cause for alarm. Virtually all breast tissue is absent; Alison’s ribs protrude in sharp contrast to her flat belly; and her appendages lack mass. Beverly waits until Alison has her clothes back on before tactfully broaching the subject. “Alison, just a few more questions to complete my report. How’s your diet?”
“I eat healthy—mostly salads. I’m a vegan,” Alison replies.
“Do you get much exercise?” Beverly asks.
“Never enough. I try to get up early and jog three miles before coming into the office. If not, I do so in the evening.”
“Are you experiencing inordinate stress or anxiety?”
“I have a busy schedule with no time off. That’s why I brought you on board.”
“I totally understand. The good news is that you did not sneak and get any tattoos,” Beverly says with a smile. “No suspicious moles are visible either.”
“Surprise, surprise,” Alison replies with amusement.
“But your body mass index is within the malnutrition range. Know that I’m here to help, not judge. I believe you have an eating disorder. Are you purging?”
“I work hard to maintain the ideal weight. My physique is similar to fashion models. Being a little under weight is better than over, right?”
“True, but you’re more than a little under. As a doctor, you know the normal BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9. Yours is barely 15. I recommend that you see a nutritionist. I’m noting the referral on your file.”
“I’ll take that under advisement, Dr. Jordan. Now can we begin seeing the real patients?”
Most people with anorexia nervosa are in denial of a problem. Though hyper-thin, they perceive themselves to be overweight. In severe cases, eating disorders can lead to death.