Denise Duhamel

A Real Nurse

His father was almost dead now, but he wouldn't go to the hospital to visit him. Instead he kept walking with his wife from movie to movie, into strange movie theaters with oddly placed seats. He would walk out of each right after the opening credits, saying, "Come on honey, I can tell this one's no good." This went on for a good part of the afternoon until his wife finally said, "Wait--shouldn't we go see your father? We've already spent $100 on movie tickets and we haven't seen a single movie yet, just snippets! And why do we always get the worst seats? Why do we sit at an 88 degree angle from the screen? What's up with all these poles nowadays blocking the average moviegoer's view?"

The husband said, "Typical! Typical! All you care about is yourself..." and the wife thought at least he was driving to the hospital as he fumed, but instead he drove home and marched straight to the kitchen. He made stuffed peppers stuffed with pebbles instead of rice. After dessert and tea, the husband finally did agree to go to the hospital, but, once there, the couple couldn't find the right room. Their friend Sherry, who worked as a nurse, said, "This dump is so cold, they're keeping the very sick ones in the ovens!" The husband and wife clutched each other, but Sherry said, "Don't worry, the ovens are on really low." The man searched the industrial silver machines for his father. Inside, the sick curled, their skeletal elbows jutting from hospital gowns.

But this too was only a movie the couple had entered. The husband whispered to his wife, "I didn't know Sherry was an actress. All these years, I thought she was a real nurse."

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