The TV was blasting the benefits of green smoothies.
“Smooth up the fiber and stick in the celery,” the dark blonde haired cohost said as she took a smiling gulp, her teeth green with flax. “Oh my! It’s good,” she said smiling at the camera. “I can feel it working already.”
The waiting was room empty except for two white haired people staring hopefully at the screen. Ethel leaned in towards her husband, Tom.
“We should try that; perhaps it would help you.”
“What?” Tom croaked back at her, his hearing aid began fuzzing in the silence.
“I said we should try that!”
“Try what?” Tom hissed back, tightening his grip on his cane and leaning in towards his wife.
“That what?!” Tom shrieked. He moved the dial on his hearing aid.
“The green thing!”
“What green thing?!”
“On the television!”
“Right there!” Ethel screamed pointing at the wall in front of them.
“Where?!” Tom yelled, swiveling his head side to side, unable to locate the TV. “I don’t see a television in this room!”
“Good God!” Ethel said, huffing and settling back into her seat. “It’s right in front of you!” She gripped the sides of Tom’s head and forcibly turned it forwards, tilting his chin up so that he’d have to see it.
“Oh!” Tom cried, genuinely surprised that there was a TV in front of him. “Well, I’ll be damned. What about it?”
“The green thing she was making.”
“Who was making?”
“The lady! On the television!”
By now the screen had change to a commercial for a medication to ease psoriasis.
“What green thing?” Tom asked, squinting his eyes watching the young, blonde woman on the TV take off her dark jacket to revel bare shoulders, a clear sign that the medication had worked.
Tom, however, saw it differently.
“PORN!” He yelled. “THERE IS PORN ON THAT TELEVISION!” He pointed a shaky finger at the screen. “Ethel! There is porn on the television!”
“What?” Ethel yelled, equally confused and outraged. “Where? “Who is watching porn?”
“Right there!” Tom yelled pointing his cane at the TV in front of him. “I saw it. There was a woman taking off her jacket. Clearly warming up for something nasty!”
The commercial drew on. A man and woman walked in the park in slow motion. Their dog chased after a ball. Slowly.
“Look at them. Look at those scums. You can just tell they’re off to have sex,” Tom said disgusted. “The damned dog will probably watch. Even their animal is a pervert.”
“Yes, kids these days. The things they watch on the TV.”
“I’m going to go and tell the nurse to change the channel.”
“Yes,” Ethel said. “Good idea.” She turned her head to the side to avoid watching anymore of the porn.
Tom stood up and made his way to the desk. Two fair headed women chatted to each other, leaning back in their chairs. They didn’t see Tom approach.
“Excuse me,” he said rapping the handle of his cane on the desk. “So I said, what do you mean you only sleep with girls on the third date? This IS our third date.”
“He did not!”
“Excuse me,” Tom repeated.
“He did, he said that I should’ve been the one to tell him…”
“EXCUSE ME!” Tom yelled, his patience gone.
Both women blinked. “Can we help you?” The one on the right said, leaning forward quickly and reshuffling things on her desk.
“Yes, there is porn on the television in the waiting room.”
“I saw it.”
“You saw porn on the television in the waiting room?”
“Cindy, do you know how to change the channel?”
Cindy rummaged around in the drawer off to the left. “I don’t know. Isn’t the remote somewhere in here?”
“It should be. Ruth was the one who put it there last.”
“Sorry,” Cindy said quickly looking up at Tom. “I can’t find the remote.”
“Well, you should,” Tom said huffily. “There’s a woman undressing on the television out there. What if there was a child in the waiting room?”
“Yes, of course. We wouldn’t want…”
“Found it!” Cindy cried, holding up the remote, the back long since gone, the two double AA batteries held inside with a makeshift duct tape backing.
“That’s the remote?” Tom asked.
“Yeah, it’s a little…,”Cindy tapped it against her hand…”worse for wear.”
“Do you want me to do it?” The nurse on the right said.
“No, I’ve got it,” Cindy said stepping out from behind the desk. Tom followed closely behind.
“This doesn’t look like porn to me,” Cindy said, tilting her head and squinting her eyes. “Are you sure?”
“Am I sure? I’m sure I’m sure!” Tom cried as he raised his cane and began shaking it. “I know what porn is and I definitely saw it!”
“Okay. Okay,” Cindy said pointing the remote at the television. She began clicking through the channels. “Any preference as to what you want to watch?”
“Okay, I’ll just keep going until you see something you’d like to watch.”
Tom and Cindy stood in front of the TV and watched the channels flash. Ethel sat off to the side and nervously bit at a hangnail on her thumb.
“Wait!” Tom suddenly cried. “Go back!”
“I said go back!”
“Okay.” Cindy pushed the down button on the remote.
She pressed it again.
“No. Once more.”
She pressed it once more.
“Yes.” Tom retreated back to his chair next to Ethel.
“But this is the same channel we were on before.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Yes it is.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“Sir, yes it is.”
“No! No it isn’t! The other one had porn on it! The ladies on this one are making smoothies.” Tom settled into his chair.
Cindy threw up her hands and walked back to the desk. She threw the remote into the drawer and slammed it shut.
Tom leaned in to Ethel. He pointed his cane at the TV. “We should try that.”
“That green smoothie. They say they’re anti-aging. Maybe it will help with your memory.”
“What about my memory?”
Tom stared at the TV. “What?” he asked after a moments pause.
“What were you saying about my memory?”
“I didn’t say anything about your memory.”
“Yes, you did, you said the green smoothies would help it.”
“What green smoothies?”
“The ones on the television?”
“The one right in front of you!”
“Mr. and Mrs. Greenboat?”
Tom and Ethel, their argument interrupted, stood up. They walked towards the nurse waiting for them and holding their charts. “Thank you for waiting, I hope it wasn’t too long,” she said.
Tom frowned. “It’s quite boring to sit there with nothing to even look at. I remember the days when doctor’s offices used to have Penthouse in the waiting room. Those were the good days.”
The nurse opened her mouth as if to say something.
“Well, there was that woman sitting across from us,” Ethel said.
“What woman?” Tom asked as they walked to the examination room.
“The one taking all her clothes off right in front of us.”
“Oh yes!” Tom cried to the nurse. “There was a woman sitting across from us in the waiting room who was taking all of her clothes off.”
“Yes,” Ethel blushed. “It was quite exciting.”
“What?” The nurse said suddenly intently listening. “There was a patient in the waiting room taking their clothes off?”
“Oh yes,” Ethel nodded. “She had a dog too. He ran very slowly. There must be something wrong with it.”
“Perhaps the dog was old,” Tom said to Ethel.
“There was a dog in the waiting room?!” the nurse cried.
“Yes,” Ethel and Tom nodded.
“Excuse me,” the nurse said. “Please take a seat. I’ll be right back. Wait here.”
Ethel and Tom sat down, looked around and then looked at each other.
“Where do you think she went?” Tom asked.
“Who?” Ethel asked.
“The one that was just here.”
“There was no one here,” Ethel said. “We’ve been waiting a very long time. I’d know if there had been a person here.”
“I wish there was at least a television in this place,” Tom mused.
“Yes,” Ethel agreed.