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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Ms. Scott Chooses Pink
By
04/29/09


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I don’t like the way this man is touching my leg. I don’t like the fact that this man is a male. Did no one notice I specifically requested a female orthopedist? Even under the influence of Percocet I noticed what I wanted.

“You’re tensing up again,” he says.

Of course, I’m tense, Einstein. You’ve got the heel of my foot balanced on a metal tongue that’s balanced on a post, that’s balanced on some kind of stool, and you’re sitting in front of it all like an OBGYN. When will my mother get here? You have very white teeth.

“Dr. Rheinhold—”

“Miss Scott.”

Ms. Scott. It’s Ms. That sock is too tight.”

“Let’s see.” He pokes his finger into the sock and tugs. “Plenty of give. Nope—it’s good.”

“Look, I have very developed muscles. They need room to flex.” To demonstrate my point, I flex my bicep.

He presses his lips together—I’m surprised they make it over the entirety of his choppers. There’s a lot of hair sprouting from the back of his hand which is now moving toward me.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I say, jerking my arm in.

“Cutting your toes free from the sock.” He picks the scissors up from the tray.

“I’m sure many weak and feeble-minded women swoon when they meet, you, Doctor. But it takes more than a lab jacket and a good set of horse teeth to impress me.” I’m momentarily confused. Did I say that out loud?

“Swooning women are a cross I must bear,” he says. “And I’ll let my parents know the orthodontia was not in vain.”

I make a zipping motion across my mouth and lean back on my arms, concentrating on the ceiling panels. They remind me of slices of farmer’s cheese, little craters all over.

He’s working his way around my ankle with a roll of gauze bandage when I feel it coming on. I haven’t cried since, Neil Carlson punched me in the stomach in the second grade. Yet, almost twenty years later, I can still remember the prickles that rose up behind my cheekbones before tears squirted unceremoniously onto the four-square court. After school, I found my mother at home, grumbling about preparing another meal. She listened to me for five seconds, maybe. Her face, strong, hard, quelled the rise of any further prickles. Why didn’t you punch him back?

I give serious thought to quelling these tears. Quelling is actually a lovely word. Fortitude seems to be lacking, though. Fortitude is a powerful word. Alas, I have no fortitude to quell anything. So I go with it. I am the tears.

Ms. Scott!—oh, goodness—it’s going to be all right. You’ll see—but you must remain still.”

I sit up, waving both hands at him. “Don’t mind me,” I sniff several times. “Just because I may never run again. Or walk again.”

“Let’s not be overly dramatic.” He hands me a length of gauze. Before I accept on behalf of my snotty nose, I give the hair on his index finger an “accidental” tousle.

Then I resume crying. “Noooo, I’m never coming back here again.”

“And why is that?” He’s wetting down the white tape I chose for the cast.

“I want pink,” I say, dabbing my face, watching mucus strands stretch. “And if you ever mention this to my mother, I’ll sue.”

He has the nerve to laugh. “Ms. Scott,” he says, “there’s nothing wrong with a little softness.” He pulls down the bubblegum-pink spool and makes his way back to his perch. “Have you ever wondered at the mechanics of the human body? The amazing way God fashioned muscles?”

“You graduated from a real medical school, right?” I like the way he caresses the pretty tape in the water before he wraps it around my foot.

“Think about the humerus.”

“Ha-ha.”

“You’ve got the bicep on the top, the tricep on the bottom.”

I flex my arm, again.

“And they work in tandem. When the bicep constricts, the tricep lenghthens. One becomes hard, while the other softens, or vice-versa. Neither action alone would be effective in moving the bone.”

I push the sleeve of my t-shirt up to my shoulder and tuck the end under my bra strap. What an arm! It really is gorgeous.

“Dr. Rheinhold?”

“Yes?”

“Are you married?”

“I’m afraid I can’t answer that,” he says, winding a final strip around my upper calf. “I don’t even know your first name.”


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This article has been read 746 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery04/30/09
Your MC reminds me in part of Sandra Bullock character as Gracie Hart in “Miss Congeniality” But this time she’s on Percocet and has an excuse for letting her soft side sneak in from time to time. Really liked this revealing line especially: “I give serious thought to quelling these tears. Quelling is actually a lovely word. Fortitude seems to be lacking, though. Fortitude is a powerful word. Alas, I have no fortitude to quell anything. So I go with it. I am the tears.”

Actually, I know someone exactly like this. She just turned 17 and you’ve captured her feisty, smart but vulnerable personality perfectly. There were many subtle hints to the theme through out which I thought very clever, creative and unique.
Bryan Ridenour04/30/09
Great take on the topic...very creative. Well done.
Gregory Kane05/02/09
Loren beat me to it. That section on fortitude and quelling was sensational. I really enjoyed this story but its wonderfully conflicting throughts and expressions. So very human and, dare I say it, female. One minor quibble would be that I thought your closing line was a little weak. Thanks.
Kristen Hester05/02/09
This is so enjoyable! I was cringing at the MC and wondering what I said when I was sedated last. Good job.
Sonya Leigh05/03/09
I love this girl's cheeky personality. And so much comes out between the lines of what they don't say to each other! Wonderful, brilliant dialogue.
Emily Gibson05/04/09
Hilarious and revealing in a cringing sort of way! Yes, you have it right--sedated nervous people say things they would regret later. The conflict here between her "tough" exterior and her "vulnerable" interior is wonderful. Some terrific writing.
Betty Castleberry05/04/09
What a fun read! Love the dialogue, and I can remember in my former nursing days tending to sedated people who said such things, and worse.

Kudos for this well-written piece.
Myrna Noyes05/04/09
Hee-hee! What a fun and funny piece! :D This really is excellent writing, and I especially enjoyed the "quelling" part and this bit of dialogue,too:

“I’m sure many weak and feeble-minded women swoon when they meet, you, Doctor. But it takes more than a lab jacket and a good set of horse teeth to impress me.” I’m momentarily confused. Did I say that out loud?

“Swooning women are a cross I must bear,” he says. “And I’ll let my parents know the orthodontia was not in vain.”

Thanks for the good laugh!
Eliza Evans 05/04/09
I like the title. Clever.
And I love this line - I don’t like the fact that this man is a male. Clever, again!

And, I have to admit... I really did feel a bit swoony over the Doc. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/04/09
Your talent shines here in the development of this feisty character. I fell in love with her and the doctor.
Shelley Ledfors 05/04/09
Absolutely charming! I agree with Myrna on the part about the swooning etc. Both the MC's initial confusion as to whether she thought or actually said that, and also the doctor's response. Enjoyable all the way through. Thanks!
Seema Bagai 05/04/09
Your creativity each week amazes me. Another excellent story.
Karlene Jacobsen 05/04/09
Hilarious! I loved every bit of it! Can't elaborate on anything anyone said...
Chely Roach05/04/09
This was so good, hee hee! I loved it!
Beckie Stewart05/06/09
This was a fun read. Love the open and honesty of the MC. Like her turn of interest as well. Good job.
Connie Dixon05/06/09
Was your MC sedated? I thought it was just me. Great story, loved this.
Diana Dart 05/06/09
Sigh - the way that you capture her voice is magnificent. Wait, did I say that out loud? Yes, yes I did. And I meant it. Magnificent and wonderful. This had me laughing and reading again. And then laughing again. Masterful use of the topic - who knew about that whole bone/muscle thing??? Well, other than you. Excellent piece. Seriously.
Joshua Janoski05/06/09
There is that famous Lisa voice that I love. You manage to give it to all your characters, and it's what makes the reader able to relate to your writing. I loved her observations of the man (his teeth and his hairy hand). You always add just the right amount of humor to every piece you write. Did I ever mention that I'm a fan? :)