Story Prompt – You are an elderly man. Your wife has been nagging about your stench for years – on top of your declining health, of course. You finally visit your doctor after several years. After some tests, the doctor enters your room and says, “I don’t know how to say this, but… I… I don’t think you’re supposed to be alive.” – Credit for the prompt to Crystal Santoro
The stench was getting too strong and the wife’s constant nagging was getting on my nerves. “If you are that much bothered, put a plug in your nose. The smell might stop for you, your breathing might stop for me and that might be a relief for both of us” I huff at her. She ignores my jibe and makes an appointment with her regular doctor.
I hate going to the doctor, especially to him. Somehow he always manages to ridicule me and make me feel down on myself – more so when my wife accompanies me. So this time, even though she came with me to the hospital, I don’t let her come with me to see the doctor. I go to the doctor’s room alone.
As usual, the doctor is condescending. “My, aren’t we letting go of ourselves a bit too much?” or “I wonder if you have seen any action in the bedroom for a long time?” So you see why I hate coming to him? But I go through the process nonetheless. I am an old man. There’s not much left in me. He conducts his tests, all the while finding something to make comparisons about me. Finally the process is done and he goes out to get the results.
It’s a long, but peaceful wait till he comes back. With the doctor’s taunts and the wife’s constant nags, these days this kind of peace is very rare for me. So I enjoy it while it lasts. As expected, the happy phase doesn’t last long and the doctor is back, but this time with a sneer “it is surprising how you have managed for so long, but it appears you are not supposed to live for this long. Your time is soon coming to an end.”
In the time that it takes for me to understand what he is trying to say, in walks my wife. I look at her, expecting her to come and hold my hand. But she rushes towards the doctor and kisses him passionately. The earlier statement still lingering in my mind, this new scene gets my blood boiling. She turns to me and mirror the doctor’s sneer “it’s been a while since I have been poisoning you. Now finally it has started showing results and I can be with Richard.”
I wake up with a start. My breathing is still heavy and I feel sweat building on my brows. But looking around my familiar bedroom space calms me and then, I laugh. The stench of decaying flesh still persists, however that no longer bothers me. In fact, with the dream and all, that stench is giving more relief than anything. Getting off my bed, I move to the next room. I unlock it and look at the two figures lying on the bed.
I talk directly to my wife, “There’s no point trying to scare me by coming in my dreams and saying crazy things. If you had wanted to live, you should have thought of it before canoodling with the doctor under my roof. You should, in fact, thank me that I killed you both instead of exposing you for who you are to the world. Now you can REST IN PEACE together for whatever eternity is there for you both.”