“It was the ladies doctor that everyone liked,” said Mrs. Humphries – a puffy-dressed, silver-tressed hot-dish smacker. “It was his wife that none of us could stand.” She placed a stainless steel slotted spoon in the enormous tureen that reeked of onion and mediocrity. Mr. Humphries burped a quiet, contented burp that was substantially heavier on the onion.
Her dinner guest shifted in her seat. She always grew uncomfortable when anyone spoke of special doctors, and even more so when the person speaking was handling stainless steel.
“Would you like a little more hot-dish?” asked Mrs. Humphries, moving the spoon from the tureen and letting it hover over the casserole.
“Oh, no thank you,” said the dinner guest.
“Now don't be shy,” said Mr. Humphries, “her hot-dish really sticks to your ribs.”
“No, thank you,” said the dinner guest again, shifting in her seat. She looked out the window at the snow that had just begun to fall. The scene out the picture window looked nothing like a postcard, to be truthful, and the dinner guest noted this to herself. It looked like a street scene in a run down suburb, which is exactly what it was. The house across the street was framed by dying cedar trees and sported several strips of vinyl siding that had broken free and were hanging at odd angles.
“So the one ladies doctor that everyone liked was the one who ended up having the...issues.” Mrs. Humphries looked down at her smudgy-greased apron, flecked with spots of blood that were fresh from her own left thumb that she had cut open while slicing onions. “He had to leave, and in fact he left the state. I think he is in Mexico now. Do we own that? Is that a territory?” she asked aside to Mr. Humphries.
“No, dear, Mexico is a country. A sovereign...nation.”
“Well, whatever the case, he's gone.” Mrs. Humphries closed her lips tightly, gathered up some of the dirty plates and carried them into the kitchen. She came back out with bowls and spoons, which she laid at each of the three places.
“Now, you do like mint chocolate chip ice cream, don't you?”
“Oh, Mrs. Humphries,” said the dinner guest in a trembling voice, “I get so very nauseous from mint. Ever since the...procedure.”