two yellow emoji on yellow case

One-Sided Conversation

28 days of Flash — 25 ot 28 — two different voice treatments of the same narrative — Method Writing

Take 1: You — Straight Talk

You are not going to believe what just happened to me.

So we just got back from the big health fair I had to coordinate. Our team has been working on it for weeks already. I’ve barely slept, and we weren’t even presenting anything. Just putting the damn thing on. All these companies, all with separate demands, and I had to be the one to tell them “no.”

No, you can’t have three 6’ tables for an 18’ banner.

No, we aren’t going to let you ship your swag in until the week of the event because we have nowhere to store it.

No, you can’t plan on having tech support for the monitor you want to bring.

No, you can’t take over the room’s AV for any longer than the 30 second ad that you’re allowed. It’ll be on a loop and everyone gets the same amount of time, and no, you can’t put audio behind it. Closed captioning only.

I’m so sick of saying no to everyone, and I’m tired of trying to be happy and an executioner.

So I get back to the lunch table. It’s over, I’m exhausted, and I throw my hands in my lap. There’s a lump.

It’s weird.

I just stood by the ComPsych booth for an hour listening to a woman talk about how much their free therapy helped her through her cancer treatments.

The lump is a dome. Not some scraggly thing with undefined edges. It’s a dome. And it’s on my thigh. It’s cancer. It’s a tumor. Not a TUMAH like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop. It’s a big lump of a tumor. The skin is numb.

I politely excuse myself. I probably have cancer. It’s okay to excuse myself from a table of people when I have a lump that’s probably cancer. I rush to the bathroom.

This lump is huge. It probably started in the bone. I’m sure it has had months to grow unfettered. I’ve been busy. I haven’t paid attention to my thigh.

I fling open the door and pin myself in a stall. Taking a deep breath, I unbutton my pants. They’re special pants I had bought just for events like these because they’re basically wool yoga pants with a zipper. I slowly peel the fabric down, expecting to see this large bulb of a tumor doming under the surface.

There’s a pair of pantyhose jammed into a ball and stuck to my thigh.

I don’t have cancer. I have stupidity.

I’m dying.

Take 2 — Lost World

In all the years of our combined acquaintance, the events of my present experience at my place of employment is beyond the veritable grasp of my simplistic brain to process.

My charge for the last several weeks has been to coordinate what is commonly known as a Health Fair, insomuch as we encourage the five thousand members of our campus to engage in anything looking like responsible human choices to improve their existence. My attempts to sleep have been nearly for naught even though my only responsibility was to ensure each of our assigned vendors were accommodated as best as possible. As it would happen, I often had to decline their many requests, from banners to equipment to all manner of things related to audio visual stimulation.

I’ve tired of having to tell so many people no, all the while maintaining a cordial demeanor.

Upon the conclusion of this event, I planned a luncheon to reward the numerous tireless individuals who supported this twenty-one ring circus with enthusiasm and pleasant attitudes.

I remained exhausted to the core, and as I seated myself in a corner table with a few of my closest colleagues flanking me, I felt it. On top of my thigh, there was an unmistakeable round mound.

The mass itself is defined yet strange. It feels soft and connected to my epidermis in a way that is indescribable. When I explore its margins, it shifts slightly and relents to pressure, but it remains in place. My skin is numb.

Having just stood by our mental wellness booth for nearly an hour while a colleague related the harrowing tale of her cancer treatment being bolstered by the complimentary mental therapy, I became convinced of its true nature. My young life was about to be immutably and indelibly changed. Nay, hastened to its end. I have cancer of the thigh, not in some comical way that is portrayed by actors with poor English accents trying to speak to children of having or not having a “tumah.” It is a mass the size of an orange or perhaps a grapefruit. I’m done for.

I politely excuse myself from the festivities. I am ill and might succumb to this dire diagnosis at any moment, though my unwitting colleagues haven’t yet been informed of the impending speed with which my end of days will arrive. I rush to the lavatory where I might find privacy to investigate this threat to my person. I am certain this oversight is due to my neglectful approach to my own health as this Health Fair has come to fruition. My thigh was calling for my attention and my choice of swing dresses and easy clothing made it undetectable. Not so in these pants, constructed of wool and lined with the finest of polyester, which I bought specially for events such as these.

I try to restrain myself from flinging the door open, but the panic rises within me and I cannot contain this last pulse of energy from my impending doom. I pin myself in a stall. Inhaling deeply, I unfasten the buttons and zipper that attach this cloak of fabric to my body, and slowly peel to reveal that which will bring my end.

Just there, self-encased from a morning of perspiration and dressing at four am, a pair of pantyhose from a previous wearing have amassed themselves into a globule and glued themselves in one hemisphere to my thigh.

Alas, I have averted a life-changing diagnosis for the inalterable fact that at this moment, I am crying laughing, dying, and feeling every ounce as feebleminded as you might imagine.


About Christine Wilcox Anderson

Writer, former corporate communications exec, and perpetual student of life on this rock.
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