His Robot Wife: Patience is a Virtue – Chapter 3 Excerpt

Note: this is the first appearance of Mike’s friend Dr. Mercer, but he makes another appearance in His Robot Wife: A Great Deal of Patience.  Coming Soon.

“This is a ridiculous waste of time,” said Mike, crossing his arms over his chest.

“This is a ridiculous waste of time,” said Mike, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Mike,” replied Patience. “You know you have to get checked out by the doctor. You might have really injured yourself.”

“I know that. That’s not the problem. The problem is that I sat in the waiting room for three hours before I could talk to the nurse, I waited for an hour to see the PA, then I had to go get an x-ray, and now it’s been another hour while I wait for the doctor. He’s going to come in here any minute and tell me that the x-ray didn’t show anything, because you can only see bones with it, and I’m pretty sure my bones aren’t broken—it’s probably a tendon or something—and then he’s going to order some highly expensive scan of some kind, and he’s going to tell me he only had me get an x-ray because that’s the only way that the insurance company will pay for the other scan.”

“You’re getting yourself all worked up,” said Patience. “Calm down.”

At that moment the door opened and Dr. Doug Mercer, head bent over a pad of medical records, stepped into the room.

“So Mike, how are you today?”

“I’ve got a fucked up knee. How are you, asshole?”

“Do you talk to all your doctors that way?” he asked, without looking up from his texTee, “or just the ones you went to high school with?”

“No, my cardiologist is an asshole too. I like my dentist though.”

“You know, I was going to be a dentist,” said Dr. Mercer, finally looking up. “But you meet a higher class of patient as a GP. So, how did you injure your leg?”

“I don’t know. I just woke up this morning and it wouldn’t support my weight.”

“He injured it carrying a heavy piece of furniture,” said Patience. “Then he went jogging.”

“Oh, you got a robot,” said the doctor, giving Patience a long look. “Good for you. People with robots live longer.”

“This is my wife, Patience.”

“Oh, you’re one of those guys.”

“What guys?” demanded Mike.

“You know… perverts.”

“Did I mention you were an asshole?”

“I think you said something along that line. Now where was I? Oh, yes. Here’s your x-ray.” He held up the texTee. “It doesn’t really show anything, except that you’ve got good bones for someone your age. I wouldn’t mind having those bones. We need to set you up to get an LMS scan. That will tell us what’s really going on. We just had to get an x-ray first to satisfy the insurance company.”

Mike shot a meaningful glance at his wife.

At that moment, Patience received an excited message from Wanda. “Patience, you just have to see what I found on the vueTee.”

“Send it to my in-box,” Patience messaged back. “I’ll look at it later. Mike is injured and he needs my complete attention right now.”

“You know, I’m having a little get together this coming Monday,” said Mercer. “You should come over. We’re going to have steaks and shrimp on the barbeque grill. Come about seven. Bring some beer.”

“In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve never invited me to your house,” said Mike.

“Well, in the old days, you were too busy taking care of your kids. You seemed to feel they couldn’t get along without you for an evening. Kind of conceited, if you ask me. In recent years, it’s because my wife hates you.”

“Why does she hate me?”

“She thinks you’re a pompous blowhard.”

“Margie never said anything of the sort,” said Mike. “We were friends in high school. In fact, she liked me more than she liked you.”

“Oh, I’m not married to Margie anymore,” said Mercer. “I traded her in on a new model—sweet little blonde, twenty-nine years old.”

“Then how would she even know me?” wondered Mike.

“You were her middle school teacher.”

“Shit. All right, I’ll come, but I’m bringing the cheapest beer I can find. Now, can we get my leg scanned?”

“My receptionist will schedule the appointment for you and set you up with a referral to an orthopedist—save you a step. It’ll probably take a week or so to get your scan, but then you should be able to get right in to see my colleague.”

“A week or two?” growled Mike. “It’s a good thing I’m not dying.”

“Well, these LMS units are very good and so everyone wants to use one.”

“You should get one for your office then.”

“I would, but they’re a bazillion dollars.”

“You’re making money hand over fist,” said Mike.

“I’m not exaggerating. That’s actually the price tag—one bazillion dollars.”

“I see all these people you have working in here—real people too, not robots. I never even see you. I usually see that Dr. Howe that you have working for you.”

“Yes, but I had to fire him for sleeping with my wife. I’m not upset about it though. It gave me a chance to marry my girlfriend.”   Mercer picked up his texTee and gave Mike one more glance. “I’m sending in a prescription for some anti-inflammatories. Anything else you need—pain pills, hard narcotics, Viagra? I’ve got it all. I can hook you up.”

“No.”

“Good, then get the hell out of my office.”

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