After the thirty-minute drive over and an hour-and-a-half wait in the reception area, Miranda thought it would be difficult to explain to the doctor what was happening to her.
Surprisingly enough, when her turn came she was able to spill it out to him in coherent sentences.
The doctor nodded quietly. He made the appropriate eyebrow arch at all the appropriate junctures in her long, sad list of complaints. He wrote furiously on an imposing metal chart. Miranda felt like a deflated balloon when the secrets she had been keeping were finally out.
“Well Doctor, what do you think? Am I a lost cause?” She giggled self-consciously, thinking maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The doctor leveled a stare at her from across the desk. His demeanor suggested her condition was grave.
“Miss Moron, I’m afraid you have a very bad case here. If all you’re telling me is true, I’d venture to say you have a stage-three progression of Simian Dorsal Syndrome,” he said. The doctor paused, then continued, “Quite frankly, I’m not sure how to go about treatment from here. I’m surprised you haven’t sought professional help before now. Surely you had an idea?”
“Maroon,” said Miranda.
“I’m sorry?” The doctor was obviously confused by her strange answer.
“Maroon,” said Miranda. “My last name is Maroon, not Moron.”
“I apologize Miss Maroon. An office typo,” said the doctor. His pen grated across the metal chart, obliterating the mistake with a single line.
“Doctor, I don’t understand what you’re saying. What’s wrong with me? In layman’s terms, please.” Miranda realized the pleading nature of her voice and checked herself.
The doctor leaned over his desk. He pointed a long finger in the general vicinity of her right shoulder.
“Quite simply put my dear, you have a monkey on your back. And a rather large one, at that.”
Deep down inside Miranda had known it all along. She didn’t need a professional to tell her about the ailment. She only needed the confirmation of someone other than herself to make it real. She felt it, gripping her by the nape of the neck, pissing down her back, dirtying her sheets at night with foul feces. It was the reason she didn’t sleep well, the lump under her pillow, the monster in bed with her.
A goddamn monkey.
Miranda gathered up her purse and stood to leave.
“Thank you very much, Doctor Smug. I appreciate your time,” she said.
“Sums,” said the doctor.
“Excuse me?” Miranda was confused by his response.
“It’s Doctor Sums. Sums is my last name,” said the doctor.
“I apologize, Dr. Sums. Didn’t read it right on the card, my mistake,” Miranda said.
As she turned, Dr. Sums called out, “What exactly do you plan on doing about your ailment, Miss Maroon?”
“Dr. Sums, we have established that my name is not Jane Goodall,” said Miranda, “I’m going to do what any sane person would do. I’m going to kill it. I’m going to kill it, I’m going to wash my sheets and I’m going to sleep for a week.”
She opened the door to the world outside, refreshed and ready to conquer. Miranda made a mental note to herself to recommend Dr. Sums to all her friends.
It was monkey-killing time.