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What can I say, I'm a geek.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dr. Mai

Chancey Mai opened the large iron door to his room. He flipped a tiny switch on the wall covered in dry, cracking paint. The room lit up with a sharp white light, exposing a square metal desk and chair and a low, wire-framed bed, made up with a few black sheets and no pillow. At the foot of the bed was a metal closet. The room, scarcely bigger than its three articles of furniture, had no windows and was sparsely decorated.

On the far wall hung a painting of a shepherd boy wearing a dark blue robe and sandals, and reaching down off the edge of a precipice with a wooden staff to a tiny brown lamb stuck on a ledge. Above his bed was a stitched hanging with the twenty-third psalm written on it, and on the closet was a medical diagram of a cross-sectioned human body.

Chancey glanced at the painting of the shepherd boy and smiled briefly. He adjusted the switch on the wall to halfway between up and down, and the lights dimmed. Draping his labcoat on the chair at his desk, he yawned and then stretched. He sat down.

On his desk were pencils and several tattered books: the Holy Bible, a strategy guide to a game called Territory, a few small, hard-bound works with Chinese writing on them, and a stapled packet of papers riddled with medical terms and jargon. A five-gallon bowl covered in a see-through plastic lid with little air holes sat at the back of the table.

Chancey leaned forward and peered into it. Two lively green frogs were swimming around a seaweed-like plant in several inches of water. Grabbing a cylindrical container of flakes, the doctor sprinkled a pinch in the bowl. He then grabbed the packet of papers and a pencil and began scanning the documents rapidly, periodically circling or underlining sentences and phrases. A distinct electric buzz came from the door.

"Yes?" called Dr. Mai.

"Hey Chance," called a friendly male voice.

"Hi," he replied.

A lanky man with graying hair walked into the room. "You up for a trip to the gameroom?" inquired the man. "Maybe some table tennis or cards?"

"I don't think right now, Jesse. I've got to edit this report for the staff guys by tomorrow," answered Chancey.

"Okay, okay. I'll let you demolish my self-esteem and play you a game of Territory," said Jesse.

"Ooh. Man. I'd love to...but..." the doctor struggled. Territory was his favorite strategy game. He'd been playing it a lot for the past year and had just won the annual championship. "I just can't."

"Oh, come on. Doesn't this room drive you insane? You're the only freak I know who's left the
original paint on the walls. It makes me wanna vomit."

Doctor Mai had had more than one complaint about his sense of aesthetics, but he found simple things soothing. The wallpaper was calming, even if it was slowly eroding and cracking away. "Maybe tomorrow, Jesse. Thanks anyway," said the doctor.

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