“The Doctor, the Lawyer, the Indian Chef,” by Linda Lowe

Apr 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

After giving birth to triplets, their exhausted mother lay down on the couch and fell into a deep sleep. Thus the triplets were left to their own devices.

When it was time to go to school, the Doctor went dressed in a long white coat, with the collar of his crisp white dress shirt and knot of his blue silk tie peeking out the top. He wore jeans instead of slacks because he was still in possession of a little boy’s body, a stocky one at that.

One day the teacher called him up to her desk. “Doctor,” she said. “You should get out there at recess and brawl with the bully. Wouldn’t you like the other kids rooting for you instead of making fun of you?” she said, not unkindly.

The Doctor was taken aback by such talk. Taken aback because what about the Hippocratic Oath? Wasn’t there a “Do no harm” clause? “Teacher, you look a little peaked. Let me prick your finger,” he said nervously.

“No needles,” she said.

“Let me take your pulse,” he said, grabbing her wrist. He was beginning to sweat.

“It’s about the oath, isn’t it,” the teacher said, full of teacher knowledge. “No worries. You can’t take the oath if you can’t read it, and right now, you’ve got your hands full with Good Night Moon.” She gently withdrew her hand. “Now go back to your seat.”

The Lawyer went to kindergarten wearing Valentino suits and Jimmy Choo shoes. Her high, high heels were the envy of all the little girls, who were stuck in their Mary Janes. Along with her briefcase she carried a thermos full of black coffee. One day at recess, while she sat at one of the lunch tables going over some briefs, the principal happened by. “I smell coffee,” he said. “Coffee’s not allowed.”

“I object,” she said.

“Overruled,” he said.

“Your Honor, I’d like to call a recess.”

“You’re at recess,” he said.

The lawyer put the briefs back in her briefcase. “Leading the witness?” she said, desperately.

“What witness? It’s just you and me here.”

“Then, then, it’s… hearsay. It won’t hold up in court!”

“Do you move to strike?”

“Maybe.” she said, pouting. “Maybe not.”

“Will you stop drinking coffee at school?”

The Lawyer stood up, wobbly from the high heels and too much caffeine. “I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might in…in…something!” Then she broke down, unable to stop a flood of little girl tears.

Each morning before kindergarten the Indian Chef, dressed in one of her many colorful silk saris, fixed breakfast for her siblings. They loved whatever she cooked, but at school she was shunned by the other kids because she smelled so spicy. One day she came home and said aloud, to no one, really, as her mother was as usual dead asleep on the couch, “I want to go to New York City and be on ‘Chopped.’ I want to win the $10,000.00 prize.”

With that, the mother awoke, filled with the gift of gab. “I will cry and cry if you go to New York City to be on ‘Chopped,’ but I know that of my three children, you will be the one to make me proud in the cooking department.” She sat up with great effort in her tired quilted robe and boxy Isotoner slippers. She leaned over and picked up a ball that was resting on the coffee table. “I can see only so much in this ball, which appears to be crystal,” she said, holding it gently in her right hand. “This ball is somewhat smaller than a volley ball, but bigger than a softball. It’s been sitting here since before you were born, unbeknownst to you and your two siblings, it would seem, as it remains unbroken. Yes,” she went on, peering into the ball now, “I see you in New York City, and oh yes again, I see…”

“What, Mommy, what?” said the Indian Chef.

“You will become an Iron Chef, creating masterpieces in Kitchen Stadium, on television Sunday nights at 10:00 Eastern. In time you will stop watching yourself in reruns. You will be the author of a multitude of cookbooks, featuring delicacies from the four corners of the world. If indeed there be corners,” she said, gently setting the ball back down on the coffee table.

“Oh, goody!” said the Indian Chef. “I’ll go make tea,” she said, skipping off to the kitchen. Just as she came back with a steaming pot of tea on a tray and cups for all, in walked the Doctor and the Lawyer, who had to take the late bus home because the Doctor had gotten into a fight with the bully, and the Lawyer, while haughtily click, click, clicking her way down the front steps of the school, had broken a heel which sent her tumbling to the bottom, landing in a disheveled heap on the wet grass.

“Hello, my darlings,” the mother said, giddy with wakefulness.

“I love fighting,” the Doctor said, ripping off his coat while his eye blackened.

“I hate these shoes!” the Lawyer said, more like a child than a woman of the law.

“Your sister has brewed a fine cup of tea. Now let’s all sit around and get to know one another,” the mother said, sipping. She started to say something more, something prophetic, perhaps, but instead she put down her cup and sighed. She sighed and sighed, while her children sipped, and soon the mother’s sighs turned to little sussing sounds, and her eyes closed, and opened, and closed.

“I think she needs an upper,” the Doctor said, “but I don’t have access to controlled substances.”

“What she needs is illegal,” the Lawyer said.

“I need to catch a plane,” said the Indian Chef, and rushed off to pack.

The Lawyer picked up the crystal ball and peered into it. “Ohmygod!” she said, tossing it to the Doctor.


Defenestration-Linda LoweLinda Lowe received her M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine. A chapbook of her poems, “Karmic Negotiations,” was published by Sarasota Theatre Press. Online, her stories have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, The Linnet’s Wings, and others. She has stories forthcoming in Gone Lawn and Future Cycle Press.

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