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Flash Fiction by Rheana Rafferty


 

 



:: The Storycove :: Flash Fiction ::

Your
Friendly
HMO

by rheana rafferty
Honorable Mention
2002 Storycove Flash Fiction Award


Cloudy piss, yellowish brown and threatening to spill over the top of its receptacle, is lifted by its donor, a man of twenty-six in a flannel long sleeved shirt with two buttons missing.

After placing the cup inside a stainless steel drawer, he simultaneously spits into the urinal and zips up his fly. He then briefly removes his Def Leppard ball cap to smooth back his greasy mullet and return to the waiting room.

On his way out, he passes a couple, thirty-something, married and anxious. Mrs. Mary Johanssen is glancing distractedly at a book of baby names while her husband stares at the pink and blue laminated chart on the wall titled "Your Baby in Gestation" with a look somewhere between awe and disgust.

The cup of cloudy piss left in the hermetic steel drawer is then picked up and carried by a white-gloved lab technician to the analyst's table to begin its testing. On the way over to the analyst's table, the germ savvy technician, deep in thought about his lunch date with Nadia, the Latina nurse on 11B, glances quickly at his watch, tipping the cup of cloudy piss and spilling a bit on his sneakers as he continues across the room. The analyst then pours the urine into a variety of test tubes for processing. The first run of tests determines the donor's glucose and HCG levels. Another searches for sexually transmitted diseases and yet another will determine if the donor is using, what, how often and how pure. The analyst's notes read: "Johnson, Mark, donor #12691 - traces of marijuana, methamphetamines and antibiotics, presumably for the treatment of advanced gonorrhea."

The analyst passes his report with a wink and a smile to an overworked nurse in a slightly see through uniform. She makes her way past the unwanted stares of her male coworkers. The distracted lab technician, on his way to meet his South American sweetheart, bumps into her so forcefully that she drops the stack of files she has been carrying. In the shuffling and straightening of papers, Mrs. Mary Johanssen and Mr. Mark Johnson's urine reports have been switched. Consequently, Mrs. Johanssen's husband leaves her, convinced she's been sleeping around and sneaking pills behind his back, saying she'd be an unfit mother if they could have conceived. And the United States Postal Service, with results of a clean drug test, has just hired the uncouth Mark Johnson to replace your usual Norman Rockwell postman.

As he comes up your driveway humming Slayer and playing the air guitar, Mr. Johnson hocks a moist green bolus of phlegm into your freshly planted flower garden. The hospital deeply regrets any trouble it has cased the parties involved, but will not accept responsibility for your withering petunias.




 




::Word Smitten's Annual TenTen Call for Fiction::
::the deadline to enter next year's competition is July 1, 2004::
::submission for reading and registration begins May 31 each year::
::this short story contest awards $1,010.00::


 

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