By Rob Dinsmoor
The cancer was inoperable. The oncologist said that, when the pain started to become significant, treatment would be palliative.
The only silver lining was the weight loss. Though Sheila had generally been pretty content–she enjoyed her career as a tax attorney and was good at it–she’d always felt self-conscious about her weight. Her brief forays into fad diets and intense aerobic exercise hadn’t paid off and she’d finally accepted herself as a “big girl.” Until now. Since the cancer, she’d lost 50 pounds.
Unfortunately, she was starting to lose her hair as well, but she found a nice wig. Now she was blonde. The plastic surgeon gave her all kinds of caveats about the breast job, but she went ahead with it anyway. Likewise, he gave her collagen injections to help with the sunken eyes and cheeks. All in all, when she took a picture of herself in a halter top and skirt, with ample make-up and dangly earrings, she looked pretty damn fine.
The bar where she decided to hang out was dimly lit. The moment she walked in the door, several guys turned and looked, and despite the fact that a couple of them were really old, it had been a long time since that had happened to her and she relished the attention. She chose a bar stool near one of those over-the-hill lounge lizards who had probably been off his game for years.
When she first sat down, he was making time with the barmaid, young but not all that attractive, who was just friendly enough to him to be civil. In the midst of his small talk, she could tell he was checking her out in the corner of his eye. When she ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio, something classy to go with the new body, he turned and smiled. “Put it on my tab!” he called out too loudly to the barmaid but Sheila just smiled, as she couldn’t remember the last time a guy had bought her a drink.
She was feeling severe pain in her gut, and she might have to excuse herself several times over the course of the evening, but right now she was just basking in the attention. If things went according to plan, he would go through all the motions of picking her up before he started to realize that something was wrong.
Rob Dinsmoor, author of hundreds of articles on health and medicine, recently turned back to his first love, fiction. He has published three memoirs, Tales of the Troupe, The Yoga Divas and Other Stories, and You Can Leave Anytime. His collection of published short stories, Toxic Cookout, will be published by Big Table Publishing in Autumn.