A Place Of Healing – 04

Andrew had had an interesting day. When he reached the surgery he found a little queue outside. Had an epidemic hit Stanecroft? As he unlocked the door he smiled.

“Give me a few minutes. Please take a seat in the waiting-room.”

The fresh-faced man at the head of the queue had a carrier bag in his hand.

“Dinna fash yerself, Doctor. Take your time. There’s no-one in much rush, is there?” There was a general shaking of heads and a soft chorus of, “Not at all. Not at all.”

The waiting-room was a simple affair with posters on the wall and half a dozen plastic chairs, and the group took their places while Andrew disappeared into his inner sanctum and settled himself behind a desk. He switched on the computer and was ready.

“The first patient, please.”

The man with the carrier bag came in.

“Good morning, Mr . . .?”

“Finmore, Doctor. Hector Finmore.”

“What seems to be the trouble, Mr Finmore?”

“I’ve brought you this, Doctor.” Mr Finmore reached into his carrier bag and placed a large bottle of almost colourless liquid on Andrew’s desk. “It’s a sample of my pea-pod wine. You’ll find nothing finer on Skerrabost.”


“Indeed,” Mr Finmore assured him. “Your predecessor, old Doctor Rosen, always judged the beer and wine at the annual Flower and Produce Show, and he gave my pea-pod first prize on the last two occasions.”

He leaned forward confidentially.

“No doubt Billy McGee will be round with his pea-pod trying to influence you, but it’s not a patch on mine, Doctor, not a patch.” He stood up. “Now, I’m a bittie busy so I’ll bid you good day.” He left.

A middle-aged lady bustled in and sat down.

“Hello, Doctor. I’m Vera McGregor. I’ve just called for a cough bottle, please.”

“A cough bottle?”

“To cure this dry, tickly cough.” She gave a little demonstration.

“I see. Well, actually no cough mixture can cure a cough, you know, just relieve the symptoms. You’ll get a bottle from the chemist. Any will do. OK?”

“Thank you, Doctor,” Mrs McGregor said, but made no move to go. Instead she said, “Actually, Doctor, I’m concerned for your wife.”

Andrew stared at her.

“I don’t understand.”

“I’ve seen her a couple of times and there was nothing on her.

“There’s no flesh on her bones at all, Doctor. She’s no more than a waif.”

“Mrs McGregor, my wife is naturally slim. She’s a fitness instructor and she’s perfectly healthy. But thank you for your concern. I’ll tell her.”

Mrs McGregor would not be put off.

“Come winter the wind will go through her like a skeleton!” She stood. “I’ll call up later. I have a fine rabbit pie. She’ll just need to pop it in the oven.”

As Andrew began to protest she dismissed his words with a wave of her hand.

“Not at all. Good day to you, Doctor.”

Andrew sat and stared at the closed door and began to laugh. One of Jess’s favourite stories had been “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit”. And this rabbit had actually been put in a pie by a Mrs McGregor!


Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!