The Diagnosis

By Nancy Richy

Day 1. Hard-boiled egg whites, cottage cheese, skim milk. Brad sighed.
Day 2. Boiled rice, a mozzarella stick, lactose-free milk. Brad cried.
Day 3. Yogurt, tofu, almond milk. Brad died a little. 
After receiving the diagnosis “ULCER”, Brad’s wife Ali had been lovingly,
carefully packing his lunches.
“This must be her White Period” he thought wistfully. 
Coworkers averted their eyes as they passed Brad’s cubicle on their way to lunch.
Gone were the cheerful calls “C’mon, Brad! We’re going to Smokin’ Joe’s Hot
Wings for lunch!” or “Salsa and nachos in the break room, guys!”
Oh, the humanity! 
Brad’s computer pinged. An email from Ali: “Hi, hon. Hope you’re having a great
day. Did you find the Maalox I put in your backpack? We’re having something
special for dinner tonight – poached chicken, brown rice and garbanzo beans. Hope
you’re hungry! Love ya, babe! xo”  
“Ah, Ali’s Beige Period.” Brad stared blankly at the computer screen. “I wonder
how many beige foods there are. Oatmeal, boiled potatoes, matzoh….” 
Brad put his head in his hands, a solitary tear falling through his fingers onto his
khakis. Slowly the wet spot morphed into the shape of a burrito. “What the?!”
Incredulous, Brad blinked and wiped his eyes. “What’s happening to me?”  
Images of devilish cramp-inducing, bowel-seizing delicacies danced ‘round his
head – bacon cheeseburgers, onion rings, tacos, barbecued ribs.
The dreaded hunger hallucinations!

Sweating, Brad texted Ali. “Babe. Last minute meeting. Sorry, I’m gonna miss
dinner. Love ya!”
Brad lied. 
Grabbing the bottle of Maalox and a Smokin‘ Joe’s menu from his desk drawer,
Brad bolted from his cubicle, giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. 
“Outta my way, boys, outta my way!!”
And out he ran, laughing and joyfully shouting, “Jalapeño-effing-poppers, baby!!”
NAR © 2023

2 thoughts on “The Diagnosis”

  1. I, and anyone with reflux, can so relate to this. Any spice that adds real enjoyment to a meal will almost certainly have painful consequences.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: