Gimme an E, Gimme a K, Gimme an EKG

by nicolecallihan

A woman knocked on the door. Her feet were dirty from having walked around the city all day in sandals. If you need to urinate, she said, let me know. She was from the insurance company; I didn’t need to urinate. I offered her a glass of water that she didn’t want, and we pulled out chairs.

Can you do it now? she asked. I nodded blankly. She handed me a cup and two small test tubes. Pee in the cup, she said, then pour into the test tubes.

C. was in the backyard, not smoking, just watering plants. Afterwards, she wired me up to take a look at my ticker. C. came in to get a picture (notice our newly painted walls: Sag Harbor Gray). The machine was uncomfortably silent. Does it look normal? I asked when she was done.

You’re pregnant, she said. It shouldn’t look normal. Looking normal would be abnormal.


When she left, she gave me a bag labeled MEDICAL WASTE to throw away. Don’t worry, she said. It’s nothing. I sat it in the trash among Popsicle sticks and peach pits then went and washed my own feet in the basin of the shower. They too were filthy.