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Woosh, Plump, Ploop, Shhhhh

My neighbour thinks I'm excessive compulsive and knows a good shrink for me. But why? I know my obsession is normal, even if most of the world is not obsessed with the same thing I am.

Lately I see them everywhere, and they just, unnecessarily, occupy space, no volume, in my immediate vicinity. Not just physical space -- mental space too.

Another obese man now waddles into our pool. He believes that, by just turning up occasionally, he will attain my unique physique. But why does he have to hang his oversized apparel next to mine, in the narrowest section of the changeroom? Out of the shower and his carcass drips in every direction, wetting me and my socks.

Why does he swim in my lane, where his swaggering stomach quantumly occupies 83% of the width of the lane, and his panting being, crouching at the end of the pool, makes it impossible to tumble turn on the wall?

Obesity is not purely a physical characteristic. It is a mental deficiency. I have robust and rotund acquaintances who are the loveliest of people. They may physically occupy a large volume of available space, but they would never dream to get in your way.

But others, on entering the room, occupy everything. Their walk, talk, squawk, is over encompassing. Theirs is an attitude thing. You feel oppressed, squashed, pushed into a corner. You want to scream, but the sound remains inside.

My local quack sends me for an annual blood test. He sent me last year but I didn't bother. Who has time for this intrusion? In our neck of the wood, Vampira only greets you between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m., Sunday to Thursday. A small window of opportunity at a most inconvenient time. No appointments are necessary nor available; you just show up. You've fasted for twenty hours for this thing, and you don't even know if you'll be seen.

Difficult to plan your day, or at least the middle of the morning, around this.

I attend church each morning and from there go straight to the Gush Etzion swimming pool. For male swimmers at this local inkwell, the morning session terminates at 8:30 a.m. (that we don't swim with the fair sex makes time-space manage even more difficult), so a visit to the bloodletter cuts into my valuable workout time. This year I wanted to help my doctor [and his wife] live as they have been accustomed. Yesterday I went.

I go directly from shule, arriving at the closed clinic doors at 7:21. The first thing I do each morning at the pool, after changing and the requisite "Good Morning" to all and sundry, is a stretching routine. Not to waste valuable time today, I stretch outside the darkened clinic. I knew the previous nurse quite well and knew from which direction she came. But she has moved to other, more specialised tasks. She used to be the first to arrive each morning, unlock the building, turn off the alarm and switch on the lights and . . . she's ready to prey on her first victim.

I do not know whom to expect today. How I am to know whether the first person to arrive is the nurse, cleaner, tea lady, pharmacist or secretary. In Israel these tasks are not differentiated by sex, uniform or headgear. The only thing of which I can be absolutely sure of, is, that at 7:30 in the morning it won't be a doctor.

The clinic, before which I stand, is located on an intersection of five streets and a pedestrian path. The intersection is dominated by a small roundabout; the clinic building set back from the street because of the lay of the land. No room for parking near the building.

I watch a bus make a very sharp u-turn around the circus.

Then I first hear it. Pray, what is it?

Woosh, plump, ploop, shhhhh. It is very faint. I cannot make out from where it is coming, what is making the sound. I prick up my ears to estimate direction and timing. The volume gradually increases.

Woosh, plump, ploop, shhhhh. Yes, I place it, it comes from the East. Is it my beloved, carried towards me on a breeze? Woosh, plump, ploop, shhhhh. My precious neareth, but is out of site. 7:28 a.m. She approacheth. I am here, I am here my darling.

A shadow moves into focus on the eastern side of courtyard in which I stand. Woosh, plump, ploop, shhhhh. The intensity increases further. A trembling shadow, wobbling before the rising sun. The large shadow oozes, flows, towards me.

The gigantic shadow sweeps back and force across the courtyard. Woosh, plump, ploop, shhhhh. The sound is almost deafening.

And then she comes into focus. As wide as tall, she waddles in my direction. Carrying at least four white plastic bags, overflowing with groceries. From whence has she come. There are no shops to the east?

My immediate reaction is to hide behind one of the many pillars in the quadrangle. It approaches the door of the clinic, keys aready.

Surely this is the cleaner. Shall I await developments or flee while escape is still feasible, before my options narrow? She opens the door. I leave my covert safety, cautiously approaching the door, ensuring a safe distance. If need be, I can outrun her. Adrenelin, endorphines flow thoughout my corporality.

She enters. I remain just outside the door, alert, observing, prepared for any eventuality.

Disappears into the bowels of the building. Beep -- the alarm has been disarmed. Lights, action, camera.

I remain, alert, just inside the front door. What will she do next?

She swings around the corner, blub, woosh, blub, into the corridor, in the direction of the lab. All my nightmares flash past in an instant. What? This is the nurse! She unlocks the laboratory door. I maintain my post, still not sure of my next move, what to make of the overall situation.

She enters her dominion. Dumps her shopping bags under the desk. Switches on the lights, computer, heater, panels, flashing lights. Opening closing all the cupboards.

The reality freezes me. Unable to move. Brain says, "head for the hills", but legs do not hear. No response. No reaction.

Only my eyes retain free movement. They flicker, wide opene, silently following the waddle, blup, shhhhh, blump, around the room. She sits. Is it all over?

I gulp. Good, I must be thawing . . . but still my feet are glued to the earth below.

Its body turns, slowly, towards me. In Lucifer vocalisation I hear, deep within me, "Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly".

I feign deafness, death, deep sleep. I pretend not to hear, that I am elsewhere on the planet, far away, in another region of the galaxy.

Her eyes look straight through me, but we both know it's over. Only she and I now inhabit the planet. Controlless, I am dragged down, deep into her boudoir. The door behind me slams shut.

She indicates a nearby chair, with only one armrest. She opens a bag of disposable gloves. She slides them onto her burgeoning digits. Her presense now occupying the entire volume of the chamber.

Screwing up the packaging with one gloved hand, feels around for the garbage can under the table with the other. Her oversized frame leaving no space for manoeuvre. She sticks her left hand right into the bin -- was this place cleaned overnight? -- with the other hand, she pushes the wrapper deep inside.

Suddenly a syringe. Appears from nowhere. I scream, but no-one hears. I scream in a vacuum. No listeners.

She squeezes my biceps until my veins bulge, sticking her needle into the biggest. I don't know what blood tests my practitioner requested, and I don't believe she cares. She fills vial after vile with my blood. I blackout, via red, remembering stories from the Lebanon war, when Israeli troops found bodies, hanging on walls, every last drop of blood drained from them, because in their culture, it was easier than operating a blood bank, simpler than managing a blood donation system. Dying. Bleeding to death.

They close the door of their van. The nice young men in their clean whites coats have come to take me away.


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