*for part 1, click here*
Outside in the parking lot, he saw another man smoking by his car.A man smoking outside a medical office. Apparently it is the 90’s again. (He thought to himself). The same man then took a bite out of a sandwich, while holding his cigarette with the other hand.
“Damn, he’s eating AND smoking at the same time? Who is this person. Oh, shit, lunch!”He then took out his cellphone and checked the time. It was almost noon.
“Looks like I’m gonna be late. Let me text him in case he wants to cancel.”
“Hey, man, are we still on for lunch?”
He received a reply basically that same moment after pressing send.
— I was just about to text. I’m heading out of the office. Where are we headed?
“So, It looks like I’m gonna be a little late. We can totally postpone it if you want. Ran into something. My bad.”
— Of course… How late are you going to be? I can spare 10-15 minutes for you.
Mauro sighted, then looked up to the sky. Lee probably even counted on my being late and changed his calendar for a long lunch. He said to himself, thinking out loud.
“You sure? I’m free tomorrow if you want to change plans.”
— Dude, I’ve known you for over 10 years, I knew you were going to be late. Let’s go to that diner on 3rd and Northwest. You close?
How does this motherfucker know I’m nearby? Is he looking at me right now
(He hugged the wall on the medical building, and started searching for any signs of his friend around him, looking over his shoulder. The man smoking the cigarette had already finished his last bite, and noticed Mauro’s strange behavior. He flicked his cigarette to the floor, didn’t even put it out, and walked inside the medical office.)
It’s gotta be a coincidence. We’re about four blocks from each other.
“Yea. Tina’s, right? Great steak there. See you in about 15-20.”— Perf.
Mauro turned off the screen on his cell phone and placed it in his pocket.
“I can wait 10 minutes more, pick up the x-rays and walk fast to the dinner. Should get there on time. I’ll even do a little cardio before eating. This works.”
He took out the cellphone out of his pocket, and started browsing social media. 10 minutes flew by, Mauro wasn’t even paying attention to the time. He just kept scrolling down, watching random content. 10 more minutes passed, and he heard his name being called.
— Hey, Are you Mauro?
It was the guy that had the cigarette and sandwich before, calling him over from the medical office with the door half open. Mauro immediately stopped using his phone and lifted his head up.
— The receptionist has been calling your name for the past 10 minutes. I figured it was you.
The man turned towards the receptionist.
— It’s him. He’s coming inside now.
Mauro finally looked at the time.
“Fuck! Shit. Fuck!”
Mauro rushed back to office, barely a couple of feet from where he was procrastinating. The man left the open for Mauro on his way out. He was holding a cigarette packet in one hand, and a lighter in the other.
— Mr. Bever. Your x-rays are ready. Please sign here.
Mauro abruptly snatched the binder from her hands and scribbled his signature on it. Then grabbed the x ray folder on top of the counter. The instant he turned away towards the exit, the receptionist called him again:
— Excuse me, Mr Bever. You have a copayment of $80 for the visit and the X-rays.
“$80 dollars??!! I used to pay $50 about a year and a half ago.”
— Well sir, as you know. Medical expenses have gone up. Plus inflation. If you have any more questions, you should contact your insurance provider.
“Here.”Mauro took out four $20 bills from his wallet and basically threw them on the counter before leaving. On his way out, nearing the door, he shouted:
“Sorry for that! I’m in a hurry. Thanks!”