my doctor

I walked into the waiting room.
it was full.
mostly of old
dying women.

I went up to the reception-
“where the hell is he?

“I don’t know,” she said,
“he hasn’t phoned in or
these people have been
waiting for hours.”

I walked out and down the
got into my car and
drove to the

I parked, paid for clubhouse,
went in
and saw him standing there with
a hotdog and a beer.

he saw me:   “Henry, can I buy
you a
hotdog and a beer?”

“listen,” I told him, “I was
waiting in your office.
you weren’t there but
there were
eleven old dying women
in your waiting room.”

“Martha will give them new
appointments,” he said.

I walked over to the stands,
sat down and
studied the Form….

my doctor appeared with a
hotdog and a beer.
“for you,” he said.

“thank you,” I said.

“it gets so depressing,”
he told me, “there’s this
old woman, she’s got
cancer of the ass.
anybody else would die!
she just won’t die!
I don’t know what to
do with her!”

“bill her,” I said.

“Martha takes care of
that,” he answered.
“who do you like in
this race?”

“I favor the six,”
I told him.

“the nine should win
by daylight,” he said.
“by the way, why did you
make an appointment to
see me?”

“cancer of the ass,”
I told him.

“you’re a very funny
man,” he said. “you’re
one of my favorite

“have you ever screwed
Martha?” I asked.

“of course,” he answered,
“you like her?”

“except when she bills
me,” I told him.

“I think it’s the nine
horse,” he said.

“you already bet?”
I asked.

“sure,” he said.

I got up to bet,
came back
just in time to
see them break
from the gate–
which my six
getting out

anyhow, the nine
won by daylight.

my doctor got up
to cash.

I tried to remember
what I had gone
to see him

then he was back.
he handed me another
hotdog and beer.
then he sat

he started talking
about what
a horrible woman
his wife was.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript