“So Jerry went to medical school; he decided he was going to do it after all, no matter what his father thought. His dad was so upset with him!” A portly woman with rosey cheeks exclaimed with a broad smile. Her hair was dyed the most abrasive shade of red. Bradford found her insufferable in all her ways; a talker, and loud to boot.
“Oh, Dr. Power, “ the woman went on, attempting to bend over her great stomach and reach something close to the ground. “Could you take a look at my foot?”
He’d been listening to this complete stranger exhaust him with her life stories for the past 45 minutes. The only thing he’d said in that time had been his name. “I’m Dr. Bradford Power.” he’d said in a gruff voice once she’d asked all that time ago. Since then, he’d managed to get an entire bottle of Ambrosia from one of the transport staff after much insistence; he was going to need it.
“I’ve got these corns formin’. I think they started when I was trying to board. The damn man at the door was closing the doors and I had to run to catch him.” she remarked, full voiced. “Bastard.”
He had been assigned to the same seating area as her, being forced to face her the entire time considering the rows of seating were designed in inward-facing sets of six. He thought to himself as he lifted the glass to his lips again that her constant yacking was a great improvement on her panicked sobs during the attacks.
“So, Doctor, can you take a look?” she asked.
Bradford reached into the back he had put in the seat next to him and rifled through it for a second. When he’d found what he was looking for, he took out a wooden box and opened it up, revealing a large set of cut cigars. He lifted the closest one of the box and lit it with his lighter, puffing at it to encourage the embers.
The large lady looked up at the man and, for the first time, she must have realized that he wasn’t listening to her at-all. Clearly, this was a pet-peeve of hers because she reflected instant offense.
“Sir..” she said, pulling herself up from her bended position so that she was sitting upright. When she didn’t get a response, only more focus on the cigar, she tried again. “Sir…”
Finally finished getting the cigar lit, Bradford leaned back, his white facial hairs connecting with his jacket as he puffed away, completely unresponsive to the woman’s words.
“SIR, I’M TALKING TO YOU!” the woman now screamed, forcibly inserting herself into the immediate attention of the entire cabin. A room full of people now turned to observe the escalation. “Are you listening to me?! You don’t seem to be paying attention to anything I’m saying!” Full of anger, she gave an exasperated harumph. You’re a very room man, Dr!”
“And you, my lady, are a very rude woman!” he bellowed, his voice authoritative. Despite his obvious annoyance, he seemed completely in control of himself; authoritative. The woman jumped when he spoke. The next time he would speak, it would be much quieter and with a calmer voice. “You didn’t take the hint that I wanted you to shut your yack-trap nearly an hour ago, so I tried to drown you out with the drink. It was working..” he looked at her with a complete lack of discomfort, still relaxed and holding the cigar in his hand. “That is, until you insisted upon yourself like you have, as if you naturally deserve to be heard no matter how pointless all of your words and thoughts happen to be.”
There was a silence as the woman sat uncomfortably. She seemed speechless.
“No, I don’t want to take a look at your chunky clog.” he responded to the question she’d raised earlier, gesturing to her foot. “Why does everyone seem to think doctors have any desire to look at their disgusting ailments off the job? Please put it away and kindly shut your mouth so I, and all of these lovely people,” he said, gesturing at the crowd of observers. “Can get back to labouring through our gradual misgivings about the END OF THE WORLD!”
The room didn’t die down immediately, but eventually everyone realized that the spectacle had concluded and resumed their own thoughts and conversations. The rosy cheeked woman had quickly found somewhere else to sit and had immediately started talking at the people around her with the same lack of consideration she had shown earlier. Dr. Bradford Power sat right where he was, having finished his glass and put out his cigar, stared out at the stars and wondered silently whether his daughters were still alive.