the modest achievements of Mrs. Quigby

La porteuse d'aigrette

Mrs. Quigby had endured twenty years of psychiatric care with Dr. Doshi at the helm. Mrs. Quigby considered herself a budding artist, a writer of some ability. When she was not making meals for Mr. Quigby and young Master Quigby, she sculpted little stories, little snippets about life. However, whenever she had a session with Dr. Doshi, she would be met with his persistence in talking to her about her failure to write her magnum opus, her blockbuster, her pièce de résistance.

She tried switching psychiatrists several times but every time she had to endure a waiting room full of patients arguing with the receptionists about their copayments and she yearned for Dr. Doshi’s quiet waiting room with its own little beautiful private bathroom and bottle of expensive lotion right beside the soap dispenser. Besides, he would write the prescription for her if only she said the right words. The only time she had come close to blowing it was when he was going on and on about Leo Tolstoy and wondering how in the world those “guys” were so smart to be able to write such big books. Mrs. Quigby burst out and said yes, they had wives and servants, at least they had that, didn’t they. World literature was written on the backs of those poor losers now wasn’t it. This earned her an even stare from Dr. Doshi, but not a switch in medications, or, heaven forbid, electroshock.

When Dr. Doshi died, she did not feel relieved though her new doctor seemed more respectful and understanding. What plagued her were all those things she should have said to the man. Late one night, she donned her son’s galoshes and rain slicker and crept into the graveyard where Dr. Doshi was buried. The sight of the guard in his tiny house gave her pause, but she could see he was actively engaged in what he was watching on television, so much so that he made little grunts and noises and shifted about behind his desk. In fact, she dumped a whole military rucksack of utensils and pots and pans on top of her late doctor’s grave, right in front of his tombstone, but the guardsman was fairly shouting now and rearing back into his desk chair. He was quite engaged with the flickering pictures on the screen. Mrs. Quigby made her escape.

The next day, Mrs. Quigby bought new utensils, pots, and pans and sat down to write her little fictions.

First appeared at Fictionaut.

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