Doctor Manning a Short Story (Watty Awards 2011)

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The woman sat on a chair, twiddling her thumbs, as Doctor Manning looked at her through his small round glasses. There was a moment of heavy silence as Doctor Manning stared at the woman. The woman tried not to focus on his face, her embarrassment leaving a clear imprint on her cheeks.

“I sent off the test,” she said, her eyes never leaving her hands. He scribbled something on his pad of paper as silence hung in the air. He rose from his chair to busy himself at the sink, handing over a glass of water, of which Miss Thomas gratefully took.

“Which company did you send it to Miss Thomas?” asked Doctor Manning as she fumbled with the glass. Water dripped on the carpet and Miss Thomas blushed red again.

“I sent it to an American company, twenty three and me.”

Doctor Manning nodded, he knew the company well. Half of his clients had sent DNA samples to that company.

“Why are you here Miss Thomas?” he asked attempting a kind bedside manner, but she wasn’t buying it.

“My GP referred you to me, Doctor Andrea Matthews?” Miss Thomas said.

“Ah yes, Doctor Matthews is a good friend of mine,” he said writing a few sentences on the notepad. She looked at him oddly, she hadn’t said much. What on earth was he writing? Doctor Manning noticed her staring.

“So Miss Thomas, how about we try this on a first name basis? Let’s reintroduce ourselves, it may make you feel more comfortable,” he said walking towards her, hand outstretched and a small smile planted on his face.

“Hello, my name is Andrew Manning, what’s yours?” The hand was extended near her face, she blinked as she took it lightly, shaking it in trepidation.

“Now you,” he said, she looked at him, blinked, and realised he was waiting for her to say her name.

“Um…I’m Faye, Faye Thomas,” she said. Doctor Manning looked at her.

“See that wasn’t hard now was it?”

Faye shook her head.

“Now Faye, what do you do for a job?”

“Um…I’m a manager at the Vodafone shop in the mall.”

Doctor Manning nodded, smiling at Faye until she smiled back.

“Now Faye, what made you send in a DNA sample?”

Faye looked at the Doctor; she had grown a bit bolder through the twenty minutes she had spent with the man. He looked at her expectantly; he had hoped to have made progress with her. Faye breathed deeply and looked Doctor Manning in the eye.

“Because, I wanted to know what made me tick,” she said smiling in satisfaction as Doctor Manning looked at her, his expression mystified. He quickly wrote down a few notes as Faye sat there, trying not to break eye contact.

“I see, well Miss Thomas have you thought about the results?”

“They’re just a bunch of percentages aren’t they?”

Doctor Manning frowned, he hesitated in his answer. He wanted to let her down gently but these tests usually made people find a harsh reality.

“Well, yes but all the same they could change your worldview, even how you live.”

At this Faye dropped the glass of water.

“Now the next question is, you’ve sent the test, are you committed to finding out the answers no matter the consequences on your lifestyle?”

Faye looked at him, she started to shake her head, realising the seriousness of what he was asking. This test was a long term outcome, what if the outcome was something Faye didn’t like? Then she would forever, have to live with the consequences.

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