Mr. Horatio Meeney
Rialto Health Clinic
Old Canal Road
Dear Mr. Meeney,
It was nice to hear from you after all this time.
I am delighted to hear that “a window” has opened up in your busy schedule and you will now be able to perform the corrective vascular surgery on my lower limbs that we discussed at our last meeting.
Your letter opened with the salutation “How are you, John?” And I have to tell you that since that last meeting – in 1990, I believe it was – I have suffered a number of life-changing events of which you are probably not aware.
In the first place, due to the numbness in my legs, I lost my footing as I was leaving your clinic and fractured a metatarsal in my left hand. I had to spend a couple of nights on a trolley in A&E. You will remember that I was a jazz pianist in the dining room of a hotel. Well, the injury to my hand forced me to give up work for six weeks, and when I returned to the hotel, my position had been taken by another. I was unable to find work as a pianist anywhere, and had to return to my previous occupation, which you may remember, was attendant in the taxidermy department of a natural history museum.
After six months at the museum, spending 40-50 hours per week on my feet, my legs began to balloon alarmingly. I had to resign and seek the government disability benefit. This benefit being insufficient to keep up the payments on the mortgage, my wife and I were forced to sell the house. Luckily, the new owner was willing to allow us to remain as paying tenants, but the rent increased year-on-year until it was higher than the mortgage had been.
At that point we had to move again and find a smaller place. This was not all bad, as the new apartment was on one floor, and by this time I had lost the ability to climb up and down stairs. The new apartment was far too small to accommodate my taxidermy collection, of course, and that had to go.
Happily, the money from the sale of the collection paid the heating bills for one winter, although I suspect that we might have got heat enough for two winters by burning the exhibits instead of selling them.
When the heat ran out my wife returned to Florida. I can’t say I blamed her. We were both well past the bloom of youth by then, and I expect she had grown tired of pushing my wheelchair about.
In conclusion I’d like to thank you for inviting me to attend your clinic for surgery. I feel I must decline your generous offer. I am no medical expert, but I believe the procedure would be of limited therapeutic value at this stage, as I died two years ago.
John Silver (Lucky)