A Valuable Lesson in Being a Bother That Results In Me Still Being Here

I was not meant to be a bother.

Even though the black water dripping from the cubicle’s tiles,

After the activated charcoal,

And the heaving,

Make a lie of my promise.

But the point remains,

As the nurse mops the floor,

And says it’s no trouble,

It’s what he does,

And then asks the dreaded, “what do you do, anyway?”

Which is surely not meant 

To prompt the obvious response.

“Why, I sit here, feeling sorry for myself

Because I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself.”

No, the nurse, and he’s a nice man, even when he’s not mopping up my bile,

He means it kindly,

He means “what job do you do?”

Because that’s what they always ask,

And last time I said, “Banjo string repair man”

Which had followed “G-string cheek flosser”

And, before that, “MST3K binge-watcher”.

None of which the man with the mop deserved,

Because the smile was so genuine,

So I told him what I had done,

And what had led me here,

And he stops to lean on his mop

And he shakes his head

And he says the thing:

“That’s such a good job.

Why, you’ve got so much to live for.”

And we’re both in the cubicle with the dripping tiles,

And nothing has changed about the situation,

And I’m still wretched and white with the bowl on my lap.

So I could give him the sarcasm.

I could say, “You think? You think that’s escaped me?”

But I don’t want to trouble him

With thoughts of what that job was really like.

At least to me.

That was, after all, the point.

I was not meant to be a bother.

And if I can’t do it for myself,

Then he’s a nice guy – 

I can at least be no bother for him.



Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Safe and Sound Press. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains unproduced but available to interested producers! 

Leave a Reply