The Invisible Man
“There’s an invisible man in the waiting room,” my receptionist announces, arms crossed, body stiff.
I smile. “Tell him I can’t see him.”
“Okay, Sherri,” I sigh. “Send him in.”
She rolls her eyes and huffs before she leaves.
As I wait, I tap my pen against my desk. My right foot bounces underneath the desk, and I stare at the empty doorway.
The invisible man soon sails through the door, the bells attached to his sneakers jingling to announce his presence. He paces the length of my office in his usual worn and frayed jeans that haven’t been cleaned for days. His “I ♥ NY” T-shirt that probably started out white, is light brown with big armpit stains.
“What can I do for you, Walter?” I ask the ceiling. I’m not able to look him in the eye yet.
“Nobody can see me.”
“I’m aware of that. You’ve been invisible for some time now. You should be used to it.”
“You don’t understand, man. Nobody can see me. I can’t walk anywhere without someone running into me. I can’t shop for clothes ’cause no one knows I’m in the store. Man, I can’t even eat. Restaurants don’t serve people who are invisible. I have to swipe food just to eat, just to eat, man.” Walter stops pacing and falls into his favorite chair--the one where the cushion puffs air each time he moves.
“Have you tried announcing your presence? Simply asking for a table?”
“Man, how would you feel if some invisible person started talking to you? You’d think you were crazy.” Walter snorts. “Hell, I’d think you were crazy.”
I put my elbows on my desk and stare at my steepled fingers. “Do you think I’m crazy? After all, I’m talking to you, an invisible man.”
Walter laughs. “Of course you are. People can’t just turn invisible. Everyone knows that.”
I close my eyes and count to ten. Backwards. Then in French.
“Then why are you here Walter? If I’m crazy, why do you come to see me every week?”
Walter fidgets. The chair’s puffs fill the silence. He jiggles his bells. Finally, he says, “’Cause you’re the only friend I’ve got.”
I swallow the lump in my throat.
“Besides, man, this is your profession. You listen to people who’ve got problems, then you fix them.” Walter jumps to his feet and paces the room again. “And man, you gotta help me. I’m so hungry. I just wanna eat…a hotdog.”
And there it is. “Okay, Walter,” I say and stand. “How about I go get you a real hotdog? One from the vendor down the street?”
“With mustard?” Walter asks.
“With mustard,” I repeat.
“And onions.” Another whisper.
“And onions,” I echo through gritted teeth.
“And relish,” Walter squeaks.
I sigh. “And relish.”
Walter grins. The smile stretches across his face, making him look younger and happy.
I can’t help but smile back. “Wait here,” I say, my voice gruff. “No need for you to get run over by a speedwalker with a stroller.”
Walter eagerly nods and runs behind my desk. He plops in my chair and starts to pretend he’s busy answering the phone.
I hurry out the door. Sherri jumps in front of me before I go far. She glares and puts her hands on her hips. “What does that crazy man want this time?”
“A hotdog.” I say and try to move around her.
She moves with me. “When are you gonna stop all this foolishness? When are you gonna tell him that he ain’t invisible and that he can fetch his own damn burrito or chicken sandwich or triple-decker bacon cheeseburger or whatnot?”
“When he stops being my brother.” I stalk past her.
When he stops being my brother, I repeat, all the way to the hotdog vendor.
About the Author
Kintala has an MFA from National University. Her writing work specializes in the fantastical; anything with wizards, magic, and the unusual catches her attention and passion. She hopes to have her fairy tale short story collection, which takes a deeper look at the humanity behind the tales, available soon. Currently, she works as a developmental editor for Charmed Writing Services. Follow them on twitter @CharmedWriting.
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