The Waiting Game
'I'm sorry I'm late for my appointment Miss Good, but I've had problems with my car this morning and just to make things worse, the traffic was horrendous. Can you still fit me in?'
Miss Daphne Good, the receptionist, ran this practice like a military academy and had been on sentry duty here for more than twenty years. She didn't take prisoners.
'Your appointment was for nine fifteen Miss Cavendish and it's now ten o'clock. You have already been listed as 'missed appointment' on the computer and there are no more appointments available today.'
Miss Good pushed her spectacles up onto her raven coloured hair and aimed a titanium coated stare at her hapless victim. 'The best I can do I'm afraid is make you a new appointment for some future date.'
With this she repositioned her spectacles, turned back to her computer screen and began typing furiously. After some seconds she stopped abruptly, stared even more determinedly at the screen and said, with a tone of dreadful finality, 'I can offer you seven forty five next Wednesday morning.'
Janice Cavendish took a few seconds to recover from this unexpected assault, but quickly gathered her defences and mounted a brief counter attack. 'That's no good at all I'm afraid Miss Good, I have to see the doctor today. I can't possibly wait the best part of another week.'
Clearly Janice had not chosen a heavy enough calibre of response, because her words simply bounced off the armour plated receptionist and ricocheted around the room. A number of waiting inmates looked up and began to take an interest.
'Miss Cavendish, I was here on time this morning as were the three doctors, the practice nurses and the people waiting patiently behind you. The system works around time slots being allocated and those time slots being taken up at the correct time. Time slots wait for no man, or woman for that matter. That's how things work. Would you like seven forty five next Wednesday morning or not?'
Janice Cavendish was a handsome twenty eight year old graduate with a gentle disposition, a generous nature and a vicious left hook. Boxing had been her hobby since her university days and a long list of sparring partners could give testimony to her skills. Janice spotted Miss Good's verbal uppercut with ease and stepped back, allowing it to fly harmlessly into the over heated waiting area. Several inmates felt the draught and smiled anxiously.
'No Miss Good, I do not want seven thirty next Wednesday morning. I want to be seen this morning and I will not leave this surgery until that happens. You are the receptionist here and I am the patient paying your wages so I suggest that you start tapping that keyboard even more furiously and find a solution to our problem.'
This was the first time in twenty years that anyone had ever landed a glove on Daphne Good and she was stunned by its speed and accuracy. In desperate need of a few seconds to recover, she turned back to her computer screen and tapped aimlessly while trying to regain her composure. As she did so the telephone rang. She picked up the receiver, listened intently, thanked the caller and gently replaced the receiver. She turned to her opponent still dazed.
'It must be your lucky day Miss Cavendish, that was a cancellation for ten thirty, so if you would care to take a seat you can take up that appointment.'
'Thanks you Miss Good, that's very kind of you. I knew that with your wealth of experience here you would find a solution to our little problem.'
Miss Good turned to face her screen and Janice turned to face the audience. They gazed at her in admiration. Miss Good had been saved by the bell.