This story was originally posted August 1, 2017. While it could probably benefit from some editing, I still like this story. The doctor is in a world that seems a bit crazy, and yet he continues to do what he can to help. I like that.
When Isaac returned home from work, Charlie was waiting for him by the door. Isaac smiled at him as he changed his shoes. “Hey, kiddo. What’s up?”
Charlie scuffed the toes of his shoes against the carpet. “I need help with my homework.”
Isaac hung his coat up. “Okay. I’m ready now. Lead the way.”
He followed Charlie down the hall to his room. Charlie turned his desk chair around and sat down. Isaac pulled the chair by the bookshelf over and sat facing him.
“I’m supposed to write about what I want to do when I grow up.” Charlie picked up a paper off his desk and turned it to face Isaac. The assignment written on it was just as Charlie reported.
“You mean like a bucket list? Things you want to do before you die?” That sounded like a fun assignment. Someday Isaac wanted to sit down and write a list like that. The challenge would be to narrow it down to the things you really, really wanted to do. There were just so many interesting things in the world, and not enough time to see and try them all. Read More
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Leslie looked up from her coloring book in shock. “I can do that? Can I be more than one thing?”
Grandma smiled. “Of course dear. You can be anything you want to be.”
Wow. Leslie felt overwhelmed with the possibilities. She’d always wanted to fly, so part of the time she’d have to spend as a bird. But which one? Owls could stay up all night, but swans were so pretty, and hummingbirds could fly so fast.
Breathing underwater would be neat. She could explore the bottom of the ocean if she was a shark or a dolphin. If she was an octopus, she’d have arms. Lots of arms. Maybe she could gather up treasure from a sunken ship and buy her own house. She’d buy the yellow house next door, so she wouldn’t have to walk too far to go to bed after Mom made dinner.
Cheetahs could run fast. She’d win all the races if she was a cheetah. Being an elephant would be handy in a water fight. Penguins were always dressed up and didn’t have to wear anything scratchy.
Could she be more than one thing at a time? How often could she change? Did everyone else change into what they wanted when they grew up? Why didn’t they tell her sooner?
“So, what would you like to be?” Grandma asked again. “Have you thought of something?”
Leslie nodded. “A bird so I can fly and an octopus. I’m not sure what else. How many can I be?”
“A bird and an octopus?” Grandma laughed. “I’m afraid that you can’t be either one.”
“So what are my choices?” Leslie asked. “Are unicorns on the list? I think they can do magic, and that would be pretty neat.”
Grandma shook her head. “No animals. You’ll have to stay a person like the rest of us. I was asking what job you want to do when you grow up.”
Leslie stood up and put her hands on her hips. “Grandma, you asked me what I wanted to be, not what I wanted to do. It’s not the same thing.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I should have spoken more clearly.” Grandma patted the empty space on the couch next to her. “Will you come sit by me and tell me what job you’d like to do when you grow up?”
Leslie climbed up on the couch and snuggled next to Grandma. She thought for a moment. “Maybe I could be a fairy, because they have magic and can fly. Or I could be a princess. I like dressing up and tea parties. Being a superhero would be nice. They have magic powers, too. But they can only do some magic things, like flying and seeing through walls. Fairies can do lots of magic things and can dress up in twirly dresses too, so I think being a fairy would be best.”
“You have to be born a fairy or a princess or a superhero. Just like you have to be born a fish to be a fish, or a bird to be a bird.” Grandma smoothed Leslie’s hair and smiled. “Isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to do?”
“I wanted to eat cake for breakfast this morning.” Leslie thought for a moment. “And I want to do magic and fly.”
“What would you do with magic?” Grandma asked.
“I would help people. And I would magic cake on everyone’s plate, even at breakfast. If someone was sick, I would magic them better. And if I wanted my dress to be a different color, I would change it. I could change it to rainbow colors if I wanted. And if someone wanted to be a unicorn, I would change them into a unicorn, but only for a day, because unicorns don’t have hands, so it’s hard for them to color in their coloring books.” Leslie remembered that she hadn’t finished coloring and slipped off the couch and started coloring again.
“If you want to help sick people, you could be a doctor or a nurse,” Grandma said.
“Maybe.” Leslie kept coloring.
“If you like to color, maybe you could be an artist.”
“Maybe.” Leslie didn’t look up.
“If you like pretty dresses, maybe you could be a seamstress or a fashion designer.”
“Maybe.” Leslie finished coloring and turned the page. It was a picture of a penguin, but her black crayon was lost. She could color it a different color, but she didn’t want to. Leslie closed the book.
“So what do you want to do when you grow up?”
“I think that when I grow up, I will be Leslie. I’ll figure the rest out later,” Leslie said. She put the lid on the crayons and stood up.
“I think that’s a great plan,” Grandma said. “After you put away your crayons, would you like to have a tea party?”
“Of course I would. All little girls named Leslie who live in this house love to have tea parties. Especially if there’s cake.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Grandma said.
There was cake at the tea party.
The fairy tale village doctor hurried to Humpty Dumpty’s door. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men had failed out of medical school yet again, and the doctor was still the only one qualified to put everyone back together again. Unfortunately, there were a lot of emergencies in the fairy tale village, so the doctor was very busy.
He knocked on the door. The neighbors had called him about the emergency, and he hoped they’d be here to let him in. He was surprised when Humpty answered the door himself.
“Humpty Dumpty, I heard you had a great fall,” the doctor said.
Humpty smiled. “It was nice. The leaves were great colors, and I was invited over to eat tarts with the king and queen twice. The winter was terrible. The knave of hearts stole the tarts, and there was a long trial, and this giant girl knocked everyone over…”
“I thought that happened last summer.” The doctor was confused.
“Winter, summer, what’s the difference? It wasn’t fall, was it?”
The doctor opened his mouth to reply, and then closed it again. He narrowed his eyes. “Wait, I meant to say that I heard you’d been sitting on a wall and fell off.”
“Well it was more like a fence.” Humpty held his palms out, and mimed weighing things on scales. “I was trying to decide whether to wear a belt or a tie. I can’t wear both, you know.” He let one hand drop. “The tie won today.”
“I’m a doctor and don’t really care about fashion. I just need to know if you were injured.”
“I’m sad that you haven’t complimented the tie, but not offended.” Humpty smiled. “It is rather understated, so I suppose you hadn’t noticed it yet. Now that you have, you have to tell me your opinion.” The bow tie was plain and black.
“It’s lovely.” The doctor managed not to roll his eyes, but it was a close call. “So you haven’t broken anything?”
“Well, I promised myself that I’d be rich and famous by this age, but I’ve obviously broken that promise. I’ll probably never trust myself again. It’s a terrible thing. Why, just the other day, I said that the sky was blue, and I still had to go outside to check and see if it really was.”
The doctor sighed. “Your neighbors called and said that you’d fallen from a wall and broken into tiny pieces.”
Humpty frowned. “Which neighbors? The wooden puppet people with the long, long noses? Or that boy who watches the sheep and keeps being overrun by wolves?”
The doctor thought for a moment. “I think I see the problem. You need new neighbors.”
“They’re not so bad. They’re always complimenting my ties. And my belts. They say the nicest things.” Humpty smoothed his tie. “Would you like to come in? Someone left a basket of lemons on my front steps, so I made lemonade. Unfortunately, they didn’t leave sugar, so it’s a little sour.”
“No, I have to go visit the twins down the street. I received an urgent call that said that they’d fallen down and broken their crowns.” The doctor paused.
“Did my neighbors make the call?” Humpty asked, guessing his thoughts.
“Yes. They said Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water and then fell.”
“But there isn’t a hill anywhere near here,” Humpty said.
The doctor sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that. Still, I need to go check to be sure.”
“Tell them hi for me. Oh, and invite them over for lemonade. A basket of lemons makes rather a lot of lemonade. Maybe I should invite the neighbors. I’m sure they’d love it.”
“If they don’t, I’m sure they’re too polite to say so,” the doctor said. Humpty laughed.
The doctor drove to check on Jack and Jill. They were fine. He went back to his car, ready to visit Jack Sprat and his wife. They’d mixed up their meal plans and were suffering from a touch of indigestion.
Before he could drive away, his phone rang. He answered it. “Hello, this is the fairy tale village doctor. Do you have an emergency?”
“You have to help me, doctor,” a young voice said. “I was watching the sheep when a wolf came and…”
“Ate the sheep?” the doctor asked.
“No, it knocked me over and broke my arm. Then it ate my sheep. Can you help me?”
The doctor was tempted to ignore the call after the two false calls that had wasted his morning. But, as a doctor, he couldn’t ignore someone in need. “I’ll be right there,” he promised.
Maybe it was time to help tutor the king’s horses and the king’s men when he had some time off. The village really did need a few more doctors. Fairy tale people seemed to have lots of emergencies.
She wished on her birthday candles to lose a lot of weight. I think she lost too much.