You think about it. If you go in, you’ll still have that vacation day. Lord knows you’re going to need it at some point, possibly even worse than you need it right now.

But at this point, even if you do go in, Betsy will probably tell your boss that you tried to call out. And then you’ll have to have a talk about “your attitude lately.”

Screw it. If you need another day off, you’ll just take it unpaid.

“I guess I’ve just been having a really unlucky year, Betsy,” you say. You try to make your voice sound more mucousy. “I just wouldn’t feel right coming in until I get an all-clear from my doctor.”

“A doctor? I thought you just had the Irish flu,” she wheezes. “What’s wrong with you?”

Shit, you hadn’t thought of that. What’s serious enough that you’d need to see a doctor, but not so bad that you’ll have to start digging into unpaid time tomorrow just to keep up the ruse? Your brain feels like it’s packed with cotton-wool. Rubbing-alcohol soaked cotton-wool. Think. THINK.

“Um… it’s… I think it’s… bronchitis?” You cough weakly for emphasis.

You hear a sort of muffled, strained shriek coming out of the phone, sort of like the sound you’d expect manatees to make when mating. Maybe she misheard you? Or saw a mouse? You thought you’d picked something just-this-side of innocuous.

“Betsy? Are you there?”

“How could you bring that into our office? You’ve probably contaminated the whole place already! Oh lord, Oh lord, and you brought me coffee yesterday, oh Jesus Christ…”

“Betsy, settle down,” you say, “It’s just bronchitis. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m not contagious…”

“Just bronchitis? Just. Bronchitis? Have you ever dissected a bronchital lung? HAVE YOU?

“Well, no, but…”

“And if you’re not contagious, why would you need a doctor? Oh lord…”

“It’s probably just a cold. Or allergies! It might even be allergies. I just wanted to rule bronchitis out. I’m almost sure it’s not bronchitis. In fact, I’m feeling better, I think I can just come in, and we can pretend…”

“NO YOU WON’T! You will not come back into this office, and spread your, your, contagion,” she makes the word sound like it’s been coated in shit, “around me. I am extremely susceptible. A doctor needs to clear you. I want to see the test, I…”

“Betsy, Betsy, calm down,” you say, sighing. “I’ll try to get in to see the doctor, okay?”

“You’d better do better than try. I’m serious, if you come in here and spread…”

“I will. I’ll see the doctor. Okay?”


If you call your doctor for an appointment, buy your copy of CYOM: TOA today!

If you trust that senility will erase this conversation from Betsy’s memory, buy your copy of CYOM: TOA today!