(phone rings until you’re certain it will go to their answering machine)
GRANDPA: Who is this?
YOU: It’s your granddaughter.
GRANDPA: I don’t have a granddaughter.
YOU: Yes. It’s Maggie.
GRANDPA: I thought you were a boy.
YOU: No, Grandpa. Your son had a daughter. I’m a girl. I’ve always been a girl.
GRANDPA: Huh. (twenty second pause) Well, what’s wrong with you.
YOU: My stomach hurts, I don’t know if I should call in sick.
GRANDPA: Mmmm. Dropsy. Have you gained some weight, son?
(five second pause)
GRANDPA: In your ankles?
YOU: Just my arms, really.
GRANDPA: Sounds like gout to me.
GRANDPA: Are you bleeding? Shortness of Breath? Rash? Trunk Rash? Thrush? Grocer’s Itch? Sweating Sickness? Bad Blood?
YOU: No I—
GRANDPA: Chin Cough? Falling Sickness? Mallory’s Corruption? Fisherman’s Knee? Jeffrey? Trench Mouth? Crotch Rot? Nostalgia? Flowers For Algernon? Milk Leg? The Grodins?
GRANDPA: Thrombosis? Chauncey’s Revenge? Fermented Hip? Jessica’s Syndrome? Blackwater Fever? Bloody Flux? The Hot Snakes? Old One Eye? The Stings? The Shakes? Worm Fit? Old Two Eyes? Gut Burn? The Screws? Scrivener’s Palsy? Devil Eyes? Vagina Sounds? Malaise? Timothy’s Tunes? The Grunch? Wigwam Dick? Abdomen of Brian? Asshole Cramps? Backwards Cap Madness? Jimmy Legs?
GRANDPA: Lockjaw? Hot Thistles? Crying “Europe” Into the White Telephone? Devil’s Grippe? The Kevins? Haggler’s Eye? The Bees? Breakbone? Portnoy’s Complaint? Grundle Burn? Taint Rot? High Hopes? Arabian Day Fever? Classic Water on Brain? Quinsy? Puking Fever? Annie Potts Hysteria? Spanish Influenza? African Influenza?
(ten second pause)
YOU: Its reall—
GRANDPA: Terracotta Rectum? The Joplins? Que Es Esto? Old Margaret’s Nail? Fissured Hand? Bilousness? Flux of Humours? The Teddies? Whore’s Sneeze? The Carpenters? Wet Hole? Zlata’s Diary? Curry Shakes? Black Hairy Ton—
(go to work)
Maggie Mull is a writer and artist, born, raised and living in Los Angeles. She is the creator of Doppelthingers, an online collection of things that look like other things.