A Doctor's Lot
The meal would have been lugubrious indeed had Dr Blether not been there. At first he had been uneasy, inclined to think; “Dear Lord, its been four times in a row that I have dined and have yet to reciprocate.” But he was a doctor, after all, and could see that this evening Marcus Dimwittie and his lovely wife, Eileen needed the comfort of some familiar topic to occupy their minds and as such considered his presence a house call of sorts. And what better, he deduced, than Mr and Mrs Abelard Doltish? A while back he had discovered that there was nothing that could make a Dimwittie feel himself again so swiftly than a Doltish vignette and the converse held equally true. Both of these esteemed local families were the doctor's patients. Should a Dimwittie find himself suffering from insomnia, anxiety or flatulence, it would take nothing more than a fleeting faintly disparaging remark about the Doltish style of life, something as insignificant as their garish Rococo furnishings or heavy draperies, say, to effect a spontaneous remission in the afflicted Dimwittie.
On other encounters for more serious maladies requiring a more thorough quickening of the blood so to speak, as in the case of migraine, sciatica or the loss of concentration which as of late had been more frequently affecting Mrs Dimwittie, a stronger remedy was required. Then the doctor was by necessity obligated to disclose a more serious matter such as the Doltish's reluctance to pay their bills in a timely fashion or their attempts to claim that they had paid when they had not, or the bane of all physicians' existences, a request for a medical consultation during a social occasion often veiled in “a friend of mine suffers...” format. During one of these encounters, the time required for the good doctor to relay the Doltish's doings in adequate detail to elicit the desired outcome, allowed for his turbot's Bechamel sauce to congeal into a glutenous paste rendering it inedible.
He had dined with both families over the years and with each had concluded that the only topic of conversation guaranteed to placate either was the other. He began to fear that he had not been as judicious with this drug as he should have been and that an addiction had ensued. It had come to the point now that just to maintain either family in a state of homeostasis, he felt it necessary, as a matter of course, to prepare one or two choice tidbits of gossip and bring them to the table in much the same manner as a zoo keeper brings herring in a bucket when he visits the seals.