It happened just as I entered the exam room. Wham! I was hit with a brilliant and unexpected flash of light.
After that, all I could see were spots. Naturally, I came to the logical conclusion that I had been hit by a photon torpedo.
I would have checked the parking lot to see if the starship Enterprise was there, but my train of thought was interrupted
by Mr. Charade.
"I just got a great shot of you, Doc," he announced. "The Mrs. and I want to get a series of pictures during this visit. I
hope you don't mind."
Mrs. Charade lifted their dog, Morty, up onto the exam table. He was dead. (Luckily for me, they knew it already.)
"It may seem odd, Doctor," she said. "But we never got any shots of his visits here when he was alive. So, we figured that
this was our last chance."
Her husband fired off six more flares while the posthumous pooch was on the table. After that they asked if I would mind pretending
to examine the dog as if he were still with us.
"Don't worry about his expression, Doc," they said. "We have the program Photo-Medic on our home computer. We'll be able to
put a sparkle back into his eyes and some pink back into his tongue. We'll make him look just like the Morty we always knew."
(A dead ringer, I'd say.)
My technician interrupted the sham office call to deliver some radiographs of Morty that were taken last month.
"We hope you don't mind, but we asked your nurse if she could bring those in to us. I wanted to get some pictures of his X-rays.
There's no need to put them on the viewer," he said. "My flash will provide enough light."
Of course the pictures did not turn out as anything but black rectangles sitting on an exam table.
"Well," he said. "I guess those aren't digital X-rays, because they don't show up on my digital camera."
After a few more phony examination poses were captured on film, I figured that we were about done. I was wrong.
"Let's move on to the action shots," Mrs. Charade announced as she pulled a video recorder from her purse.
"You know," she said, "Morty was always such an active little guy, just full of vim and vigor." (Now it's more like dim
"For the next scene, let's get a shot of you jumping away from the table as if he tried to bite you. Remember how he used
to snap at you? You know, we tried to break him of that habit, but he was very stiff in his ways." (I'd say he's even stiffer
"Maybe we can make it look like he's doing some tricks for you," was her next suggestion. (OK, how about roll over and play
Eventually, she decided to shoot a scene of Morty pushing open the exam-room door as if he wanted to leave. (He looked more
like a doorstop or a bookend than anything else.)
Now, believe it or not, nothing had surprised me so far. I've been in practice long enough to have seen it all, or so I thought.
Then, Mr. Charade asked for a bowl of water. (Are you kidding me? Even live dogs don't drink the often-requested bowl of water.)
"Oh, it's not for drinking, Doc," he announced. "I want to pour a little on the waiting-room floor and take a picture that
looks like Monty peed there just like he used to do."
Dr. Obenski owns Allentown Clinic for Cats in Allentown, Pa.