Hello?” Rose Jackson turned her head slightly towards the phone lying on the kitchen counter next to the mixing bowl she was measuring flour and sugar into.
“Oh, hi Mom!” Randy’s voice came through the speaker phone clearly. “What’s up?”
Rose picked up a whisk and began to stir the contents of the bowl. “Dad won’t be coming out to the farm today,” she said. “He’s got a bit of a cold.”
“Oh well that sucks.” Randy didn’t sound particularly concerned. “Is it bad?”
“I’m dying!” Andrew’s voice called from the living room. “I probably won’t last till tomorrow!”
“Nah, not horrible,” said Rose. “Just the usual winter cold. He’ll stay in bed for a day or two and then he’ll be fine. Like always.”
“Cool,” said Randy. “He can’t be too near death if he still has the energy to yell at us from the couch. Tell him to relax and take it easy. Nothing going on here that we can’t handle without him.”
“I’ll tell him,” said Rose.
“Sounds like you’re in the kitchen there,” said Randy. “What’cha cookin?’”
“Oatmeal cookies,” said Rose. “Chocolate chip ones obviously. And a few with raisins for Andrew. If it wasn’t for Andrew’s cold I’d say you should bring the kids over for supper and we’d have the cookies for dessert.”
“Yeah well, I won’t say anything about that to the kids,” said Randy. “Two things I don’t need is the kids crying for Grandma’s cookies and the kids catching Grandpa’s cold.”
“I hear you,” said Rose.
“Anyway,” said Randy, “let me know if Dad survives till tomorrow.”
“I will,” said Rose. “Love you.”
“Love you too Mom.” There was a faint beep from the phone on the counter as the call disconnected. Rose laid the whisk down on the counter, wiped her hands on her apron, and then headed to the living room. Andrew looked at her, bleary eyed, from his position on the couch.
“How are you feeling dear?” Rose sat down in the chair next to the couch and reached over to put a hand on her husband’s forehead. “I don’t think you have a fever.”
“I feel like crap,” said Andrew. “Everything from my shoulders upwards hurts. My sinuses feel like they’re full of lava and my ears feel like there’s bands of hipsters playing competing drum circles in them. Even my hair hurts.”
“Did you take sinus meds?” asked Rose. “That stuff really helps, you know.”
“That would require moving from the couch,” said Andrew. “I don’t know which is the lesser of those two evils, and I’m in no condition to be making that kind of decision.”
“Oh, I’ll bring you the pills,” said Rose. “No need to get up. Hey, should I bring you some tea, maybe?”
“Sure. Maybe. I don’t know. Couldn’t hurt,” he said. He closed his eyes. “At least being sick has proved to me once and for all why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.”
“Oh really?” said Rose. “I’m not sure you’re right about where the world is going, but I am curious as to why you think it’s going there. Do tell.”
“Daytime television,” said Andrew. “Have you even seen what’s on daytime TV nowadays?”
“Of course not,” said Rose. “I have a life you know.”
“Well apparently some people don’t,” said Andrew. “Two hundred channels on the TV and nothing to watch. And if people actually do watch, it’s no wonder their brains are turning to mush.”
“Well that seems like it might be a little bit of an overstatement,” said Rose. “Oh, but hey, maybe later this afternoon you can watch Dr. Oz. If you’re lucky he’ll have new information about a miracle pill for sinus colds that you’ll be able to order online for only $30 for a year’s supply. And then next year we’ll find out the pill is made of alfalfa and dryer lint but by that time he’ll have found a new cure that’s even better.”
Andrew opened one eye. “I thought you didn’t watch daytime TV,” he said.
“Sometimes I take a late-afternoon coffee break,” said Rose.
Andrew closed his eye. “If I was named Dr. Oz,” he said, “the first thing I would do, before I started a TV show, would be to officially change my name. Having a medical show called Dr. Oz is like if your name was Alfred Ponzi and you started a financial advice show called The Alfred Ponzi Scheme.”
“People watch Dr. Oz though,” said Rose.
“Yeah, I know,” said Andrew. “That’s why the handbasket, and the road to hell.”
“Well anyway,” said Rose, “maybe the horrors of daytime TV, together with the medicinal properties of camomile tea will give your body the incentive to cure itself quickly.”
“Maybe,” said Andrew. “Here’s hoping.”