[Media prompt] Authorities: Please don’t perform liposuction in barns.
The Doctor in the Red Barn
When Rosemary called it a fat farm, she had not quite imagined this. Eloise Richards and her sister sat in the car, the engine idling, a narrow dirt track running off into the distance towards a pole barn painted red. She could see it through a pine grove. They had driven the one hundred miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan after an early breakfast, and now Eloise was not as confident as she had been when her sister first mentioned it.
“Look at the prices,” she had said, one morning two months ago. “He’s charging one-tenth the price of surgeons in town. For exactly the same procedures.”
Eloise took the brochure. A photocopied list more than a proper brochure. She looked at the prices for tummy tucks and liposuction. It was her only hope after a lifetime of poor impulse control and two hundred extra pounds of fat.
“No, one-twentieth,” said Rosemary, holding up her phone triumphantly. “Not one-tenth. Look. It’s one-twentieth the price.”
Time seemed to have passed so quickly. One minute she was sitting with her sister having coffee and looking at prices, the next she was in a car crunching over gravel towards a barn in a field.
“Are you sure this is the right place?”
Rosemary patted her sister’s arm.
“The GPS has never failed,” she said, parking on the grass.
The morning sun glinted off the cladding. The barn and the field in which it squatted seemed so peaceful and clean that Eloise momentarily forget she was scheduled for liposuction surgery on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Then her concerns flooded back, and she heard her heart pounding in her ears.
They must have sat for longer than Eloise thought, because a man in a white coat suddenly appeared around the corner and asked if she was his “ten o’clock”.
“I’m Dr. Epstein,” he said, shuffling them quickly through a small white door on the other side of the barn.
Eloise was not sure what she expected. Cows? A farmhand in coveralls pitching hay into the loft? The smell of manure? So she was pleasantly surprised by a white walled waiting room in which stood a nurse, smartly attired and smiling as though a long lost friend.
In short order, she signed a consent form, undressed, heaved herself onto the operating table, and started counting backwards from fifty when the nurse placed a general anaesthesia mask over her mouth. Her last reflections centred on cost savings. Sure, she thought, he had low rent, but how did he cut fees down ninety-five per cent?
Later, when she came too, Eloise lay for a moment looking at the ceiling. She could hear a low hum in the background. The room smelled of something she couldn’t quite identify. Perhaps it was cinnamon. Or nutmeg. She always had trouble telling them apart. Dr. Epstein was standing by the bed.
“Well,” he said, his eyes shining with pride. “A wonderful success, if I say so myself. You should have full functionality within a week.”
Eloise blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“Fully functioning. Within a week. You know,” said, stiffening his finger until it pointed rigidly upwards.
“I’m not sure I follow–”
“You are here for the penis implant?” asked Dr. Epstein, a thin film of sweat breaking out on his forehead.