“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” the doctor asked in a playful tone.
“Look, I’m really not in the mood for games. Please just tell me if I’m going to live or not.” said Daniel, eyes closed and pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Well you know what I’m not in the mood for?” The doctor caught himself before continuing with that train of thought. “Uh, nevermind. Sorry. Look, I prefer to end on a high note, so here’s the bad news: My best guess is that you’ll be dead in a week.”
“Wow… that’s—I. I’m at a loss.” After a few seconds Daniel added, “What do people normally say at a time like this?” He spoke timidly and began to perspire.
“Nothing terribly interesting or original, I’m afraid.” said the doctor with a little too much candor. “Uh, well, they normally want to make a phone call. Is there… anyone you’d like to call?”
“No. No, I think I’ll just head home. Thanks for everything… I guess.” On the way out, Daniel paused by the door. He had almost forgotten. “Hey, I might as well ask— what was the good news?”
“Oh, that? The good news is that I’ve been wrong about seventy-percent of the time with terminal diagnoses… So odds are you’ll be fine,” the doctor said with a little laugh.
Neither man said much after the doctor was punched unconscious.