“At four that afternoon, after a day spent looking at the telephone and lighting cigarettes and putting the cigarettes out and getting glasses of water and looking at the telephone again, Maria dialed the number. A man answered, and said he would call back. When he did he asked who had referred her.

”‘You want an appointment with the doctor,’ he said.

“’When could he see me.’

”’The doctor will want to know how many weeks.’

“’How many weeks what?’

"There was a silence. ‘How advanced is the problem, Maria,’ the voice said finally.”
Play It as It Lays

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