Peter Cherches

The Sick Tourist

I wish to see a doctor. An American doctor. I do not sleep well. My foot hurts. My head aches. I have an abscess. Appendicitis. Biliousness. A blister. A boil. A burn. Chills. A cold. Constipation. A cough. A cramp. Diarrhea. Dysentery. An earache. A fever. Food poisoning. Hoarseness. Indigestion. Nausea. Pneumonia. A sore throat. A sprain. Sunstroke. Typhoid fever.

What am I to do? Do I have to go to a hospital? Must I stay in bed? May I get up? When do you think I’ll be better? I feel better. When will you come again?


Source & Method: “The Sick Tourist” comes from Berlitz Chinese for Travelers. It’s pretty much compiled from the English phrases in alphabetical sequence, with my paragraph breaks.


Called “one of the innovators of the short-short story” by Publishers Weekly, Peter Cherches has published in scores of journals, anthologies, and websites over the past four decades. His recent books include Lift Your Right Arm, Autobiography Without Words, and a historical study,Star Course: Nineteenth-Century Lecture Tours and the Consolidation of Modern Celebrity. His next collection,Whistler’s Mother’s Son, will be published by Pelekinesis in 2020.


Image: Remix of a photo by Alexander Ramsey