A Framed Oil Painting Of Tiger Woods

Fallon tried to ignore the itch. The plush interior of his Manhattan doctor’s waiting room was climate controlled to within an inch of its life, oppressively comfortable. The damp and the heat of the city outside couldn’t make a dent in the perfectly cool atmosphere of this place but Fallon’s hand still felt like it was on fire. A framed, oil painted portrait of Tiger Woods adorned the wall opposite the soft leather seat Fallon sat in, all fitted hat and steely eyes, captured in dynamic strokes of hot red and deep blue. Of course Fallon’s doctor was a golf nut, weren’t they all?

Fallon realised he was scratching, and stopped himself. You’re only going to make this worse, just see Jim and let him deal with it.

Dr. Jim loved that he and Fallon shared christian names. He always made a show of it. “JIM” he bellowed as Fallon entered and put his hand out. Somebody at some formative time in his life had once told Dr. Jim that a man was measured on the strength of his handshake and he would try to crush your fingers to dust to prove himself, but not this time. Fallon held his right hand up and pointed to it, “Sorry, Doc, it’s my hand…”

“Oh wow, okay then Jim. Let’s take a look see.”

Dr. Jim made Fallon roll up his sleeve and got to looking.

“Good Lord, look at this discoloration.”

“It’s itchy as hell too, Doc. It’s all I can do to stop scratching.”

The doctor held Fallon’s hand, palm up in both his own hands and probed and pressed with his thumbs. The hand was a deep yellow-brown around the fleshier parts, but a kind of bright white on the bones.

“Any pain Jim?”

“No, Doc, just the itch. Goddamn it’s bad though, and I get sore where I’ve scratched it so hard.”

“Okay, Jim let me give you some ointment to relieve the irritation. I’m going to have to book you in for some tests though, I’m afraid I’m not really sure what could be causing this. Any irritation in the arm?”

The Doc pointed and Fallon could see now that the yellow-brown was spreading up his forearm some. He tried not to panic.

“Maybe I’ll get you something for your nerves too, how’s that sound son?”

Fallon stood in the shower wondering if his wife was in the city. He desperately wanted to talk to somebody but tonight nobody had answered his calls. He was losing track of everything, what was happening to him? Fallon tried to ignore the itch and rinsed the shampoo from his hair. The water around his feet was rising a little, and he opened his eyes. Holy fuck there was a lot of hair in the plughole. He blinked trying to get a better look, water dripping from his eyelashes. He bent closer and then his balance left him. Right foot slipped on the shampoo slick, Fallon smacked his shoulder off the shower tap and then cracked his coccyx hard on the tile floor.


Tears instantly streamed from the hurt. Fallon caught his breath. He fucking hated this shower. Looking upwards, trying to pretend he wasn’t a part of himself, hoping he could shut out the pain, he inwardly cursed at that dumb fucking square shower head that pissed the water straight down onto you. Fucking thing. He missed his old shower, that cheap piece of plastic shit that you had to hold in one hand, scrubbing yourself with the other. Things were so simple when he was twenty something. Now look at him. He’d had a fall in the shower and his hair was dropping out and he could not stop crying.

“Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it” he whispered and he scratched and he scratched and he scratched.

Lorne was on the phone. Fallon did his best to not to sound like he’d been crying.

“The band have quit Jimmy, The Roots are gone. I’m sorry.”

“Oh man, what?” Fallon tried not to notice his voice was at an unusual pitch.

“I’m giving you a week off and I won’t take no for an answer. I’ve got guest hosts lined up, I’ve got Smashmouth to fill in for The Roots. We’ll keep the ship steady while you’re gone. We’re all worried about you. We just want you to get better.”

“I’m ok though, I’m ok. I can still work, it’s just a little skin condition, people won’t even see it. I wear a fucking suit, sorry, I didn’t mean that to sound aggressive. I’m okay to work though, I’m ok.”

Fallon looked at his bare torso as he lied to his boss. His skin was peeling away in sheets, like he’d been sunburnt so badly, but underneath he was a bright, shining, glowing orange.

“The truth is Jimmy, we’ve taken a big slump in the ratings. One we cannot ignore, it’s not just you SNL is sliding too. It’s my fault, I’ll take the heat for it. I should never have booked Trump. It was bad judgement, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. I fucked up, but we can bounce back. I just need you to take a week. Maybe two. Okay Jimmy?”

Fallon tried to ignore the itch. His face twitched from it. His scalp was on fire.

“You shouldn’t have touched him though Jimmy. You shouldn’t have touched him.”

Fallon tried to ignore the itch.

Like what you read? Give Michael J Dolan a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.