Beware of self pity.”

Patty hadn’t thought too much about Dan’s parting words from two weeks earlier, but now they were niggling at the back of her brain. Self pity? Is that what he thinks I wanted? I just needed a little break, some time off work. I never asked him to feel sorry for me. Geesh. Party pooper.

The last of the pain pills swam through her veins. What a ride this has been, but I guess I better get my shit together. She sat up from the couch, where she’d spent most of her time the past four weeks, nursing her “wrenched back”.  She parted the heavy drapes, letting daylight into the darkened room, causing her to squint. That’s it, the party’s over. Patty rested her chin on the back of the couch, with a heavy sign, and looked out at the apartment parking lot below.  Back to work tomorrow I guess.

Dr. Murphy had told Patty that she could return to work the day after the accident, but when she called her supervisor, after the emergency room, Patty heard herself telling Katherine, “The muscle spasms are so bad I can’t sit up. The doctor gave me some pills and told me to rest and come back in a week.”

There were subsequent calls to Katherine. More visits to other doctors, three different pain pills, two pharmacies. Getting out of work is hard work.

I’m glad that crazy old man hadn’t been going faster when he rear ended my car – I would have been hurt for real.

Patty’s phone rang, bringing her out of her fragmented thoughts. That better be Dan telling me he’s coming back, and bringing food. He’s made his point, and I’m hungry.


“Patty, this is Katherine. We are on a recorded line. Effective immediately, you are relieved of your duties as booking agent at SkyWay Airlines. Your personal belongings will be at the front desk for you to retrieve at noon tomorrow. Goodbye Patty. And a word of advice… next time your back is “out” I’d suggest you refrain from dancing in public.”

2 thoughts on “Malingering

    1. Jill, I had to complete an ethics course recently on the topic of insurance fraud – which inspired this story. I was shocked at the number and complexity of known scams. This one is very commonplace and just sad…. Also, there’s something about the word malingering! Sorry you had to experience a real life “Patty” in the past :/ I too had an employee a few years ago who tried this kind of stunt. She didn’t last long!


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