On Saturday morning he goes to the hospital for a chest X-ray because yesterday he told the doctor he’s worried he can’t breathe, and then the doctor got all worried, too, listening to him six ways from Sunday and finally sending in a technician to do some spirometrics.
It takes him longer to walk into and out of the hospital than it does to make the required exposures; the radiologist, apparently only about fourteen years old, is chirpy, energetic, and very efficient.
He pops into the pharmacy to pick up his two new prescriptions and to look for something to replace the knee brace he lost on vacation.
Standing in line at the cashier, he mentally adds up the morning’s activities and comes up with the obvious conclusion: it’s time for coffee.
The bookstore café beckons.
When he gets there, the Geezers have already gathered and, although they still do not offer him a seat at their tables, when he comes limping in they shoot him a longer glance than usual, which seems, he imagines, to confirm the likelihood of imminent inclusion.