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Upon returning from holiday, The Mom casually mentioned, when we were Skyping, that her foot was black.

“What?” I said. “What do you mean, black?”

“It’s black,” The Mom replied, as though this were more than enough information.

“How much of it is black?”

She shrugged and looked down at her foot. “Most of it.”

“What do you mean, most of your foot is black?” I screeched down the line.

Exasperated, The Mom said, “I fell down a few times, and I’ve done something to my foot, so it’s black.”

“That is not normal.”

“Thank you, I realise falling is not normal.”

“No, falling, fine. Foot black, that’s not normal.”

“Oh, it’ll be fine.”

“Oh? And do you say that as a medical doctor?”

“Stop worrying,” The Mom chided. “It’s only been a week. It’ll go away eventually.”

“Said no one with two feet ever,” I replied. “When one’s foot is black for a week, traditionally one goes to the doctor.”

“It’s fine.”

“It’s fucking black, woman. That is not fine. That is the dictionary definition of not bloody well fine.”

Suitably chastised, The Mom did her best to look penitent. “If the swelling doesn’t go down in a few days, I’ll think about going to the doctor.”

“I wouldn’t bother,” I said.

“Oh?” she perked up.

“Nah, no point. You’ll have lost it to gangrene by then.”

She scowled. “You know, you’re not a medical doctor either.”

“Yes, but I am a) qualified in first aid and b) know a problem when I see it.”

The Mom tried to change the subject. But I wasn’t letting her off that easy.

“Now, you take yourself to the doctor or I’m telling The Other Two.”

“Don’t drag them into this.”

“Watch me,” I said, and held up my mobile phone. “I’m typing a message to L’il Sis right now. She’ll be over before you can hide that glass of wine.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Oh? You doubt me?”

A brief stand-off ensued, but The Mom knows when to cut her losses.

“Fine. I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow.”

“You better,” I said.

The following day, I had an email through from The Mom, proving that she’d been to see the doctor. “It’s all your fault, she wrote. Now I’m stuck with this horrible, ugly walking boot thing! I can’t walk, I can’t swim. This is awful!

“Yes,” I replied, “But think how bad it would’ve been if you’d lost the entire foot. I should think walking would be quite tricky with one of your feet and a stump.”