The examination room was cold as ice, and I certainly didn’t appreciate being left to wait in my skivvies for such an extended period. In fact, I was about to go flag down a nurse to inquire about the holdup when my personal physician Doc Steinbrau finally made his entrance.
He paused as he approached, pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and stared at me agape. “Jesus Christ!” he said at last, setting a stack of printouts on a nearby table. “If I live to be a hundred I’ll never understand how you can be so fat yet not dead.”
“Droll as ever, Doc. So what’s the prognosis?”
“Death. And a very lonely one if I’m as good a judge of character as I am a doctor.” He paused, fished a pack of unfiltered Camels out of his lab coat, stuck one in his mouth, and offered them to me. I declined. After lighting up, he added: “That said, I don’t suppose it’ll happen this week.” He coughed once, twice, then briefly doubled over with spasms.
“Good to know,” I said, waving the smoke away from me. “And do you really need to do that in here? You’re a doctor, for Nixon’s sake.”
“Yep, and my patients are a bunch of fat, rich, arrogant assholes who think their Swiss bank accounts will spare them from the Reaper’s scythe no matter how much unholy abuse they pile on their bodies. Ha! I’d be crazy not to smoke in my situation. Besides, if you don’t like it you’re free to find another doctor. I’m sure the next one’ll be just as generous as I am when it comes to writing Oxy scrips.”
“Speaking of which, you didn’t give me enough last time.”
“What? I’m in a lot of pain. Don’t forget the boner pills either.”
“Fine, fine,” he said, scribbling on a pad while the cigarette dangled from his lips. “Let’s get crazy.” He handed me two slips of paper then snapped his fingers and wrote out a third, which he also handed over. “Almost forgot — you’re gonna need this too.”
“What is it?” I said, trying to decipher his scrawl.
“Why do I need that?”
“Because,” he said, smiling, “you went and picked up another dose of the clap, you dumb bastard!”
He laughed. “Yep!”
“Son of a bitch! It must’ve come from the same girl who gave me crabs. Come to think of it, I guess I have felt a burning sensation while peeing as of late.”
Steinbrau shook his head, dropped the remains of the cigarette on the floor, and stubbed it out with his shoe. “What a magical life you live, Oz. Now get dressed and get the hell out of here. Settle up on your way out, and don’t hit on the receptionist. We’re engaged.”
Truth be told, I’m tired of Steinbrau lording it over me every time I pop in for a physical, but he really is the softest touch in town when it comes to certain hard-to-get prescriptions. Maybe I’ll look into retaining my own personal Conrad Murray, but until then I guess it is what it is. Anyhow, I have to get these prescriptions filled — catch you later.
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