click here for part One“I clearly recall that it was on a wet and windy Friday morning when I found myself going somewhere that any red blooded male does not want to go…”
part 2 – The Short Walk and The Long Wait.
…I had to visit that building, one that no one really wants to be seen going into. The sign outside was clear for everyone to see and even though it was an insignificant building it was strategically connected to a large modern hospital. It was known by the guys in town as the Clap house, more correctly it was called the Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic. I’d promised my wife to get the ‘thing’ on my dick finally sorted out. “It’s just a discolouration”, I’d say and dismiss her worry. Besides we had been spending a lot of time outside of my country of birth, so my excuses had the further substance of not wanting to be looked at by foreigners. And I wasn’t ill. I felt perfectly ok and functioned fine. I’d landed back in the old country to open a new Company in a small coastal tourist town with my brother and his friend, who both lived there. The plan was to get the business up and running quick. However, it wasn’t very long before my wife began nagging me that I should have that ‘thing’ checked out. I was far too busy to waste time visiting doctors about something so trivial.
After several phone calls over a month or three I finally got around to having that ‘thing’ looked at. And even then I used the easiest and quickest method, hence my visit to the Clap house. It was the only place where you could drop in without the need of a Doctors appointment. I was convinced the problem was something to do with my past life and amounted to little more than a course of penicillin injections.
My choice of day was calculated purposely to remain unhindered while heading in the clinics general direction. The main street would be quiet with the locals busy preparing their premises for the onslaught of tourists on Friday. So I wouldn’t be stopped for those annoying polite conversations, which usually began with, “Hi, and where are you going?” The weathermen had promised torrential rain for that particular Friday. It was the perfect weather for an undercover visit to the Clap house. My accountant was located not far from the place, so I used him as a cover for my visit. The less that anyone knew about my knob rash – the better. I walked briskly and with purpose through the main street fighting the driving rain. The walk was short and having reached the vicinity of the clinic I attained a direct line adjacent the entrance and stealthily walked up the path, entering rapidly by its large old wooden door and closing it quickly behind me. ‘Made it’ I said to myself.
“Can I help you?” A voice came from the bottom of a very long corridor. I couldn’t see anyone, I walked up to a small counter. There, behind the small open window, was a rather fierce looking oldish woman sat at a desk with an even older looking computer screen in front of her. “Err yes, can I see someone about being looked at please.” I said clumsily. She seemed to know what I meant and handed me a pre-printed sheet of paper. “Fill in this form and give it back to me when you’ve completed it. Take a seat in the waiting room.” She instructed me and pointed to the sign by the door. “Oh, brilliant, thanks” I said but actually thought how badly equipped the clinic was.
The form was simple enough and needed only basic information. I handed it back to the lady at the small counter. The waiting room was totally empty. The words ‘thank God for that’ ran through my mind as I picked up an old magazine.
The clock on the wall said nine fifteen and I hoped whatever test I had to take would soon be over, after all, its first come first served, wasn’t it? My brain searched for some reassurance that I would be out within the hour. I became bored with the old magazines. Luckily there was lots of medical posters to occupy myself with. They explained that sexual transmitted diseases were common and on the increase. Knowing that made me feel better somehow. There was even packs of free condoms scattered about in presentation bowls. To my horror other people started arriving and filling the vacant seats in the waiting room. I buried my head back in the old magazines and tried not to look at the other visitors.
They were all women. I felt awkward and guilty of being a harbinger of disease. A man dressed in a white uniform entered the room. He looked around and whispered “Laura?” A young woman stood up, “Follow me.” He said gently. They walked out of the room and up a flight of stairs. I over heard them saying something about ‘still awaiting for the specialist to arrive’.
Again and again the man in white came into the waiting room and whispered out a name, but mine wasn’t among them. I began to think about leaving and maybe coming back another day. The clock said it was past eleven and the rain had stopped. I expected to be long gone by now. I looked around the waiting room, I was the only one left unattended. I stood up, stretched then arched my back and yawned. I’d read every one of the boring magazines and began to wander up and down the corridor getting closer and closer to the door, the one that I had so deftly entered hours earlier.
My hand hovered above the handle. Perhaps I could nip outside for a quick smoke? I thought. “No” I said out loud, what if I were seen? I was trapped. Perhaps I could make a run for it, I thought to myself? “David.” My name was finally announced. The man in white was looking for me in the waiting room. I hurried back and met him half way down the corridor. “Running off?” He asked with a smile. “Thought about it,” I answered with an even broader smile. “Follow me, we’ll have you sorted out in no time” He said confidently then turned and walked up the stairs swinging his bottom like a model on a catwalk.
I wondered what ordeal awaited me at the top of the stairs? At the top he pointed to a row of three tall back chairs. “Just take a pew a minute.” He asked and I sat down purposefully on the chair, having first grabbed a handful of brochures from a leaflet dispenser that was screwed to the wall. They were sorted into subject titles with illustrations and explanations underneath each one. Gonorrhoea, Vaginal Warts, Herpes, Simplex and other sexually transmitted diseases with names I’d never heard of.
As I read each symptom I wondered which one I had? One of the young women, who had been downstairs in the waiting room, came from a door opposite the row of chairs. She perched reluctantly next to me and forced a wry smile, one that came across as a mixture of embarrassment and accusation. Another sturdy looking woman came from yet another door to the left of the chairs and approached both of us.
“Come with me Judith” She said firmly. The young girl followed her quickly and diligently. For no reason that I could think of, I felt as guilty as hell. I remained rooted in the tall back wooden chair clutching the leaflets trying to avoid looking at the large vivid graphic illustrations pinned to the corridor walls. I could hear the ‘man in white’ chatting to someone on his mobile. He was describing a night out on the town the previous weekend. He kept referring to a man who he was in love with and how they planned to move-in together.
It always amuses me how people speak on their mobiles as if no one else can hear them. He carried on with intimate personal secrets. Obviously, the ‘man in white’ was gay. Not that I was bothered in the least, well I thought I wasn’t. He popped his head out from one of the rooms. “Can I check your details?” He spelt checked my name, then asked if I had a partner or not, whilst assuring me that the details were for internal use only and that I wasn’t to worry about confidentiality. I was, but replied “Oh, that’s ok, no problem.” He closed the folder and put it under his arm and leaned against the wall looking down at me. “So, what do you do for a job” He asked. I decided to tell him only what was necessary, obscuring any details of the new business. “I’m an artist” I said proudly.
“Really, how fascinating, I love art,” He quipped but before he could follow up with ‘What kind of artist are you’ I circumvented the enquiry by asking him a question. “Who’s your favorite artist?” It was a tactic I used often and to good effect. The well-built woman came from the side door abruptly before the ‘man in white’ could tell me his choice. She took the folder from him whilst he was in mid sentence and opened it, looked at my details, then looked at me. “I’m Doctor Copland” She extended her hand and I shook it firmly. “Come with me.” She said. ‘Here we go’ I thought. ‘Won’t be long now and I’ll be out of here’. I followed her into a small office expecting a quick examination and then a shot of antibiotics in my rear end.
To my surprise she began by asking me questions, all of which seemed a little too personal for my liking. “How many women had I had sex with over the last five years?” and “in what countries?” And “had I ever been with a prostitute? ” And so it went on. She ticked several boxes on the sheet then asked me to follow her through a side door and into another room. The ‘man in white’ was there too “Get on the table and take off you trousers and underwear, I will be back in a moment, Stuart will look after you”. The Doctor commanded.
The ‘man in white’ asked me if I needed help to undress. “Err, no thanks, I think I can manage” I said with a nervous wobble in my voice. I took off my under pants coyly and carefully climbed onto the table. The ‘man in white’ was preparing something on the workbench. He turned towards me. “Right, I just have to swab the top of your penis with this cotton bud, it won’t hurt, I promise….”