“I’m so sorry I’m putting you through this.”
“It’s ok, mate. I do this all the time.”
I lay there on the table, balls greased up with some type of blue jelly, shorts and pants down around my knees. He’d put a piece of blue paper to cover my dick, which I’d been asked to hold up onto my stomach. It was one of the most pointless gestures of preserving dignity I’d ever come across. Like holding a postage stamp on a porno actress’s nipple while she’s fucking Ron Jeremy in the middle of a Conservative Party Conference. The guy had hold of my balls and was running the scanning machine around and across, stopping, clicking, watching a screen in front of him as I held one arm over my eyes like footballers do when they are being stretchered from the field for no good reason.
“See anything on the screen?” I asked.
“Not at the moment. It all looks pretty normal…..apart from that lump.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I know what it is but I wouldn’t worry. And we’ll let the consultant give you the good news for sure in a minute.”
He pressed the machine around for a bit longer. He was younger than me. I wondered what he told his partner when he came home from work each evening? Was I going to make the conversation over the lasagna? Would she laugh as he told her how I dropped the paper towel by accident and my dick flopped into his hand with a sticky slap, causing me to groan in embarrassment? He didn’t bat an eyelid, but I was certain inside he’d made a mental note: retell this one.
“Right, Benjamin, we’re done. If you’d like to rub yourself down with some of this,” he handed me more paper towels, “and I’ll let you see the consultant. Don’t worry,” he added.
Back in the waiting room the same faces looked up as I walked back in wiping the last of the blue jelly off of my hands and onto my shorts. I took the same seat I’d left twenty minutes previously. I was the youngest in there by at least twenty years. Single old men. Old men with old wives. Some with pissy trousers, but most with the pained faces of people either expecting bad news for the first time, or going to hear it all over again.
They had all dressed up smartly for their trip to hospital. I hadn’t. They stared at me – What was he in for…..at his age? And look at those tattoos…
In the Consultant’s room he laughed and joked when he read I had a Personality Disorder: “Not everyone is perfect, eh, my friend? You are ok, man,” he looked straight into my eyes and smiled, then laughed.
I laughed with him. Above the computer screen on the wall was the Emergency response button but he’d taped a note around it reading “Press for Coffee”. He was a decent guy; a joker with enough common sense to know when to tell the punchline, and to whom.
“So, Benjamin, you are not going to die… yet. What you have is [ ] and I want to keep an eye on it in case it develops into something nastier. But, hey my friend, if that happens then the outcomes are good now……..well…….better than they were two years ago anyhow.
I’m writing you a prescription. Make sure you take them, even though they can give you pretty serious side effects.”
“Well…. a haha…..gastric distress, tendonitis, and so on… But don’t worry. It is a sunny day, go and enjoy life.”
I drove home and opened a beer. Sitting in an armchair I took my genitals in my hands and looked at them for longer than I’d looked at them since I was wanking myself stupid in my teenage bed. I could still smell the jelly. And the fear.