The Doctor

Posted: October 27, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

I’m nervous. It’s silly. I’m just getting a physical. Maybe I’m worried about the opportunities for further payment. It’d be nice to have an income. Still, my heart thuds in my chest like I’m about to take the sand in a gladiatorial arena. My hands shake a little. Deep breath. I close my eyes for a long time. Breathe in, breathe out. Okay. I roll my eyes. The doorway isn’t even dark. It’s got a second wall behind it to interrupt line of sight, just like any men’s room. I intentionally avoid looking at my phone, and I’m glad I don’t own a watch. If I could see time pass, I think it’d stop and try to have a conversation with me. The white noise of the crowd behind me fades.

“Next!” A feminine voice calls from beyond the partition. I jump, startled.

“She said next, dumbass. Some of us don’t have all day,” the bum behind me says. I take a hitched step and walk into the room. I scowl at being scolded by that hobo. As if he had a business meeting he needed to get to, or some shit. I let it go as I round the corner. In front of me is a surprisingly good imitation of an exam room. There’s a white and blue vinyl exam table in the center of the room, and a rolling table filled with assorted medical instruments. Standing at a folding table, entering something on a super-durable looking laptop is the doctor.

She’s about five foot six, has fair skin, jet black hair pulled into a ponytail, and pale green eyes partially hidden behind frameless glasses. She’s wearing black scrubs that don’t quite hide an athletic build. Wow. I cough. “Uh, hi,” I say. She doesn’t look up.

“Have a seat,” she says. Her voice holds no hint of emotion. I walk over to the table and hop up onto it. Paper crinkles beneath me, unnaturally loud despite the background noise. She turns and holds out her hand. It takes a second, but I remember the sheaf of paper in my own hands. I hand them to her. She flips through them so fast that I’m not sure she’s reading anything. She turns back to the computer and starts typing again.

“So, uh, what’s the aptitude test for?” I’m not a master of small talk, but I feel like I should try an icebreaker anyway. She surprises me by answering.

“In order for someone to be of value to me, they have to be smart enough to understand what I’m telling them to do.” She looks up at me.

“Does that mean I’m getting more than just a Myers-Briggs for my psychological evaluation?”

“Clever. Yes, it does.” I think I see a smirk, but she’s turning back to the computer again. “You’re smart enough, Mister Brinks, but that’s not the only qualifier.” She picks up a clipboard and turns back to me. We go through an exhaustive list of things that I could be allergic to, and I spend a lot of time saying ‘no.’ She has me take off my shirt. I’m suddenly self-conscious, but the time to hit the gym was a couple of months ago. I pull it over my head and dump it on the floor. I stifle a chuckle. “Yes?”

“Just been a while since anyone tried to get me out of my clothes.” I’m rewarded with a stare so cold that the stethoscope she slaps on my back warms me up a little. “Sorry, doc.”

“Doctor Allison.”

“Sorry, Doctor Allison.”

“Accepted. Breathe deeply and exhale slowly.”

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