On the Thursday afternoon I had a job interview. First thing in the morning Baltic Babe sent me a text message on her way in to work. It read:
“Morning sweet. Woke up having the billy joel song being played in my mind ‘the innocent man’. Are you trying to hypnotise me or something? :)) Good luck today xx”
Was that guilt talking? If so, good.
Never in my life had I been to a STD clinic. The thought of it just didn’t excite, but so often in life it’s a question of lesser evils, so in the morning I went to my nearest one. All in the name of love. Well truthfully, because it was also time to do so. Furthermore, She-who-must-be-blindly-obeyed decreed it. Okay, also because I hate condoms. If my cock could talk it would wail “No! Not the plastic bodybag! I can’t breathe in there! It’s not natural! It stinks! Aarghhh…” every time it saw a condom coming its way.
I arrived at a small building next to my local hospital. (Why do British hospitals look like meat processing plants? ) A dividing wall stood between two doors, one door marked ‘men’ and the other ‘ladies’. Obviously no gentlemen come here. By the looks of the characters loitering in the men’s queue, I would say that that was indeed the case. Had these guys just been let out on parole? I’m pretty sure that I was the only guy there without a tattoo. They stank of cigarettes, cheap beer, urine, sweat and unwashed clothes. I’m a betting man and would put money down on the fact that I was also the only man there to have showered in the previous 24 hours. I didn’t know what the medics who worked there looked like, but I felt sorry for them. A couple of the rogues looked me up and down with expressions that said “you must be gay”. Nobody spoke, all leaned against something and fingered their phones. Were they checking their favourite online dating sites?
At the appointed moment on the atomic clock at Greenwich – not a second sooner – the doors were opened and the men filed in like convicts on their way to Devil’s Island: heads down, shoulders slouched, unspeaking. I cheerily followed suit, bemused by this scene. We entered a waiting room where the guys plonked themselves down in plastic chairs and started paging through magazines. They must have just been looking at the pretty pictures as I doubted they all could read.
I noticed a small window with a face behind it and went up to it, more out of curiosity than anything else. A bored, harassed-looking woman morbidly said, “Yes, how can I help you?”
I was tempted to say, “I’m here to claim my national lottery prize money,” but I just knew she’d have a sense of humour failure. Her long face and sullen demeanour reminded me of Droopy Dogg.
“Er, yes, good morning,” I began, sounding like a total toff. I could just hear one of the scum seated behind me go, “yeah, see, I knew he was gay” and it would echo in his empty head.
“I’m here to get myself tested,” I continued, not feeling the need to elaborate.
“Have you been here before?” she barked.
“Er, no.” I could feel eyes burrowing into my back. What was their problem?
“Right, fill this in. You’ll be first up then,” she said, pushing a piece of paper and a pen towards me. I quickly filled the form in and gave it back to her. As I took a seat some of the riff-raff got up and went to the window.
Within a minute there was a nice little queue. There they were, in the following order: Serial Killer, Living Brain-donor, Oxygen Thief, Waste of Space and Daddy’s Disappointment. What I found remarkable about this collection of unusual suspects was that they must, somehow, somewhere, have found someone to have sex with them. I had heard of ‘beer-goggles’, but there surely are limits to that. Money must have changed hands. Lots of it too.
After a couple of minutes a nurse called my name and led me to a small treatment room that had a bed, a wall of plasticware, an urinal and a washbasin. Without any introduction or pleasantries she immediately started asking me about my sexual history. When I said that I had just slept with my fourth sexual partner in almost 41 years, she looked up at me in disbelief with a raised eyebrow. Her look reinforced my feeling that I was not the typical visitor to this salubrious establishment.
Then things got kinky.
The nurse asked me to drop my trousers and pull my foreskin back. You know those black plastic tie-wraps that you use on your luggage that has a serrated strip that you pull through a hole at the other end of it? Well, she produced a red one of those and rammed it down my willy.
Oh my God! Nothing in life prepares a man for that moment. No warning, no pleasantries, just “Take that you bastard! Tell me you like it!”
That piece of plastic felt like a red hot poker as she forced it down my penis. How far down did she need to go? Really? That far?! I bet she gets job satisfaction.
Then she started to slowly pull it out. It felt like she had accidentally snagged a testicle and hadn’t realized it. I was expecting her to put a foot against my knee and start pulling, stretching her head back and saying “Heave” like an ancient Roman galley full of slaves would have as they strained at their oars. I could almost hear the Neanderthal brute banging away at the kettle drum shout out, “Flogging will continue until morale improves! Now heave!”
The plastic invader slipped out, covered in a pinkish, slimy mucus that looked like something you saw in your handkerchief when you had a really bad cold.
“There, that’s a good sample,” she said triumphantly. Oh, good. I’m so glad to hear it.
But wait, there’s more…
“Right, now we need a little blood sample from you,” she said as if it would be easy. I knew that this part would be coming, the NHS website told me so. I have incredibly evasive veins. It’s as if they know how important my blood is to me and they choose to play hide-and-seek with needles as their little way of protecting me. On the ninth attempt she managed to draw blood. I’ll never get used to being a human pin-cushion.
“Okay, this is going well,” the nurse said.
Really? What happens when it doesn’t? Scarring? Accidental castration? Unfortunate painful circumcision?
“We just need a urine sample,” she said casually.
Thank God! I’d been bursting to have a pee all morning. The website said not to pass urine for at least 12 hours. It felt like piss was ready to seep out of my eyes. Having a poker down your poker is not pleasant when you’re bursting!
She handed me a little plastic bottle and said, “If you could fill that please.”
Fill it?! I could put it over the end of my dick and let rip, shooting it across the room, out in to the waiting area and perhaps beyond. What would Motley Crue’s love-children sitting out there have to say about that?
The nurse disappeared to go do something no doubt weird with my various bodily fluids while I flooded the little plastic bottle. I’d never been so happy to see an urinal in my life. With my bladder and other spaces emptied, I felt better than James Brown. After a few minutes the nurse came back with a serious look on her face and some stuff in her one hand.
“I’m sorry, but my inspection under a microscope hints at a non-specific urethritis. It’s not an STD, but your blood tests will tell us what it is, if anything. There is a standard procedure to get rid of whatever it is. Could you please take this tablet.”
In her palm was the biggest capsule that I’d ever seen. It was the size and look of something that a small dog would drop out of it’s backside during its evening walkies. Horses get smaller tablets.
I took a big gulp of water and downed the fucker. The nurse then, not before, but only after I had taken it, rattled off a series of side-effects that made me uneasy upon hearing. Vomiting, impotence and diarrhoea were mentioned. The bitch set me up. This is what my tax money buys me?
“Now it may be as a result of your being dehydrated having recently been on holiday in a sunny climate and drinking alcohol that your sample appears suspect,” she said bureaucratically as she handed me a pamphlet.
Recently? It was a couple of days ago. I’m still finding sea sand in between my butt-cheeks, nursey! And, Hey!, what kind of science is this? Going away to somewhere warm and having a drink might mean you have an STD? I know that Spanish tap-water, for example, ain’t the best, but really? What if I told her that I had been on holiday to equatorial Africa? Would I get an isolation ward to myself?
“It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but just as a precautionary measure, I have to advise you to notify anyone that you have recently had sexual relations with so that they can can get themselves tested too.”
A deathly hush descended on my world. My peripheral vision shrank to watch her lips close in slow motion as she finished what she was saying. She may as well have suggested that I go shark-cage diving in bloody water without a cage! Baltic Babe was going to hit the roof, slowly slice my cock off with a rusty, blunt pen-knife and feed it to the nibblers at her local fish pedicure salon. How do I tell her about this?
Oh jeez…now what?