I came home from work, put my keys in a place I’d probably forget and went straight to the kitchen. My girlfriend wasn’t there, not that I expect her to be at all times. I’m no pig, but it’s usually where I find her between five and six. After taking a can of coke from the fridge I headed to the bedroom. There she was, standing next to the bed, dressed in a nurse’s uniform.
‘Have you got a new job?’ I asked.
‘No, it’s for sex. Does it turn you on?’ she said.
‘Not really. It makes me think of hospitals and dying. Maybe you should take it off.’
‘Just get on the bed.’ she said. She pushed me onto the bed and slid off my trousers. For months she’d been suggesting roleplay, but I’d always say ‘That aint keepin’ it real.’ in my best gangster voice.
I never told her that sometimes when we made love I imagined that I was Batman. She wouldn’t understand. Running her hands up my legs, then cupping my balls she said ‘I think I’ve found a lump.’
‘I like that you’re really getting into character’ I said ‘but I don’t think this is working.’
Eighteen hours later I was sitting in my doctor’s office. He must be about eighty. I’m never sure if it’s better to have a really old doctor or a really young one. An old one has more experience, but someone might have forgotten to tell him all the latest advancements in medicine over the past fifty years.
‘I’m afraid I have some good news and some bad news. It’s not cancer.’ he said.
‘Oh, thank God.’
‘However, I found something else when I was looking at your bloodwork. Your sadness levels are off the charts.’
‘But I definitely don’t have cancer?’ I asked ‘I’m going to be ok?’
‘Well here’s the thing – in all my years of medicine I’ve never seen anything like it.’
He opened his drawer and pulled out a tube of clear liquid. ‘Your blood is made of tears. By all medical standards you should be dead.’
‘It’s a miracle.’ I proclaimed.
‘I’m afraid you don’t seem to realise just how sad you are. You could die at any moment.’
‘But I feel fine. And you’re positive I don’t have cancer?’
‘Yes, but look at this scan.’ he said, as he got up and stuck a picture to one of those light up wall things. ‘This here is your pituitary gland. It should be about the size of a pea, but yours is the size of a walnut and it’s shaped like a labrador’s face.’
‘But that’s a good thing, right? It’s cute?’
‘I’m afraid it’s the saddest possible face.’
I was beginning to doubt what the doctor was saying. Maybe it was simple denial, but I wanted a second opinion.
‘Could I have someone else take a look at me?’ I asked. ‘Someone a bit younger?’
‘I wouldn’t want to upset one of my colleagues by having them witness such a condition. I daresay I’ll have trouble sleeping for a week. Listen, I’m not supposed to do this, it goes against everything I stand for and I could lose my license, but I’d be willing to put you to sleep.’
‘I’m not sure. I just don’t feel that sad.’
‘At least go home and think about it.’
I agreed that I would. As I got up to leave he called me back. ‘I didn’t want to tell you this earlier, because I wasn’t sure how you’d take it in your state, but you do have cancer. Here’s my private number. Call me if you change your mind.’