“What’s the matter?” Vince feigned, as Jer stumbled into the room clutching a little piece of white paper and a torn white envelope. “You look awful.”
“You were right,” Jer choked out, handing Vince the crumpled note before he collapsed on the bed, “I knew it! Oh my god o my god o my god …”
Vince had prepared his best “I’m shocked, shocked!” routine, but he hadn’t been prepared for the depth of despair and anguish. All he could muster as he pretended to read the note was a faint, “Holy cow!” which ironically made his reaction seem even more sincere. “Come on, Jer,” he offered supportively, “You probably don’t have …”
Jer cut him off with a grand gesture. “What do you think THIS is then?” he wailed, pulling aside the leg of his short-shorts to reveal a rashy public area that had been made blisteringly red by incessant scrubbing in the shower.
The sight, disturbing now on multiple levels, brought about the intended reaction and stunned Vince to silence.
“Christ!” Jer continued from his horizontal soap box on the bed, “I thought it was Jock Itch! Why didn’t you say something?”
“You only described it,” Vince responded, now on the defensive, “You didn’t show me.” Then he added hastily, “Not that you should … normally.”
Jer was now catatonic.
“What are you gonna do?” Vince eventually asked.
“Make an appointment with the Health Center,” Jer mumbled in despair, “What else can I do?”
[Now, I want the reader to notice that, at this point, the only thing I did was write the note. I didn’t think of it, I didn’t egg it on, and I didn’t let it keep going past this point. I wasn’t even around that afternoon. But this is where, I have to admit, things start to get pretty funny. Because, you see, Jeremy made the appointment at the Health Center. And after another long shower, he headed off walking, Ray said, as he spied on him through the curtains, with a grim determination and crab-like gait.]
When he arrived at the Health Center, Jer checked in and sat gingerly down on one of the chairs in the waiting room. There were all kinds of warnings and pamphlets on the table. Drinking. Drugs. The flu. And STDs. One pamphlet asked, in a accusatory manner, “Do you think YOU can’t get one?” in big red letters. He shuddered. Over on the other table there were free samples of different items, and a big glass bowl full of free condoms. He was hemmed in by reminders of his own stupidity.
“Jeremy?” The voice practically vaulted him out of his chair.
“Come on back.” The doctor turned her back on him and headed for the examining room.
“Um,” Jer stammered, “Are .. are you the doctor?” The doctor turned around, slightly annoyed. She got this all the time from male students.
“Yes, I am.”
“I … I thought … I just … maybe … think I might need to see a male doctor ’cause .. ah … see … I got …” Jer trailed off.
The doctor was not amused. Great. Some guy with a penis issue, retracted testicle, or hemorrhoids. Why did she always get these guys when Ben was gone? Did someone schedule them on her days just to be funny?
“I’m sorry, but Dr. Ben is out today. You can reschedule to come back tomorrow when he’s in if you want to [please, please, please…]”
“No,” said Jer quickly, his face taking on a bit of panic, “I need to see someone today.”
“Well,” said the doctor, looking defeated, “Come on back then.” She headed down the hall and Jeremy, mustering every ounce of determination he had left not to bolt in the other direction, followed her.
Back in the room Jer sat up on the examination table, as the doctor busied herself with arranging items while she steeled herself for the inevitable. “So, Jeremy,” she eventually turned and said, “What seems to be the problem?”
[continued in the next segment]