"Says here you have herpes, sir. Simplex 1. Less virulent, common where you have it, on the upper lip." Dr. Styles picked up his clipboard. "Yes, everyone who has a cold sore has it, and most people get it from their relatives or water fountains. Says you've had sores since you were six, so that's probably where you got it."
David nodded. Narrowing his small eyes behind large spectacles, he said, "Aunt Edna. Large woman, very large lips. Thought it was a mole, I did. Musta been this 'Erp-eeze yer on abou'."
"And the lab reports came back," Styles continued. He frowned. "Your white blood cell count is off. Indicative of infection."
David scratched his chin. "Infection, eh?"
"Yes, but you haven't complained of anything, which is strange," Styles said. "Are you experiencing any redness, swelling, pain, or are any of your parts abnormally hot?"
"I can think of one," David said with a smile. He unzipped his jeans and started pulling them down.
"No, no, David, that's not..."
On his inner thigh, there was a red rash, circular with a scarlet blip in the center like a bullseye.
"...funny," Styles finished. "Sorry, I thought you were going a different way there, David." He leaned forward and poked at the skin. "Does that hurt?"
"Little bit, yeah."
"How long have you had this?"
"Don' know. Maybe a week or two?"
"Was that a question?" the Doctor asked. David didn't say anything. "You don't know, do you?"
David shrugged. "Don' look down there very much, Dr. Styles."
"Okay, well, it could be Lyme's disease."
David, with his pants around his ankles, leapt to his feet and started waddling after the doctor. "'Ey, whadya just call me?"
"I said you have Lyme's disease," the doctor said, narrowly avoid David's grasp. "It's when you get bitten by a tick, sir." David stopped to scratch himself. "The tick can transfer bacteria into your skin. Those bullseye shaped rashes," he pointed at the leg "are hallmarks of Lyme's disease."
"Lyme's disease? Why don' they call it Tick Disease. That sounds more like it."
Dr. Styles straightened his lab coat. He was sweating, but it was an even 68 degrees Fahrenheit like every doctor's office. "Well, I think it's named after the man that found it."
"That's stupid. Why wouldja wanna call a disease afta yaself?" David waddled back to the bench. "I'd name it afta me enemies. Billy Flu. That way whenevya say 'is name, it's like a plague, it is."
Dr. Styles laughed. As scruffy as he was, and judging by his faded, tattered, flannel shirt, he was quite scruffy, you had to admit he had a certain kind of wisdom. His bushy eyebrows flexed and scrunched. Dr. Styles just chuckled some more.
"What's so funny, Doc?"
"No, you're right. I don't know why you want to be famous for a disease. Seemed kind of cool back in the day, but now..." he paused "...it seems kind of stupid." He flipped his chart over and noted Lyme's disease. “Still not enough to cause this count, though. Anything else to report? Anything else I should know about?"
"I'm 'llergic to latex."
"Yup. 'Ad that one a long time. Since I were a kid. Nasty way to find out too." His mischievous grin was toothless. "Wanna know 'ow I figgered it out, Doc?"
Dr. Styles grimaced. "Not particularly."
"I were swimmin' in the pool with one them bathin' caps on me 'ead, an' it got all itchy and swelled up. 'Ad to stop. Loved to do it, but the chlor-een makes me 'air thin.”
The doctor shook his head. "Yes, yes, I know. Used to be a swimmer myself, once. Know all about it.”
"Let's see." He pulled at his black whiskers. "Got a bad back, an' they had to pull all m'teef on the one side, and I had one them, er, whatchya call 'ems, appen-dick-tummies." He lifted his shirt and showed the doctor an ugly pink line on his right side.
"Appendectomies, yes," Dr. Styles corrected him subtly, "but none of that really goes with what I'm looking at. The white blood cell count I see here I normally associate with a virus of some kind."
"Virus, eh?" David bit his lip with the only tooth left on the top gum. "What abou' the flu? Just coming down off that."
"You have the flu, Lyme's disease, no appendix or teeth, an allergy to latex and Herpes," Dr. Styles laughed.
David shrugged. "At least I don' have malaria. S'pose it could always be worse."
Bryan Thurston has only recently begun foraying into fiction. Having spent most of his education in Biology, most of his written work there hardly qualifies as anything but drab and science-y. He critiques flash fiction pieces as a mentor on an online forum in his spare time. He lives in Connecticut, but no, he doesn't know that person from Connecticut that you know, sorry. There are 3.5 million people in that little state. Seriously. He appreciates you reading his work. Seriously. You can ask him questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or read more work at thepancreas.blogspot.com.
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