"I--goddamn it! That hurt!"
"I told you to hold still."
"Where the hell did you get your license, out of a box of Weetabix?"
"No, I cut it off a box of Cap'n Crunch. Now hold still."
I woke up this morning as a person with his injured thumb screaming more painfully than all the fucking vuvuzelas in South Africa. In other words, as myself. The only inspiration I had was to get my arse to the doctor to have another look at the thumb before I ended up cutting it off.
I should have cut it off and been done with it.
"What are you doing in England, anyway?"
"Basking in the gratitude of patients like you, Mr. Skoob."
"Really?" Dr. Martin starts winding a length of gauze around my thumb. "I'm here for the World Cup."
"Different kind of cup. Hold still, damn it, or I'll have to restrain you."
"I might like that."
"That's nice. Now hold still."
"If you were really interested in the World Cup, you'd be in South Africa, not here."
"Better here than America," says Dr. Martin. "Nobody talks about the World Cup in America."
I'm not surprised.
"There." With a final twist, Dr. Martin reaches the end of the gauze. I grit my teeth while the not-so-good doctor pinches the loose end against my thumb and tapes it down. "Good as new in no time," Dr. Martin cheerfully predicts.
I examine my thumb. It's still screaming in pain, but the doctor's got it wrapped so tightly that the circulation might be cut off by the time I reach home. A pint or two of beer will finish the job, right enough.
I hop down from the examining table. "By the way, Dr. Martin, I'm not really interested in being restrained."
"That's all right, Mr. Skoob." Dr. Martin smiles. "I'm not really a doctor."
"I'd never have guessed."
First thing, when I'm home, I'm cutting it off. It can only help.
"Actually, I'm here for the Wildcat Breeders Convention being held later this week."
"You sound just like my one-year-old niece."
"No, sod that. What was that bit--about--wildcats?"
"I breed and sell Siberian tigers for a living."
I forget about cutting off my thumb.
Not-Dr. Martin chortles as if it's all one big lark. "Why, I just stepped into this clinic on a lark, seeing the long lines and all, and in you walked, and, well, I know it's not much, but it's the best--"
"Fuck Elton John. Do--"
"I don't think he wants me."
"How much for one of your Siberian tigers?"
Not-Dr. Martin's eyebrows go up faster than the lies of BP and all the other oil companies combined.
"Well, I guess I could give you a discount," Not-Dr. Martin slowly replies. "What are you going to do with a Siberian tiger?"
I silently invoke BP and all the other oil companies combined and answer, "I have a friend who would dearly love to own one."
To Be Continued...