How's the rash, Mr Trotter?

Jerry was seriously wondering if the best course of action if you were feeling unwell was to spend forty five minutes in an enclosed space with twenty other sick people, many of whom were coughing, wheezing, or sneezing. Finally he reached for his coat and was getting up to leave when his name came up on the screen.

Mr J Trotter. To see Dr Labinovska. Room 4.

As he went along the corridor he stopped to put his head into the reception office.

“I usually see Dr Spencer,” he said. The woman didn’t look up.

“He called away. New doctor here today. You lucky see anyone.”


He knocked on the door of No 4 and went in. The doctor was young, stern, bespectacled and female. She was typing onto her screen and didn’t look at him at first. Then she said, “Yes?”

Jerry pointed vaguely downwards. “Well, I’ve got this rash and also …”

“Take your trousers off and lie on the couch. Underpants too please!”

He was dazed by a series of questions and was only dimly aware of cold hands with long clear varnished fingernails, and a faint smell of musky perfume. Five embarrassing minutes later he was zipping himself up and sitting down again.

“Well, Mr Trotter, you’re in pretty poor shape for a man of your age. Bad diet, overweight, high cholesterol, flabby muscle tone, smoker, excessive alcohol intake… ah yes, incipient haemorrhoids and prostate enlargement.”

“Oh. Well, you see… I’ve just got divorced and…”

“And no doubt this rash was caused by sexual intercourse with someone who’s probably had several different partners.”

“Ah, well, yes, that is possible. You see, I…”

“But it’s not serious and I’m going to give you some cream to clear it up. Rub it on the affected area. Just refrain from relations for a while, if you can manage it.”

She was scribbling a long list of prescriptions. “Now take these and come back to see me in a month. And Mr Trotter - ” She looked him in the eyes for the first time. “Hopefully you can get your life sorted out?” She turned back to her screen and he was dismissed.

That weekend as he contemplated unenthusiastically his grimy bed sit and the can of baked beans by a half empty bottle of red wine, he debated as usual whether to stay at home and watch the telly or to pop down to the pub, where, he had just remembered, it was Live Music night. And again as usual he decided to pop down to the pub.

Much later, when the music and dancing were in full swing, he lurched across the crowded floor. Two girls were sitting nursing drinks and acting as if they were oblivious to the scene around them. The dark one was attractive in a plump, colourful way, but the suntanned girl with the shoulder length blonde hair and the sky blue top put her in the shade.

She looked up coolly at him as he stood swaying and trying to recall his most successful pick-up line. There was a long silence. Then the fair girl spoke.

“Well? Cat got your tongue? You could try ‘Hi, girls, can I get you a drink’ ?”

Jerry gulped and was about to answer when the girl got elegantly to her feet. She was curved in all the right places, and her smile put the flashing strobe lights to shame. “Dance, then?” she said.

As they jerked their bodies at each other in time to the raucous music, she came closer to him and slipped her arms round his waist. He could smell a musky perfume that made him dizzy. It seemed somehow familiar. She put her face very close to his and whispered, “How’s the rash, Mr Trotter?”

The room was beginning to spin and he could only gape down at her. She had white even teeth, full lips, and a low cut blouse which concealed very little. She scooped her glass off the table as they smooched past it and took a long drink, and he saw that she had lovely hands too. Now he knew who she was. He took a deep breath.

“Why, hello, doctor,” he said in his best Leslie Philips voice. Their bodies were very close together. ‘What’s a lovely locum like you doing in a place like this?”

“Even doctors need a little relaxation,” she said. “But I found out long ago that’s it’s no good sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Nobody ever asks their GP out on a date, right? So I come out with my friend.”

“But why pick on a wreck like me?”

She smiled. “There’s nothing wrong with you that a good woman couldn’t cure. I happened to notice that your basic equipment’s pretty good. Very good indeed in fact….” She cupped her hands round his buttocks as they danced. “You’re a challenge, that’s what. And I happen to like a challenge.”

It was getting noisier and the music was louder than ever. He had to shout in her ear.

“I’ll be your challenge, if you can fulfil a fantasy of mine.”

“And what’s that?” she asked coquettishly, raising a tanned arm to smooth her long blonde hair out of her eyes.

“I’ve always wanted to tell people that I’m under the doctor,” he whispered. “Do you think that might be a possibility?” “Oh, yes, Mr Trotter,” she breathed. “Actually that’s just one of several possibilities I could think of.”

And the music grew louder still.

Richard Vaughan-Davies

I retired to the Cotswolds ten years ago after selling the retail business in North Wales which I had built up over forty long years. Fortunately for my sanity most of my time was spent creating advertising copy and promotions, which dramatically increased the business and taught me the power of words. Being a member of the Chippy Writers’ Group encouraged me to attempt a lifelong ambition to write a novel. Recently published, In the Shadow of Hitler is a romance set in the ruins of bombed-out Hamburg in 1946.

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