Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Prognosis

The patient walks into the examining room with a look of hope on his face. He is a man in his mid-thirties, though he could pass for late twenties. People guess that he is twenty-eight. He has young skin, a full head of dark hair and a quick step. The only real wrinkles he possesses show in times of emotion, small waves at the outsides of his eyes when he laughs and ribs on his forehead when he is concerned. He is concerned at the moment, though not dejected. The wrinkles in his forehead pull his eyes open wide, expecting an answer, because when this patient has expected things in the past, he has often received them.

The doctor walks in the examining room a few minutes later to find the patient bouncing on the examining table. The doctor’s eyes drop just before they would make contact with those of the patient and he takes his stool, running it under his ass and sitting down. The stool is broken in for the doctor, bent to the correct curves of the doctor’s ass when he sits on it, but it still pushes air out as the doctor’s weight settles, a sound that both doctor and patient wait to end before they begin to talk.

The doctor is also a man in his mid-thirties and unmistakably so. He has grown a beard and cut his hair very close to the scalp to mitigate the receding hairline that has formed at the bends of his skull, as if rubbed away by a stubborn hat. The beard shows grey in stripes just below the end points of his lips. The patient finds the stripes distinguished. They give him fantasies of old Englishmen, of sucking off Sherlock Holmes. The doctor thinks of the stripes as dribbled milk, thinks, sometimes, in a bleary shower in the morning that he’ll be able to wash them away, only to find them in his mirror again.

The patient spends his time trying to make eye contact with the doctor, but the doctor does not concede. This makes the patient smile, imagining the doctor childish, that this is all a game between two fully grown twelve-year-olds on the playground. The doctor sees that he is being childish and, with a sigh, looks at the patient.

“Whaddaya want, Jeff?” the doctor asks, tapping his wedding band on the back of his metal clipboard. It’s a sound that grates both doctor and patient, but the doctor pretends not to care.

Jeff, the patient, looks shocked, almost pulling it off. He flicks the suggestion away with his hand and a smile. “Just my yearly checkup.”

“Alright.” The doctor opens a drawer and pulls out a paper gown. The patient begins to unbutton his shirt slowly. The doctor nods at the gown and shuts the door just at the sound of a zipper. He attends to other patients with a red face and an eye above their shoulders. He makes Jeff wait.

When there are no more scrips to fill out, no more swollen tonsils to gawk at and the nurses stare with concern at the remaining shut room, the doctor puts his hand on the door handle and twists it with authority. Jeff smiles at him as he enters, prostrate on the table, his legs crossed with patience.

“Sit up,” the doctor says. Jeff sits up and turns, letting his legs dangle over the side of the table. He leans toward the doctor, expecting. The doctor goes to his side and puts an otoscope in his ear. Jeff looks at the doctor’s shoulders, muscle draped with white like an Italian statue. The doctor, satisfied with the contents of Jeff’s left ear, backs off and dives awkwardly on his right.

“Doctor,” Jeff begins.

“Hang on,” the doctor says, and rubs the glands under Jeff’s chin, comparing them. He frowns and lets go.

“Oscar,” Jeff starts again, but the doctor has a thermometer now, and slides it under Jeff’s tongue, slapping his mouth shut by the chin. The doctor lifts his stethoscope to his ears and slips its dangling appendage into Jeff’s sleeve and around to his front.

“Inhale and hold, please,” he says. Jeff does. The doctor makes him hold it longer than he should and Jeff finally exhales out of necessity. The doctor backs the diaphragm out of Jeff’s sleeve and reenters the gown between the ties at the back. “Inhale and hold, please,” he says again. Jeff inhales and holds. The thermometer in his mouth beeps. It sounds like Jeff’s alarm. The doctor leaves it. Jeff exhales, again out of necessity and waits, the beeping continuing. The doctor moves the stethoscope down Jeff’s back and to the right and says, “Again, please.” Jeff inhales and holds, feeling Oscar’s breath on his neck. He holds to the count of five and exhales.

The doctor pulls the thermometer out, briefly looks at it, stashes it aside and takes an ophthalmoscope and puts his fingers under and over Jeff’s left eye. Jeff reaches for the doctor’s cheek. The doctor takes it before it makes it and holds it. When he is done examining both eyes, he turns Jeff’s wrist and presses to the area below the thumb. He looks at his watch and counts.

“Your pulse is very high.”

“I had a Coke before I got here,” Jeff says sarcastically.

Jeff takes the doctor’s other hand and puts it on his thigh inside his gown. The doctor flinches, but doesn’t pull back.

“Oscar,” Jeff says. “Come on, Oscar.” The doctor drops Jeff’s wrist and opens Jeff’s legs. He stands between them and examines Jeff’s eyes again, this time without an ophthalmoscope, admiring their beauty instead of looking for cataracts. The truth is, they’re perfect. Oscar stands for a moment, watching Jeff blink, until Jeff takes his chin and puts their lips together. He pulls Oscar’s hand up his thighs by the index finger, opening his mouth gradually and twiddling Oscar’s upper lip with his tongue. The beard, dishwater blond but thick, brushes at Jeff’s face. This is what Jeff loves the most, the feel of Oscar whiskers in his lips.

“You said last time would be the last time,” Oscar says.

“I said that, yes.”

Oscar presses his forehead to Jeff’s and rolls them against each other for a few beats. Then he takes the paper robe between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and tears it open, thigh to neck. Jeff’s body is revealed inside the paper tube. It’s bare and youthful, pink nipples and very little hair, cut like an Olympic diver but for a few stray, nearly imperceptible rolls, one at the stomach, two at the edges of the armpits. Oscar bends into Jeff’s chest and buries his face in it. It had been too long, but not long enough to forget. Jeff kisses the top of Oscar’s head, smelling the shampoo that Oscar still uses, though there’s barely a need, and slides off of the table. He holds Oscar to him tightly and kisses him some more, slowly, affectionately, letting the heat build steadily and true. He feels Oscar’s clothes against his naked skin, a poke in the chest at the pens, a poke at the stomach at his belt buckle, the rivets on Oscar’s jeans at his hips.

Oscar’s pulse is also fast. He feels it throb at the top of his sternum. He can see that Jeff wants to stretch this out, but there is a time limit, an adrenaline fear that gets bigger as the time passes, that any minute a nurse can enter the room with a single knock. There are no locks on the doors by design. With the smallest heart-chip, Oscar breaks from Jeff and asks him to sit on the end of the table. He takes a tube of KY from a tray and puts some on the tip of his finger. He walks to Jeff. Jeff bends like a contortionist, ass out over the edge of the table, lips bending into Oscar. They kiss deep and fast now, and Oscar slips his fingers inside Jeff. He locates Jeff’s prostate and begins to stroke. Jeff stops kissing Oscar and bends back a little over the paper on the table, the crunching noise of jarring pulses, his elbows tearing it up.

Jeff’s head falls back and Oscar admires his neck, the high arĂȘte at his laryngeal prominence, his Adam’s apple, the sternocleidomastoid curving down his neck to connect with the clavicle. If he concentrates, he can see the blood bounce in his carotid, faster now, sweat forming all over. Jeff’s mouth is clamped shut, but his head crackles against the paper, betraying his pleasure. Oscar slips more fingers inside and massages with weight, with power and skill. Jeff’s cock stands wickedly straight, hovering just above his stomach almost to his navel. Fuck me, he whispers, Fuck me, Oscar.

Oscar is dizzy, but slides gingerly out of Jeff’s asshole and stumbles to the drawer with the condoms. He wipes his brow on the sleeve of his coat and opens it. He gets one, takes the tube of KY and rears back to Jeff. He pulls the stirrups out of the table, sets them high and puts Jeff’s ankles in them. He unzips his pants, suits up, pulls out the step, mounts it and angles himself above Jeff. Jeff is smiling, naughty and exposed. Fuck me, doctor.

Oscar plunges inside of Jeff, abandoning himself to fate and nature, his eyes screwed shut, his body on fire. He pumps. He takes the KY and squeezes some onto Jeff’s cock. He pumps. He rubs it in. He pumps. He jerks Jeff off in his hand, already fully tumescent and throbbing. He pumps, a cool static forming in his ears, his body taking over his mind. He pumps. Jeff’s sweat has melted the paper and it has ripped, tiny rolls forming at the edges of his skin. He pumps. Jeff jolts and his ankles, trapped in the stirrups, lift his ass from the table. He pumps. Jeff’s ass contracts around him like a tight fist and his come sprinkles and sprays and splats on his stomach and chest. He pumps, his brain feather-light. Fuck me, doctor, FUCK ME.

The doctor’s office disappears. His lab coat disappears. His wife disappears. There is only Jeff and narcotic, shivering his body. He comes like a paintball gun and stays, quivering, for a while inside of Jeff.

In ten seconds, the office is back, his wife is back, the dread of the single knock is back, and his cursing of nature returns too. He takes his condom off, throws it in the biohazard bin and lingers for a moment, watching the prostrate man on his table. He zips his pants and hovers over Jeff. He bends down to kiss him.

The doctor hands the patient back his clothes, has him sign a few things while the patient gets dressed and leaves the examining room, his face back to normal.

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