Author : Kyle French

Jeff stared: Surrounded by the usual crusty slop of a school nurse’s office was a fish tank, populated with 3-inch poodles, their gray-green hair wafting in the water. The nurse laughed.

“Soto’s poodles. Gotta love ‘em. Those Bolivians did some crazy things before the war, didn’t they?” She leaned in conspiratorially. “He bred these at the beginning, before they got really good at it. They say he drowned 10,000 poodles before he found one that could breathe water.”

“But…That’s not how you do –”

“Oh lay off. It’s a legend. It doesn’t have to be true. Now let’s have a look at you. Have a seat. Unbutton your shirt.”

Jeff sighed. 200 years ago, the medical profession was a highly respected industry, like telepathy, or smiths in ancient times. Now, who knew where this bimbo got her certification? Anybody could do this stuff.

As the nurse stared at his various parts and waved her wand over him, Jeff looked around. In the three years he’d been in college, he’d never actually come in for his physical. He wasn’t sure exactly how he’d managed to avoid it. The place was a mess, covered in dirt and old food wrappers, half-eaten meals, all evidence of the anti-microbial field in effect. Worst machine ever invented: it sterilized without cleaning. He sniffed. An engineer would never work in such clutter.

“Now let’s have a look at those reflexes,” the nurse said. She pulled out a small metal hammer and tapped his knee.

Instantly, his kneecap shot up six inches from his knee, the skin ripping away in searing pain. At the same time, an electric twinge went up his spine as he fell back in a spasm. Reflexively, he tried to straighten his legs, but the malfunctioning knee refused to let him, grinding against the femur.

“Whoa! Kinda twitchy, aren’t we? Let’s see what we’ve got going on here.” chuckled the nurse. She pressed a hypo to his thigh, and the pain stopped. As he sat up, she gripped the tattered skin on the underside of his knee and ripped, pulling it down his leg to reveal a complex piece of metal. The skin sagged around his ankle like a sock.

Jeff wanted to vomit.

“When did I get that?”

“Few years ago. Freak accident. You said you didn’t want to remember. There we are! I thought that was getting a little flaky last year.” She tweaked something, then shoved the kneecap back into place, rolled the skin back up the leg, and waved her wand over the wound. The skin healed over. “All done!”

Gingerly, Jeff stepped off the mat. Everything felt… normal. Slowly he walked to the door.

“Here. Have one on me.” The nurse tossed a packet to him. The label said, “Forget me shots – instant amnesia.” Jeff suddenly realized why he couldn’t remember his other physicals.

“You know,” said the voice behind him, “You really shouldn’t take those. You miss all the best parts. Last year after looking you over, we had a great time, right in this roo – ” He ran out, slamming the door to muffle her cackling.

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