This is actually a short story I wrote and will actually be published next month in Cynic Online Magazine...before you complain, the title is misspelled for a reason! The Hypocritic Oath This hay fever is a real son of a *****,was all Robert could think about as he sat behind his desk. It was always like this when the season changed. His nose would start runny, his eyes began to water, and his head started to ache like someone was pounding on it with a jackhammer. Doctor Malloy always gave him some allergy pills to help him through. But Doctor Malloy was gone. The hospital's authority board kicked him to the curb a few months back. The complete details of his firing were still a bit sketchy and unknown. Rumor was he had been dishing out pills left and right to anyone who asked for the stuff, something Robert never asked about and hoped wasn't true. Another rumor was that the good doctor had just run afoul of the board and refused to kiss ass. "Mr. Adams," the intercom buzzed. Tricia, the secretary at the front office was calling. "Yes, Tricia?" "The Collinses are here for their parent-teacher conference." Robert rolled his water-filled eyes. Joey Collins was certainly a hell-raiser. In his twelve years as principal of Worthington Academy, Robert had never seen a force of nature like Joey. The little bastard was responsible for roughly five hundred dollars worth of damage this time. No matter how bad Robert wanted to break the news to Joey's parents that their sweet angel was getting thrown out of Worthington, he just didn't feel up to it. "Tricia, see if you can get in touch with Assistant Principal Caldwell. Ask him to meet with the Collins family," Robert instructed. "I'm feeling a bit under the weather. I think I'll leave for the day." "I'll do that," she chirped back. "Do try to get better, sir." Grabbing a tissue, Robert stuck it up to his nose and gave a shrill blast as the snot flowed into the tissue. I guess I can swing by the medical center was what he thought after the snot rag was out of his hands and in the trashcan. It was five past ten in the morning, and he didn't have to pick up his daughter until later that afternoon. He sat up, grabbed his leathery briefcase, and headed out the door of his office. Robert pulled out a tissue and dappled his runny nose as he headed outside the administration building into the cloudy mid-morning day; this hay fever is a real son of a *****. Three hours later and Robert was still at the same spot he had been at since arriving at the medical center: the waiting room. He kept to himself as he sat in the cheap chair and looked around at the others waiting their turn. A heavy man decked out in a work shirt and jeans sat in a chair with his right arm in a sling. He was tilting his head up, watching the soap opera that was being acted out on the small TV bolted to the waiting room wall. A toddler in a red jumper lay in the floor coloring. His chubby mother with peroxide blonde hair thumbed through a magazine with movie stars on the cover. For the past three hours, it was just Robert and the three others in the waiting room. Three hours and not a sign of the nurses or doctors. He continued to sit in the small room, his eyes glancing towards a heavy wooden door. That was the door the nurse was supposed to come out and call patients back, but apparently they did things different here. The door's wooden paneling glistened in the waiting room light as Robert stared at it intently. Naturally, the door was locked and the only way to open it was from the other side. Robert shook his head and turned to look at the soap on the TV, his frustration growing. Finally, his salvation came. "Robert Adams," the nurse said as she opened up the heavy door. She was clothed in bright pink scrubs, sneakers, and her bony face gave a look of sheer boredom. "That's me," he said as he shoved a tissue up to his face and blew his runny nose. The worker with his arm in a sling eyed Robert enviously when he passed by/. "Come on back," the nurse said with a smile that was not really believable. He followed her through the doorway and gave a little start as the door slammed shut with a loud thud. "Now, sir. You do have insurance?" The Bony Nurse asked as they walked him down the office's halls. "Umm, yes. My, uh, the school system I work for has a co-pay."25 "Ahh, you're a teacher?" She asked, her voiced peaked with fake interest. "Principal. I work at Worthington Academy." "Okay....and you have insurance?" "Yes," Robert said with slight frustration. "Good. We always have to make sure before we see anyone. Indigent care has really hurt the hospital." Robert followed her down the hallway, past empty examination rooms. Working up the nerve, he finally cleared his throat. "Umm...if you don't mind me asking.... What exactly took so long in the waiting room? It doesn't seem you're too busy today." "Oh, that," the nurse said in her fake chipper personality, "we were gone to lunch." Robert raised his eyebrow slightly, "Lunch?" "Yes, sir. We usually leave at eleven and come back at one." He bite the inside of his mouth to keep from screaming what he was thinking. Two hour lunch break? You *****es leave for two hours to take lunch and don't even think of telling the sick people in the waiting room where you are? "Oh," he mumbled weakly as the bite mark in his mouth started to ebb a little blood. Still flashing her fake smile, the nurse showed Robert into an examination room. "Have a seat and Doctor Peters will be with you." She turned to leave as he sat down on the table. He was still thinking about the long wait and the two-hour lunch break when she shut the door. He had heard on the radio that the hospital was millions of dollars in debt. With the way they treated patients, it sure as **** served them right. Here he was, with insurance and even money, and they took their sweet time. Jesus, no wonder the president wanted to reform healthcare, it needed something. Robert was really missing Doctor Malloy. Robert glanced around the room at the sterilized white walls and floors; bland paintings of boats and trees were decorated on the walls in an effort to give patients comforting thoughts. The room's counter was stocked with cotton balls and tongue depressors. Robert looked at his watch as he sat on the table. Five minutes went by, the ten, twenty, finally, after a half-hour, the door opened up. Doctor Raymond Peters was the head of medicine for the hospital. In his early 60's, his silvery head of hair along with his chiseled features and tanned skin made him look like an old movie star, Robert thought, somewhere along the lines of Paul Newman or Burt Lancaster. Right now, he stood in front of Robert Adams inside one of the medical center's examination room, his white lab coat draped over a lime green polo shirt and black slacks. "Hello, Mister Adams. How are we feeling today?" Peters asked Roberts, his pale blue eyes gazing at Robert over a set of wire framed reading glasses. "Hay fever is really doing a number on me, Doctor," Robert said as he sneezed into his hand. His nose was running like a leaky faucet and his head felt like he had a vice clamped between his temples. With a chuckle, Peter said, "Well, I'm certain I can help you out with that." Robert flashed a slight smile at the aging doctor. He reminded him of his grandfather, and the doctor's delicate matter put him at ease. The two men sat in silence as Peters reviewed Robert's chart and finally looked up. He removed his glasses and smiled at Robert. "Now, Mr. Adams, can you stand up for me, drop your pants and underwear. I'll need you to bend over on the counter?" "Umm..." "Don't be alarmed. I'm just going to do a prostate exam. Standard routine for a man your age." "What does this have to do with my hay fever? Can't I just get my allergy pills and go home?" "You know, Mister Adams. You ask about those pills," Peter said. His cheerful demeanor all but vanishing. "Are you certain that Doctor Malloy was just giving you allergy pills?" "What? Yes!" Robert blurted out. "Okay. I only ask because you fit the model of drug seeking behavior. Now, allow me to examine your prostate and then we can get on with it," with the last sentence, the doctor's reassuring smile had disappeared. Robert's shoulders slumped in defeat. He gingerly stood up and pulled his khaki pants and boxers down around his ankles. Robert leaned forward onto the counter with the cotton balls and tongue depressors, glancing behind him. Doctor Peters' smile was back on his face as he slipped a latex glove on. The sound of the glove popping over the doctor's hand made Robert jump. "A bit gun shy, are we?" Peters asked. "Just...just a bit. I've never really done this." Robert had always heard some horror stories about prostate exams, about how guys who had them done couldn't **** right for a few days. He hoped they were exaggerating. Robert watched the doctor as he went behind him. He heard the sound of something being squirted out of a bottle followed quickly by the smell of mint. "That's just some lube," the doctor said soothingly, "we don't want to tear your sphincter out." Robert's mind was racing, he took a deep breath and thought of a song to sing in his head, that always put him at ease. It's more than a feeling... "Okay, on the count of three." When I hear that old song they used to play... "One...." More than a feeling... "Two...." I begin dreaming... "Three! More than a feel-HOLY **** ON A SHINGLE! Robert closed his eyes and gritted as what felt like a lead pipe was prodding into his anus. "Jesus, doc. I thought you said you used lube." "I did, Mr. Adams," Peters said as he navigated through Robert's insides like a drunk trying to navigate a 747 through a snowstorm. Robert felt a burning sensation in what he was sure was his colon. As the pain went farther and farther north, Robert closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. The chances of him leaving his family for a man after this had become almost non-existent. "Hmm...I think I feel something," the doctor muttered. That would be my Adam's Apple, *******! Robert winced in pain when the foreign object now jabbed up and down inside him. Doctor Peters was poking something. Suddenly, a deep throbbing somewhere in the vicinity of his large intestine replaced the flaming pain. Robert turned to see Dr. Peters removing his glove. He tossed it into the trashcan and Robert saw smudges of brown and red on the glove as it went into the trash. "I'm concerned, Mr. Adams." Peters said, a serious look on his face. "Your anus is now bleeding." I wonder why that is? "What do you thinks causing that," Robert grunted a bit sarcastically as he pulled his underwear up. "Oh, it it could be any number of things," the doctor said as he put his glasses back on his face. "Yeah...but...umm.... what about those allergy pills?" Peters looked at him as if he had just called his mother a dirty name. Suddenly, he nodded. "Yes, that's right. Almost slipped my mind." Robert silently prayed. If he could get those allergy pills it would all be over, he could go home with his sore ass and not have to come back to this hellhole until he was in the emergency room. No more flaky receptionists, or stuck up nurses, and no more sadistic movie star doctors. "I think I'm going to hold off on those allergy pills for now," the doctor said as he turned back to the chart. Robert's heart sunk inside his chest. He watched he doctor scribble down notes in the chart's margins. "Based on the results of today's exam, I'm really worried about your prostate. I'd like for you to come back tomorrow, we can give you an MRI and survey the damage fully." "But...." "Mr. Adams, I'm a doctor. Trust me," he said as he flashed the smile that Robert was coming to loathe. Robert shrugged his shoulders and his head sunk. "Okay, when's the earliest you can pencil me in?" "You can come in at ten, but first I want you to see the nurse so she can give you some antibiotics." The doctor left the examination room as Robert pulled his pants back on. He was wondering if the doctor had ripped his anus when he was finally out of the examination room. Peters nodded at Robert and pointed down the hallway. The doctor led the way, with Robert waddling behind, walking like a cowboy in a cheap western. Robert followed Peters to the nurses' station. Waiting for them was Bony Nurse. "Delores, be a doll and fix Mr. Adams here up with some antibiotics," Peters said as he slipped his reading glasses into his lab coat pocket. "Sure thing, doctor." This time, the nurse's smile actually seemed genuine. "Oh," the doctor said, turning to Robert. "You have insurance?" "He does," the nurse answered for Robert. "He's some sort of teacher or something." "I'm the principal over at Worthington Academy. In my time at the school, we've been recognized as a National School of Excellence over a dozen times," Robert said proudly. "Whatever," Bony Nurse replied, "but his insurance has full co-pay including dental and even cosmetic surgery." "Amazing," Doctor Peters said with a small glint in his eye. "Your insurance pays for all that? Simply amazing. Well, I'll leave you in Delores' capable hands, it's almost tee time!" With that, the doctor bounded off down the hall. Robert looked over at the Bony Nurse, now christened Delores by Doctor Peters. He had a slight panic attack as she popped on latex gloves and pulled a six-inch needle out of the cabinet of medical supplies. "Now, Mr. Adams," the fake smile was back. "Please drop your pants again. I'll just inject the antibiotic into your left buttocks cheek and you can go." It was then that Robert noticed the six-inch needle had a half-inch hole in it. He whined weakly and undid his belt buckle. This hay fever is a real son of a *****. The next day, dressed in a fashionable hospital gown with his ass showing, Robert Adams limped down the hallways of the hospital, the effects of yesterday's sodomy still taking their toll on him. The nurse showed him to the MRI room. Four plain, white walls that were decorated with the same bland pictures that hung in the medical center's examination room greeted him. The MRI machine was a heavy tube object sitting horizontally on the floor, its cream colored paint shined in the room's florescent lights. Robert eyed the gurney that was sticking out of the tube and noticed the track that lead into the machine. All he had to do was get on the gurney and the machine did the rest. "Mr. Adams," a heavyset man in scrubs said entering the room, "my name is Lance and I'm the MRI tech. I'll be taking care of you today." Robert surveyed the man, eyeing his shaggy black hair and stubble-filled face. Robert guessed the man couldn't be much older than twenty, the earring that hung from his left ear all but confirmed he was still a kid. Curiously enough, he had tattoos on his arms. Several looked dull and favored tattoos made in prison. "Okay," Robert said timidly when Lance flashed a smile that seemed to be a bit too phony. "You do have insurance, right?" Lance asked cautiously. The MRI tech turned to a large duffel bag that rested on the counter next to the scanning machine's equipment. "Yes..., mm-my insurance has co-pay for almost anything." "Good, very good. Now, if you'll just step into the machine, we'll begin." Robert turned his back to walk towards the MRI machine when he felt it: cold metal touching his neck. A blow to the top of his spine sent him flying forward. He collapsed into a heap on the hospital floor. His eyes remained focused long enough to see Lance standing over him with a tire iron. After that, darkness. When Robert Adams opened his eyes he expected to feel horrible, searing pain. Only, he didn't feel pain. Only a numb sensation that coursed through his whole body was there to greet him. His eyes were locked upwards, looking at the hospital room's ceiling. He assumed he was laying in a hospital bed, but he couldn't feel the sheets of the bed, or even the fluffy pillow that was rested beneath his head. He tried to sit up, but his body wouldn't comply with his commands. "You're awake? Good," a voice called out from in the room. The face of Doctor Peters came into view. "Lance is a spirited boy, although a bit rough. We've tired to get him to use something more precise, say along the lines of a hammer or mallet. But the boy has an affection for the tire iron. Did you know that's the same weapon he murdered his parents with? The last few times Lance went with that particular weapon, the results were messy. I'm glad he got it right." Robert did his best to yell at the man, leap up and strangle him with every ounce of his strength. Only, he couldn't. "You see, the base of the neck, where Lance hit you, is the connector to the rest of your body's nerves. Think of it as the junction point of the nervous system's superhighway. A crippling blow to that bundle of nerves can kill or paralyze a man for the rest of his life. You're very lucky he didn't drop the tire iron an eighth of an inch or you'd be in the morgue." Robert couldn't believe what he was hearing. A deranged hospital employee had attacked him and crippled him, and Dr. Peters knew about it! What happened to the Hippocratic Oath?! "Yes, I know it may be a violation of that oath we doctors take," Peters said almost on cue. "But sometimes you have to do things to survive," the doctor said with the smile that, at this moment, Robert wanted to wipe off his face. "The hospital has been losing money steadily. They predict that by next May we'll be bankrupt. So, the Hospital Authority Board did what they thought was best. Patients who, like you, are middle-aged with mild health problems and insurance would be picked out. We would then horribly cripple them in order to assure the hospital could have steady revenue for some time to come." Robert's eyes now held a look of fierce determination as he stared up at the doctor. "Don't be so shocked, Mr. Adams. Firemen start fires, policemen are crooks. So what, if I may ask, is so wrong about doctors creating injuries? We'll tell your wife and children you had a stroke and that caused your total paralysis. They'll believe me because, well, because I'm a doctor. After a few weeks, you'll be transferred to our long-term care facility where you will live out the rest of your days watching soap operas and eating apple sauce out of a tube." Robert was furious. Now, more than ever, he wished that Doctor Malloy hadn't been fired. "You know it was Doctor Malloy's original idea," Peters said. "The reason he left was to open a private practice to where he could help' other patients," the elderly doctor said with a wicked smile. The doctor now left Robert's sight as he walked out of the room. "I'm about to call your family in Mr. Adams. Please do try and look sad for them." Robert Adams closed his eyes and breathed deeply. He could hear the doctor walking down the hospital's hallways. Robert opened his eyes and glanced down at his face. He saw that his nose was running uncontrollably. "Yep, this hay fever is a real son of a *****."