Terry stood up. The back of the dressing gown was sticking to his cheeks like clingfilm. ‘Perhaps I should find another doctor,’ he said.
‘No, no,’ said Rimmer, and ground out his cigarette in a battered ashtray. ‘Unfortunately, I’m it.’
He pulled open a drawer. His leather vagina hit the desk with a thud.
‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘I’m not going to ask you to fill it.’
His arm disappeared into the drawer again, and he produced something metal and medical with a flourish. He huffed on the dull surface and rubbed it on his sleeve.
‘If you’ll, er, follow me over to the bed, as it were.’
Terry lifted a knee onto the frame, which elicited a quiet laugh from Rimmer.
‘No, Terry. Not yet. Just sit down.’
Terry perched himself on the edge of the mattress. It was made of rubber. The backs of his legs were already stuck to it.
‘If you’ll lean over,’ Rimmer whispered, ‘I’ll have a quick look at your membrane.’
Cold pressure as Rimmer pushed and struggled to get the probe into his ear.
‘Oooh, it won’t go in. First time, is it, Terry? Shall we try some Vaseline?’
Terry batted the instrument away and stood up, dragging half of the mattress off the bed. ‘Okay, that’s enough,’ he said.
‘But you have to do your medical, Terry. Having your eardrums explode at forty thousand feet might cause problems. You could easily swerve into the path of an airliner full of drunk tourists. Think how you’d spoil their holiday.’
Terry raised a finger.
‘And I have it from informed sources,’ Rimmer continued, ‘that Windolene and a duster are not standard issue for fighter pilots.’
Drive!, a novel about music and attempted patricide in 1980s Edinburgh, is available here.