Short story


Author: Jonathan Woolley

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson


Do you check yourself regularly? the doctor asked.

Looking around the room awkwardly I said Define regularly.

The doctor sighed and pushed his glasses up his nose. I wondered where that finger had been so far today. This was the last place I wanted to be; sitting on a gurney/bed with a soft cushion knowing what was about to happen.

Well, I mean…how do I examine myself regularly? I have no idea. I thought we came to see you people to examine us. No one ever explained how.

What sort of diet do you have? the doctor sighed. Do you eat red meat?


Do you drink alcohol excessively?

I suppose how would you define excessively?

More than 21 units a week.

Then yes.

Have you been constipated recently? Or had diarrhea?

No to both.

Do you eat a lot of fiber or vegetables?

Not really.

Do you have a lot of cheese?


This could be the reason you have what I suspect you have.

What about a sedentary lifestyle?

Do you have one?

Not really, no.

I was clutching at straws. I was doing my best to avoid a lubricated finger. No one likes coming to the doctors; especially when it’s with a problem such as this. The receptionist seemed pissy with me because I didn’t tell her why I wanted to see the doctor. If I knew what was wrong then I wouldn’t have to see him would I was my reply. She sent me into a corner like a naughty child. The posters in the waiting room were full of smiling people who were advertising a wealth of recognisable symptoms, viruses, cancers, tumors, heart problems, and sexually transmitted diseases. Even the guy who might have genital warts didn’t seem that bothered with his predicament.

Was there a lot of blood?

Enough to make me worried and come here, I muttered.

And it was bright red?

Yep. Like that fake vampire blood you can buy from joke shops.

You need to become friends with your bowel Mr. Carter.


You need to take care of it. You need to make sure you are eating the right foods and not drinking so much alcohol.

I will. Well. Is that it?

No. We still need to check you bowel, just in case there are any fissures or polyps that could have caused this problem.

We. He made it seem like we were a team. We were in this together. It was both of us that had blood and shit mixed in the toilet water and smeared on the toilet paper. It was both of us that looked at the brown and red slushy that was draped around my toilet bowl like a lascivious socialite in a hot tub. We were a team.

You’re going to have to take off your trousers and pants and then lay on your left hand side with your knees tucked towards your chest.

What choice did I have? He’s a professional I thought. This is probably the hundredth arsehole he’s seen today. The doctor turned around as I dropped my trousers and pulled my boxer shorts round my ankles. For some reason I didn’t take off my shoes so my jeans and underwear bunched up round my ankles. I lay on the bed and brought my knees up to my chest, just like I was told. I heard the snap of latex on flesh.

 Now in a second you are going to have a slightly uncomfortable sensation; almost like you have a stool in your bowel ready for ejection.

I wished he hadn’t told me that. I would have much preferred he had just taken me by surprise. I supposed he had to tell me that otherwise it could have technically been rape. Well, finger rape. I thought I should have paid more attention to his index finger. I couldn’t remember whether it was long and slender like a pipe cleaner or fat and stubby like a yam.  It was when I thinking about the possibility of a surprise attack I felt one hand come to rest on my hip. Then he said the dreaded words:

Ready? Just relax; deep breathes. And…in we go.


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