Friday, 13 December 2013

Relief by Damon King

empty waiting room

Kelvin made sure to masturbate before he left the house. He had overheard his older brother recommending such precaution to friends. Michael was always talking about ‘hand relief’ and advised to ‘never go out with a loaded gun’—a method of preventing premature ejaculation and prolonging his sexual encounters on Friday and Saturday nights. But it was eight o’clock on a Tuesday morning, and sixteen-year-old Kelvin was not heading to a nightclub.
He folded the tissue in on itself, dropping it into the toilet bowl and pulling the handle. His eyes followed the rotation of the water as he pondered his situation. Considering the size of the lump, it seemed odd that his genitals continued to function perfectly. There was no way of knowing exactly how long it had been growing there. All of the boys in his year had attended a lesson dedicated to checking their testicles, but most of that hour was spent giggling and hurling scrunched-up paper containing crude jokes. Six months passed before he got around to following Mr Dryden’s instructions, and there had been a further six months since the unwanted discovery. He tried his best to ignore it and wish it away, but it had become painful and the dull ache had spread to the other side of his scrotum. Each time he showered and allowed his hands to wander downwards, his heart sank. He mustered the courage to call for an appointment with a male doctor. The lady on the phone explained that Dr Prestwick was an elderly gentleman with an easy-going manner, but Kelvin was scared to death—scared he would become aroused during the upcoming examination.
Kelvin was not gay, and never had cause to question his sexuality, but since the age of eleven, his genitals had developed a mind of their own. The slightest stimulation prompted a reaction in his shorts. It happened with such regularity that he was often unaware of the bulge until he needed to stand up. It required all his powers of concentration for it to subside, and he still had to adopt a stooped walk with hands in pockets.
The rush-hour bus ride to the clinic was a minefield of erotic stimuli. The gentle vibration of the bus, as it halted to allow people on and off, was enough to mobilise him—he seemed most susceptible each time he approached his stop. The tightly-dressed office girls, tightly packed into the aisle next to him, and a brush of the bare leg of the middle-aged lady sharing his seat, triggered chemical reactions beyond his comprehension. But this time, by locking his eyes on the newspaper headlines over the shoulder in front of him, he was able to maintain his composure. It appeared his pre-journey preparation was paying dividends.
He alighted from the bus in front of the imposing grey building and followed the blue Perspex signs to the sliding doors of the one-storey, red-brick building to the rear of the site. He noted the tumbling dark curls nestled in the cleavage of the young receptionist at the far end of the desk, but before his mind was able to conjure up any salacious imagery, a mop of grey hair in a long tweed skirt seated herself in the nearer chair and pointed to the rows of purple, woollen-upholstered chairs at the end of the corridor. Kelvin perched himself among the other patients.
He stared at the tiled floor but snatched occasional glances at those around him. The very nature of the clinic suggested that each had a condition related to the sexual organs, but he wondered which of them had something sexually transmitted. He felt safe in assuming that the attendance of the slouched old man with the yellowing hair was unrelated to sexual activity—maybe a boil, maybe a wart, or dare he think it, a lump? A shiver rolled up his spine and caused a shake of his head. He scanned the row of faces ahead of him. He did not find the woman in her mid-thirties attractive, but her blouse was too small for her large chest, allowing a view of her brassiere through the open gaps between the strained fastenings. He imagined the situations in which she may have acquired an infection and shuddered once more, managing to suppress any erogenous incitement with a perusal of the cleverly-worded posters and amusing illustrations of STIs pinned to the cork board.
A female voice called Kelvin’s name. He was relieved to see that it was the older of the two receptionists. He followed along the corridor to a doorway on the left. She entered ahead of him into the dim light of the room and stood back to the wall, holding the door open and sweeping her free arm to beckon him in. Her swinging hand came close to brushing against him.
Dr Prestwick has been called to an emergency on the maternity ward. This is Dr Kenny.”
The door closed and Kelvin’s eyes struggled to adjust to the murky light. Ahead of him, stretching over the edge of the counter to examine an X-ray attached to the light box, stood his worst nightmare—his dream woman; black heels on tip-toes attached by seamed legs to a figure-hugging, thigh-length skirt. As his gaze worked up to the silk blouse, the long and perfectly-straight blonde hair flicked around to reveal an immaculate, white smile. Dr Kenny removed her glasses, resting the plastic tip of one of the arms between her teeth.
Good morning, Kelvin. I’ve already had a little look at your notes, so if you could just remove your jeans and underwear and hop up onto the bed for me.”
He took a moment to gather his senses and repeated the mantra “It’s a clinical examination” over and over in his head. Dr Kenny had returned to her X-ray and Kelvin made sure to avoid looking at her as he fumbled at the buttons of his jeans. He removed his shorts and slid himself up onto the bed. The cold and clammy faux-leather surface beneath his buttocks sparked ideas of fetishism, but he lay back and attempted to maintain his cool. Dr Kenny explained the process she was about to undertake. He did not want to look at her but was fearful of appearing rude, so he tilted his head in her direction while focussing his gaze over her shoulder towards the light of the X-ray. The image of a long bone tilted upwards did little to divert him. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes, deciding that appearing rude was the least of his worries. He allowed his head to fall back and locked his gaze upon the plain, white polystyrene ceiling tiles.
So far, he had avoided embarrassment, but his mind had become a battlefield. As Dr Kenny leaned in to commence the sonogram, a loose fold of her blouse brushed against his knee; he focussed his mind on the quadratic equation that Mr Jones had drummed into them in maths class. In a sultry voice, Dr Kenny described how she was applying the gel; Kelvin concentrated his thoughts on the igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock formations outlined by Mr Griffiths in geography. She span the trolley upon which the monitor was stationed to allow herself a better view and explained that she needed a tissue to wipe the gel from her latex glove and allow a firmer grip on the probe—this was too much! Kelvin crammed his head with more irrelevant information: the order of the planets in the Solar System, top scorers in the Premier League, the denim shirt he was considering buying. He managed to detach himself from the situation completely.
His Zen-like state was destroyed when she touched his penis. She lifted it to one side and manoeuvred the probe over his other testicle. His penis rolled back. She moved it away. It rolled back again. She moved it again. This repetition was pushing his mind control to the limits. The mental strain manifested itself physically—eyelids scrunched tight, veins in the neck bulging, teeth locked together—but his manhood remained relaxed. She tore a length of tissue from the roll, placing it over his penis and asking him to hold it out of the way. So, there he lay, semi-naked in front of a gorgeous woman, with his penis in his hand.
Dr Kenny’s voice had become faint. She was stood back at her X-ray counter struggling to pull the gloves from her hands, causing them to spring back with a loud ‘thwack’.
All done. Pop your jeans back on and grab a seat in the waiting area. I’ll call you once I’ve compiled my notes.”
Kelvin’s dry mouth caused him to stumble over his simple reply, “Thanks … Doctor.”
He jumped into his jeans and had only half slid his feet into his shoes as he shuffled out into the waiting area among the new faces.
The middle-aged man sat opposite, head framed by a poster warning against the dangers of chlamydia, had a thin goatee beard without a moustache that reminded Kelvin of Mr Dryden. He heard echoes of that class in which they were shown how to examine themselves—“It takes a few seconds lads, but it could reward you with years.”
It dawned on Kelvin that he wasn’t invincible. Average life expectancy was not something he was guaranteed. People did die young. Why not him? He thought of life’s plans and dreams that his youthful mind had yet to consider—a career, a wife, a family. And then he heard Dr Kenny calling.
It was a relaxed walk back to the room—his mind no longer burdened with the prospect of removing his clothes. He rapped a confident knock on the door and took a seat without invitation. Free from the earlier pressure, he saw the doctor in a different light. Yes, she was attractive, but not half as sexually alluring as his fevered mind had convinced him.
There is a lump Kelvin … Well, you knew that anyway. But the density appears to be inconsistent with any form of tumour. I’m confident it’s nothing more than a cyst, probably caused by an infection that can occur naturally within the testes. The body would normally break it down without assistance, but I’m guessing that you’ve been a little run down and your immune system has been unable to deal with it, it’s not uncommon.”
She flicked her hand through her not-so-perfect hair and once again placed the arm of her spectacles between her not-so-perfect teeth.
The body will eventually deal with it, but these should speed things along.” She handed him a small square of headed paper daubed with an illegible black scribble.
If things haven’t improved in three weeks then book another appointment, but I’m sure things will be fine.”
Kelvin stood and smiled, jutting a clumsy hand towards her. Dr Kenny smiled back and shook it. He turned left outside the door and walked past the reception desk. He raised a wave to the grey hair peeping over the counter and allowed himself a cheeky wink to the brunette looking up from her monitor.
Outside, the blue skies had softened the grey of the larger building. Staff and patients—even those struggling on crutches, or bound in bandages—appeared joyful and contented.
Kelvin walked to the bus stop with a renewed vigour in his step. He would never be able to explain the unimaginable relief he was feeling—the relief of having avoided an erection.

About the Author: Damon has been writing since 2012. To date, he has been published in Knife Edge:An Anthology of Crime, Thriller, Mystery and Suspense Stories (Marble City Publishing), and Because of What Happened (The Fiction Desk). He is currently working on a number of other short stories that he hopes to publish soon.  

Image: Julep67