Caught out by a beastly rep

My heart ached and a drowsy numbness pained my senses as though of hemlock I had drunk, or some dull opiate emptied to the drains; in other words, another drug rep was here to see me.

He was obviously just out of rep school but his car, I observed, was already bigger than mine. He was pink cheeked, fresh faced, bright eyed, keen as the scalpel I had used that morning on an infected sebaceous cyst, which had splashed me in retaliation with foul-smelling gunk. The odour of the gunk lingered, conspiring with the rep's aftershave and my own unforgettable body odour to create an atmosphere so foetid that a hyena would have felt nauseous.

I was correspondingly less than welcoming and rather churlish, which is a bit unlike me as I usually don't mind seeing reps; anything is better than seeing patients, I reckon. He opened a big folder and, to my further dismay, started at page one. 'What is your first line for treating hypertension?' he asked. I looked around, but my flame-thrower wasn't handy. Being given an oral exam made me even more truculent, especially as I didn't really have a good answer and guilt makes me defensive (It's an Irish Catholic thing - guilt is an integral part of our upbringing, we are incomplete without it, and it makes sin taste even sweeter).

I made a mental note to download a protocol or, more likely, nick one from another practice as soon as possible, maybe sometime over the next few years.

I'd do it tonight only I'm washing my hair.

'It depends, I can't remember, ask the practice nurse, the dog ate my homework, something like that,' I said. Undaunted, he showed me some colourful graphs, which proved nothing except that I don't understand statistics and I never will. I glanced at the clock meaningfully, drummed my fingers, yawned and expectorated a little.

'I believe you're on holiday next week,' he said, falling back on lesson one from Ten Things A Drug Rep Must Ask Before He Dies.

'So?' I replied. 'Where are you going?' 'Away,' I said. 'Have you been before?'

'Yeah.' 'Did you enjoy it?' he persisted. 'Obviously not. That's why I'm going back.' I had to hand it to him. He may have been an obnoxious, toadying little upstart (with a big shiny car), but by golly he was game. 'Well, don't do anything I wouldn't do,' he said. 'So bestiality's alright then?' I replied.

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