Doctor Bhagra invites me into his plush, oak-panelled office, indicates the small metal chair to the right of his desk and resumes residence in his much larger, padded leather swivel-chair. Beyond the slats of a wide, louvered window at his back, rain drives in great sheets. Linking his palms upon his lap the doctor smiles and says, “What can I do for you, Mr ——–?”

I say, “I need you to proscribe me something that will sort out all the world’s problems, and make it a much better place for everyone to live.”

Dr Bhagra studies me with a surprised but discerning frown, as though a large and previously undiscovered species of butterfly has just flown in through the partly open window and alighted in my place. “That’s not really how it works.”

“Yes, I know.” I cross my legs, fold my arms and make direct eye-contact, to impress upon him my earnestness. “However, you’re my doctor and it’s your duty to care. I’m telling you, the only way my condition’s going to improve is if the world changes for the better, I just can’t see any other way round it. The problem isn’t with me, you see?”

He gives me that look geniuses confer on idiots and says, “Mr ——–,  no such pill exists, I assure you, that has the power to change Nature Herself, but what medical science is good at treating is the nature of people. I’ve been looking at the anti-psychotics we’ve currently got you on, and I think -”

“I stopped taking them,” I say, “the day I realised I wasn’t mad. The day I realised it was the rest of the world that was mad.”

Dr Bhagra folds his arms. “We’ve been through this.”

“You’re my doctor. You’ll be breaking your Hippocratic Oath.”

His expression alters, and instantly I know I have him over a barrel. Doctors are a wary bunch; malpractice suits are their Kryptonite. He leans forward. “You wouldn’t.”

I nod. “If I had to. You’d be ruined.” Menace flickers behind his eyes, but I ignore it. “The pills, doctor.”

Without another word, he reaches beneath his desk, pulls open a draw and rummages near the bottom. His fingers return clasping a small, clear bottle full of all these little purple capsules.

 

END SAMPLE