Doctors Orders

By Henry Bladon

I needed antibiotics, apparently. The prescription was in an envelope that was left for me at the surgery to collect. On my way to the pharmacy I opened the envelope and inside there was also a handwritten note from the receptionist. It looked very much like it had been done in a hurry. Nothing unusual, I thought, they probably get that scruffy writing habit from the doctors at the surgery. I scanned the note, which read: Dr said you have a slight infection and need some antibiotics. You should drink alcohol with them as it will make you very ill. I instantly saw the funny side of her error but felt the need to point out her mistaken omission of the word not, as I was concerned that someone of a more vulnerable nature might well follow the advice and I didn’t want that to happen. When I arrived back at the surgery, there was a long line behind the glass screen, so I waited patiently (like a patient ought to). When I reached the glass, I smiled and passed the note over the counter underneath the screen. “Ha ha,” I started, “I think there’s been a mistake.” The receptionist looked down at the note and then up at me. She didn’t join in my mirth. “Oh no, it was quite deliberate,” she said. “I wrote that because I didn’t like the look of you.”

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Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has a degree in psychology and a Masters in mental health policy. He also has a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Birmingham. His work can be seen in Poetica Review, Pure Slush, Truth Serum Press, Flash Frontier, and O:JA&L, among other places.

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