A doctor’s surgery. DR BAXTER sits behind a desk. MISS THOMPSON enters through the door.
DR BAXTER: Ah, Mrs Fox isn’t it.
MISS THOMPSON: Miss Thompson.
DR BAXTER: Whatever. Take a seat. How’s the husband?
MISS THOMPSON: I’m not married.
DR BAXTER: Good good. (She sits down) Now, what seems to be the problem?
MISS THOMPSON: Oh, well, I’ve been getting this gnawing pain here… (she points to her abdomen)…
DR BAXTER: Hmmm…
MISS THOMPSON: … with a kind of cramping lower down…
DR BAXTER: (looking concerned) Oh no…
MISS THOMPSON: … which sometimes develops into a shooting pain in my belly…
DR BAXTER: Good God, this is awful.
MISS THOMPSON: You think it’s something serious?
DR BAXTER: Serious? It’s a tragedy. (He picks up a newspaper from his lap). ‘Posh and Becks in Love Split’. Unbelievable. (He closes the newspaper and places it face down on the desk). Now, what was it you were saying?
MISS THOMPSON: You were reading a newspaper?
DR BAXTER: No, before that. Something about women’s problems, was it?
MISS THOMPSON: Dr Baxter, I’d appreciate it if you’d listen to what I say.
DR BAXTER: Pardon? (He laughs. She doesn’t). Just my little joke. You were saying..?
MISS THOMPSON: I said I’ve been getting pains in my abdomen.
DR BAXTER: I see…
MISS THOMPSON: Gnawing pains, and sometimes sharp, shooting pains…
DR BAXTER: Right… tell me, do you ever wake up at the start of the week with a feeling of hopelessness?
MISS THOMPSON: Not really. Should I?
DR BAXTER: I’m not here to judge you, Mrs Fox. But those Monday morning feelings, if I were to ask you to sum them up in one word, what would that word be?
MISS THOMPSON: Depression?
DR BAXTER: No… too long… something shorter… also a type of music…
MISS THOMPSON: The blues..?
DR BAXTER: That’s it! God, it was obvious. (He picks up a pen and fills in the crossword on the back of the newspaper in front of him). Now, seven across, ‘Person who would use a crampon’…
MISS THOMPSON: (outraged) Doctor!
DR BAXTER: Really? I was thinking more of a chef, but you could be right.
MISS THOMPSON: (picking up the newspaper and throwing it on the floor) Doctor Baxter, will you please listen to me. I have serious cramping here (she points to her stomach) and I need medical assistance!
DR BAXTER: (looking thoughtful) Did you say ‘cramping’, or ‘crampon’?
MISS THOMPSON: Right, that’s it, if you don’t start paying attention in the next three seconds, I’m leaving.
DR BAXTER: I apologise, Mrs…
MISS THOMPSON: Miss Thompson.
DR BAXTER: Right. Let’s see… pains in your stomach…
MISS THOMPSON: Yes, and sometimes a shooting sensation across my abdomen…
DR BAXTER: Interesting. Any kind of metallic aftertaste in your mouth?
MISS THOMPSON: Not that I’ve noticed.
DR BAXTER: Is there a history of lead poisoning in the family?
MISS THOMPSON: Well my mother was a swan.
DR BAXTER: Really?
MISS THOMPSON: I’m joking.
DR BAXTER: Oh. I think you need to start taking this consultation a little more seriously, Mrs Fox.
MISS THOMPSON: Miss Thompson.
DR BAXTER: Thompson? You should’ve said. Now, I’m a busy man, so if we can get to the point…
MISS THOMPSON: (suppressing her annoyance) No, there is no history of lead poisoning in my family.
DR BAXTER: Well it’s probably worms then.
MISS THOMPSON: Dr Baxter, you have not even examined me, you’ve not done any tests, and the only questions you’ve asked have been pointless and irrelevant. You can’t possibly make a diagnosis just like that.
DR BAXTER: Not on my own, no. But we have computers these days. (He turns to the computer monitor on his desk and starts moving the mouse).
MISS THOMPSON: (sighing) Computers…
DR BAXTER: They’re the doctor’s friend.
MISS THOMPSON: And exactly what is this friend of yours telling you?
DR BAXTER: He’s telling me I should’ve put the six of hearts on the seven of spades when I had the chance.
MISS THOMPSON: Right, I am not sitting here while you play mindless computer games. (She starts to get up) You need to start putting your patients first.
DR BAXTER: Was that patients with a ‘ts’ or a ‘ce’?
MISS THOMPSON: ‘Ts’. Patients. (She emphasises the last syllable)
DR BAXTER: Oh. (He pauses) Would you like some Prozac?
MISS THOMPSON: No, I would not.
DR BAXTER: Are you sure? It’s sunshine in a bottle, and let’s face it, you’re coming across as a bit of a sourpuss at the moment.
MISS THOMPSON: Doctor Baxter, I suggest you give me something for my stomach cramps right now, or I’m leaving, and reporting you to the General Medical Council.
DR BAXTER: The who?
MISS THOMPSON: I’m waiting.
DR BAXTER: Ok, let’s sort this out. (He turns back to the computer). Right… check the details… check the condition… enter the amount… click to confirm… yep, it’s looking good… (he looks up) have you got the time?
MISS THOMPSON: It’s 10:45.
DR BAXTER: Oooh, we’re almost there…
MISS THOMPSON: Almost where?
DR BAXTER: (suddenly looking angry) No!! Damn those last minute bidders! That thing was mine!
MISS THOMPSON: Are you shopping on Ebay?
DR BAXTER: (looking up with a guilty expression) Um… no…
(She leans across the desk to take a look).
MISS THOMPSON: You should be ashamed of yourself.
DR BAXTER: It’s for a friend.
MISS THOMPSON: I meant using Ebay at work.
DR BAXTER: Oh right. (He stands up) Well if that’s all, I have other patients to see this morning.
MISS THOMPSON: Doctor Baxter, I am not leaving here without a prescription!
DR BAXTER: For..?
MISS THOMPSON: My stomach pains!
DR BAXTER: You have stomach pains? Why didn’t you say so? Well you’re in luck, Miss… er, Thingy. Forget prescriptions, I’ve got just the thing for you right here. (He goes over to a nearby drawer, which he opens. The drawer is marked ‘Placebos’)
MISS THOMPSON: Does that say ‘Placebos’??
DR BAXTER: (standing in front of the drawer) So… dyslexia too. It’s not looking good, is it, Mrs Tompkins.
MISS THOMPSON: I am not dyslexic! That said ‘Placebos’!
DR BAXTER: Try to keep calm, Mrs T, I’m right out of blood pressure pills at the moment. Now, what’s your favourite colour?
MISS THOMPSON: My favourite colour? I don’t know… red..?
DR BAXTER: You’re in luck. (He takes a bottle of red pills from the drawer) Now, these are powerful prescription drugs – they’re not sugar pills – but if you are on the Atkins Diet, I wouldn’t take more than four a day.
MISS THOMPSON: I’m sorry?
DR BAXTER: Gotta watch those carbs!
MISS THOMPSON: But they’re not sugar pills?
DR BAXTER: Of course not.
MISS THOMPSON: Well, good.
DR BAXTER: But they do dissolve nicely in a cup of tea.
MISS THOMPSON: What?
DR BAXTER: And don’t suck them, they’ll rot your teeth.
MISS THOMPSON: (angrily) Right, that’s it, I have had enough of this, Dr Baxter. I refuse to pander to your particular brand of crackpot medicine any longer. You clearly have no idea what you’re doing. So you can take your pills… and your newspaper… and your leather bondage gear…
DR BAXTER: (interrupting) I told you, it’s for a friend.
MISS THOMPSON: … and shove ‘em where the Prozac don’t shine. I’m leaving. (She storms out, slamming the door behind her)
DR BAXTER: (indignant) Well really. If she carries on like that, she’ll get a stomach complaint.