A man walks into a pharmacy

Is this place never crowded, he wonders.

He waits patiently in line, wishing he had done something with his hair, he has a mad scientist vibe going on.

Thing is, it was sort of a surpise, mid-week day off, and he thought he’d be sitting around the house, getting things done so he didn’t waste too much time making himself presentable.

But then he had called the pharmacy to see if his prescriptions were finally ready, after two weeks of waiting, and they finally were. So here he was.

There were four pharmacists manning the counter, and four lines; or rather, this being Austria, a disorganized crowd of people elbowing each other, a situation in which people from Anglo-Saxon and other societies accustomed to queuing politely are at a distinct disadvantage. He finally made it to the counter and explained to one of the pharmacists what he was there for and she went back and got his order.

It was two things, with vague directions on the boxes.

It had been four weeks since he had spoken to his dermatologist, so he asked the pharmacist how each medicine was to be used, exactly because he didn’t want to get them mixed up; also, he couldn’t even remember what the second one – a cream – was for; he only remembered that one was for the basal cell carcinoma on his shoulder. He vaguely remembered the other one might be for rosacea.

“How are these medicines to be used, exactly?” he asked.

“This one is used in the genital area,” she said in a very clear voice. Not loud, but it carried.

“Wut?” said the man.

“Genital warts?” she said.

“Basal cell carcinoma?” said the man.

The pharmacist shrugged. “Ask your dermatologist.”

“I’ll give her a call right away,” said the man, willing himself invisible. “Because, oh forget it.”

He had learned when to stop digging.