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The bachelor lived in isolation at his pad.

He saw them every day,his colleagues at work,all married men.

And he hated them. The married men. The soiled men.

He never made any conversation with them.

For this occasion,when one of them invited him to his birthday party,
he made polite conversation,as if that’s what he always did at work.

Perhaps the husbands talked to their wives about him,how reserved and eccentric he was. How he sneaked into the shower every time he attended to one of his female patients.

Those who had previous encounters with him always sought to avoid his consulting room.

His colleagues were always very understanding when patients begged to be struck off his cases.

There were wild rumours especially from female nurses about his peculiar behaviour.

But none could be confirmed.

He never talked about his life.

He never talked about himself.

He never talked about anything.

Anything he wanted done by colleagues,he scribbled in the yellow legal paper.

He laughed. He always laughed when reading his morning newspaper.

He never laughed at anything else.

He talked. He always talked to his caged parrot.

To anyone else,he sneered,and said only the necessary few words.

He was genius at his work.

He was a bore with anyone else.

At the party,he merely smiled and the others discussed airy nothings;wives talked to him, perhaps as a butcher’s wife will talk with another butcher,just because her husband is a butcher.

And the children,when they were brought to the party,in their best clothes and with their hair tidy,were cooed over and complimented.

The five year old and the three year old boobed and curtsied at him as they were told not to try to shake his hand,but Hilda was only one-and-half year old,and when she was put down on the floor,she escaped from her mother with a gurgle of glee and ran with unsteady steps and outspread arms into the crowded room.

The bachelor drew hastily back to avoid her clutch round his legs-he did not want his legs to be touched with dirt-and she fell with a bump on her nose at his feet and wailed in consequence.

The women looked in disapprobation at him for allowing it to happen,but he was only a bachelor,old,after all,and had nothing to do with children,so they decided he was to be pitied rather than be condemned.

He was obsessive about cleanliness.

He could not lose that memory,however he tried of the toddler’s cold and wet nose bumping over the boots on his feet.

As a medical doctor,he had a professional familiarity with insanity,naturally,and he knew about the growth of delusions;he had seen the delusions of touch before.

But much later in the shower,it was hard not to stoop down and with a scrubbing brush, scrub and scrub at his feet in hope of abolishing the feeling of cold saliva,cold poison to his sick mind,upon his skin.

Did a snake have saliva?

The cold salive of a snake was the idea in his mind at the moment.

Absurd,of course,that had no relation at all to-to what had happened.

He swore violently.

He remembered now in detail about that minor incident with the toddler.

It was even worse ten minutes later,just when he was talking again to the host’s wife and priding himself of behaving naturally.

Something bumped against his feet,a table leg?,and he jerked and snarled.

The wife saw the expression on his face change,saw the horror in it.

The wine glass that he held jerked out in a golden arc as he kicked out wildly.

There was a sharp yelp and everyone looked down and round to see the host’s little puppy,which had managed to make its way into the room when the children were taken out,proclaiming the sorrow of an affectionate advance being received by a kick on the ribs.

There was more reproach in the eyes of the women as they looked at him,but he was hardly aware of it,with the sweat standing out in his forehead and his hands shaking.

A strange suggestion was making itself felt in his mind.

These soiled feet,these horrible feet,might be got rid of.

He pictured himself lying on his back with a revolver in hand,taking aim at those feet and shooting them off,bit by bit.

There was something strangely tempting in the idea;it would mean the end of his troubles.

But what was left of his sanity asserted itself again and argued with his insanity.

It would be painful(but was that not really an argument in its favour?),and it would be impractical(but perhaps not to a man as filled with an inward spirit as he was) and it was the insane who practicsed horrible mutillations upon themselves(but the insane did not have the justifications he had-they had not had his experience of hating dirt,especially of coming into any sort of contact with women and children) and he would feel better in the morning(but before morning he had still to go through the night with his soiled feet)

Insane,isn’t it,this hatred of women and children? He thought to himself.

Why do other men go crazy about such dirty beings?

He stood up.

He stamped with his disgusting feet in rage as he opened the drawer that held his gun.

A cold barrel of his revolver kissed his temple as he held it close to his head,the only kiss he has ever had,and the last one.

Then he pulled the trigger.

And the room was filled with the sound of his freedom from his misery.

By inviting him to this birthday party,his medical colleagues had hoped to cure him of his irrational hatred of women and children.

Instead,they helped him only to end his misery for good,

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®

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