[Note: this is the first in a series of eavesdropping conversational pieces. I like to record everyday banter using my mobile phone recording device. I then either delete them if they are boring, or transcribe them if they are of interest to me and possibly others.]
SCENE: A busy pharmacy in an equally busy shopping centre in the northern suburbs.
TIME: Approaching noon on a weekday.
BLOATED BOY (hushed): I need something to treat piles.
PHARMACIST: Excuse me?
BLOATED BOY: Hemorrhoids. I need something to treat hemorrhoids.
PHARMACIST: Oh. Are they internal, external or both?
BLOATED BOY (hushed): Both.
BLOATED BOY (louder): Both.
PHARMACIST: Would you prefer a cream or suppositories?
BLOATED BOY: I have no idea. What are the pros and cons of each?
PHARMACIST: I can’t decide that for you, Sir. All I can tell you is that the cream comes with an applicator and is known to be fiddly, whereas the suppositories are slightly more convenient. At least that’s what the customer feedback would have you believe.
BLOATED BOY: Oh.
PHARMACIST: Some people – males, mainly – are squeamish about inserting something deep into their rectum.
BLOATED BOY: The cream is fine.
PHARMACIST: Alright. Give me a moment.
A woman, looking to be in her late twenties/early thirties, approaches the counter. The pharmacist converses with a fellow employee, then approaches the counter to serve the woman.
PHARMACIST: How can I help?
WOMAN: I need…umm, I have this…thing that needs…ummm…
PHARMACIST: Take your time. I’ve heard it all by now. There’s nothing you could possibly have that will shock me in any way.
WOMAN: I have…
WOMAN: Pubic dandruff.
PHARMACIST: Excuse me?
WOMAN: I have dandruff in my pubic area. There are flakes and I’m appropriately concerned.
PHARMACIST: Oh. That is strange.
WOMAN: Are you shocked?
PHARMACIST: You know what? I really am!
WOMAN: Yeah, well imagine the look on my fucking face when I look down and I see flakes in my pubes. I thought I had crabs again.
PHARMACIST: How do you know that it isn’t cra…err, pubic lice?
WOMAN: A woman just knows.
The woman starts unbuckling the belt around her waist and the top button of her jeans.
WOMAN: Want me to show you?
PHARMACIST: No, no! Absolutely not. That will not be necessary.
WOMAN: But I really want you to see it. There’s a redness on the pussy lips as well that I’d like to get checked out as well, while I’m here.
PHARMACIST: Then I suggest you make an appointment with your doctor and get it checked out. And can you refer to them as the labia majora or minora, please? Your terms are rather offensive.
WOMAN: Fine. So what do I do in the meantime?
PHARMACIST: May I suggest Head and Shoulders?
The woman leaves in a huff. The pharmacist turns to me.
PHARMACIST: May I help you, Sir?
BLOATED BOY: Just waiting for my cream.
PHARMACIST: Oh yes, of course. You have piles.
BLOATED BOY: Yes. Thank you for announcing that to the entire fucking store.
PHARMACIST: What is that on your neck?
BLOATED BOY: Huh?
PHARMACIST: Your neck. There is a spot on your neck that looks ominous.
I reach for my neck, feel for an ominous spot.
BLOATED BOY: I’m struggling here.
PHARMACIST: It’s right there! It’s an odd shape and a strange color. I’d get that checked out if I were you.
BLOATED BOY: Oh?
PHARMACIST: Here’s your cream. That’ll be $14.95.
BLOATED BOY: Can you change a fifty?