Steam Rooms, Silk Robes, and Sterilized Needles


Buck woke in what he thought was a steam room; he assumed the coat the doctor had on was a silk robe. It wasn’t.

When his vision adapted to the fluorescents, he realized he wasn’t in a steam room, and that the silk robe was a starched coat. Far less sexy.

But he’d seen this scene before. Hadn’t he? The handsome doctor smoldering at him, the nurses young and buxom. He’d certainly seen this scene before. Maybe he was dreaming…

One of the nurses fluffed his pillow. “How are you feeling?”

Mm,” Buck replied. “Mm-huhm.”

Buck thought to touch the nurse’s cheek first. He would start tender, and then become the animal he was later. Chicks freaking love that, he thought. He lifted his hand to touch her face. Gravity must’ve been different in dream-world, because his hand was heavier than a burlap sack of turkeys. About halfway through the effort, his hand flopped over, and fell. Like a burlap sack of telepathic, monolithic turkeys, his hand had a mind of its own.

“Oh, dear,” she said. Her voice was like dark chocolate with overripe raspberries and a spread of marshmallow fluff. He pictured her bathing in it, in the creamy chocolate medley. “Careful,” she continued. “You still have the anesthetic in you.”

So, that’s how it’s going to be, he thought. Fine. I’ll sit back and let them handle this.

Buck wasn’t gay, he told himself this often, but right then—well, it was a dream, so the rules were different, right? They had to be. The doctor’s smoldering glare, his stoic, grumpy gaze, aroused in Buck a desire he’d never felt before. This is wild, he thought. Wild and sexy.

The other nurse sterilized a needle.

That wasn’t very sexy. The doctor told the first nurse to change the sheets in a couple of minutes; Buck had wet himself. He told her to wait until Buck’s—“well, you can see it”—was back to normal.

Buck thought, This must be one of those dreams you have to direct. You’re the captain, you have to command the boat. That wasn’t so horrible. Actually, it was even sexier. He’d tell them what to do.

Welsh, plaboo, mifiki,” Buck said. “Gobble.

Odd. Dreams were so odd. He hadn’t meant to slur incoherently. He tried tugging his sheets off of himself to reveal his—“not yet, it’s little but it’s there”—and failed.

The doctor turned to him. His smolder was on fire.

“Nevermind, just change the sheets now. The smell is horrible. And it doesn’t seem like it’s going down anytime soon.”

Pinching the ends with two fingers each, the nurse pulled back the sheets, pulled them off, and left, promising to bring new ones right away.

Here we go, Buck thought. This is it.

His gown half-open, Buck glanced up at the doctor and smoldered back at him. (His upper lip curled and one eye widened, resembling, at best, a burn victim.) You’re the captain. You have to command the boat. Your hand is a burlap sack of turkeys.

Scratch that last one.

“You have a very severe virus,” the doctor said. “In your kidney.”

The nurse tapped the sterilized needle.

This is the weirdest dream I’ve ever had, Buck thought. I wonder when the sex-stuff will start.