Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
Doctors surgeries are, unsurprisingly, very clinical places. There may be the odd sign warning you to wash your hands, or to put the sharps into a particular bin for disposal. If it’s an old fashioned doctor’s practice, there may even be a poster or two of the human body, or perhaps warning you of the dangers of “good time girls”. By comparison, vets surgeries are relatively professional. There are usually books on the different breeds of dogs, and larger books on why cats may be vomiting, other than just for being a cat. Posters on the walls of these offices tend to show happy dogs tucking into a bowl of branded dog food that looks like a mix of gravy, offal and muesli, or a warning about not forgetting to treat your cat for fleas.
The head vet at the Endangered Creatures Programme of London Zoo had a consulting surgery that was, whilst recognisably a vet’s office, definitely different. His bookcase contained medieval bestiaries, his posters were all homemade and warned of dangers such as exposed contact to salamanders, or any contact with phoenix. The Endangered Creatures Programme was there to look after the creatures that most people thought were mythical or extinct, and the drinks cabinet in the vet’s surgery was there to help him do that. He never drank while he was working, but he made sure he took lots of breaks.
“So, Brian. What can I do for you today?” The vet asked of the person sat opposite him.
“Eid god a coal,” the man explained.
The question was answered with a very loud sneeze.
“Sorry, that’s better. I’ve got a cold,” Brian clarified.
“Brian, you’re a yeti. Yeti’s don’t get colds,” the vet pointed out.
“I know, but I’ve got one.”
“Brian, you have an inch of blubber style fat over your muscle, if the weather turns cold you grow a thick coat of white fur. You’ve got an immune system that could tackle most human diseases without even breaking stride. How on earth have you got a cold?” the vet asked.
“I don’t know, I woke up with it. What can I take?”
“Well, nothing. There’s no cure for the common cold, and even if the humans had one there’s no guarantee it’d work on you. All I can suggest is some cups of hot lemon with honey in to try and clear your congestion, wait it out, and come back next week if it’s not cleared up. Sorry I can’t be any more help Brian, but, well, yeti don’t get colds.”
“Not to worry doc, I’ll give the lemon and honey a go,” Brian said, getting up and leaving the surgery.
“Ah Brian, how’s the cold?” The vet asked as the yeti walked into the surgery. The answer was a sneeze that dripped off the edge of the vet’s desk.
“Sorry, it’s getting worse,” Brian said, getting a handkerchief out and making an attempt to clean up the mess.
“Yes, not just bunged up now, but…” His explanation was interrupted by another sneeze. “I’m sneezing more.”
“Right, let me think. Bless you,” the vet finished as Brian sneezed again. “I think, you might be allergic to lemons, or honey. One of those. Let’s try something else then, salt water!”
“Yes, salt water. An old remedy for the symptoms of a cold is salt water. Either have a salt water bath, or drop some warm salt water in your nose. Apparently the salt water breaks down the mucus and allows it to flow freely. So, you might have a runny nose for a while, but at least you’ll be able to breath and get on with things. Bless you,” the vet finished again as Brian sneezed.
“Ah Brian, I’m going to guess that the salt water hasn’t worked?” The vet asked.
Brian didn’t say anything. He said with his arms folded, staring at the vet.
“I’m also going to guess that you went swimming in the sea, that the coldness brought out your fur coat, and that something in the sea has made it stay out.”
Brian still didn’t say anything.
“However, by the yellowy green stain down your front I’m going to assume that it did move the mucus?”
“Doc, I’ve been like this for three days. My nose only stopped running this morning, and no matter how high I turn the heating up, I can’t seem to shed my fur. Any ideas?”
“Have you tried having a sauna?” The vet asked.
“Oh yes, lots of warm, steamy air. The heat should help your body know it’s to shed, and the steam should hopefully loosen your follicles up enough to enable you to shed.”
“Ah Brian, how did the sauna go? Looks like you’ve managed to shed your coat, so I’m guessing it was a success. Bless you, not a total success then.”
Brian had managed to shed his fur coat, and outwardly looked like a human again. A human with a cold.
“Oh, the sauna itself was a success, it was the dip into ice cold water afterwards that was a mistake,” Brian explained.
The vet looked at Brian for a few seconds, a yeti with a cold, and then got up from his desk.
“Brian, I think I have just the thing for this.”
“Oh, what’s that?” Brian asked.
“A very stiff drink,” the vet replied, walking to his drinks cabinet and pouring himself a scotch.
“Will that help my cold?”
“No idea,” the vet replied. “But it’ll help me.”