The Outsiders - By Neil Jackson

Dr. Simon Chadwick strode over to the bar and helped himself to another vodka, neat, the way he saw himself. A Led Zeppelin CD was playing on the Hi-fi and his eardrums were thrumming in unison. He glanced at his watch irritably; it was 1:05 am.

What am I still doing at this debacle? he thought. It was only the outside chance of screwing Susan that brought me here in the first place. He grabbed a couple of chunks from the ice bucket, popping one in his drink and the other in his mouth. There’s hardly any food here, either. I’m bloody starving. I’m going to drink this and then I’m off. I can pick up a kebab on the way home, and maybe, if I look in the right places, it might not be too late to pick up something else to take home for the night.

Crunching the ice cube between his teeth, Chadwick made his way back across Dr. Susan Clarke’s lounge, eyeing the mottled, dark red carpet, scornfully, trying to work out whether or not it was heavily stained or was just supposed to look like that. Most of the other party goers, he noticed, had moved into the kitchen or dining room, hours ago. Looking at the state of this carpet I’m not bloody surprised, he thought.

Chadwick rejoined the other three doctors, all from the same practice, who had earlier made themselves comfortable, lounging on a couple of their host’s sofas. He had only been with them for a few short, weeks but was already beginning to regret the move. He sat opposite Susan Clarke. She was young, pretty, and single, giving her two of the qualities that guaranteed Chadwick’s attention; he didn’t give a toss whether she was married or not. He had already tried it on a few times with her, to no avail, but Simon Chadwick didn’t consider himself to be the type who gave up easily.

Those other two imbeciles are a right pair of tiresome, ugly bastards, he thought. They’re both hitched-up and stitched-up, anyway, so I’m the one with the best chance of humping her, one day.

While Chadwick had been getting his refill, the rest of the group had started a conversation about unusual medical experiences they had come across over the years. Dr. Leigh Flood, a lean, sallow-skinned man, was recounting a story about a friend of his, not a doctor herself, who had visited her GP for a smear test.

“Before she went,” Flood was saying, “she had a shower and then sprayed some deodorant down below…”

Chadwick was watching Susan as she listened to the story. I’ll have her eventually, one way or another, he thought. Even if it means resorting to my little concoction; a few drops of Liquid Heaven in her drink and she’s mine. Then she’ll do anything I want. Anything. God knows it’s worked enough times in the past.

“…and when he finished up,” continued Flood, “the doctor thanked her for taking the trouble to make herself look nice for him. It wasn’t until she got home that she discovered she’d applied glitter hairspray all over her pubes by mistake!”

Everybody laughed at this. All except for Chadwick, of course; he had other things on his mind.

“Well, I’ve got a story for you that’s a little bit nastier than that, and it happened to me,” Dr. Trevor Selman said, a short, fat, balding man, who, at fifty-three, was the oldest person at the party. “It was about twenty-five years ago, now, and I had been called out to a mammoth of a woman who’d suffered a minor stroke. Nothing strange in that, I know, but it turned out she’d been keeping her husband imprisoned, naked, in the bathroom, with nothing to live on but the scraps of putrid food she occasionally pushed under the door. He was a right sorry state, like a living skeleton, a death-camp survivor. The neighbours hadn’t seen him for five years; they’d assumed he’d moved out ages before!”

What a fucking bunch of morons they all are, eh? thought Chadwick. Is this how they get their kicks? By telling silly little stories? I’ve got absolutely nothing in common with these people.

“That’s a nasty story, indeed,” Susan Clarke said. But there was something about the tone of her voice that, to Chadwick, suggested insincerity. She turned to him, now. “Have you got any tales you’d like to share with us, Simon?”

“No, I don’t have any funny stories, Susan. Look, are we going to have anything to eat,