‘Remember ZoomTiming these?’ The woman says. The older man nods, then adds,
‘Not for dispensing, though.’
Dr Ramprakash-Wilson and Nurse Pulley step out into the patients’ now. They are dressed for the occasion. Dr R-W is sporting a short white jacket over a plain blouse and skirt combo. Nurse Pulley is in matching tunic and pants with his crepe-soled comfortable shoes. Nothing to upset today’s patients. Serried in front of them are a 60-40 mix of females and males. Some - but not all - gasp or whisper the moment they see the door open. Two attendants are gossiping on the other side of the room.
‘Good morning, everyone! Today’s the day. Nurse Pulley and I here to help you with the treatment. Have you all brought the waiver forms with you? Well, just wave them in Nurse Pulley’s direction as he comes by. Ha, ha.’
In the training it says there has to be rapport. This can be achieved through the use of humour. The Doctor’s laugh is the only one heard in the room.
Pulley collects the forms, although it’s all been done digitally already, in the medical now that Ramprakash-Wilson and Pulley inhabit.
It’s a blind test. They don’t know if any of the patients are getting the placebo or Gerontox. Rumours abound in RW and Pulley's quite different now.
‘Unforeseen side effects.’
That’s why they’re in this now. With fifty old people in front of them. Of course, they are, in fact, younger than either the Doctor or Pulley. Eighty in their own now looks different. Not younger, exactly. Just different.
They are given capsules as that’s what they’re expecting. In any now closer to theirs, it’s digital at the very least. Or even fuzzy logic adjustments at DNA level. Capsules are a pain. The attendants are no help. They see the visit of outside specialists as a chance to take their eye off their “clients”.
They give each patient a capsule, check they’ve swallowed it and move on. The Doctor is dreading a patient getting distressed or even violent. In the last but one now, she got a black eye that took ten minutes to fade.
They get to the last patient without incident. The Doctor waves a hand at the attendants, gets a jerk of the head in return. Pulley leads the way to the door. It’s best to have a distraction when you step out of a now. Were it not for the attendants, perhaps they could just disappear. Gerontox doesn’t work that quickly.
There’s no need to come back. If it works, back in their own now the Doctor’s flat will be smaller and in a taller building, Pulley might not be gay. Or even there at all.