“Let’s see what’s going on,” Doc says. Taps on the screen with his pen. “Gus, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is your cheekbone is cracked…”

My heart sinks. Holy shit!

“But,” he continues, “the good news is there’s no bone displacement. Surgery isn’t required!” He shows me both my cheeks and they look pretty much the same except for the fracture. Finally, he shuts off the monitor and faces me. “Gus,” he says, “a fracture is never an ideal situation…discomfort is inevitable, but with ant-inflammatories and a course of antibiotics, we should see improvement in no-time.”

“Should I go to school?” I ask. Definitely don’t want to drag myself to school feeling shitty…plus, hanging home with Azalea is totally appealing…rest, relaxation and sex. Can’t beat that!

Without missing a beat, Doc says, “I wouldn’t attend school for a week or so. You need to rest and give the medication a chance to kick in.”

I’m psyched. “So, Doc, could you email the school and let them know?”

He glances at me. “Your dad’s not home?”

“No. He’s at the other place upstate.”

Doc’s surprised. “You know about that?”

I roll my eyes. “Yup, just found out. Guess he’s got a totally separate life up there.”

Doc nods sadly. “Listen, Gus, now that you’re here, let me check you out thoroughly. Let’s be sure you’re good and healthy otherwise. I’ll step out for a minute so you can take off your clothes and put on a gown…leave the opening in front.”

“Should I leave my underwear on?”

“Sure, that’s fine.”

He leaves and I gotta admit I’m freaked. I’ve grown a lot in the last year, and I’m not crazy about him seeing my pubes and how big everything’s gotten, but I’ve got no alternative, so I undress and hop back up on the exam table.

Doc sticks his head in. “All set?’

“Yup.”

First, he checks my height and weight. Looks surprised I’m so skinny. “Gus, you’re a regular string bean…almost 5’11”! That’s a dramatic change from your last visit when you were 5’2″.”

“Yeah, I’ve kinda sprouted, ” I admit, “but my Chipmunk cheeks are still weird, especially now!”

He disagrees. “You look fine to me, Gus….except for your bruise, but I’m concerned about your weight. You’re only 115 pounds. I’d like to see you closer to 140. Are you eating balanced meals?”

“I’m trying,” I tell him, “but Azalea’s parents are away and my dad too, so we don’t eat that regularly.”

“Well, Gus, it’s important you do, especially now that you’re healing.”

“Geez, I’ll try, but I need Azalea to help me.”

“Where’s her mom and dad?”

“Her situation’s bad as mine. Both her parents are off dating other people, so she’s home alone too. We’re a perfect match! I know it sounds crazy, but we really love each other. No exaggeration!”

“Don’t you see your dad at all?”

“Hardly never…except in the morning sometimes. He’s totally into his life upstate.”

Doc shakes his head. “It’s an unfortunate situation. Your mom’s passing has torn your family apart.”

“Tell me about it.”

Doc starts poking and prodding. Looks in my ears, nose and throat, checks my reflexes…then the dreaded moment…pulls back the waistband of my underwear. Looks kinda stunned…then gives my balls a squeeze. “Gus,” he says, “at your age, you should start checking your testicles for unusual lumps. Testicular cancer is rare, but you should err on the side of caution.”

I wonder what he thinks of my junk…last time it was a worm and two peanuts. “Everything look normal?” I ask.

He smiles. “Yes, very!” Puts his instruments aside. “Gus, except for the injury and your weight, I’m impressed with your growth. You’re a strapping young man. How’s the money situation?”

“Okay,” I tell him. “We’re getting by.”

“Based on your weight, I’m not sure that’s true.”

“Seriously, we’ll manage. If I need more, I’ll just call dad.”

He gives me a long, hard look. “you sure?”

I give him a half-hearted nod. Obviously, my food situation’s not the best.

He sits down at his desk and writes a lot of stuff in my file. Figure I better raise the Azalea issue.

“Doc, can you write a note for Azalea too. I’ll need her help if I’m gonna rest up.”

He doesn’t acknowledge my request. Just keeps writing, but I figure he will. He knows I don’t ask for anything unless it’s a total emergency.

Finally, he swivels in his chair and looks me straight in the eyes. “Gus, are you okay? I’m worried about you.”

To be continued…Read Next Episode