The car took him to therapy before work, never a good sign. He called in from the waiting room. Jann didn’t like it of course, but what could Rick do? If you wanted health care you followed the rules and that included emergency therapy. He just wished he’d known. Rick had skipped breakfast and now he was sitting there hungry. You didn’t dare ask the receptionist how much longer. They scrutinized you constantly and even a twitch meant something. He tried to look happy. That’s what they wanted to see.
The android behind the counter called his name. The bald face mimicked a human persona remarkably. “Andrea will take you back, Mr. Dalton.”
He followed the tall, platinum-haired woman in the pleated black dress to a therapy room. Once he settled into the waterlounger, she went after his tea. “Mint, hot?” she asked from the alcove.
He had this. Rick drank mint iced except in the morning, except during emergency therapy when he always asked for it cold. “If you don’t mind, I’d like iced.”
“Of course. Doctor has a note. You’re to take this.”
A small square section of the table rose. In the center dimple sat a little gel cap. He sighed as he picked it up. “Thank you.”
She was there with his beverage. “Doctor will be with you presently.”
“Thank you.” He watched her leave, careful to look away appropriately. He swallowed the gel cap, sipped, and glanced at the Monet. Studied the ballerinas a bit, because he was sure they knew he liked it. Then back to the tea.
The space behind the desk shimmered as Dr. Kim’s hologram appeared. “Hello, Rick.”
“Hello, Dr. Kim.”
Dr. Kim’s image flickered and then the sharp eyes were back. “Rick, we had a spike in your routine I wanted to discuss.”