PRANK TO WORK IT IN
I handed my license over to the pretty young receptionist with a flirtatious but mild grin, despite my guess that she could be my granddaughter.
“My HDPT number is—”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Hemming,” she interrupted perkily, “but we have a new policy. I’m afraid you must submit to a Pin Test. We no longer accept HDPT as proof of coverage.” She smiled prettily, eyes twinkling.
I frowned. “I’ve always used my HDPT number. I’ve been a patient here for six years.”
She smiled again, nodding. But I could see her grin grow just slightly brittle. “I know, sir, and all the doctors apologize. But we experienced some security concerns recently, and for the time being we are forced to employ stringent security. We do apologize for the inconvenience.”
I considered. I knew I seemed like a typical whining rich asshole, and she—being at best a Class II or IIA employee—probably hated me. But I disliked DNA traces. The government had enough information on me as it was, and I paid plenty to keep it that way. As far as I knew their last update on me was seventeen years old—but that would change in seconds if I submitted to a Pin Test.
The again, I had a rattle in my chest that made me nervous.
“Oh, all right. Sorry to be a bother. I know you’re just doing your job.” I held out my hand.
She softened a little. “You’re no bother, at all, really. Some of our patients are real horrors, you know.”
She said this in a mock-conspiratorial tone that made me think she didn’t hate me after all. “That makes me feel better. Maybe you’d care to tell me some stories? Over dinner, perhaps?”
Not pausing in her swabbing and pricking one finger, she glanced up at me. “I’m not supposed to be overly friendly with the patients.”
“I see.” I didn’t want to push things, it was so easy to be misinterpreted when your credit rating outclassed everyone in the room. “Well.” I winced as she quite professionally drew blood from one finger. “I’ll consider that my loss.”
She smiled again as she inserted the samples into her desk workstation. It chimed pleasantly almost immediately. “Very well, Mr.—” she glanced at the screen unnecessarily “—Hemming, you can go right in.”
I nodded and turned for the door.
“Oh, Mr. Hemming?”
I paused and turned back to her.
“Happy birthday! One hundred thirty; that’s impressive!” There was nothing nice in her eyes.