London. Life.

“I interviewed Joel Someone yesterday…” said Charlie, as he met Hamish for a mid-morning coffee at The Bach.

“You can’t remember his name?” laughed Hamish.

“What do you mean?” asked Charlie.

“You said - Joel, someone…” explained. Hamish. “You can’t remember this guy’s surname?”

“No, that’s his name - Joel Someone…” insisted Charlie. “Well, it’s probably not his real name, but that’s his screen name at least.”

“I have no idea who he is…” shrugged Hamish. “Should I?”

“You know, he’s a porn guy…” explained Charlie. “He’s in lots of films for MormonBoyz, and Family Dick.”

“You and I are clearly watching very different porn…” sighed Hamish. “What were you interviewing him for?”

“It’s going to be published in Boner…” replied Charlie. “My first article for a German magazine!”

“Are they paying you?” asked Hamish. “Remember how broke you are?”

“Well, it’s good exposure…” mumbled Charlie. “Ah - here’s the coffee! Anyway, enough about me - what have you been up to?”

“Apart from watching the new season of Grace and Frankie?” said Hamish. “Um… I did meet a guy last night.”

“You met a guy…” repeated Charlie. “Why do you talk like you’re still in the 90s? It was a hook-up, right? Don’t be so coy - get to the good stuff.”

“There’s not much to tell…” shrugged Hamish.

“His place or yours?” asked Charlie.

“His…” confirmed Hamish. “When I got there, he was waiting for me on his bed, naked.”

“How does that work?” laughed Charlie. “Was his front door open? How did you get in?”

“His flat-mate let me in, and told me which bedroom was his…” explained Hamish. “I opened the door, and bam - there he was.”

“Do you think he’d told his flat-mate what the deal was?” grinned Charlie. “Like, I want to wait for this random hook-up naked on my bed, so can you let him in and tell him where to find me?”

“Something like that, I guess…” smiled Hamish. “I kind of got the feeling that the flat-mate knew the drill, that this wasn’t an unusual set of circumstances.”

“So weird!” laughed Charlie. “Was the sex good? Going back for some repeat business?”

“I’m giving it a 7.5…” decided Hamish.

“7.5?” gasped Charlie. “That’s a gay fail! What went wrong?”

“It wasn’t terrible…” shrugged Hamish. “It’s just that I kind of like a bit of a connection when I’m having sex with someone - this guy just buried his head beneath a pillow.”

“Hot…” nodded Charlie.

“I don’t think this coffee was a good idea…” decided Hamish, pushing his cup away from him.

“What’s up? Are you okay?” asked Charlie.

“Just a bit of a dodgy stomach…” explained Hamish. “It’s nothing major.”

“Shigella!” declared Charlie, banging the palm of his hand down onto the table to emphasise his point.

“What?” asked Hamish. “What are you talking about?”

“Shigella!” repeated Hamish. “I was reading about it this morning. Public Health England have issued a health warning about Shigella. Apparently there’s currently a massive outbreak in the UK and the US.”

“What’s that got to do with me?” asked Hamish.

“You do know what Shigella is, don’t you?” asked Charlie.

“Maybe?” replied Hamish, clearly unsure of the specifics.

“It’s an STI…” explained Charlie. “The symptoms are stomach cramps and diarrhoea. People often think they’ve got food poisoning, but it’s really Shigella. Do you know how you get it? Rimming!”

“Oh…” acknowledged Hamish. “I guess I’m ticking a lot of those boxes.”

“You’d better go and get tested…” advised Charlie. “It’s totally treatable, but you could still be infectious.”

“What a total boner-killer…” sighed Hamish. “I think I’m going to downgrade my score for this hook-up. If he’s given me Shigella, then I’m going to revise him down to a 6.5.”

“6.5?” laughed Charlie. “He’s given you an STI and you’re only deducting one point?”

“I don’t want to be too harsh…” shrugged Hamish. “No one’s perfect.”