There's what you might either consider a really gross or really cool looking scrape on my knee where I bumped it against some coral last week. The offending coral was the type that resembles a brain, (and after a spot of quick googling, I have just discovered I'm not the only one to have this genius idea, because - surprise, surprise - it's actually called brain coral. Who'd a thunk it?). Consequently last week my right kneecap sported a raised red pattern that looked a bit like a clutch of alien worms doing a bit of synchronised twisting around on their way to resemble some kind of mystic celtic knot pattern.
I accepted this as my punishment for being stupidly careless, and watched it slowly fade away over the following few days (although I did take a picture, just to check that it wasn't progressing up my leg in a really creepy parasitic way). But yesterday morning, it spookily reappeared, bigger and redder than ever.
I panicked, convinced that billions of tiny coral polyps had been aggravated by my wool trousers and staged a revolt. Having marshalled their forces, I could see this but leading swiftly to virulant septicimea and the doomed march of my leg to the guillotine to liberate my patella from the rest of my body, while the little bastards knitted away, chuckling with glee. Of course, it was possible that they would have instead promoted agrarian land reform and the collectivisation of industry, but I was convinced these polyps had nefarious intent.
So off I limped last night (and scratched when it could be managed with discretion) to the nearest chemist's (pharmacy) for a bottle of industrial-strength disinfectant, armed only with a couple of scribbled phrases from one of my colleagues. Except that I got there too late. The chemist's/pharmacy/lekarna was closed. The polyps snickered. The cold wind sucked away my extremely unpoetic wails. The sleet fell in a particularly miserable way.
And then… then... a ray of hope shone through the circular series of holes in the front door. A ray of light too, which from a practical point of view was even better. A flap opened, and a woman in a white coat appeared. Before she could tell me to go away, I rattled out my new Czech phrase: "Yeeuurgh haff some dizinfektant fur skeen?"
"Furr skeeen. Skiin. Skan." I rubbed the skin of arm, and contemplated pulling up my trouser leg to show her the disgusting wormy scar on knee.
"Oh. Like Hydrogen Peroxide?" (actually, it sounded more like "Peroxided Watery" to me, but I got the drift)
"Yes. Yes." Frantic bobbing of head.
The slide shut and I strained frantically to hear any noise from the inside. Preferably fizzing.
Two minutes later, the slide opened, and the woman's head appeared, along with a hand brandishing a small brown bottle.
More nodding and frantic "Yes. Yes's", as I did my best to impersonate an adorable stray puppy begging for shelter and scraps.
The woman was unimpressed by my pathetic attempt to tug at her heartstrings. "Twenty-four fifty. There is no change."
"Oh. Okay. Wahn minutee."
I rummaged through purse and pockets frantically, scattering metro tickets, pens and old bits of paper into the puddle at my feet. Arrrghh... Arrgghhh… Panicked… Made sobbing noises…
But reader, I gave her the exact change.