You could guarantee the door handle was laden with a full cargo of germs, thought Mr Adam, gloomily. The door knocker, too. Well, everything was covered in germs, wasn’t it? He was so concerned, indeed, that he had taken to visiting the doctor at the slightest indication of ill health.
In this instance it was a splinter embedded in his right thumb that had convinced him his days were numbered. The doctor would attempt to tell him otherwise, of course – but then, he always did. What did doctors know, really? In the meantime, the puzzle of how to get into the doctor’s house without actually touching the indescribably grubby door furniture, and thus acquiring a further burden of germs had flummoxed him. Mr Adam waited patiently on the door step until another visitor arrived and kindly knocked on his behalf.
“It will surely set up a fatal infection, doctor,” he said, five minutes later. He waved the thumb, containing the minute splinter, under the doctor’s nose and had to prevent himself giving a wail of anguish.
“Nonsense. It is nothing,” snapped the doctor, whose usually breezy bedside manner had been worn down by Mr Adam’s frequent visits. “Go home. Take the splinter out with a needle if you must, or leave it to come out on its own. And stop troubling me with these trivialities. That will be five guineas.”
Mr Adam huffed at this unsatisfactory response, but he paid up and returned home as instructed.
He was found on his drawing room carpet the following week, as dead as dead could be, felled by a massive infection, as the coroner said, stemming from the splinter in his thumb.
By his side there was a note, scrawled with his left hand. It read, “I told you so…”