The Doctor sat down and removed his glasses.
‘I’m afraid the situation is very serious,’ he said. I scanned his face for clues.
‘I could’t be sure until we had the test results.’ He pinched the bridge of his nose, then replaced his glasses and picked up the sheet of paper in front of him. ‘Mr Baumgale, I’m afraid I have bad news. You suffer from a rare condition affecting the gastric system and lower digestive tract.’
‘What does that mean?’ I asked, quietly.
‘One of the main characteristics of the disorder is chronic, uncontrollable flatulence which, combined with the associated diarrheic hyperactivity, could cause you quite intense discomfort.’ He put the paper down and sighed. ‘There’s really nothing we can do.’
‘But...’ This was the news I had been dreading. ‘But... My ski-jumping career...’
‘I’m afraid not, Mr Baumgale.’
I blinked to hold back the tears. I knew what this meant. The lycra bodysuits, the pristine white snow, the lucrative promotional deal advertising Bran Flakes – all of it was gone. I could feel the bottom falling out of my world.
‘Oh, I... You’ll have to excuse me,’ I said.