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Sale of the century

A salesroom sparkles with promise after the NHS reforms, in the latest from Through the K Hole

He slumped down into the blue upholstery of his swivel chair, his rear end itching against the inside of his trousers and his neck, lobster red from his morning shave, gave him a boil-in-the bag appearance. He straightened his tie and with a salesman's flourish angled the monitor towards them. He always tried his best to create an illusion for his customers that they were somehow involved in the sale.

'Honestly I'm so pleased you've gone for this one. She won't let you down, she's got great mileage, she's low maintenance and she's got a great track record. You know out of all the ones we've sold so far, we haven't had a single return?'

Gift-wrapped in standard grey suit he clicked his pen in time with the printer as it softly whirred and purred and eventually spat out the template.

'I need to take a deposit of 10% today, Madam, and just for you I'll throw in the chrome finish. How would you like to pay?'

Fresh leather wallet and deft Visa swipe.

'Would you like to take advantage of our after-care package?'

They agreed that they would. The thrill of the chase needed to be smoothed off gently. He X-marked where they should sign.

'I would give you my pen as well but then I'd know for definite that you've robbed me today!'

They laughed knowingly together, a financial friendship limited to the absurd confines of the saleroom. They shook hands and left.

'Great doing business with you. I just know you've made the right decision, in fact I'm planning to get one for my own mother when she retires.'

As they left, the hip replacement that she'd chosen to buy was on display, slowly rotating in its deep cabinet, absurdly lit like an ossified jewel. It was the curved burnished symbol of a very modern mantra:

'Any willing provider'

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen

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