“Yes, Excellency, I am.”
“And he has confidence in you?”
“I am pleased to say, Excellency, that Centurion Pevine has often expressed his confidence, in many ways.”
“Oh? In what ways?”
The Greek shrugged his shoulders, and spread his hands, palms up, and tilted his head to the left with a slight smile.
“I see. Well. He told me I could trust you, and usually, Lentillus is right. Now, as to your fee…”
“Centurion Pevine said to refer my fees to him, Excellency.”
“No, you will not do that. If you do, our relationship will end, and I will report you for fraud.’
“Yes. The charge is very difficult to refute, and the accusation itself, coming from me, will ruin your reputation and, let us say ‘limit’ your income. I will pay you for your services and Lentillus will know nothing of them from you. Is that understood?”
Philodorus stood and walked to the end of the portico and looked over the olive groves. In the distance, a slave was relieving himself against the trunk of an olive tree. Finished, the slave turned and leaned against the olive tree and began to relieve himself in another way. Philodorus tuned back to the doctor.
“Well then, Greek, what do you suggest as the first step in this course of treatment?”
“The doctor would examine his patient.”
“Hump. Well. Oh, very well.” Philodorus unwrapped his robe, let it stand open and then removed it. He put his fists on his hips, standing with his ankles well apart. The gentle breeze caressed his buttocks and scrotum. He looked straight ahead.
Emopocles looked carefully at the scar on Philodorus’s thigh and scrotum. He approached and bent to look more closely. Philodorus continued to look off into the distance. He could feel the doctor’s breath as he bent to examine him. Emopocles reached out to touch the scrotum, just as Cason entered with a tray, wine and two wine cups. Philodorus snatched his robe and put it on. The slave set the tray on the table and left without giving any indication of what he must have seen one man whom he did not know fondling his master.
“Excellency, I must touch you to assess the damage.”
“Yes, well, of course. You must. Here. Let us have some wine first. It is a very warm day.”
“Yes, Excellency, it is.” Emopocles The Greek Doctor would have welcomed the warmth the wine would have brought. He took a phial from the folds of his clothing and emptied it into Philodorus’s cup and poured it half full of wine. He seemed to pour wine into his own cup but only a few drops slide down the side.
“Excellency, it might be…. You might be more comfortable if you lay on the table? It is customary.”
“Of course.” Philodorus did not move to clear the table.
Emopocles moved the wine things and the bowl of fruit to a side board and turned. Philodorus handed the doctor his robe, and the doctor spread it on the table. Philodorus tossed back the wine, handed the cup to the doctor and nearly vaulted on to the table, lying on his back, his legs well apart, his left arm behind his head.
“Just relax, Excellency. This will not take long.”
The sun, just over head, filtered through the reeds that covered the portico, one shaft of light falling directly in the Primus’s eyes. He closed his eyes against it, and the deep red hue seemed warm and comfortable. He felt the doctor looking at him. He felt the doctor’s hands, remarkably gentle and warm on his genitals. He slid his right hand under the small of his back, palm against the table. He breathed easily, deeply. The red hue grew deeper, warmer, more comfortable. The doctor’s hands lifted and stretched the flesh, but Philodorus did not mind the stranger’s touch.
“Um hum.” The doctor spoke to himself. The red hue deepened, and became all that Philodorus knew. He did not see the doctor take out a flask of thick grey liquid and pour some into his palm. He did not feel the doctor anoint his genitals with the liquid or rub in on them, slowly and deliberately. He did not hear the doctor’s soft “Ahhh!” and his flesh responded to the doctors ointment and manipulation.
The warmth of the sun on his face, the redness in his eyes, the comfort of his body were all that Philodorus knew. He wanted to touch himself, but when he raised his head to remove his hand from behind it, his head was incredibly heavy, made of lead, and he lay still. He wanted to spread his legs, to bend his knees, to lift his buttocks off the table, to offer himself to what he felt growing in his groin, but he did not move. Why? Was he unable or unwilling to move? It did not matter.
The redness penetrated him, suffused him, filled him and bore him on. The warmth was now heat. His chest heaved, his chin raised slightly. A sound, a kind of crooning seemed to warp itself around Philodorus. He resisted it, and then, unwilling, or unable, he let the warmth, the crooning, the liquid fire in his loins take over.
“…… have not seen before. Probably Egyptian. They do things with the body no one understands. The doctors who treated your wound were skillful. Excellency, I can assure you that your condition is treatable. You can again attain what you think you have lost.”
The voice seemed to come from a very far ways off, as though at night, through a fog. Philodorus blinked several times and lifted his head and looked around him. What was he doing lying on this table? How had he gotten there? Why was the doctor here? What was he talking about. Suddenly it all came back, clear.
“Oh, really doctor? How nice to hear. Of course, I have never heard of a doctor saying to a patient that the condition was not treatable, not if the patient was a paying patient.”
Emopocles ignored the taunt. He continued to wipe his hands on a towel. “You must however, put yourself entirely in my hands. You must agree to my treatments and do as you are instructed. If you do not, if you vary at all from my instructions, or balk, even once, at what I tell you to do, I will immediately desist, leave, and you will not hear of me again.”
“Leave? Without hope of more payment?”
“Excellency, I do not expect to be paid until you decide to pay me. Nothing until you are….. restored. Satisfied. Here, drink this.”
“What is it?”
“You must agree to my treatment completely, and balk from no instruction, or I am gone. It is wine, watered.”
Suddenly, Philodorus was instantly thirsty. He tossed off the wine in a gulp.
“And this.” The doctor handed Philodorus a glass phial containing less than two ounces a milky wine-colored fluid. It looked indeed, like wine mixed with cream. He looked directly into the doctor’s eyes and he took the phial to his lips and tossed the liquid down his throat swallowing deeply without tasting it.
“How long has it been since you have had an orgasm?”
“No orgasm at all in a year? Not with one of the female slaves?”
“The male slaves?”
“What part of my answer do you not understand, Greek? Nothing. A year, a little more, 15 months.”
“And there has been no lack of stimulation? Of incentive?”
“What do you mean?” a decided edge had crept into Philodorus’s voice.
“You have had both the opportunity and the inclination?”
“Yes, of course.”
“With the slaves?”
“Yes. Both female and male, if that is your next question.”
“And my manual dexterity has also been well exercised. With various ointments and potions.”
“I see. Well, we must begin by restoring your seed. You may not be producing much of it, and if that is the case, we must ‘fill the cistern’ as it were, from outside.”
“And where are we to find this seed? As I understand it, the production is limited to one source. And I cannot seem to ‘collect’ it there.”
“Well, no matter. We must have more than can be collected that way, anyway. You have how many men here on your farm?”
“A few dozen. Mostly slaves, three hired freed men.”
“They will not do. The seed of slaves in inferior and of hired freedmen prostitutional. We need send from….”
“You can’t be suggesting that I …” he searched for a word, “…. ingest…. the seed of ….”
“Ingest? You mean swallow? No. Digestion would destroy its efficacy.
“Then how am I to receive it……” His voice trailed off. He had just figured it out.
“You want me to….”
“I do not want you to do anything, Philodorus. This is my prescription. I am prescribing it. You need to carry inside your bowels no less than 8 ounces of semen a day, preferably twice a day, for, oh….. six months.”
“And where am I to get this semen….. even if I agree to this course of treatment?”
“There are a number of places….”Next chapter