Summary: An invasion, an epidemic: Clowns, a dildo, sterile gloves. Are we clear?
Rating: General. All. Some language perhaps.
Pairing: House, Wilson, the gang. Plus clowns.
Cuddy thrust a pile of folders under their noses.
Neither Wilson or House made a move to accept them.
Cuddy glared. "Clowns." She stated.
"Um,.." Wilson asked, "...us?"
Looking around, "Or just your run-of-the-mill idiots?" House asked.
Cuddy took half the folders and shoved them against Wilson's stomach, who fumbled to gather them before they cascaded to the floor. The other pile that Cuddy pushed up against House's abdomen, he pushed back.
Cuddy explained. "Clown convention. Clowns from all over the world. Sick clowns. Infected clowns, coming here. First ambulances are arriving so no one leaves the hospital from this moment. We're quarantined. And clinic duty for all available doctors, including recalcitrant jerks."
Insulted, "I'm not recalcitrant." House remarked.
Cuddy rejoined with a "Hah!" Then to Wilson, "I suppose you're not recalcitrant either?"
"No, I'm not a jerk." Wilson flipped through the folders. "How many?"
"Just you two."
"How many clowns?" He tried again.
"A lot. Maybe two hundred."
"Are you nuts?" House chirped. "Imprisoning us in a hospital with two hundred creepy clowns? Have you never read Stephen King??"
Cuddy shook her head. "Sorry. Koontz girl."
"I wish to book my vacation starting now." House announced.
Cuddy crossed her arms. "Why?"
"Clown allergy." Wilson answered. "He gets to within ten feet of one,...starts smiling, laughs and then it gets ugly."
"Denied." Cuddy clipped. "Snap to it, fellas."
House hesitated outside the doors to the crowded and colorful clinic waiting room.
He looked at Wilson as to an annoying insect. "Cuddy is two B-cups of pure evil."
"But firm, perky evil. Come on, House, you can't pass this up. A room full of people who humiliate themselves for a living just waiting to be chopped into clown salad by your rapier wit? It's so tailor-made, it scares me. Have you been sacrificing chickens to your Demon Lord?"
House pushed the clinic doors open and limped to his fate in Exam Room One.
Wilson smiled. It was going to be a great day.
House introduced himself to the fat clown with the large red rubber nose perched on the exam table with a barely controlled smirk. "Muggsie the Clown." House read from the file. "You put that name down first."
"I'm serious about clowning."
"Right. I'm thinking of changing my name to Hey Doc'. Less confusing to the patients."
House read the name written below "Muggsie". "Charles Nickels. Let me guess -- that's your secret civilian name."
"Funny." Muggsie remarked. "But don't quit your day job."
With the hooked end of his cane, House pulled over a wheeled stool and sat down next to his patient. "Nice nose. I got one just like it in my pocket. You are experiencing a discharge from your bottom." House read.
"Yeah." Muggsie was sweating so heavily his white face make-up was beginning to run.
House noticed. "Don't look now, but your face is melting. When did you arrive at the convention?"
"And when did you dress up in that adorable outfit and join the rest of your colorful lodge mates?"
"I flew in like this."
House stared. "You flew in like that? Was there a special discount? I'm pretty sure being a clown isn't a recognized disability, at least when it's only surface."
"As serious clowners, we must be in uniform to properly get into the mind-set of clowning. I was invoking Bozo."
"Invoking a dead clown? Well, I understand. Right this minute I'm invoking Georges Albert Edouard Brutus Gillesde la Tourette, damnit! He was a clown of a bitch!" House handed him a small plastic cup. "Now go in that room and invoke some diarrhea into this cup. Just a teaser, not the whole act. A nurse will be in to get a blood sample in a few minutes."
House's next patient was a female clown. House looked at her round belly for a second. "A maternity dress would be far more flattering." He quipped.
"How did you know I was pregnant?'
House sat down. "Only your stomach is fat. That's often the way it goes with pregnancy." House read her chart, smiled at the name. "Missus.."
"Miss Booby-Snatch. A very succinct resume'."
"I do adult parties."
"And the occasional adult?"
"If they make me laugh."
House smiled. Suddenly his patient's stomach came to life and barked from beneath her bright orange, pock-a-dot one-piece.
House jumped up and away. "Your baby is barking and moving outside your womb. I'm not sure but I think that's not suppose to happen 'till the third trimester, and then only if your name's Rosemary."
Booby-Snatch confessed, "It's my dog. Please don't take him away. I had to bring him. We're not allowed to have dogs at the hotel."
"Hospitals tend to frown on them also. Some ridiculous regulation about disease or something that I've never really understood..."
Booby-Snatch opened her shirt and the miniature Dashhound poked his tiny brown head out. "This is Dildo the Delightful Doggie." She introduced.
House raised his eyebrows, nodding. "Not as succinct but certainly apt."
House reached out to pet the animal. "I'm not into sex toys, don't collect them or even replace the batteries according to guide book, but this one's looks hungry."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to remember to tell this story at my next poker night - oh! - you meant the dog." House shook his head. "Wait here and don't open the door even if they're a big tipper." He gathered up Dildo and tucked him under his brown jacket.
It wasn't easy walking with the cane balancing his sore leg and also keep hidden the three pounds of teeth and ears struggling beneath his left arm. But House made it all the way to his office without attracting attention. He released the dog, swung open the door to his conference room and, to the astonished faces of Kutner, Taub and Thirteen, announced, "Dildo's in my office. Kutner! I need you."
Kutner, looking apprehensive, entered his boss's office. House pointed to the floor where a tiny wiener dog was chewing on his green ball, which was almost as big as he was. The dog managed to get his teeth around it, growling and carrying it around the room like a trophy. "He needs food, water and hiding from Cuddy." House stood up. "Batteries not included."
Kutner had no idea what to make of the situation. "Are you ordering me to babysit? A Dashound? In the hospital?"
House thought it over. "Well, I could order you to clean the bathroom. With your tongue. In my apartment. But I figure this would less disagreeable."
House returned to the clinic and ordered blood work and a fecal smear for Booby-Snatch the clown. His next patient was the biggest clown-man he had ever seen.
"Are you the doctor?" The large clown asked.
"I'll bet the bland colors gave it away, huh. I'm Doctor House. And you are?"
"Widdle Giggles. Why aren't you wearing a doctor's coat?"
"Demeaning clothing is not compulsory in my profession." House read his chart. "Fever and watery bowels. Any pain?"
"Just my penis."
House sighed. "What kind of pain is the litt'ler Widdle Giggles having?"
"It hurts when I pee. And he's leaking something."
House snapped a sterile glove from a box.
"What are you going to do with that?"
"Make Giggles Junior my special friend."
"You're not touching my penis."
"I'm a doctor. If I was a doctor with a clown fetish - believe me - you'd be in hysterics by now."
"Promise you won't laugh?"
House frowned, insulted. "Laugh? At a clown??" He motioned with his hand. "Come on, I'm a busy guy."
Widdle Giggles unbuttoned his baggy green pants and out popped an very erect penis sporting a sun-daisy shaped cock-ring.
House, "Did I interrupt something?"
"You said you wouldn't laugh."
"I didn't say I wouldn't make clever jokes at your expense." House gestured for the guy to slip off the daisy-ring. When he complied, his penis rapidly sagged. House took a smear of the leaking yellow discharge and made conversation. "Hmm, who have you been "invoking"? He popped the smear in a sealed tube. "The lab will examine this." House discarded that glove and pulled out another.
"What's that glove for?"
"Balloon art." House said. "We also need a fecal smear and because all our nurses are now busy with other clown-asses, I'll be doing that myself. This day just gets funnier and funnier."
"I'm not going to let you poke a finger up my butt."
"I told you, I don't have a clown fetish. I'm more into bearded ladies and fat, monkey men. You're safe. I would never do anything to compromise the personal dignity of a patient. Now drop your size fifty-two purple pantaloons and bend over, I've a poop-scoop with your name on it."
House met Wilson in the hall outside the clown crowded waiting room.
"You won't believe what I just saw." Wilson said.
"You won't believe what I just felt." House offered.
"HEY!" Cuddy was walking rapidly up the hall toward them.
House, "Uh oh."
Wilson asked accusingly, ""Uh oh"? What did you do?"
Annoyed, "Why do you automatically assume I did anything?" House asked.
"Because the smoke coming out of her ears is writing across the sky "Kill House" and Cuddy loves me."
"She does not. Cuddy only has boobs for me. Go away."
"You can't get rid of me that easily, I want to hear this." Wilson smiled devilishly.
"Will you marry me?" House asked.
Wilson' smile disappeared like magic. "What a terrible thing to imagine. And for God's sake why?"
"Because then at least I could get rid of you by divorcing your ass."
Cuddy arrived. "House!-"
"-Told ya'." A pleased Wilson said to House.
Cuddy threw Wilson a look and he scampered away. Cuddy glowered at House. "I just came from your office. You're keeping a dog! A Dashound! In the hospital!"
"All three answers correct. Glad we cleared that up."
"I'm going to put myself way out in left field here and ask why?"
"Well, I could have brought a feline, a tiger, to your house, but I know you're not into kink."
"Get rid of it!"
House looked hurt. "I can't do that. She loves me and I'm seeking adoption."
"You already have Steve."
"But Steve's not here and we had a fight and I'm sulking until he buys me something."
"Oh, God, House. You cannot have a dog in the hospital. It's unsanitary. It's also against those things they call laws. It's against all regulations."
"Don't think of her as a dog. Think of her as a cute, tiny, fuzzy Administrator."
"She's my helper dog."
"She's three pounds."
"But she's trying to get it off. She thinks her ass is too big."
"Okay, I'll bite-"
"-See? You two have so much in common. Treat me right and I'll arrange a play date."
Ignoring the joke, "How is she your helper dog?" Cuddy asked.
"When my leg hurts she pee's for me."
Cuddy walked away. "She goes!"
House called after her retreating back. "Come on! She eats from a thimble, she doesn't leave the toilet seat down, she sits on my crotch when I watch wrestling. She's the perfect woman!"
"Get back to work."
House's next clown greeted him with a squirting flower on his lapel. "Hey Doc'."
Wiping the water from his eye, House answered, "Hey, clown."
"I think I have the what-ever-it-is." the clown said. He was smiling.
"Congratulations! Yes, there's been a lot of "whatever-it-is" going around."
"I'm Dropsie-Doo. And you're cute."
House ignored that, "What kind of a clown are you?"
"I do gay parties. I'm a very happy clown. I think it's on my penis."
House seated himself and snapped on a glove. "Well, you know what they say, a happy penis is a happy man."
"Are you a happy man?"
House only gave him a tiny lop-sided smile. "Undress and let's see it."
"Thought you'd never ask." Dropsie exposed his oozing penis.
House made a face. "Worst one I've seen yet."
"Any symptoms besides the ooze and "what-ever"?"
"It's not working so well. And I'm dropping things a lot."
House squinted. "Isn't that your act? The name kind of gave it away."
"It's an act only when I'm dropping them on purpose, and it isn't just dropping, it's dropping with flare, hilarity. Style."
"Besides dropping things, any discomfort? Burning? Tingling anywhere? The urge to wear a daisy in your special place?"
"No, but that sounds like klown-kink. I think I'm in love."
House hurried to his feet and to the door. "I'll need a fecal, urine and blood sample so we can check for "what-ever". A female nurse will be with you in a few minutes."
Cuddy got in line behind House in the cafeteria lunch line. "Ah, Cuddy, here for gruel. Or have you got Wilson covered in honey and oats turning on a stick in your lair with all the other wusses?"
"You've been labeling the patient's charts wrong."
"And that's not the wickedest thing I've done all day. Wanna hear what I did in the women's washroom or would you rather read about it yourself in the hospital's weekly newsletter? I'll give you a hint: part of it rhymes with venus."
Cuddy gathered up salad fixings. "The clowns have proper names, use them."
House ordered a hamburger and cheese fries. "I have been. I've also been using their more hilarious and entertaining names. These aren't regular patients, they're colorful, happy, smiling patients. There's a holiday in every exam room."
"Start using their proper names."
"Like what? - Charles Nickels, Peter March, Janet Fortensky, Joseph Grossman, Charlie Polanchuks..? How can you compare those to Booby-Snatch, Sir Wiggle-Bottom, Marvelous Morris, Dropsie-Doo or Chuckle-Knuckle? There's six Giggles out there and statistics say ten more in the waiting rooms. I used their proper names, okay?"
"Why just those few for gods sake?"
"To avoid confusion."
"This is to go." She said to the cashier, then smiled facetiously to House. "You find all this amusing."
"I find this very amusing." House answered, flipping his stethoscope around like a cat toy. "What I find even more amusing is you're annoyance that I find it amusing. Come on, Cuddy, get into the circus spirit - turn that clown upside-down."
"I'm docking your pay for every mislabeled chart with your signature on it."
"What's even funnier are those low cut tops. Even funnier than that is when you bend over in them. Keeps me smiling all day, you know!"
"After lunch, get back to the clinic."
House paid for his lunch. "This is to stay." He said to the cashier loudly enough for Cuddy to overhear as she walked away. "A long, long stay."
House saw to his newest clinic patient. "What's the matter with you? Besides you're a grown man wearing a flowered clown hat?"
"My penis is too hard." He pointed to his nether region. It was hidden under layers of daisy decorated clown shirt and a spare tire.
"Too hard? I didn't know there was such a thing."
"It's hard all the time."
House, a little irritated, "And this is a problem because?"
"My wife's constantly all over me. I can't get any sleep."
"So you're here seeking medical aid because you're getting too much sex? Or not enough sleep?"
The guy scrunched up his features. It was a desperate clown face. "You have no idea what's it like having to have sex every day!"
"Well, maybe not this week..."
"It's torture! She's riding me so much I can't remember what my feet look like. I guess it's hard for a guy like you to understand."
"A guy like me..?"
"She won't stop! She thinks I'm some kind of sex machine - you can't understand."
House scribbled in the guy's chart without looking up. "You want me to help you, right"
"Okay, let's check it out. Maybe we can discover why Mrs. Clown is so horny." House examined him, carefully not touching. "Nothing looks wrong." House readied his stethoscope. "Let's check the less interesting organs." House listened to his heart. "Bit fast. You been doing laps around the waiting room?"
House probed the back of the patient's neck. "Glands slightly enlarge, but no fever." He pulled off his gloves and tossed them across the room into the trash. "I don't think this is related to the clown plague that's been entertaining us today, but," House donned a new set of sterile gloves. "Just in case...I'll need a sample of Mister Stiffy's go-go juice and blood and urine samples."
"But how do I stop having..?"
"In the meantime - say no."
"Will that cure it?"
"No, but it'll cure your wife. Eventually. She'll get tired of waiting on you and perhaps buy an imitation "little clown"."
"So what's wrong with it?"
"I think it has a case of sinus tachycardia. Causes the heart to race which causes high blood pressure, which leads to your pocket clown always snapping to attention like a good little soldier."
"I have a heart condition?"
"You have an adrenaline condition - causes the heart to race."
"So maybe a pill?"
"Yes. Maybe a pill."
The guy looked relieved. "And the pill will really cure the constant hard ons?"
"Yes. Your wife will probably sue me." House stood to leave.
The patient suddenly had a frightening thought, "Wait! What if the pills mean I can't get a hard on? What then?!"
House limped out the door as quickly as he could.
Cuddy intercepts House in the clinic. "House, I need you to-"
"Oh, my God!" Cuddy jumped at his volume. "Will you never cease? House - work the clinic. House - do your billing! House - get me pregnant! What's next? Chaining me to your bed posts and having your way with me? Have you no mercy?"
Cuddy rolled her eyes, her voice level. "Get your team to the clinic. They're not doing anything anyway."
"Oh yes they are. We have a case."
"Diddly-Doodles or Dropsie-Do-doo or whatever his name is having penile issues."
"Stop making things up."
"That's his real name and his real penis. I know, I was there, I saw, I got nauseous."
"Cuddy looked through her own charts. "Lots of these clowns are having crotch problems. I'm thinking orgy."
"Then I'm in." House said.
"Get your team to the clinic until you do have a legitimate case."
House limped in, slower than usual. He'd and his team had been working the clinic for several hours and even Cuddy didn't balk when he requested a break. "All these smiling, clowns," He remarked to the team as he entered and sat down at the head of the table. "I'm getting happy all over me. The profession should be banned."
Thirteen: "Outlaw clowning? What's next, Mister Grinch? Cancel Christmas again? Or maybe we should just wipe out all endangered but annoying species?"
House threw her a bemused look. "Well the dinosaurs went instinct and you don't hear them complaining."
Taub said to Thirteen. "House has a point. I mean, who misses mime-ing."
Cuddy entered. "House. Get your team back to the clinic."
"I told you, Dropsie-Doo is malfunctioning and we have to get the do back in the droop if you want to catch his next show."
Cuddy dismissed House with a wave of her hand. "The clowns are half asleep."
"You mean they're half awake or half of them are awake?"
"I mean half are asleep and we can't wake them up."
House stood and walked to his white board. "Then we better find out why. Unless you want all the clowns in your hospital asleep."
Cuddy reconsidered. She handed a file to Taub. "Lab sent this up. Your droopy patients results." She left.
Taub read the findings aloud. "Dropsie's got Stage Two M.S.."
"You mean stage Good-As-Dead." House remarked.
"Charles," Thirteen used the patients proper first name, "Is resting comfortably."
When House arrived at his patients room, Cuddy was already there. "Doctor House is on top of your case. You'll know soon."
House waited in the hall and motioned her out with a tilt of his head. She slid the glass door shut behind her.
"Dropsie's Do-ing days are numbered." House said. "Somehow that didn't sound as tragic as I thought it would."
"What's wrong with him?"
"Stage Two M.S." House handed her the chart. "You want to tell him the happy news?"
Cuddy read the lab results for herself. "It's hardly happy."
"He's a clown."
"What does that mean?"
"Don't know. But it sounds like something Cameron would say."
'This is a terrible day, not a bad day. This man has M.S."
"Wanna hear the good news?"
"What good news?"
"The other clowns don't have M.S."
"Do you know what they do have?"
House looked out over the sea of clown hair. All the hallways were lined with drowsy clowns as well. Too many to fit into a waiting room. Or a phone booth. Many heads were bobbing, others slumped forward in repose. "They're sleepy."
"I know. I told you that. Most of them have been here for over a day. They're probably exhausted." Cuddy reminded him.
"Any with swollen lymph nodes? Arythmias?"
"Maybe this is something other than a viral epidemic."
"You can think of something worse?"
"Sure. Mass hallucination. Group sleep-walking..."
Cuddy went to the nurses station and gathered a large pile of charts. "Here. I'll tell Dropsie's he's got a life threatening illness. You - go clown around. Knock yourself out in fact and hurry the hell up about it."
As Cuddy barked orders, House noticed an especially tall clown. He was wearing a costume making him look like a fat Cardinal. "Who's that?" He asked Cuddy.
"You want a formal introduction? He's a clown."
"Weird sort of clown. I didn't see him around this morning. He's wearing a bird outfit! A Cardinal. I didn't see him until just now. Where's he been? Specifically, where exactly did he fly in from?"
"Medically important?" Cuddy could tell House was seriously interested. "I'll go find out and find you when I know."
House's team watched him and Cuddy having a discussion outside the conference room doors. After a minute or two, House entered his office conference room, some papers in hand. His team, clinic duty over (all clowns had been poked and probed and commented over), sat around the table nursing coffee's and scones.
"Scones? I'm offended. Only bagels are allowed in House town."
Thirteen bit into her's with purposeful relish.
House told them what he'd been considering on his way from the clinic. "This might be sleeping sickness." He disregarded the teams doubtful faces. "At least they now know how most of their audiences feel." House added.
Taub reminded him, "We just tested them for sleeping sickness, like you suggested. Negative for Trypanosomiasis."
"We tested some of them. And we only tested for the two types common to the African continent. There's a third and it resides right here in the U.S.A.. St Louis encephalitis."
"That disappeared in the nineteen-thirties." Foreman said.
"Funny." House tossed his papers on the table. It was a print-out from his computer. "Because this says four people are suspected as infected with it in that area right now." House looked at them. "You should read your medical journals more regularly. This encephalitis is not caused by a bite from the Tse-Tse fly. The of this strain cause is unknown though most likely viral. But there have been two outbreaks of it in St Louis. Now one here. A guy flew in on the red-eye. A guy in a costume who was at the convention but not only as a clown, as one the featured speakers."
"But we would have noticed symptoms." Thirteen said. "Droopy eyes, stiffness, swollen nodes, headaches, sleepiness..." She trailed off.
House watched her come to the same conclusion he had. "You're right. Facial indicators would have been obvious, but what are our two-hundred plus patients wearing?"
"Clown make-up." Kutner dropped his pen in an "we're idiots" gesture.
"Gold star." House stood. "The other symptoms can flare and fade and will vary from patient to patient. The stiffness?" He shrugged. "They're wearing uncomfortable clown clothes, pantaloons, some of them are probably carrying things up their butts or hanging off their dicks and so forth -- that would make anyone walk stiffly."
House walked to the coffee station. "This guy probably interacted with half of the convention goers, spreading his spit all over the place."
"you think it's viral and spread with saliva?" Taub asked.
"I think it's here because it spreads somehow, and quickly. Since we don't know how and since the clowns are present and sick, we test our theory and then treat them with the only methods we have. Check the charts again, see if any doctor besides me found even one clown with swollen nodes. I personally recall two who had headaches. And lastly, we know they're sleepy." House poured a coffee. "One thing about statistics is - averages only work when the criteria are almost the same. Here we have over two hundred clowns all displaying some but not all of the St Louis strain of encephalitis, making a diagnosis difficult. Pretend there's only three or four clowns and the symptoms fit." He sat down and stirred his beverage.
"Fudge the numbers, get a diagnosis?" Thirteen asked.
"Glad you agree. Go downstairs and tell all the clowns to wash off their make-up and get naked. Oh, and while you're at it, check them all for STD's, I have a feeling some of these "clowns" recently got naked with each other and some are too stupid to admit they were too stupid to use protection."
A dog's barking could be heard from House's office. "Oh, Kutner, return Dildo to his owner. Clown name of Booby-Snatch. See if you can get her number, I'd like to catch her stage act."
"Good call." Cuddy said to House as he reported his diagnosis.
He signed out for the night at the admitting desk, checking his messages. "Just doing my best to make the world a brighter, happier place."
"Right. Really, House, you saved a lot of lives today."
"Doing my job. I'm a doctor you know. I think. Want to come over and find out? I have a spanking new daisy ring."
"I don't even want to know what that is, so I'll pass. Treatment recommendations? - for the patients I mean."
"Broad spectrum anti-biotics for all, fumigate the hospital, and give all of them prescriptions for better careers. I'm going home to shower off the creepies. Oozing penises are not funny, I don't care how baggy the pants are."