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T H E E S T A B - L O I D --------------------------------- Issue #7 3-15-86 --------------------------------- A weekly electronic magazine for users of The Establishment BBS (894-6526) owned and operated by Thane Smith Editor - Gene B. Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . You may share this magazine with your friends under the . . condition that the magazine remain complete and intact, . . with no editing, revisions or modifications of any kind, . . and including this opening section and statement. . . If you like the magazine, the Sysop and I would appre- . . ciate it if you would let your friends know where they . . can log in to find the magazine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (c) 1986 THIS ISSUE: It's fiction time again! This week's story was actually written several years ago, and was published in a trade journal for commercial pilots. Weird place to see such a story, really, and I was amazed that they bought it. Especially since they didn't buy or use fiction. Fair warning: The story could be rated as a "PG-13" or even a soft "R". I kinda wondered if I should even put it up, but then figured that the users of this board are mature enough to not have the story corrupt their lives. But if you're sensitive, you may want to skip it. THE $3.75 (plus tax) MAN It had been one of the worst crop dusting accidents in years. While making what should've been an ordinary pass over the field, the stick had come off in his hands, causing the plane to go spinning out of control. The plane did as much of a half gainer as possible and smacked into a field of asparagus. His last conscious thought was, "I HATE asparagus!" Fortunately he'd done all repairs to the plane with Scotch tape and old clarinet reeds (to cut costs). The collision cracked it like an old, dried-out eggshell, and threw the pilot free of the wreckage and into a pile of insecticide, burning oil and creamed asparagus. Smelling profit, three ambulance services arrived. While they fought over custody of the victim, paramedics attempted to separate him from the now boiled asparagus, taking care to place any stray fingers and feet on the stretcher with the pilots. Finally, a coin was produced and it was decided that the pilot would be rescued by Bud's Ambulance Service, which was fortunate as they were well known for their efficiency. They only dropped him twice in getting him aboard. In keeping with their reputation, the trip to the hospital was extremely quick. All 17 miles were covered in two hours. The drivers took only 30 minutes for lunch, and thoughtfully passed up their noon appointment at the local massage parlor. The hospital personnel, too, were on their toes. The head nurse set aside her movie magazine with hardly a grumble and politely asked the driver only the most essential questions for admittance. "Got any money?" she asked. "Uhhhhh," groaned the pilot. "You'll have to speak up, sir. (God, what a mess he's making on our nice, clean floor.) Now - insurance?" The pilot answered by allowing his right hand to fall off. "Name? And billing address?" Silence. "Sir, you'll have to cooperate if you want us to operate." She broke into hysterical laughter at her joke. The pilot failed to see the humor of it, and said so by aiming a spurt from a torn artery. She agreed that it wasn't all that funny after all, as she wiped the stickiness from her face. She turned to her assistant and said, "Get this man to an operating room immed iately!" (He's making a bloody mess in the lobby. Too many sick people around will give us a bad name.) Just then another miracle occurred. A doctor was actually on duty. Grudgingly, he set aside the fourth floor candy striper and consented to save the life of this poor man (with the rich insurance company). "After all," he reasoned, "I took the Hypocritical Oath. And besides, I could use another Mercedes." So, only 18 hours after the crash (the doctor decided that the candy striper should wish him luck - in private), the pilot found himself staring into the bright operating lights. "Scalpel," demanded the doctor. "Sponge. Suture. Clamp. Kleenex," he requested, blowing his nose soundly. This was the doctor's big chance. For year's he'd been watching reruns on television. He was almost an addict. (He'd served his internship on "General Hospital.") And, if a cowboy like Lee Majors could be put back together, then so could this schmuck. Piece by piece he mended the broken body of the driver. Using a delightful shade of Coates & Coates he sewed the fingers back in place, and the hands back on the wrists. He cursed softly when he realized that he'd sewn the left hand on the right arm, and vice versa. After toying with his personal asthetics, he decided that the left hand should go on the left arm after all. An old episode of Star Trek came to mind as he carefully soldered the nerve endings together. (He made a mental note that 50/50 acid core solder didn't work very well on nerve endings, and determined to get resin core next time.) Six hours, two coffee breaks, a half hour off to watch his favorite soapy, and one candy striper break later, the pilot was resting safely in the ward in an anesthetic coma. He finally opened his eyes, and through the blur wondered why his right hand had two pinky fingers while his left had two thumbs. But, happy just to be alive (more or less), he decided to let the matter pass. Might be a good conversation piece, anyway. The nurse entered. "How are you feeling?" she asked sweetly while checking his wallet and pockets for spare change. "Not bad, considering," he answered. There was a strange nasal quality to his voice. He noticed that the nurse was staring open-mouthed at him. "What's wrong?" he asked. "You're talking with your nose!" she stammered. "Your mouth isn't moving, just your nostrils." She moved quickly to the door to locate the doctor. "Uh, would you mind turning off the light before you leave?" he asked. "It's a bit noisy." After a thorough examination, the doctor ascertained what the problem was. ("Damn," he thought, "I gotta lay off the belladonna when I'm operating.") Somehow he'd soldered the nerve endings in the wrong places. Terrible as the situation was, it WAS kinda funny, and he found it difficult to keep from laughing whenever his patient talked. The Chief Surgeon of the hospital didn't find it quite so humorous and demanded an explanation (before he had the doctor shot). "Well," giggled the doctor, "Nurse Barkley was tickling me. I guess I must've wired him up all wrong. I connected the mouth nerves to his nose, and the ear nerves to his eyes. He can still see with his eyes, but he also hears with them. Must be confusing for him, especially when he blinks. It's sort of embarrassing. Nurse Smith got quite a shock when she touched his toe. We're still trying to get the toe to lie down flat again." "You idiot!" exclaimed the Chief (supressing his own laughter). "This could give the hospital a bad name. Worse, it could give ME a bad name. You'll just have to operate again. (And I left Jessie for this?) We'll have to give the patient a 10% discount, too, damn it all. After all it IS our fault. "Now, get to it, doctor. And send Nurse Barkely to me. (Tickling, huh? Hmmmm. Should be an interesting chewing out. If I threaten to fire her, she'll be willing to . . .)." The operating room was made ready again, washed down quite thoroughly with Ajax and Lysol. ("You're sure he's not Italian," asked a nurse holding a bottle of Dawn.) The steel operating table and surgical instruments were placed in the deep freeze to make them the right temperature. The pilot was interrupted from his lunch, where he was attempting to shove a cheese sandwich through his nose, and was wheeled into the operating room. A nurse brought in a large rubber mallet and clipped the pilot on the head. ("Gotta cut costs, y'know," she explained. "After all, you're getting a 10% discount.") The doctor came in with a candy striper clinging to his leg. Through the fog of the mallet anesthetic, the pilot heard her screaming something about an interesting bulge around her belly. He saw the doctor hand her a technical instrument that looked very much like a straightened coat hanger, and, just as the doctor was explaining the medical significance of the instrument, the nurse clouted the pilot once more, for good measure, and the room went black. When he opened his eyes again, the light was no longer noisy. However, it did have a peculiar odor. "Am I okay?" he asked through his ear. He found that all sound in the room ceased whenever he closed his mouth. Gently he tilted his head back, aiming his nostrils at the doctor so that he could see better. The doctor was clutching the side of the bed in a fit of laughter. "Oh, shit!," he guffawed. "Here we go again." UNTIL NEXT TIME I hope you enjoyed the story. It has some references that perhaps belong in a game of Trivial Pursuit - but that adds to the fun of it. (Try to find them.) Next week? I'm not sure. To be honest with you, this issue was prepared ahead of time - for a situation where I'm under a deadline crunch and just don't have time to put together a new issue. (Try taking care of all your other responsibilities and putting out an additional 3000 odd words per week, and you'll see what I mean.) So, next week? I guess you'll just have to come by then and find out.
Zephyr Magazine is © Gene Williams. All rights reserved.