Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #174

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #174

…Says here two men and a truck have not returned to Quincy. Sounds like you planned to hijack that truck… Rock Bluff is on the way to Georgia…

Edward Lamson-Henry

Art by Edward Lamson-Henry

The soft-top-cop Ford arrives at the jail, which is next to the law offices of Blount Blount & Jones, Willy his herded away from Clete. He has talked him out of trying to Justice2-001set the record straight. Folks in these parts are not very good listeners anyway.

  Instead of a cell, Willy Campbell is locked in a damp, rancid cellar. He will not see the light of day for two days. Neither will he see Clete, his best chance at exoneration. It is a taste of Southern justice at its worst.

On the third day, the door swings open, casting light on the windowless cellar. Without a word, he is pushed up the stairs by the sheriff himself, plopped into a chair in a small room. The door is shut behind him, only to be opened straight away by an all too familiar face.

“So what do you have to say for yourself, boy? Did you know that it was my son you killed?” He had buried Charlie hence. “He lives twenty-two years only to be run over by a truck, driven by a damned nigger.”

“Where’s Clete? He’ll tell you ‘bout what happened.”Old Road sign-001

“We sent him packing, but maybe we shouldn’t have, seeing that we got this missing persons report. Says here two men and a truck have not returned to Quincy. Sounds like you planned to hijack that truck… Rock Bluff is on the way to Georgia.

“We, I mean Clete tooka wrong turn. We was turning around when a speeding car plowed into us. Mr. Love knows we wouldn’t steal his truck, he’ll tell ya so!”

“Whether you were stealin’ the truck or not, my son is dead and you are going to pay.”

“What ‘bout the girl? The one wit dat baby in her. She knows they was goin’ too fast, not lookin’ out fo trouble.” It turns out that they were rushing to an appointment for an abortion. She ends up getting one, but she will not be admitting it any time soon. “We saved her life, we did.”

railroadedcover

“Trouble is what you are in.” Period, end of story. “Put him in the darky cell, give him bread and water… don’t want to be accused of mistreating a prisoner.” It’s his town and obviously his influence goes across county lines. “We better go after the other guy Sheriff, can’t have him talking. And let Hansen (Liberty County Sheriff who was out on a cattle rustling call that fateful afternoon) know we are handling the situation.” He is ignoring jurisdiction, for his own self interest. Not a good idea.

“Shouldn’t we let Gadsden County know what’s goin’ on?” asks the Calhoun County lackey.

“Tell them the truck they were looking for was involved in a fatal accident. They will find out the rest later,” Blount plots it out. “Now go get that Clete idiot, before I elect another sheriff!”


Alpha Omega M.D.

jail

by Billy Dee

Episode #174


page 162

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #167

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #167

… Alpha Campbell is the only person remotely qualified to perform resuscitation. He may have learned this technique from the stricken Ziggy himself…

by TheMozzy (Deviant Art)

Alpha is smart enough not to scare Maggie Lou off with talk other than friendship. He can only hope that she will be there for him, when he is a doctor and she is not off limits

For the time being, he must be satisfied with holding her hand, helping to complete an unbroken circle around the departed Frieda… surviving husband Ziggy and Reverend Watkins.

“We commit our sister, Frieda, to you, Lord God Almighty. We believe you have already taken her into your loving arms, to a place where we the living look forward to coming; the throne of everlasting grace.

  “And please help her watch over her dearest Siegfried. Comfort his heart, dry his tears, give him the strength to continue to look after Laura and Maggie.”

Strength is substituted by the opposite. Ziggy wavers for a moment, catches himself, only to crumple like a house of cards, narrowly avoiding Frieda’s earthen aperture.

Without hesitation, Alpha rushes to his mentor, removing his tie and loosening his collar. Finding no pulse, he goes to work alternately pumping the breathless man’s chest and forcing his air into the mouth. This looks so foreign, to the point of violence, but Herbert Love and John Ferrell urge the others to stay calm. After all, young Campbell is the only person remotely qualified. And who knows, he may have learned this technique from Ziggy.

Back to Life-001  “Breathe, Doc, breathe!” Alpha screams while forcing the palms of his hands onto the heart area.

“Have mercy on our souls!” calls out the Reverend. What a cruel fate to suffer; how unthinkable.

But just as all hope was lost, with resuscitating efforts having ceased, Ziggy comes to life, seemingly on his own, as if he had an on/off switch that had been accidentally tripped, then reset to on. “Vhat am I doing on za ground? You have been crying, why. Did someone die?”

 Did someone die… indeed.

“We thought you were – not more than two minutes ago,” explains his friend and neighbor, Ferrell, still dumbfounded by what they have just witnessed.

No explanation except God! claims Reverend Watkins.

“Vhy are vee in za cemetery?” he asks, before focusing his failing eyes on the headstone in the background. His chin touches a once silent chest, upon seeing the completed dates under his Frieda’s name. What had caused him to spring back from death had removed the memory of his loss. Laura, Maggie, Willy, Alpha and John, those he knows the best, surround him in loving kindness, easing the newest impact on a man who cannot remember a day without his wife.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #167


page 156

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #166

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #166

… The solemn procession stops nearest the lone freshly dug hole around, below the shade giving branches of a sprawling magnolia tree…

Fifty hours and eleven hundred clickety-clack miles later, the Atlantic Special pulls up to Tallahassee station, pretty much on time. There is the usual crowd anxiously waiting for their people to stride from one of the ten passenger cars. Those who await James, Abbey, and Alpha are conspicuous by the color of their dress; black and blacker garb of mourners.

Laughter and tears

Laughter and tears mingle together, in no particular order, randomly interspersed between everyone hugging everybody. However lousy the reason for this reunion, the undertaker’s wagon lurking down the street with Doc Ziggy is poised stoically for the regretful procession, there is an unmistakable tie that is abiding; Ferrells, Campbells, Loves – friends, lovers, kin and kindred spirit.

They leave the platform, arm in arm, coming up behind the shiny black hearse containing Frieda’s earthly vessel which is void of her heavenly soul, pointed toward the cemetery over Macomb Street way.

The solemn procession stops nearest the lone freshly dug hole around, below the shade giving branches of a sprawling magnolia tree, in front of a slab of polished gray granite labeled:
Headstone-001

Becoming a grandmother without first being a mother is a trick saved for women like Frieda, whose love for someone else’s child is selflessly unconditional. Maggie Lou is a budding young woman, with physical traits provided by a genetic mom and dad, but more than a modicum of compassion and good old-fashioned grounding, dispensed by a kindly German Frau in her twilight.

Maggie Lou’s physical traits are not lost on Alpha Campbell, who has never seen her filling out a brassiere, looking more like 16 than 11. She has suddenly filled out that space in his mind’s eye reserved for “woman”. What a few more years might do for her maturity? He is smart enough not to scare her off with talk other than friendship. He can only hope that she will be there for him, when he is a doctor and she is not off limits.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #166


page 155

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #164

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Alpha Omega M.D. -Episode #164

…”I can’t believe Frieda is gone, James,” Alpha laments, “she was so strong”…

1908-001

At a corner cafe, on a darkened Boston street, three old acquaintances are getting together for the first time since the aftermath of the Galveston hurricane in 1900.

Endlichoffer Chalet-001The reason for this get together is a sad one, the passing of Frieda Endlichoffer in August of 1908. She had fallen, breaking a rib that pierced a lung, preventing her precious mobility and pot-stirring dexterity. She had forgotten that she rolled up the front room rug, whereby felling her and the arm load of freshly air dried bed linens. She lays there for five hours, before her husband, Laura Bell and Maggie Lou return from a shopping excursion to Tallahassee. Dehydrated and weak, her 75 year old heart could not stand the strain. Doc Ziggy did not have the chance to save her. She died alone. Her private doctor and der Liebling was five helpless miles away.

Lawyer Ferrell, wife Abigail and pre-med student Alpha Omega Campbell discuss short term plans, i.e. traveling back for Frieda’s funeral.

I can’t believe she is gone, James,” Alpha laments, “she was so strong, like Blue Boy the draft horse. I remember watching her work that horse after that cyclone hit, two years back. If we hadn’t showed up that Friday, she would have worked that horse… and our man Joseph half to death.”

“That is the whole point, Alpha, seventy-three year olds should happy to wake up each morning, not clean up after tornadoes,” James observes clinically.

“Doc Ziggy must be seventy-five, right? Who is keeping him from overdoing it? He is very single minded, not one to listen to three women, let alone two.” Abigail is familiar with the breed, finding the throttle control is a daunting task; male engines either rev madly or drop to the stalling threshold.

“He listens to Laura, Abbey. Frieda had a way of making him dig in his heels with her lack of tact.” A younger Campbell found out early on that you did not have to ask Frieda what she meant. If you could understand her broken English, you knew where the bullfrog croaks in the rushes. “On the other hand, he sure enough is putty in Maggie’s hands. Yessir, I do believe they can take care of him, ‘cause iffin’ they couldn’t, I’d go back in a bug’s minute I would.”

“Speaking of going back, we have our own Pullman for the trip. We expect that you will join us?” James assumes, while Alpha hesitates.

“I don’t think I’m allowed in the fancy white folk’s car; probably have to ride with the baggage.”

“Don’t play that race excuse in my around me, Campbell. Besides, if that were the case, the last case I take at Beacon Hill would be Campbell vs. B & O Railroad!”

1908  Musical Interlude


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #164


page 153

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #140

…Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers…

“Stay still, sir,” implores Ziggy, who is busy plugging the torso breech with the cleanest handkerchiefs he can find. Alpha calmly assists his mentor, having learned that grace under fire is the doctor’s best friend.

“There is an ambulance on the way!” updates a very concerned Exposition official.

“No!” Ziggy protests. “He should not have a bumpy ride. Ve must stabilize him before he is moved; I think zee bullet is near his spleen!”

By now a circle of lawmen, some local, mostly Secret Service has made a pretty tight circle around McKinley’s prostrate position, with an eye out for the ambulance wagon. Anyone on the outside of this enclosure can only guess as to the condition of the man whose health they fear for.

There is an absence of the normal buzz generated by several hundred people. Stunned shock replaces it. Phoebe Love, with her husband nearby his wounded friend, chooses to do the perfect and only logical alternative to grief: prayer.

“Come near, my friends,” she beckons her known confederates, whose numbers grow upon hearing, “Our dear Heavenly Father, we come before you, broken and miserable sinners, to worship and adore you and ask for your divine healing for your devoted servant, William McKinley. Lord, he lay bleeding from a bullet delivered by one of Satan’s own. Please take him into your loving arms, show him that love, and give him a peaceful spirit, free from despair and pain. May it be your holy face he sees?

“We also want to bring his sweet wife Ida before you. Guard her from the fear that will soon come to visit. Give her no reason to grieve prematurely, soften this cruel blow in ways that we your people can only marvel at.

“Father GOD, make us a people who love and serve you in all the things we say and do; mere players in your grand orchestral plan.

          “And all His people said……”

“Amen!” rolls like thunder across the plain of souls.

McKinley & Cortelyou

“Cortelyou–my wife–be careful how you tell her–oh, be careful.” This is an instant where he cannot effectively protect his frail spouse, fearing not for his well-being, but that of Ida.

“Yes, William, I will be gentle,” promises his attending secretary.

The Exposition electric ambulance knifes through the humanity to gather up William McKinley for surgery at Erie County General Hospital, a nearly two mile bone jarring ride.

“If you insist on taking him on this monstrosity, let us attend him.” Ziggy Endlichoffer and Alpha Campbell are brushed aside, in favor of so-called experts, as if they were a nuisance, not lifesavers.

“Thank you, friends,” is all McKinley can say from on the stretcher, powerless to overrule a situation he cannot control.

A pall is cast upon such a promising September day in the first year of this new century. One career is ended as another is just beginning.


Alpha Omega M.D.

lincoln_mckinley_garfield_assassination_poster_collectible

Episode #140


page 128 (end of ch. 7)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #139

…There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in…

scott-joplin-imagem

William McKinley has a prohibitive favorite in musical style: ragtime. The “King of Ragtime”, Scott Joplin is here to perform, as he had at the Chicago Exposition in 1893. You do not turn down a request by the president, who is treated to the recently composed, “Maple Leaf Rag”, among other many jazz favorites in this singular format.

Mister Joplin finishes this afternoon’s program to a large ovation from the several hundred fair goers. The concertmaster thanks everyone for coming and invites one and all to greet the President at a public reception commencing hence.

“Where should we go now?” asks James Ferrell, whose youthful curiosity is fueled by what amounts to a vacation for him, in the midst of virtually two solid years of university study. There are so many wonders that titillate each of the five senses and not enough time to take it all in. “I want to see the racing cars.”

As you would think, there is no consensus among the Floridians, who struggled to amass themselves here. They had been scattered for the entire morning, in pursuit of their diverse interests and separate ways it seems to be now.

They are in their indigenous groups, however. The Ferrells are not about to waste a minute of their rare together time, as do the Campbells and the Endlichoffers, even though Amanda Campbell is distracted from missing the two children she left behind in Tallahassee, in the care of Princess Olla; freedom brings on new, if not worrisome, sets of dilemmas.

Just as their milling and mulling comes to an end, heads are turned by what sounds like firecrackers. Two pops precede gasps and screams. Someone yells, “Get a doctor! The President has been shot!”

Herbert Love was close enough to feel the shock waves from the pistol reports, he searches the crowd, searching for answers to the doctor request and is relieved to see Ziggy dragging Alpha through the gathering throng, turned angry mob.

“Am I shot?” the slumping leader gasps, not feeling the pain or the stream of flowing blood.

By this time the mob has tackled the assailant, beating him mercilessly. “Let no one hurt him.” McKinley orders in fear of vigilante justice.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #139


page 127

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #78

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #78

…My son is in love with my adopted daughter, my daughter is in love with her brother, my invincible brother has been murdered by some cruel force in a far off harbor and I fear my husband has been lying to me for God knows how long… I do not wish to continue…

Southern Lady-001

John Ferrell looks over his shoulder to see for himself and reads further. It describes the horrific events of two days earlier, equally taken aback…

USS Maine explodes on February 15, 1898. Public Domain

..by the some 260 deaths reported. Reports of Maine survivors vary, but with an original crew of 325, one can rely on math and the missing list to fill in the blanks. Two of the four officers are dead and they know the Captain did not go down with his ship.

“Martha dear, we should not assume the worst,” encourages a comforting spouse, knowing Maynard is almost always topside.

So much for a perfect world, as it relates to John Ferrell. The last remaining thread in his wife’s hem seam seems to have unraveled. Brother Maynard has exited her reality, leaving no North American Gaskel left to commiserate with. So fragile is her current state of mind that the very prospect of Maynard’s demise searches out the darkest most recesses of a heretofore dormant state of consciousness.

hell_hath_no_fury“My son is in love with my adopted daughter,” she states without hesitation. “My daughter is in love with her brother.” There is a good measure of regret in her voice. “My invincible brother has been murdered by some cruel force in a far off harbor.” Tears are streaming from her heart. “And I fear my husband has been lying to me for God knows how long… I do not wish to continue. Please take me home, my Lord and my God, to the peace and quiet of heaven.” Martha Gaskell Ferrell retires to the foyer settee, to take rest from all the dizzying concerns.

John plays second base for the amateur baseball team in Tallahassee, the Panhandlers. Back in 1890, they played the Cincinnati Red Stockings, a professional team from the National League of baseball, in a spring exhibition game. The unpolished laymen played a spirited game, but still came out on the low end of a 15 to 7 score.-

Panhandlers-001

–It now appears his wife has taken up the sport, at such a late age. Her undoing has come from deep left field.

Just like the coward that lurks in the soul of every man, John Ferrell of the unsavory list Martha had spewed, acts as if he does not hear a thing. “Let me get you a moist towel for your forehead, dearest.” He had been witness to a similar sudden brush with reality when his adopted daughter recognized Willy Campbell, a horrifying piece of her sorted past, in November of last year. Shock surely triggers a process that exhumes buried or repressed memory. In Abbey’s case, her perception, no matter how skewed, is her reality. Martha, on the other hand, could not be more correct.

“I am going back to town and try to contact the Navy. James will be home from school soon. Let me take you upstairs. You should rest a while.” His only chance to save face is to divert her attention, refocusing on matters concerning brother Maynard.

The late afternoon trip back to Tallahassee will not be necessary. There is a report from the heavy brass knocker on the front door. John responds to the unknown beckoning, to find a Western Union agent with a message labeled for Martha, sent by the Department of the scorned-001Navy. He signs for the cable in her stead, fumbling through his pockets for a proper gratuity for the likely grim messenger.

Martha views the note without outward expression. Her manner is cold and calculating, withdrawing to catatonic solitude.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“Have you heard about poor Martha Ferrell?”

Episode #78


page 71 (end Ch. 4)