Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #218

…Upon leaving Orange County California Judith is faced with one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles…

Rocky Mountain Railroad Excursion by Howard Fogg

The three day return trip is doubly melancholy for Judith Eastman; she leaves something behind and she doesn’t know what to expect when she gets home, having been gone over three weeks. She stares blankly out her window during the day, tosses and turns in her Pullman at night. Reality has indeed settled in.

If she were in a taxicab, she could tell the driver to step on it, but a train has its own plodding pace, 60 mph, downhill, full throttle. And sure as there is a downhill, there is an uphill to match. Upon leaving Orange County California you discover one big uphill named the Rocky Mountains; sea level to fifteen thousand feet in a matter of 200 miles. At the highest elevations, snow has taken over the mountain peaks, very pretty indeed, but two months from now, passage over the mountains is touch and go. Even a thousand horsepower has trouble with four feet of fresh fallen snow.

But once you have passed the Nevada Territory, the leeward deserts and wasteland, the locomotive is faced with a thousand miles of seemingly level terrain. Of course the quality of sight-seeing goes downhill with the land, with nothing but endless waves of windblown prairie grasses. Throw in the occasional bison and a rodent hunting hawk for every acre, you have the American heartland in a nutshell.

Judith just stares past it all, homesick and alone.

Rocky Mountain Steam Train by Max Jacquiard

What she finds at home will not comfort her.

“Harv is very sick,” tells brother, George Eastman, wearing a surgeon’s mask who greets her along with her old dog.

“Hello, Frisky,” she acknowledges her faithful pet. “Sick? Where? Paris?”

“No, he came home four days after you left, seemed fine and sorely happy to be back, even worked at the office for a couple of weeks.” George gathers the courage he will need. “Then that damned flu hit him from out of nowhere. I found him in bed, after the magazine called me wondering if I had seen him.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #218


page 203

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #186

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #186

…Don’t be givin’ me credit, James, I’m just going to be a simple country doctor…

Morning Rounds by Terry Redlin

At the reception following the commencement, thankfully in a tent cooled by large fans, the rest of Tallahassee gang gets the chance to congratulate the recognized star of said proceedings. A.O. Campbell is by no means totally comfortable with his celebrity. He has been merely singled out, by a President no less, but it took every fiber of his brain to make it to this point. Brain surgery is not in his future, though many men, women and children will come to him for what ails them and he will do his best not to fail them.

People like John and Martha Ferrell are just plain overjoyed, especially John, having seen his metamorphosis first hand.

James Ferrell has witnessed the severe prejudice that Negroes must endure, knowing that a Negroes lot may be one small step from imprisonment or death. Whether it be North or South, he is rightly impressed with the new professional and tells him so. “Put it there, buddy,” he extends his hand. “Not your ordinary commencement. Mine was so boring that half of the entire gymnasium fell asleep. Some guy named Robert Wynne, the then Postmaster General with a sedative speaking voice and speech to match. But you, my friend, have a flair for the dramatic and Teddy Roosevelt.”

“Don’t be givin’ me credit, James, I’m just going to be a simple country doctor.”

Country Lawyer-001  “Well, that makes me a country lawyer and if that country doctor ever needs my services, please do not hesitate to knock on my door; like if you amputate the wrong leg, or try to deliver a baby out a woman who’s not with child?”

“Pay no mind to him, Alpha, the world of law warps the mind, like a day old pine board on a hot day like today,” chides Abbey, uncomfortable when he is so flippant about such things.

Harv Pearson is not far away, catching the tail end of the conversation concerning his P-E J attorney. “You best take him up on his offer, Alpha. It’s better to have him with you, than against you. Anyone who can stare down a man like Hank Blount is all right in my book.”

“Not to mention keeping you from sailing on the Titanic,” James adds, taking any color from the involved faces, paled by the eeriness of a near miss. Harv and Judith were supposed to be aboard the fated ocean liner, but…

 (…“I believe you neglected to get us a press-pass from the White Star Line. ‘I’ll get you an exclusive’, is what you told us, ‘One of the Beacon Hill partners is the brother-in-law of Guggenheim’s sister’ or some such thing.”) At the time Harv and Judith were put out, stuck in dirty old London without a story they had counted on to boost sagging subscriptions. But in four days all is forgiven; a night in frigid Atlantic waters is transformed into a holiday in Scotland.


Alpha Omega M.D.

by RB McGrath

Episode #186


page 174

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #173

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #173

…The Calhoun County Sheriff applies handcuffs to Willy, without bothering to find out who was driving….

Protocol for accident situations is in its infancy, but one commonality involves involving the law.

“How come you dint tell him I was doin’ the drivin’, Willy? I ain’t goin’ to let you take a fall for me.”

Driver Licence (old)-001 “You ain’t got a license ta drive dis truck, Clete, justa car. They may throw you in jail.”

In the midst of noble intent, there comes a faint groan from the smashed auto, the first sign that it contains a driver. Willy leaps into action without hesitation, running to fetch a tire iron from its popped trunk.

“Get the bar from out the truck seat, quick like, I think we can free this door (grunting) pry on the bottom?”

“I think it’s workin’ Willy! Try a skinch lower–here she comes–pull with your hands.”

Car accident (old) That last effort finally swings the blood stained driver side door open. The painful moans are coming from the female passenger, not the driver, witnessed by his crushed skull. Between them, they pull him out, carefully placing his lifeless body to the side of the road. They are even more careful with the woman, who is suffering from unknown injuries; Willy had learned triage during his stint rescuing hurricane victims.

Shortly after completing the extrication, the police sedan peels onto the scene, a Calhoun County insignia painted on the door, closely followed by the salesman, who was true to his word. The first thing they see is Willy looking inside the expensive auto.

  “What do you think you are doing, boy?” The sheriff looks sideways at what he thinks are questionable motives.

   “The lady over there is askin’ for her bag,” he explains.

   “Are you sure you weren’t stealing it?” He is wary.

    “Please take her to a doctor. She says she is with child.”

        “Not before I take you in for killing Charlie Blount.” What a cruel coincidence.

          He applies handcuffs to Willy, without bothering to find out who was driving. “I hereby deputize you,” he pulls out a star from his pocket, handing it to the salesman. “Take both of them to the Calhoun County Jail. I’ll take care of Charlie’s girlfriend.”

          “Willy wasn’t drivin’, sheriff!” Clete is distraught.

          “Don’t be lying for that nigger, son. I have a witness who tells me different.”

 “He was tryin’ to move the truck off the wreck. I got us in this mess, when…”

 “I don’t want to hear it! Take both of them away.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

by Holly Crabapple

Episode #173


page 161

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #172

…The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived…

The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of theOld Road sign-001 roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“I’m sorry, Willy, I weren’t doin’ good though, eh?”

“You was, Clete.” Willy scouts for solid enough ground to make a Y-turn. If they put the truck on sand, they would be soon be on foot. “There! Puller in befo’ the bend……and give that horn a good pull.”

If there were a cemetery nearby, the occupants would think the gates of heaven were being opened, so loud the report.

Pulling off the road is easy, but Clete has yet to configure the gears to reverse and gropes unsuccessfully for the R slot in the H shift pattern. Willy has to help.

Driver School-001“It’s right… there!” One gets a “feel” for gears, which comes with repetition.

Flush with success, Clete causes the truck to lurch backward, without the recommended pull on the air horn and before Willy can confirm a previously empty roadway. It had been… ten seconds before.

From out of the roar of the 100 horsepower comes the screeching crunch of metal, the same novel chorus of sounds being repeated throughout the country. The only difference is that the Mack is an immovable object.

     The once speedy roadster goes no further. Its top is cut off like a can of vacuum packed food and there is no chance that whoever is under the rear deck of the Mack could have survived. There is equally little chance that they can pull forward, but they try anyway, with Willy at the wheel. The truck will not loosen its grip; they can only drag the Chadwick Six along and under.

Clete waves off any further attempts to free the shiny white auto, when a Model T headed for Rock Bluff stops to help.

“My God, is anyone alive in there?” asks what appears to be a traveling salesman, peering into a slight opening spewing smoke and steam.

“Ain’t heard nothin’ since they run into us, goin’ faster than Casey Jones’ train.” Clete describes what he did not see.

 “When did this happen?”

  “Ain’t been ten minutes – we’re tryin’ to get away from the car.” (fearing an explosion)

  “You were going to cut and run?” accuses the confused man.

   “Oh, nosir, nosir, we hada see ifin anybody is livin,” pleads Willy, already flustered and distraught.

   “Well, I am going back to Bristol to locate the proper authorities. I believe it is the Liberty County seat. So I recommend you wait here for us to return.” It is a stern warning by a concerned citizen, just a little bit suspicious of a Negro driving a new truck. For better or worse, he is mistaken.

Episode-001


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #172


page 160

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #171

… Willy Campbell no sooner wants to revisit those days at Fort Sumter South than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt…

Willy and Clete have a good two hours work unloading Love material and loading Blount goods, with Clete having to shoulder much of the work. It seems that because of Willy’s parentage, he is not allowed inside any building, except the outhouse. Come to think about it, they have not seen a single dark skinned person since they got here, unheard of in the South.

Welcone to-001

“Let’s get out of this place, Willy, it gives me the creeps.” Not only is Clete exhausted, he is perplexed. In Quincy, Willy is a respected member of the community. Hank Blount makes it clear that he or any other Negro would not be welcome in the future.

Fort Sumter-001The best sight for Willy, in the past three hours, is Blountstown in the rear view mirrors. Memories from his days at Fort Sumter South had been confined to unpleasant late night dreams… until he meets Hank Blount. The icy stare that pretends Willy is not there, speaking to a third party to communicate, being refereed to as “those people”, are reminiscent of the management skills of Jefferson Smythwick.

  He no sooner wants to revisit those days than modern-day Israelites have interest in building pyramids in Egypt.

He is so disturbed, in fact, those five miles out of Hell Town, he pulls over to give Clete his big chance at navigating the Mack. It’s his lack of concentration, not confidence in Clete that prompts him to do so. No matter why, Clete is like a kid in at a candy jar. If he can drive his brother’s Peerless (auto), this should be easy.

But there is a difference between the manual driving of the machine and knowing where you are going. Willy is so busy watching Clete’s shifting mechanics that he doesn’t see him veer to the left (north) at the first fork in the road. The sign had read “ROCK BLUFF 3 miles”. Had it not been for the narrowing of the roadbed, he may not have noticed their wayward path.

“We ain’t headed fo Quincy, Clete, musta zigged when we shoulda zagged. We’ll hafta git this beast turned ‘round.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Barn at the Fork in the Road by Betty Sue

Episode #171


page 159

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #170

… The Blountstown General Store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigar tobacco products…

Driver School-001

Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.

“I be puttin’ her in a lower gear, Clete, like this,” he pumps his left leg twice on the left peddle, while shifting a stick back towards him. The sound of the engine becomes more earnest, but their speed of 15 miles per hour is maintained.

“That looks easy ‘nough, Willy. When are you goin’ to let me take the wheel?”

“Somewhere on the way back, likely on that open stretch we passed a ways ago.” He would rather do all the driving, but that defeats the purpose of training.

Welcone to-001This day they have Road 12 to themselves. The route begins to wind close to Blountstown, calling for caution, especially on the inside of corners. On roads designed for wagons and autos, there is not room for anything but the Mack truck. Whenever Willy cannot see around a corner, he pulls on the air horn cord. That usually keeps the way clear.

Once safely within the Blountstown village limits, they locate the new center for directions in towns across the country; the gas/service station replaces the local diner. There is usually one per town, as is the case in this one on the Apalachicola River. With a grunt and a mumble, a grease smeared hand points to Blountstown General Store, which is next to the Blountstown Barber Shop on one side and the Blountstown Saloon on the other. One wonders who either founded or owns the town. You are right.

The general store is considering Love Dairies as sole supplier of milk and associated products, as well as growing demand for Savannah Cigars-001Savannah Cigar tobacco products. Both are important staples to this typical mill town, but mill owner, Hank (you guessed it) Blount, wishes this fair priced and prompt company could supply a third staple Love Dairies2-001for his workers: whiskey.

If it were not for the profitable backhaul, which is the avoidance of running an empty truck back to warehouse, bartered quantities of lumber and flour; produced in Blountstown with the aid of rushing river water, channeled through paddle wheel and electric generator (Blountstown Power & Light), dealing with Hank Blount would have been out of the question. Herb Love has heard disturbing rumblings from the city, 25 mile southwest of Quincy, but images of a thousand families in need of nourishment tilts his better judgment.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Company Town-001

Episode #170


page 158

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #169

Leave a comment

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #169

…Now, this is how you drive a truck: this is the throttle, that the brake and always look in both directions when you come to a place where another road meets the one you’re on…

WIF Travel-001

Ten Cents on the Dollar

Willy Campbell is pretty darn good at most of the things he does. He is best at leading by example; watch me and you will see how to do it. Wrapping those pungent Loyal Campbells is an example; this is how you do it: pick a leaf from the premium drying rack, place 2 ounces of blend 23, fold it into a cylinder, etc… and you get a perfect cigar. Now, this is how you drive a truck: this is the throttle, that the brake and always look in both directions when you come to a place where another road meets the one you’re on. What? Well, whoever gets to that point first can go through first, unless you are turning left, then the person to the right does, if he is going straight. What? Polite drivers always signal which direction they are going, with their left arm. What if they don’t? Then you guess and hope you are right.

The preceding instructions are not the words of Willy Campbell, who makes a mean cigar, but could not describe the rules of the road if he wanted to; there are no official rules, although there is certainly the right way and the wrong way. He will show Clete Wilsup the right way, on the way out to Blountstown. There should not be many motorcars on the road on a Saturday morning, maybe just enough to get the feel for sharing the road.

Map-001 It is late summer and the roadbeds are good and dry, as opposed to wet and muddy when travel will build character or fray your nerves. You do not get a choice of which one you end up with. Today is a good day for a novice.

The new Mack truck was delivered last week and has not been running more than five hours since. It has that “new” smell, a smell that defies description; it just smells “new”. The relatively veteran Willy can tell the difference in power and handling from the 1906 model that he drives, mostly on hills where, even fully loaded, they do not bog down.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #169


page 157