Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #272

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #272

…That’s not all he wants to rub,” she pats her bottom, “you let ‘em do it once and they think they can do it all the time…

Typewriter-001

We get letters“We’re getting a hundred letters a week, Lyn. The test audience wants to know why Constance Caraway is working without a partner. What about a dashing tall, dark and handsome type, you know the FBI or even better, the CIA that would give it an international flavor.”

Stanley Rogers – Editor

“Christ almighty, Stanley. The day Constance teams up with some damned government freak will be a cold day in hell.” Carolyn Hanes has had it with editors, not that Stanley Rogers is a bad one, but he one of the new breed editors who are what she considers as, overly concerned and influenced by the readers. “The last time I listened to you, and it may have been the last time I do, you talked me… I mean her, into marrying that sleazy politician.”

“You didn’t have to make him sleazy,” the editor reminds her.

“If it walks like a politician, somewhat upright, with two legs and a male brain, he has to be sleazy.”

“Fine, but did you have to have him sleeping with everything wearing a skirt?”

“Everything is right,” Lyn gloats. “Remember, you don’t have to be a lady to wear a skirt.” Stanley blushes. “What about you, Stan? I can lend you one of mine.”

“All right, enough of this silly talk. What are you doing tonight? Old man Harper wants to rub elbows with his star writer.”

That’s not all he wants to rub,” she pats her bottom. “You let ‘em do it once and they think they can do it all the time.

Fanny-001  “He is the publisher and that was three books ago – before he found out about your ‘friend’.”

Sara/Fanny.

 There isn’t a day that goes by without some memory of her or the character she inspired. The true essences of fictional Fanny and so-real Sara have always been interchangeable, to the point that Lyn would mentally confuse the dressmaking housemate with the picture taking investigative partner. Sara would bristle when she was called Fanny. Likewise, Sara’s name used to occasionally appear in the same paragraph with Constance Caraway. That is what editors are for.

“I’m sorry, Lyn, I keep forgetting she’s gone.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Hawaiian Spy-001

Episode #272


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #256

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #256

…The plight of the Negro community has not changed, yea, surely worsened by the continuing Great Depression, as the world-wide economic downward spiral is called…

Blessings III by John Holyfield

Blessings III by John Holyfield

The death of Princess Olla has never left the mind of A.O. Campbell, not merely because of the manner in which she died. Laura Bell was like a mother to him, going back to the days of his lengthy visits to San Luis Lake and that dear German couple, the Endlichoffers. These people were like family to him and seeing that his parents Willy and Amanda lived only long enough to see the Great War end, (plus a year or two), Princess Olla was his family. Oh yes, there are sisters Agnes and Francis, whom he has set up in a house in Tallahassee. And he has Hosea. Oh my, Hosey, now there is a relative for you, as in, ‘You can choose your friends, but family chooses you’.

And then there are Maggie Lou and the girls. They make sure he keeps busy. He can scarce afford not to, with three females perfecting the art of spending money. The result: he has been beguiled by the lucrative, if not, illegal, world of abortion.  ‘Somebody else will do them if’n I don’t,’ he says to himself. ‘With less skill and care,’ he adds.

   And then there is his dream of building his own hospital. He can see it there on the empty lot next to their house on Virginia Street, just a few steps from where Laura Bell was left for dead.

dream

The plight of the Negro community has not changed, yea, surely worsened by the continuing Great Depression, as the world-wide economic downward spiral is called. This is like telling a starving man that he needs to go on a diet. These impoverish people’s health suffers as bad as or worse than their jobless quagmire. And with the number of black doctors increasing yearly, what better a place to come to the aid of their own? Care would be given, regardless of ability to pay. A.O. wants to provide a place for black doctors to practice outside the present restrictive structure, to make an absolute difference in the lives of the needy.

Where will the money come from? Dream high and tread lightly.


Alpha Omega M.D.

6th Avenue Unemployment Agency by Abraham Harriton

Episode #256


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #255

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #255

Chapter Fourteen

LESSONS NOT LEARNED

…Maggie Lou Campbell is proud of how she has raised her girls; much like a breeder of horses feels about a champion thoroughbred, though horses do not sleep as much…

Zillah, Laura, A.O. & Alpha Campbell

L-R = Zillah, Laura, A.O. & Alpha Campbell

“But Mother, my tennis lessons don’t start until twelve o’clock. What time is it now?” asks a groggy Zillah Campbell.

“It is almost eleven and your breakfast is cold. You said you were coming down an hour ago.” Maggie Country Clubgoes through this struggle on a daily basis, not that the problem isn’t any of her doing. Zillah is the youngest of her three daughters and the most spoiled, without question.

“All right already. I just don’t know why I have to learn a sport I am no good at.”

“If you want to fit in at the country club, playing tennis is a must.  Look what it did for Alpha? She married a doctor.” Mom is proud of how she has raised her girls; much like a breeder of horses feels about a champion thoroughbred, though horses do not sleep as much.

“Tennis didn’t get her, Vaughn Mizzell spreadin’ her legs did.”

“You best take that back, young lady. How can you be so cruel?”

“I’m only sayin’ what Laura told me. She says she plans on doin’ the same with real estate guy, McLoud.”

Just what Maggie wants to hear? “We’ll see about that! I will not have my daughters gettin’ a reputation for sleepin’ their way into a marriage.” The scariest part of the courting of Laura Campbell is that Franklin McLoud is as close to white as a black can be. That is not so bad, if it isn’t for whom his associates are.

1937 CC P.I.-001

They could be the very villains that Carolyn Hanes writes about in her singeing novel about murder and other shenanigans in fictitious Atlanta. It was most cleverly done, with Constance Caraway and Fanny Renwick first investigating the death and disappearance of an old woman, then discovering the smelly undercurrent of blatant racism and corruption. As the people of Leon County began to read, as is customary when the author is a local, the hum on the streets becomes deafening.

The book came out earlier in 1937. Currently, near the end of the same year, certain anonymous folks have launched a campaign to ban the book in Florida, for what they claim is its homosexual undertone. Curiously, they are not about to bring it to litigation, likely fearing that the authorities would read the book and relate her story to the dark days of 1931 Frenchtown.


Alpha Omega M.D.

CC P.I. Deadly-001

Episode #255


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #250

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #250

…And just think, Sara, Sherlock Holmes had his Doctor Watson, Constance Caraway has her Fanny Renwick!…

Meanwhile Caption-001“I think you are taking a huge gamble, Lyn. Even if you change the setting from Tallahassee to Timbuktu, someone around here will surely figure it out,” Sara Fenwick warns her partner, who has been researching the possibility of using the death of Laura Bell/Princess Olla as the subject of her next novel.

“A story like this begs to be told, Sara, besides that, it is time I take on a serious subject. And it is also a way to portray a female heroine in a positive light. I want, Constance Caraway – Private Eye, to be the first of a series of crime/mystery books.” Carolyn Hanes has chosen a career path based on the loyalty of her readership. Which is well and good, but she has tackled one sensitive storyline for Constance Caraway’s first-told case. “And just think, Sara, Sherlock Holmes had his Doctor Watson, Constance Caraway has her Fanny Renwick!”

“Yeah, sure, an eccentric photographer with a knack for identifying suspects from witness descriptions and stray hairs.”  Sara has not been wild about her being a rough model for one of Lyn’s main characters. At least in this case, Fanny is not a seamstress. And I was wondering whether the name “Fanny” has anything to do with my bottom.” She twists her torso to view her backside, not quite as firm and high as it once was.

“Oh, sweetie, you know that a good character is really a combination of more than one person. I only give Fanny the best of your ass—ets,” she barbs.

“You and your words! I wish my needles were that sharp!”

Cobblestone (olla)-001

Carolyn Hanes is the daughter of author, Emerson Hough, who wrote many stories about the American West. He was a bit of a crusader in his own right, largely responsible for saving the shrinking buffalo population in Yellowstone National Park. Before dying, while Lyn and Sara were in Europe on holiday, which haunts her to this day, he had planted the seeds of creativity deep inside his precious little girl.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #250


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #221

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #221

…But his brother told him to try Melrose Ave. and he will, even though this stretch of street looks a little seedy; unlike any resort the doctor had ever seen…

Atlantic City Boardwalk by Ira Shander

But three days at university is enough and since he was in the general neighborhood, A.O. had suggested, sort of invited himself, to visit his older brother, Hosea in Atlantic City. “My place ain’t much to look at, Alfrey, saw the picture of your digs, not bad.”

“That doesn’t matter, Hosey, I told mama that I’d see you. It would make her feel better. She blames herself for you runnin’ off to Jersey.” Amanda Campbell will die without having seen her 38 year old son again.

“Okay, Alfrey, I live on Melrose Avenue, ask anyone fo me, they knows where I’m at.”

hookers sign

That conversation took place the month before, when A.O. first found out that he would be going to Boston. It is a leap of faith for the doctor, who had the nagging feeling that his generally irresponsible sibling might forget the day of his arrival. But perhaps he will be pleasantly surprised.

Upon arriving at the resort town, he takes a cab to Melrose Avenue. For Atlantic City, a wildly popular summer destination for New Yorkers and Philadelphians, the streets are mostly deserted. If he would venture out to the ocean, he would have the Boardwalk to himself. But Hosea told him to try Melrose and he will, even though this stretch of street looks a little seedy; unlike any resort he had ever seen.

And of course A.O. is impeccably attired, rarely seen without a freshly pressed 3-piece suit, so he sticks out like a sore thumb. Most of the people he passes stare at him, not used to seeing a Negro so natty, with the possible exception of the ostentatious Hosea.

Of those people, some of the female varieties are scantily clad, never mind the chill, with a fetching look on their face, not a stare. He chooses the most proper “lady”, which would be like being the world’s tallest midget, asking, “Could you tell me where I could find Hosey Campbell?”

“Who’s asking, Cutie?” she answers while unfastening yet another button on her glittery blouse.

“My name is Alpha Omega Campbell, Hosea’s brother.” He tries not to stare at the woman’s ample breasts, fearing God would put one or more of his eyes out.

 “I work for Hosey, Alpha honey… and you can have one on the house.”

“What house?” Ignorant and innocent, A.O. should know better. When he goes into Frenchtown down home, less elegant ladies of the evening do exist. It is the oldest profession after all.

What else does he think they are doing on street corners?

“My house, my bedroom, are over there in that hotel.” She points to a three story structure with a crooked neon light, half lit, reading, Melrose Arms.


Alpha Omega M.D.

.Hosea-001

Episode #221


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #220

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #220

Chapter Twelve

CARELESS WHISPERS

…Doctor A.O. Campbell has as much experience on the front line as anyone there, but the entire group is still shaken by the epidemic, having fought the same disease tooth and nail, from every conceivable angle…

New England in Winter

Winter in New England

  ‘What am I doing in Boston in January? asks Dr. A.O Campbell of himself, not particularly waiting for an answer. Had he bothered to respond aloud, he would have said: ‘I’m back at my alma mater, Tufts University Medical School for a symposium on the Spanish influenza and related infectious virus and bacteria’, or something thereabouts, but likely less formal.

It is the first time he has returned to the school since graduating in 1913. Every five years or so, doctors are required to demonstrate that they are staying current, in a field that is progressing as fast as any sector of post war America. There was a time when, thirty or more years ago, when medicine was less technical and more speculative, with certain practicing doctors being graduates of dubious institutions. Snake oils and herbs were used to treat diseases and illnesses with nondescript names like, consumption and the rickets. Anesthesia consisted of either biting down hard on a rag or a bottle of whiskey.

So in the interest of science, young Dr. Campbell, about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday, chugs up the East coast, which sports a blanket of fresh white snow from about Washington north. Floridians are not used to this kind of cold, never seeming to be prepared for these type conditions, even a doctor who should have better sense. His teeth will chatter until he is able to purchase something more substantial than a summer suit of clothes.

It was not the most exciting three days he will spend in 1919, but it was nice to stroll around the granite buildings again. As discussions go among physicians, this gathering is useful, as well as fruitful. There are ideas to be exchanged and the experiences in the field to be related. Doctor A.O. Campbell had as much experience on the front line as anyone there, but the entire group is still shaken by the epidemic, having fought the same disease tooth and nail, from every conceivable angle. A good doctor will learn every day of his or her career. That is what makes a good doctor.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Boston Victory Parade by Charles H. Woodbury

Episode #220


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #209

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #209

…Mentor and friend Doc Ziggy is felled by a simple act of compassion, unnecessary risk for the sake of healing; a trait passed on to a willing and eager student…

Ziggy-001

So A.O. Campbell is compelled and propelled into the front line of a serious domestic battle. As one day turns into two, three patients swelling to ten, he is joined by doctors Clifton Moor and J. Kenty Johnson, both of whom already spend their days looking down the lenses of a microscope and are anxious to get a magnified view of this biological invader. A good core group of nurses come to the third floor as well.

But before day-two is out, Ziggy’s 85 year old body seems to have plain given up, fluid laden lungs laboring in his sagging chest. And with a hellacious fever to boot, no quantities of Love ice able to stem the upward spiral. Tending to his spirit is all A.O. is able to do. “Laura Bell’s fever is breaking, Ziggy, see–she’s waving at you from the bed across the room. I have all I can do keepin’ her from takin’ my job.”

“In bed vhere she belongs! I don’t vant her paying for my mistakes,” The old German forces out words with precious little breath.

“Mistakes?” A.O. is curious.

healers

“Ya, I treated some sick Indians, from za reservation up north, Laura’s people. Didn’t think they had a plague.” He is regretful to the end.

          “It’s not the plague, Ziggy, somethin’ no one’s seen before, influenza they’re calling it. Clifton and Kenty have isolated a bacteria or maybe a virus.” He attempts to take the pressure of guilt out of Ziggy’s condition.

          “I should have known better. Too many of zose indians vere sick, bad sick.” He pauses to draw a painful breath, a chance to reflect. “I am glad Frieda vent before me. She did not have to be alone. You make sure you take care of Laura unt Maggie, they will be alone now.”

“No Ziggy, you can’t leave me. Please hang on until they can come up with a serum, you’re too stubborn…”

Stubborn does not leave A.O.’s mouth before Doctor Siegfried Endlichoffer eyelids drop over his tired blue irises. He is a fairly early victim that will eventually number 800,000. He is felled by a simple act of compassion, unnecessary risk for the sake of healing; a trait passed on to a willing and eager student.

The student must resist embracing his expired friend, the natural reaction given the moment. Instead he gives way to a trained team of amateur undertakers, whose job is to isolate the corpse for later burial. There is not much room for tender moments, unless you risk your own life in the process.

  A.O. Campbell is left to suffer in silence, removed from the rest of the world by his choice, while witness to an ever mounting carnage, even to the loss of his comforter, the reason for his vocation.


Alpha Omega M.D.

COMPASSION2

34 Compassion Paintings by John Schlimm

Episode #209


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