Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #226

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #226

… Hosea brags of his ill-gotten gains and tales of outfoxing all manner of authority, none of which A.O is to tell their mother…

Atlantic City-001

“Well, things turned out anyways, dint they.” You could say so, in a perverse way. “I’m goin’ to give you the gran’ tour – we’ll do the town right!” If anyone knows all the nooks and crannies, surely Hosea Campbell does, and what he doesn’t know, Flo does. What a trio they make, Hosey with his flashy duds and big floppy hat, Flo wrapped in a short white mink coat (and who knows what, if anything, underneath), and A.O. in yet another dapper three piece suit, replete with pocket watch and fob; promenading down the Boardwalk like they own it.

And they nearly do, which is a shame, for a shot of warm air has blown in from the south and thousands of New Yorkers are wasting their weekend in their dingy houses and crowded streets; 60 degrees and sunny, when it was freezing the day before. It is perfect weather for strolling down the forty-some foot wide wooden path, even enjoying lunch on a patioed cafe.

Board3        After a time, A.O. actually finds out that Flo is a real person, perhaps because she away from her workplace, out and doing normal things. The one question he wants to ask her the most: how she got hooked up, so-to-speak, with his audacious brother, will go unanswered. Instead, he hears of a troubled childhood, a failed marriage, and what size brassiere she wears.

Hosea brags of his ill-gotten gains and tales of outfoxing all manner of authority, none of which A.O is to tell their mother. ‘He is a businessman of some success,’ will be his half-told truth.

    “Where your bags at? I’d luv ta have you stay here tonite,” Hosey urges, after they complete a pleasantly pleasant day.

“They’re back at my room.” Well not his room.

“Say, we could all go there and play some cards, you know, part with some of that doctorin’ money.”

“Oh no… I have to get up early, takin’ the first train south you know.” If it is up to him, no one will ever find out about his soon-to-be two evenings with Camille. “It would be nice if you came to Tallahassee for a visit. The folks would be joyed to see you.”

“Just might do that, Alfrey. Have a good trip back.” The three embrace warmly.

“You sure we can’t make a night of it?” asks the third. The doctor doffs his chapeau.

Memories of New Jersey will abide in the doctor always; careless whispers echoing in the recesses of his mind.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Fralingers Saltwater Taffy Store on Atlantic City Boardwalk

Episode #226


page 211

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #225

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #225

… So at home, so at ease is the doctor with a virtual stranger, that the sofa/bed goes unused this January night in Atlantic City….

comfort of strangers

George Lewis’ body language implies that the ten dollars is waived for a completely different something. He ushers her to his leather couch, where again, Maggie Lou mysteriously offers no blatant resistance.

In the ensuing ten minutes, he unfastens her gartered nylons, pulls down her panties, lifts up her dress, and initiates intercourse. There is no explaining this impromptu tryst, although her husband is so dedicated to his medicine that their shared intimate moments are, perhaps, a temporary casualty of the influenza; attention deficits being a verifiable negative factor in a marriage, though not a good excuse. So she allows this middle aged white man to have his way with her, absolutely unaware of the consequences.

Meanwhile Caption-001 So at home, so at ease is the doctor with a virtual stranger, that the sofa/bed goes unused this January night in Atlantic City. What is it about, being a thousand miles and five days away from your real home, that can justify infidelity? Never once does he mention his Maggie, neither is he asked. But there is no denying the passion that is shared, given and taken by equally lonely souls, even though a chance for future relations are unlikely; absolutely unaware or caring of the consequences. “May I stop by tonight? I must be leavin’ tomorrow mornin’, unless my brother doesn’t turn up, then I would be goin’ today.”

“I would be hurt if you didn’t.” It is hard to turn down the pleasures of the flesh. “I will pray you find him.” She allows herself to pursue what will be false hope beyond the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile Caption-001“Completely forgot you be comin’, Alfrey. Where’d you stay?”

          A.O. Campbell would not leave town without seeing his brother, regardless of his encounters the night before; daylight has a way of ferreting out the dark side of human nature. “I found a place down the street, no big deal, Hosey,” completely understating the perks of his overnight stay.

 “Good to hear!” Hosey slaps his younger brothers on the back, nearly depositing him face down on the front porch of his “hotel”. “Come on in.”

  A.O. feels secure enough to venture inside, something he ran from the previous eve. It is already mid-morning and Hosey’s girls are beginning to stir, having completed their graveyard shift duties. One of them looks familiar. She acknowledges their familiarity. “Why, hello there sugar pie.”

“I see you’ve met Flo.” He nods timidly. “Dint you offer Alfrey a room?”

“I sure did, Hosey, but he ran off with some Latin before I could get him inside.” She was actually offended by his turning her down, not knowing he enjoyed the same favors in  decidedly better surroundings, without the threat of sexually transmitted disease.


Alpha Omega M.D.

infidelity too by David Mark Lane

infidelity too by David Mark Lane

Episode #225


page 210

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #223

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #223

… a small shrine to Mary Mother of God and her son Jesus. Votive candles are apparently lit around the clock, two of which burn devotedly now…

Virgin Mary and baby Jesus

Camille Diaz does not push for more, preferring to keep A.O. talking. “You don’t sound like a Northeasterner Alpha, so where are you from?”

“Florida…Tallahassee to be exact, I’m on staff at Florida A & M Hospital.” He senses a trend, so he guesses the next question, “I was comin’ back from a meetin’ in Boston, but I’m here in Atlantic City to see my brother. He told me to find him on Melrose Avenue – you see what I found instead.”

open-and-closed-signs    “And I found you.” She is warming to this diminutive, quiet, somewhat dashing man; and being so far from home, that warmth feels good to him.

As is the diner pot roast warm, the company is satisfying. An hour passes, then another when the waitress brings them back to reality, “We close at nine, you two. Here’s your bill.”

Nine o’clock? Daylight had long since faded, leaving A.O. wondering privately if he could still get a room. Camille has already decided to offer, “I would be offended if you didn’t stay at my apartment. It’s not big, but it’s cozy… good heat.”

  “I,” he hesitates, thinking of his young wife, who has been absent from any of their discussion; not wearing a wedding ring for purposes of sterility, “… suspose that would be the prudent thing to do, seein’ the lateness of the hour.”

Red light-001  Red light-001So, around a couple more corners and down another block, they arrive at a brick building with twenty mail boxes. She checks the one labeled 3D, extracts a Sears catalogue and a letter and they are off to the third floor. She keys the lock and they enter the three roomed apartment; a kitchen/living room combination and a bedroom and a bathroom, the bedroom having floor length red fringe for a door. It is very well kept, populated by largely antique furniture and a small shrine to Mary Mother of God and her son Jesus. Votive candles are apparently lit around the clock, two of which burn devotedly now. It is a well meaning gesture, if not a bona fide fire hazard.

You have a very nice place, Camille. It’s very comfortin’ to be in the company of another believer.”

     The woman is busily preparing for an overnight guest, amassing a set of bedding to convert her sofa, after applying her stove’s flame to a teapot and turning on her radio, which emits a wealth of Latin melodies. She disappears into her bedroom, reentering in loungewear, with a robe draped over her arm, handing it to her wayfaring boarder.

“You need to get out of that suit, Alpha. I started a bath for you – how do you like your tea?”

  “Hot, maybe if you have some lemon.” He is getting the royal treatment. And to think he had planned on staying with his brother, rubbing elbows with hookers and probably roaches.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Luis German Cajiga

Episode #223


page 208

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


page 206

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #155

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #155

…It is now four years hence, Maggie Lou is nine and Alfrey Campbell’s  future is being decided…

Among the crowd is a woman with her son. She had heard, from their Baptist preacher the .Hosea-001Sunday before, that Ezra Elijah would be passing through and is there to have him pray for the soul of wayward son, Hosea. Amanda Campbell has raised her family to love and fear God. Alfrey is there, still under her wing, Hosea is not. She prays for his soul in wretched Atlantic City.

Amanda and John are side by side, entreating God for different reasons. She sees the tears streaming down the face of a man she knows has accepted Jesus, embraces him, sharing the love of God.

It is a moment that 13 year old Alfrey will never forget; one of those life-defining moments. Here stands a man (John F.) he respects, vulnerable and broken, repenting before the Lord. He will never look at Maggie Lou quite the same. In light of what he knows about her father, she no longer is just another little girl, rather a human being that will need all the loving support she can get. He will be there for her as a true friend, not just the younger sister premise he had been working from. He wonders what she will be like in a decade.

Vertical-001    It is now four years hence (1906), she is nine and his future is being decided.

“Vat is you answer, Mr. Love? I know dis is much to ask, but Frieda and me, ve squeak by on our savings. Ve have not za resources for six years medical school.” Siegfried Endlichoffer has known for years that he must hand over the shaping of Alfrey Campbell into a real doctor. Until now, he did not know how to go about it.

“You know how I feel about the Campbells, Ziggy. Willy and his family are very dear to me. Ever since they were freed from that 19th century incarnate, Smythwick, they have been an absolute blessing and a joy.

Ziggy-001     “Heck, every time I light up a Loyal Campbell cigar… but only one a day, Doc…”

“Ya, ya, Mr. Love and you do not inhale, correct?”

“One fine cigar enjoyed and visions of a business that may have crumbled while I was serving the country in Washington. And I have it on good authority that Willy has long since ceased wondering why his only remaining Child spends more time at San Luis than here, helping shoulder some of his father’s burden.”

“Are you angry vith me?” the 70 year old German probes sheepishly.

Love's-001  “No, no, I did not mean to imply that. I do not believe God created Alfrey for manual labor.”

Love motions for Phoebe, who is cleverly keeping tabs on the conversation under the guise of setting the dining room table, knowing the precise time to include her; usually just before she starts clearing her throat uncontrollably.

“Phoebe, would you pour us a cognac? We have something important to discuss.”

“Cognac?  Cognac it is.” Her Herbert does not take a drink very often, especially since his father literally drank himself to death.

“Thank you, dearest… please sit while I tell you what Doctor Endlichoffer has proposed to me – I mean to us.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

philanthropy

Episode #155


page 143

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #75

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #75

…Amanda Campbell can only hope that her husband will return before his oldest son Hosea vanishes into the filthy cracks of life in the big city…

.Hosea-001

A worried mother keeps all those fearful imaginings to herself, taking sole comfort in the company of her faithful daughters, Agnes and Francis cuddling in bed like baby birds in a nest.Debauchery-001

Light sleeps falls hard, extending to the dawn of a new day, when Amanda Campbell hears feet clamoring through the door of her house. She thinks it is Willy safely returning. Instead, she discovers Hosea, strung out and hangdog from a long night of unimaginable debauchery.

“You’re a disgustin’ sight, Hosey!” she proclaims. “How are yo goin’ to work in your soory state?”

“It’s Saturdee, Ma, ain’t gotta milk ‘em ‘til Mondee–goddam cows’ll have some udder damn fool pullin’ their tits.”

“There’s no talkin’ like that in this house. God’ll strike you dead some day, you’ll see.” There toughloveis a surprizing lack of respect in her words. Some would say that she is disowning him, tired of trying to change his philandering ways. Hosey Campbell is sixteen, with the look of a man twice his age. Even on the plantation he seemed to be involved in all the shady goings on.

 “You ain’t gonna do nuttin to me, woman,” asserts Hosey, rebellion in full bloom.

“I cin put you on da street boy and don’t tink I won’t!”

Threats are all she is left with.

“That be jist fine wit me. I knows a guy headed fo Jersey. There’s big money up dere on what dey call da Boardwalk and I’ma goin’ to git me sum.”

She never thought her warning would meet immediate, if not, unwelcome results. So much hurt had been allowed to fester. A mother ignores her forgiving instincts, letting Hosea extract every earthly possession he can fit in a burlap bag. She is frozen in place, unable to move or speak on the behalf of her family. She can only hope that Willy will return before his oldest son vanishes into the filthy cracks of life in the big city.

In fifteen short minutes he amasses his things, in a bag made of carpet. At 5:45 A.M. there is no sign of Willy, the only person able to derail this runaway steam engine called “pride”.

A wordless hug is exchanged at the door, no mention of love or the future, just the fading empty warmth of a struggling family.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #75


page 69

Snake Oil and other Hucksters

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Chapter Twelve

CARELESS WHISPERS

‘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,
Boston’s – College of Physicians and Surgeons for a symposium on
the Spanish influenza and related infectious virus and bacteria, or
something thereabouts, 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 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.

____242 Gwendolyn Hoff

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.

But three days at university is enough and since he was in the
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.”

Atlantic City 1920

“That  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.”

“Some time around of A.O.’s graduation, the Boston – College of Physicians and Surgeons was absorbed by Tufts University. I wrote most of this book before the advent of the Internet.”

Gwenny

Snake Oil and other Hucksters