Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #243

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #243

…“Laura Bell is the scrappiest woman I know. I bet she gave ‘em all they could handle, Jimmy!” A.O. has known his wife’s mother for most of his life…

by Patrick Baty

by Patrick Baty

Amidst all this relational banter, there is a knock on their door. Carolyn gets up to see who it is.

“Good day, my name is, James Ferrell. This is my client, Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell. May we speak with Sara Fenwick, please?”

Lyn glances back at Sara, who motions them in.

“How are you doing, Miss Fenwick? I understand you had quite an evening last.”

Lawyer James   “That would be an understatement, Mr. Ferrell. It seems I see ghosts that are both covered with blood and five yards of my best rayon. My friend and I have been discussing possible connections to my mildly depressive tendencies.”

“First off, we do not dismiss your account of last evening out of hand. I know it looks like you were seeing things, but I have a feeling we are dealing not with common thieves, rather very intelligent and purposed individuals. With that said, can you tell us anything about the men you saw fleeing the scene?”

Sara is delighted at the prospect that she is indeed sane. “Oh, thank you, good sir… let me see… I Detectives Handbookbelieve they were younger, judging by how fast they could run. One of them was wearing one of those new hats, a variation of the tam-o’-shanter – they’ve been wearing them for years in Europe.” Of course Sara would use fashion as a point of reference. “And their clothes were by no means shabby, which is odd for common thieves.”

“Good observation, Miss Fenwick.” James Ferrell had his theories. “I believe that robbery was not the motive. Do not take this wrong lady and you A.O., but had they been Negroes, which the location of the crime would indicate, we would never have a chance to solve Olla’s disappearance.”

“Laura Bell is the scrappiest woman I know. I bet she gave ‘em all they could handle, Jimmy!” A.O. has known his wife’s mother for most of his life.

“That may have worked against her, Alpha and if my suspicions are correct, the people who may have done this, probably think they hate her, without ever having met her.” Because they are going to do their best not to involve the police, he is doing his best impersonation of a detective. “Who doesn’t like you, Doc? I know you don’t have a vengeful bone in your body, but others cannot get over whatever bothers them.”

A.O. uses the hanky from his suit jacket to wipe sweat from his bare forehead. Always the three-piece suit; he does everything but sleep in his suit of clothes. “I sense lotsa envy from whites, not likin’ what me and Maggie have, but hate, thatsa fearsome ‘motion. The Lord tells us to love our neighbor as we would want to be loved. Can’t think of no one, right off, but I’ll keep on recollectin’.”

Continued


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #243


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #241

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #241

… “So, is Laura Bell alive or dead?” is an appropriate question for a lawyer to ask…

Dead & alive

Dead & Alive by Alison Chaplin

Today would be “one of those days” for the good doctor. He has learned not to shoot from the hip, so-to-speak trying to handle situations by himself. All that that ever got him was a smelly dose of blackmail, something that may have ruined him and his wife, before they had established themselves socially. Things would have turned out very differently had they been restricted to practicing solely in the black community; no staff position at Florida A & M, no opportunity to offer care for those unable to pay for his services. The latter would be his greatest legacy and he was a month or two away from allowing unsubstantiated accusations to steal that from him. He has since learned the workings of the “waiver of liability” form.

“So, is Laura Bell alive or dead?” is an appropriate question for a lawyer to ask.

“I don’t know, James. I had a pretty white woman come to me tonight, over at the house, after we had gone to bed, tellin’ me that she had found Olla beaten and robbed. When we went back, there was no sign that anythin’ had gone on… but it was awfully dark out.”

“It happens every time the sun goes down, Alpha,” he looks out a window, “… sorry, but you left that door wide open.”

          “I will laugh at that joke when I know where Olla is,” he proclaims sincerely. “I am so used to her traipsing in and out that I don’t know what to believe.”

“What aren’t you telling me, Doc?” He rightly concludes that there is more to this story. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with that Wilson girl, would it?”

A.O. nods. “The Fenwick lady said she saw four or five white men running away. By the time she got me out from bed and down there in Frenchtown, well… I ain’t sure what to do. I am sure that the police would do a half-hearted investigation into this monkey business, hell they would rather watch me like a hawk, likely waiting for the first and best reason to throw me in jail and steal my land.”

“It’s Maggie’s land and no one is going to steal anything from her or you, not as long as I am around.”

A.O. should be lighting candles and praying novenas at Saint Matthew of the Pines Catholic Church for James Ferrell’s long life.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #241


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #238

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #238

… “Doc Campbell! Doc Campbell!” Sara pounds frantically on the mammoth oaken door of the huge house at 324 Virginia Street…

Cobblestone (olla)-001

“I have one hem to finish and I will be right behind you,” she tells her favorite customer with a sweet smile, very much looking forward to getting home…

   … which is exactly what she does, with a slight detour down the path that Olla probably took to Virginia Street, where the older woman stays with Doc Campbell and her daughter. Unfortunately that means she flirts with the fringe of a Frenchtown that is better traversed in the light of day.

324 Virginia Street-001

Old House by Ashley Ordines

Sara is no more than ten minutes behind, when she sees four or five white men scrambling into the bushes, laughing away as they scamper, one of them carrying the same satchel Olla had with her at the shop. She quickens her pace, all the while checking for further danger, ultimately coming upon a body covered with a bloody shroud of her finest rayon. It is apparent that the proud Olla did not give up easily and her attackers did not take kindly to that resistance. Seeing that she was no doctor, Sara did head straight for the closest one.

“Doc Campbell! Doc Campbell!” Sara pounds frantically on the mammoth oaken door of the huge house at 324 Virginia Street. There are no lights on inside, so she wooden doorcontinues to bruise her hands in an attempt to stir A.O. into action. There is no time to waste.

Finally she can hear footsteps added the erstwhile quiet of the night. The heavy door swings open, creaking under its considerable weight. She did not know what the doctor looked like, only that he was a Negro and he lived in the biggest house in town. At 5′ 8″ she towered over the smallish man with a receding hairline and silk pajamas.

  “Is someone ill Madame? Perhaps it can wait ‘til mornin’?”

“NO! It is Laura Bell. She was at my shop less than an hour ago and on her way home, she was attacked by a band of thugs…………she is badly injured.” Sara’s behest is taken to heart. The doctor retreats for a robe and follows her to the reported scene of the crime.

  Suddenly, the mad rush turns into confusion. Sara Fenwick had believed she could revisit it easily, surely as she can guess any given woman’s dress size. Instead, that familiar spot, out in the open, which is why the attackers ran for the bushes when they saw her, is empty. There is no sign of a body on this dimly lit side street. They both walk over the bloodstained patch of cobblestone road where she had laid, now unawares.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Scene of the crime

Episode #238


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #153

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #153

… No one listening to this fiery man of God, on that hot June day, really believed that Ezra Elijah is his real name…

Ezra Elijah-001

– Leon and Gadsden Counties, Florida, big business is small and bustling city life is not. If Tallahassee were not the capital of its state and it did not have the two universities, the area more closely resembles southern Georgia or Alabama or Mississippi.

San Luis Lake-001 But it is not and that is a good thing, though as 1902 replaces 1901, there is still widespread poverty in the entire South, including Tallahassee, Midway and Quincy.

The Ferrells, John, Martha and Agnes, operate on the fringe of all that is bad, their place in the community tied to the locations of their three groceries. The neighborhoods are representative of the typical Southern mix; from the affluent Capital Hills to black Frenchtown and not much in-between.

At home on San Luis Lake, they are insulated and isolated from the people they serve. Some would say on the fringe of reality as well.

Once upon a time

      John Ferrell has busied himself juggling his two very different worlds, managing to keep them separate, apparently by the infinite grace of God. For a man who can be formerly categorized as a two-timer on both religious and personal fronts, (attending church at Christmas and Easter, in addition to having children by wife Martha and Laura Bell), he has experienced a revival of such proportions that neither his wife or Laura Bell know what to think, though they do not dare turn down the blessing. They can thank a traveling Protestant evangelist named, Ezra Elijah of the American Bible League, barnstorming Florida with news of the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ; grace being a gift from God for those who believe in him.

No one listening to this fiery man of God, on that hot June day, really believed that Ezra Elijah is his real name, but after listening to him speak on heaven and hell, all they can think of is where they will go when they die. Most of the Tallahasseans watching and listening to the figure, on the back of a well-traveled wagon, are there by happenstance, curiosity seekers like John Ferrell. A core of bible toting black women knew of his coming and are escorting and exhorting him along his way, as far as their faithful walk with God will take them.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Marvel Comic’s version

Episode #153


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #62

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #62

… All your children turn out beautiful Johann, though little Maggie looks notting like your vife…

Secret Life-001

They (being John, Ziggy and Frieda) have had nearly three months to prepare, time for contemplation and reflection. But, little Maggie Lou has hastened the workings by entering the world a month ahead of schedule. Doc Ziggy thought he knew exactly when she was supposed to arrive, thanks to the only one possible cause for Laura’s condition. He also thought that he and his wife were too old to have an infant living in their house, but he was wrong, once again.

It is hard for John Ferrell to argue against Princess Olla abiding so near his home. He had nearly secured a home Endlichoffer Chalet-001in Frenchtown for his parallel family, a humble abode in a not so great neighborhood. It would have been a good place for them to grow in anonymity. Conversely the Endlichoffer’s offer a safe and loving environment, virtually assures that father John cannot forget his legacy or his responsibilities.

“She is so tiny.” It has been fourteen years since he has held a newborn, John Ferrell that is; for Ziggy, not as long. He is surprised at the fairness of the child’s skin, not totally unexpected considering his 50% contribute, but you never know; only one out of four pea plants will have white blossoms, the rest having pink. Generations have not been skipped in this unintentional crossbreeding.

 Movie - Secret Life “All your children turn out beautiful Johann,” comments one who knows, “though little Maggie looks notting like your vife.”

“Enough Ziggy!” insists John, who fails to see the irony of the moment. Most of his irony is saved for the bevy of lies and acres of deception that will constitute a lifelong cover-up. Part one of ‘The Secret Life of Laura Bell’, featuring Maggie Lou, begins this day with only the County Clerk of Courts aware of this census change; and the filled in father space on the birth certificate unavailable for public consumption.

The clerk will have her job as long as she wants it. The good news, for her, is that she had recently been appointed as clerk, replacing the former clerk who had fallen very ill. She is just two years out of Florida State University and now she has the undying support of one of Leon County’s most influential businessmen.


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Episode #62


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #13

…Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago…

Post-funeral mingling continues…

“We’ll all be missin’ her, Doc, just like we’ve been missin’ you,” offers Edwina Stephens, longtime Frenchtown resident and friend to the family. A warm embrace is given to all in the greeting line.

Second in sequence is J. Kenty Johnson, who along with A.O., was one of the first black doctors in the former Confederacy; numbered lower than 100 for the longest time. “You had the finest possible woman, ‘specially for a doctor, A.O. A single man like me can sure ‘preciate that.”

“Thank you, Johnnie. I know I couldn’ta made it through those early years without her. She was a blessin’ to me.”

“To everyone,” it is agreed.

The slow moving, single file line produces a surprise: Hosea Campbell, the wayward older brother of the doctor, who still looks like his vocation, a purveyor of prostitution. He saunters up respectfully.

“I’ma sorry that I ain’t been ‘round these years, Alfrey,” he speaks to his brother using a nickname only the Quincy Campbells use; Alfrey actually being A.O.’s given name. It wasn’t dignified enough.

“How’d Jersey been treatin’ you, Hosey?” asks Alpha, not expecting what would be coming out of his mouth next.

“Oh well, I’m doin’ okay,” Hosey says, changing to a whisper, “but Angie is worried sick ‘bout you. Your letters stopped comin’ over a year ago. She’s thinkin’ you forgot about her.”

The doctor discretely responds in muted words, “Tell Angela and her mother that I’ll be contactin’ them soon. I was fearin’ the warden’s been spying on my mail, don’t need his knowin’ ‘bout Camille.”

Secrets-001

Secrets are undisclosed facts. You would swear that these liberties with the truth would make a heck of a good story, if they did not make such painful truth. And it’s not as though things got this complicated overnight. Years of careless planning have contributed to current circumstances. 1919 was one interesting year, in the deep dark past and the culprit in several indiscreet situations by multiple offenders.

“Camille is married, did ya know?” Hosey is updating the New Jersey news, as they shunt to an unoccupied corner.

It has caught the doctor off balance. “Married?” There is a slight trembling in his voice, reflecting a tinge of unwarranted possessiveness.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #13


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #10

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #10

…the good reverend Pastor Bill Johnson gazing down at his assembling flock and guests, from the top stair of his church entrance…

Faith Resurrection Baptist Church

A solemn motorcade has assembled in front of Faith Resurrection Baptist Church. Directly behind the funeral director, is the same extended-body black Lincoln that whisked A.O. Campbell to his temporary freedom. Trailing behind, in a considerable line, are those less mobile, nevertheless devoted admirers of what Maggie Lou and her surviving husband mean to the community. As he suffered at Starke, in silence, in disgrace, they were out of sight, out of mind.

Without Doc Campbell in the socially lagging Frenchtown neighborhood, they suffer of body. Without Maggie, they are down one friend. Despite the incalculable disparity in the lifestyle the Campbells have enjoyed and that of, say Lilly Chevis, it can never be said of Maggie, ‘That woman is so uppity, livin’ in that huge house and all. And can you imagine havin’ black servants? How nervy can you get?’ Yes, Lilly Chevis helped out at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital, a two story edifice named after Maggie’s mother, their shared kinship is the byproduct of most relationships that include the Campbell’s by habit. Holidays, birthdays, baby dedications, church socials, graduations and sadly, funerals are shared experiences of the community family; each occasion warm and full to the brim.

The Campbell world, the one not fully revealed to Lilly: the university functions, cotillions, fund raising dinners for the politically given and all black ties affairs.

Yet today, none of these detract from the deep sense of neighborhood.

Consider all of the above. These are what bring a throng of mourners to Faith Resurrection B.C.E., the good reverend Pastor Bill Johnson gazing down at his assembling flock and guests, from the top stair of his church entrance. Neither he nor any of his parishioners can recall this house of God’s capacity being so threatened. Although the Sunday after the Tallahassee soldiers arrived back from World War II was greatly packed with grateful souls.

Ushers Harwood, husband to former Campbell nurse, Lettie Golden and Dr. V.L. Perry, the president of Florida A&M, make the most of “Faith’s” interior, including the little used balcony. For this service, there are extra honoring voices behind the pulpit, which is right behind the flower covered casket.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #10


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