Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #17

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #17

         … Warden Hayes has a burr under his saddle…

Warden Hayes, can you tell me what kind of prisoner Alpha Campbell has been?”

The warden has a burr under his saddle, not at all happy with the absent Attorney R. Worth Moore having gone over his head, to the Governor’s mansion no less, to spring the doctor in the first place. Yet he cannot lie about the model prisoner in question. “We hardly know he’s there. He skips meals, for instance. He doesn’t socialize… not that socializing is a healthy thing in a maximum security prison. And to tell you God’s honest truth, he’s forever reading that damned bible of his, especially after “lights out” and that aggravates us some.

“And the last thing, the one bad thing is that he’s not a very good worker. I mean we have a guy with one hand cut off who can make more license plates than Campbell, with this good hand tied behind his back!.”

That somewhat concise assessment is about what Hopkins had expected to hear. “Do you believe he is a candidate for release?”

“I do, but mostly because he is taking up good space–you know, for the hard criminals that should be at Starke.”

“That is a flimsy reason for release, let alone clemency,” reasons Jim Stack. “There’s a dead young mother to consider here.”

“What do think about parole release, Warden Hayes? Is he a threat to society?” asks the governor back.

“Release, clemency, hell I would let him escape, I’m so sick of this case right about now!”

“Then let’s do this, I think Alpha Campbell should be a free man,” declares W.D. Hopkins.

Sneaky Sam-001The same silence that started the meeting, are the sounds now unheard. The lone visible dissenter in the room has been patiently so, until now. He had thought he knew Samuel Goldblatt from somewhere. His name had that visual familiarity, memory of the photographic ilk. Just how he knows that name will become readily apparent.

“Governor–I have important, confidential information which is critical to this proceeding,” Goldblatt asserts.

“If you object to his release, please present your evidence to the entire group.”

“It involves the F.B.I.” Those words strike fear in the hearts of men, all men, not just here in the Southern states. Remember that ‘the South will never die’, it has been said, but the J. Edgar Hoover led federal cops seem to be color blind, or at least that is how they appear on the outside.

W.D. Hopkins does not fear Goldblatt III’s invocation, merely respects it wisely. He ushers the czar of the Holiday Inns into an inner chamber. There appears to be an unfettered determination in the gate of the visitor, yet W.D. cannot imagine the connection between confidence and consequence.

Goldblatt’s resolute agenda is twisted, compared to the governor’s debatable influence.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Florida-1958-license-plate

Episode #17


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #16

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #16

…I regard inmate Campbell as a prime candidate for the mercy of this state…

Justice-001

The Now Governor of Florida is presiding, having arranged the meeting of probable interested parties. “Let me begin by saying, as prosecuting attorney in the case: The State of Florida versus Dr. A.O. Campbell, I believe that under most circumstances the majority of a sentence should be served by a defendant. With that being said, as Governor I have the power to grant clemency, as I see fit, according to the laws of this state.” Hopkins leans back in his high backed reclining leather chair, fingers massaging both eyes, aching for the lack of rest. “In light of recent events, including the death of his wife, as well as a persisting heart condition, I regard inmate Campbell as a prime candidate for the leniency of this state.

Justice2-001 As if he was a benevolent king.

“He is already in town for his wife’s funeral, so before he is taken back to Starke Prison, I am compelled to grant him his freedom.”

“Amen and hallelujah!” Dr. Palmer rejoices amid the stunned silence. “He did not kill that girl. She died because she missed a day of packing. Infection killed that girl and she was told how important it was to keep the uterus sanitary!”

“No!!!!” objects Addie Gray. “He delivered a breathin’ baby and he killed my Audrey too!”

“If the baby was alive, then why was he convicted of abortion related manslaughter? This whole case is riddled with so many inconsistencies that it should have been dismissed before it ever went to trial!” Palmer remembers the trial like it was yesterday. He doesn’t mention that a jury of his peers part of the law was ignored (6 white males).

“Well—–I mean he is a bad doctor—the baby died and so did my baby.”

“Why did your daughter travel to Tallahassee, when she was already being treated by Dr. Sapp at Havana?” Florida, not Cuba.

“Well–uh–Dr. Sapp was, uh, out–I mean of…”

“Mrs. Gray is not the one in prison. She is only here to make sure justice is served, that the complete penalty of the sentence be executed,” New States Attorney Stack interjects.

“Let us not turn this into a shouting match, people. I’ve made a simple humanitarian suggestion and want to make the right decision,” pronounces Wilbert Hopkins calmly. He does not know what a can of worms has opened, thinking it only a can of corn. “Now, if we have settled down, Warden Hayes, can you tell me what kind of prisoner Alpha Campbell has been?”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #16


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #5

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #5

…The Governor has granted you special dispensation…

“You have a visitor, Doc Campbell.” The voice of guard Lightfoot pierces the night, routing the man from a spasmodic sleep. It feels like he has been daydreaming with his eyes closed.

“I ain’t been been killin’ no white girl!” yells the doctor incongruously, with conviction.

R Worth Moore-001Standing before his 6×8 foot cell, is R. Worth Moore, the attorney who was unsuccessful in refuting the testimony of the dead girl’s mother. Her daughter, in a deathbed revelation, tells her mother that it was a Tallahassee doctor who performed an abortion on her. Whether or not the privileged evidence is true, the six white males on the jury believe so. Go ahead and disregard the known fact that her then “family” doctor was a Doctor Sapp, who practiced medicine 10 miles north, in Havana. He is white; any potential holes in the testimony?

“Wake up, Doc… do you want out of here or not?” Lightfoot has a heavy hand.

You can almost smell the fresh air of freedom from inside this hell-hole.

  “A.O., I’ve come to take you to be with your Maggie!” Attorney Moore looks more disheveled than normal, because of the early morning hour, but not too far from his typically crumpled appearance; being a widower, he does not have his suits pressed as much as he should.

“Say what now Mr. Moore?” he mutters in a surrealistic daze.

The Governor has granted you special dispensation. I’m here to take you home for the funeral. Alpha is waiting for us in my car.”

“Mr. Moore went over the warden’s head, Doc,” says the guard. “Now get on your Sunday clothes before someone changes their mind.”dignity

Moore has brought the doctor’s best fall suit with him. Prison cannot take away this proud man’s dignity and the way a man dresses is the outward expression of that. Prisoner Campbell is suddenly transformed into his former self; the one who operates in the realm of the respectful and respected, as opposed to the regulars at Starke, molester, murderer and thief. How did he ever get lumped in with this motley crew?

The metamorphosis is completed when a renew-ly proud man strides confidently through the open cell door. An emotional Attorney Moore sniffles in concert with his tears, much as he had done after his closing statement on February 2nd, 1956.

“If they’ll give me my black bag back, Worth, I‘ll give you somethin’ for that.” He thinks of others before self. If one’s life motto can be summed up in six words, write the previous sentence down in The Book of Life, alongside the quiet doctor’s name.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #5


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #3

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #3

…”What is today’s date?” the doctor inquires. It is hard to keep track of time, when daylight comes to your world but an hour a day…

October 21 1958-001

“My Maggie died this morning, Frank,” simply put.

Lightfoot’s face turns a whiter shade of pale. Realization of another’s mortality will shine the light on your own, producing humility and ultimately humanity.

“I am truly sorry, Doc Campbell. I didn’t mean to disrespect you.” He means what he says.

“Maybe you could put in a good word for me, with Warden Hayes I mean. He denied me a pass to go to the wake.”

“This IS a maximum security prison,” Frank states, then recants, regaining his new humanity. “You’re right, Doc. The warden should grant you a pass and I’ll volunteer to take you to… where are you folks from?”

“Tallahassee.”

“How can I forget that, state capital and all?”

“To be rightly correct, we hail from Quincy, in Gadsen County. But we have a family cemetery plot  at Oakland Cemetery in Frenchtown, not far from my hospital.” The mention of his clinic floods him with emotion, accent on the guilt. “My Maggie would still be alive if I had been there for her. She always needed me to guide and care for her. And where am I? I’d say I’ma wasting my retirement years, serving time for a death which I dint cause — and now my Maggie’s gone and I have nothin’ to live for.”

“You have daughters, don’t ya? Three seems to me, ‘cause I remember all of them coming the day you came here. It was February 3rd… in’57, the same as my weddin’ anniversary.”

What is today’s date?” the doctor inquires. It is hard to keep track of time, when daylight comes to your world but an hour a day.

“Tuesday,” is the response.

“No, the date. Ain’t it October?”

“21st, yeah, October. It says so on this here new watch I got, shows the date and the day,” ironically on an Omega.

“623 days without her and now I don’t care about tomorrow or any other day. Take me home, Lord, I want to see my Maggie!”

“I’ll talk to Warden Hayes in the mornin’. Blow out that candle now. We’ll get you home, Doc.”

Getting Warden Hayes to change his mind will be no small task. Ten years ago, two former inmates, black and hopelessly unemployed, with too much time on their hands, kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed the warden’s 11 year old daughter. Revenge was their motive… as it is now his… an unreasonable rebuke of this 68 year old black Southern doctor in mourning.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #3


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #2

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #2

… “My Maggie died this morning, Frank.” Simply stated…

In the meantime, this is what we believed to have happened in 1958:

A solitary figure sits huddled against the back corner of a room whose corners are all too near to one another. The pungentcandle-flame light of a dwindling candle wavers forth and back, barely illuminating the tattered pages of an obviously well-read leather-bound book. The once surgically skilled hands thumb painfully, yet knowingly to the Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 4.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,” thus saith the Lord our God, by way of Alpha Omega Campbell, a good and faithful servant. He goes to his knees to pray for the soul of his dearest Maggie Lou, who has gone from this Earth to a place where the pains of loneliness and bitterness melt away like the wax of her husband’s flickering light.

So engrossed in his prayer time is he, that the looming ominous footsteps of a prison guard go unnoticed.

“I thought I smelled something down this way.” Florida State Prison at Starke Guard, Frank Lightfoot, whose six and a half foot frame makes it hard to live up to his surname, catches this harmless prisoner of the state of Florida in the act of breaking lights out order–once again. “Are you making your own candles Old Man, or is your wife smuggling them in for you?”

“You going to put me on the chain gang?”

A.O. remains on his knees, the warm trail of saline sorrow reaching his dignified jaw.

“By the way, I haven’t seen your wife for a few days.” Guard Lightfoot actually had taken a liking to this Negro couple, especially considering the rest of this cold institution’s population consists of murderers, thieves, rapists and other assorted dregs.

The same could be said of Doc Campbell, who when dealing with Frank Lightfoot, felt as close to being human as one can under the circumstances. He even got the big man to get his own Bible, albeit a Gideon from a desk drawer at a Jacksonville motel… and read selected gold nugget passages that the doctor knows best, then applying it to what he knows of the guard’s life.

My Maggie died this morning, Frank.” Simply stated.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #2


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