Sunday, August 18, 2013

Night Clinic and the Seven Dwarfs


“I’m back,” I announced as I walked through the back door to the clinic. “Did you miss me?”
I hadn’t worked a shift at the Night Clinic for two months. A required  rotation through the ICU had me on call every other night. Miss James turned and walked away, silently.
What did I do to her? Went through my mind as I watched those shapely legs and derriere disappear into the supply room.
She emerged a few seconds later and gave me a big smile.
“Of course I’ve missed you,” she finally answered. “No monsters or superheros or dragons for months.”
“So, you heard about my last little adventure, a bit scary at least for a few moments. Maybe tonight will be different. I say we should have a nice boring shift. Nothing but sick babies, winos, hookers with STD’s, stabbings, gunshots, and drug overdoses for a change.”
“You’re cute,” she remarked, patting my cheek. “Speaking of winos, there’s one waiting for you in Exam three, Alvin, a regular; diabetic, congestive heart failure, obese, drinks about a quart a day. Says he’s short of breath.”
I gave her my best Groucho Marx leer and picked up the chart on the door. Alvin was fifty-five years old, had a list of medications a mile long and usually was seen at the University Clinic. His vital signs were HR 80, BP 210/90, RR 28, O2 sat 88%. I took a deep breath and went in to see him.
“Hello, Mr. Gates, I’m Dr. Barnes,” I introduced myself, smiling and I held out my hand to shake his. He was sitting on the edge of the exam table, staring at the floor. His lips were a slightly blue and he was taking short rapid breaths.
“I’m sorry, Dr. Barnes. I mean for not getting up. I can’t seem to catch my breath.”
“When did you notice you were having difficulty?” Alvin was very large, his weight on the chart was listed as 350 pounds, but I would have guessed he was at least 450. He was dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt and dirty khaki pants, the tops of which were hidden by his massive belly. The t-shirt was drenched in sweat. He had worn out sandals on his feet, one of the straps replaced by some rough twine. The smell of dried sweat and spoiled wine filled the room.
“I never breathe real good, but it was last night. I guess I forgot to take my meds.”
“Forgot for how long?” I asked as I fastened an oxygen mask around his head, which was in addition to the nasal cannula he already sported. The pulse oximeter fell to 84 while he was talking, but rose to 89 with the additional oxygen.
“I guess I missed going to the clinic last week and then I ran out of some of my medicines, but I just took double the dose of some of the others; I figured it would be OK. I guess I was wrong.”
“Can you tell me what you did take?”
“Let’s see. I took four of the big blue ones, no five, and one of the little white pills, three green capsules. I used the big inhaler and the small one two times yesterday and two times today. Took my water pill…”
Alvin’s voice trailed off as he turned a darker shade of blue.
“Alvin…ALVIN,” I shouted as I stood up and shook him.
“Wha…oh sorry Dr. Barnes. Sometimes that narcolepsy catches up with me. Where was I? Oh, yeah, pills.”
“Never mind, Alvin. I think you need to be at the hospital. We’ll call an ambulance.”
I left the room and asked Miss James to call the University ambulance crew. I started an IV on poor Alvin, drew some basic labs and Miss James did an EKG. Alvin’s lungs crackled everywhere and his feet and ankles were giant tree trunks of brownish edema, but, surprisingly, no ulcers.
I gave him 80 of Lasix and waited for the ambulance.
While Miss James sat with him I treated a two year old with an earache, a drug addict with an infected arm, splinted a sprained ankle and broken finger. When the ambulance finally arrived I helped load Alvin onto the stretcher and wished him well as he rolled out the door.
I was looking forward to a few moments of quiet when I heard a loud thud outside the clinic door and a car’s squealing tires as it raced away. Miss James and I investigated the noise and found a young woman, a young and very attractive woman, passed out on our doorstep. Her beauty would have rivaled Helen of Troy with long black hair, soft white skin and bright red lips. She was dressed in a royal blue dress which clung to her every curve and had dark blue boots which came up to her knees. There was a ring on her left hand with a large blue stone which sparkled in the waiting room light.
We managed to get her into Exam room one. All the while she didn’t move, didn’t open her eyes, didn’t even moan. She just lay like a rag doll on my exam table. She had no ID, no purse, no place to hide any money.
“If she’s a working girl, she’s done a good job of hiding her earnings,” I commented.
“Probably robbed, hit over the head and dumped here,” Miss James concluded.
I listened to her heart which was clear and regular, her pulse was strong, lips, fingers, toes all pink, her respirations were regular. Pulse oximeter read 99%.
“She looks quite serene lying there on the table, almost like she’s been enchanted,” Miss James observed.
Her words were prescient as a loud noise, followed by shouting, came from the waiting room. I ran out to see about all the commotion and found seven “little” people at the reception desk, one was banging on the bell and another was pounding his walking stick on the desk.
“May I help you, Mr…” I asked. The dwarf was about three feet tall, with a large red nose and a long gray beard. He was dressed in a black suit and had a gold ring in his left ear.
“Where is she?” he demanded banging his stick on the reception desk. “Where is Crystal Blue?”
“And you are…?”
“Sleazy, if you must know. And behind me are Slutty, Skanky, Busty, Hunky, Tiny and Norman.”
“Seven dwarfs, huh?” I observed. “I would have thought you would have been named Happy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc.”
“We prefer ‘little people’ and those would be silly names for us. But, back to the matter at hand. Where is Crystal Blue? She works for me and I expect her out on that stage in ten minutes.”
Miss James appeared and exclaimed, “You’re from that place over on 14th, the “Enchanted Room.”
“If you please, nurse, it’s the ‘The Enchanted Emporium Club’ a place where men and women can leave all their worries and cares behind,” Sleazy explained. “Now getting back to Crystal…”
“One moment please,” Miss James said and then motioned for me to follow her.
“Legally, we can’t let these little people do anything or even see Crystal Blue, assuming that is her name. Maybe, we should call the police.”
“Perhaps,” I answered, “but no one has broken any laws and our first responsibility is to our comatose patient. The dwarfs will have to wait.”
I went back to the reception desk and spoke to Sleazy.
“Crystal Blue, if that is her name, is sick. She seems to be asleep and won’t wake up. I certainly cannot release her to just anyone and she is in no condition to perform. You and your companions are welcome to wait for her here in the waiting room.”
I left them and went back to attend to my patient. By this time some of the tests were available.
“Let’s see,” I mumbled. “CBC is normal, chemistry normal, pregnancy test negative, UA negative, tox screen negative. Chest X-Ray…whoa, what’s that?”
I stared at the film. The lungs were clear, but the cardiac silhouette was more than unusual. It looked like an apple; not just a vague apple-like appearance. It looked like someone had taken the outline of a perfect apple and pasted it where her heart was supposed to be.
Some new tropical disease? Apple fever? Apple poisoning? Maybe I should begin looking for the evil queen. As these thoughts popped into my head Miss James appeared.
“A new patient has just arrived, Dr. Barnes,” she announced.
“Nothing too serious I hope, Miss James. I’m sort of in a quandary with Miss Blue.”
“I think you are going to want to see her right away. She’s been beaten up pretty badly.”
“OK, OK, I’ll be right there.”
I took a quick look at Crystal Blue before I left. She lay on the table quietly breathing, her chest silently heaving up and down.
I guess she’s OK.
My new patient was in the exam room next door. Miss James was hard at work removing her tight fitting, sequined body suit. There were bruises on her face and arms and as the suit slowly came off there was a bruising and abrasions across her chest, abdomen and pelvis.
“Do we have a name, Miss James.”
“You won’t believe this, but this is the Wicked Queen. At least that’s her stage name. Her real name is Margaret Henson.”
“Don’t tell me. She works at the Enchanted Emporium Club as a dancer.”
I gave her a quick exam. Her vital signs were normal, she was breathing normally and, although groggy, she was able to answer questions.
“Ms. Henson, I’m Dr. Barnes. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Wha..what happened?” she asked as she gradually became more alert. She started to sit up, but winced and then lay back down.
“It looks like you’ve been roughed up pretty badly. What hurts the most?”
“My chest, every time I try to breathe.”
I’d already put oxygen on her and Miss James had an IV running in her left arm.
“Any abdominal pain?” I began taking a more thorough history.
“No, just my chest, on the right side.”
I pulled up her spandex top and saw bruising all across her chest and upper abdomen.
“Do You have any medical problems, take any medicine regularly, any allergies?” I asked.
“No, no and no. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use any type of illicit drugs. My only vice is that I take off my clothes to entertain degenerate men and once in a while leave with one, if he is cute enough and rich enough.”
She finished her speech and then winced as she took a deep breath.
“Well, Ms. Henson. If I were a betting man, I would wager that you have some fractured ribs on the right side. We’ll get a Chest X-ray just to be sure. Can you tell me what happened?”
“I was ambushed. Somebody snuck up behind me and ‘WHAM’ on the back of my head, then ‘Whack’ across my chest. Next thing I know this cute doctor is standing over me poking and prodding and feeling all my unmentionable parts.”
“It’s my job Ms. Henson, figuring out what’s wrong and then trying to fix it. Now if you will sit in this chair, Miss James will wheel you down the hall for an X-ray. In the mean time I will have a little chat with the seven dwarfs.”
Miss James wheeled her away, asking her what it was like to take off her clothes in front of a bunch of strangers. I couldn’t hear the answer as they disappeared in the X-ray suite. I went up to the reception area.
“Sleazy, could you come back here, now,” I commanded.
All seven little people followed him into exam room three.
I turned and addressed Sleazy.
“Miss Henson accuses you of assaulting her. Is she correct in her assessment? Before you say too much, I must inform you that I am obligated to report the incident to the police.”
“Miss Henson, the Wicked Queen, you mean, or the Wicked Witch, as we like to call her, works for me and is never happy. I’m sure she cannot name the name of her assailant as it is obvious from her injuries that she was attacked from behind. I would also like to add that it is almost certain that this Wicked Queen poisoned Crystal Blue and she will most definitely try to bump her off again if she is allowed the opportunity. That witch hates our poor Crystal.”
The other six dwarfs echoed Sleazy’s sentiments.
“Why,” I inquired, “this severe animosity between Ms. Henson and Ms. Blue?”
Sleazy sat down in the lone chair, stroked his gray beard and began his story. His six companions sat on the floor as the story commenced.
“I opened the Enchanted Emporium about two years ago. My original intent was to create a place where the outcasts of society could congregate without feeling self conscious. The seven of us manage the club. We started just with a bar and a bunch of large TV screens and video games, like every other bar and club. It was Norman who hit on the idea of adding the live entertainment. So, we hired a few girls of various size and shape. It wasn’t long before I learned that there are a lot of people willing to take off their clothes for money and a lot of people who will pay to see it. And, this is where we stand out from the crowd, it isn’t just the mainstream ‘beautiful” girl who can find an audience. Fat, thin, tall, short, young, old, every size and shape, male or female has an audience somewhere. Surely, you’ve heard of our geriatric night? No? Well, it always draws them in. but, I’m getting off the track.
“The Wicked Queen started working about eighteen months ago and she was a big hit. She’s beautiful in the traditional sense, all the attributes that make for a successful dancer, big shapely chest, cute butt and she did magic. While she performed she made snakes appear and change into birds, turned cats into dogs and other such tricks. There was the time she made a particularly unruly patron disappear; I don’t think he was ever found.
“Anyway, she ruled the runway for more than a year. Until, Crystal showed up. Crystal Blue, that’s even her real name, came from somewhere in the Midwest. She just got on the bus and ended up here, running away or going somewhere, I don’t know and she has never told us. I think she was lost on the streets for a while and wandered into the Enchanted Emporium one night.
“Even through her ragged clothes I could tell she was a real beauty with an air about her that made her special. I’m not sure if it was her innocence or quiet charm, or what. I do know that I and my fellow managers were captivated from the start. She worked as a barmaid at first, but then asked if she could try her hand at performing. She certainly had the look and she could sing, too.
“She doesn’t have the typical exotic dancer body; only medium boobs, but very shapely tush, t she radiates charm, however, and she has such a sweet voice. She was a big hit from the start. Every time she was out on that stage it was magical. Well, you can imagine the trouble, the jealousy, the envy. I’m not surprised it came to this.”
At this moment Miss James interrupted.
“Here’s the Chest X-ray on the Wicked Queen, Dr. Barnes,” she reported.
“Excuse me fellas, but I need to check this.”
As I suspected, the Queen had fractured ribs four through ten on the right side with maybe a contusion to the lung. There was no pneumothorax or effusion. I went and checked on my two patients before hearing the rest of the story. Crystal Blue continued in her serene and unrelenting sleep, while the Queen was sitting up in the chair and appeared to be fairly comfortable. I informed her of the X-ray results, listened to her chest again, checked her vital signs and abdomen. I asked her to wait a bit longer so that I could evaluate her one more time before she left, but I also hoped I could get some information on what had happened to the comatose Ms. Blue.
I left and returned to hear more of Sleazy’s story.
“Tell him about the mirror,” one of the other dwarfs, Slutty, I think, interjected.
“Don’t tell me she has a magic mirror on the wall, as in ‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s the sleaziest of them all?” I asked.
“No, no, nothing like that, at least I don’t think so. She, does, however, stand in front of the mirror for long periods of time, hours, it seems, primping her hair, talking to herself. It’s a bit bizarre if you ask me. Old Mamba says it’s all just vanity.”
“Who’s Old Mamba?” I just had to ask.
“She’s our cleaning lady, a withered old prune from Haiti. I think she’s about a million years old,” Tiny explained, in a high squeaky voice. “But, she and the Wicked Queen have some sort of thing going on, because they’re always together.”
“Tell me, Sleazy,” I asked, “what happened to your star dancer tonight? Did Crystal Blue suffer some sort of psychotic breakdown leaving her in a catatonic state? Or, did the Wicked Queen trick her into eating a poisoned apple which plunged her into an everlasting sleep only to be awakened by true love’s kiss? Or is it something else?”
Miss James stuck her head in the room at that moment.
“Chest pain in four; an old black lady, looks like it might be bad.”
“On my way, Nurse,” I replied. “We’ll pick this up in a few minutes, lads.” I left the little people and went to attend to my patient. For some reason, Norman followed me.
“That’s Old Mamba,” he cried out and all the other dwarfs suddenly appeared.
“You all need to wait outside,” I said sternly and Miss James ushered them out.
I glanced at the monitor and saws very elevated ST segments  on her EKG with an irregular rhythm with frequent PVC’s and a BP that was 80/50.
“This does not look good, Nurse. Mamba, can you hear me?”
My question was answered by a long groan. Miss James was on the phone calling for an ambulance as I started an IV, put oxygen on Old Mamba and started a Lidocaine infusion along with low dose Dopamine. Her oxygen saturation was around ninety even with O2. Her lungs had crackles from top to bottom.
“Get the crash cart,” I mumbled, but Miss James was ahead of me.
“V fib,” I shouted. I intubated the old woman as Miss James started CPR and warmed up the paddles to shock the dying woman.
Epi, bicarb, bag, shock, compress, repeat, nothing worked. I even brought the dwarfs in to help with chest compressions, but we lost her.
After thirty minutes the ambulance arrived and was sent away. Miss James went through the layers of poor old Mamba’s clothing, which lay in a heap on the floor.
“What’s this?” she muttered as she folded the dress.
Madame Marie’s Incantations and Spells: The Complete Guide to Withcraft and Voodoo by Marie, Voodoo High Priestess
And, what’s this? Miss James pulled out a likeness of Crystal Blue.
“Perhaps it was old Mamba who put a spell on poor Crystal,” Busty remarked.
Miss James was thumbing through the book.
“Dr. Barnes,” she shouted out suddenly. “This particular spell is circled. It’s called the ‘Living Death’.”
“Let me look at that, please,” I requested.
“Voodoo doll…lock of hair…two dead chickens…incantation  and douse with…Miss James did you notice the funny smell in room one?”
“Come to think of it, I did, sort of like cinnamon mixed with fruit.”
“That’s right, cinnamon and apples. It looks like old Mamba cast this spell on poor Miss Blue. I suspect our other patient, the
Queen, may be able to tell us more.
At this moment we all heard a scream from Exam room two. All of us raced into the room and found Norman standing on the exam table with a scalpel held to the throat of the Wicked Queen.
“Admit it,” he screamed with an almost comical high pitched voice, “tell everyone how you cursed poor Crystal Blue. Say it or you’ll be joining Old Mamba.”
Skanky tried to calm his companion. “Now, Norman, I know you have no great love for the Wicked Queen, but are sure about her? I ask because the doctor and nurse found this in Old Mamba’s clothes.”
He held up the voodoo doll and book. Norman only squinted and then held the knife tighter to the Wicked Queen’s throat so that drops of blood started to well up.
Busty stepped in and started to approach Norman.
“Norman, Norman, I know you’re upset about our dear Crystal Blue. She’s always been so sweet and loving. Even if the Queen did cast a spell, do we want to stoop down to her level?”
Busty voice was even higher than Norman’s. She (or was it he) had smooth skin, except for a bit of stubble on the chin and a big chest, but her manner was very masculine.
“Busty used to be Brutus, before all the treatment and surgery,” Slutty whispered to me. Busty kept right on walking towards Norman. Norman started to hold the knife even tighter against the Queen’s throat as blood started to run down her neck. Busty stopped and Norman relaxed for a moment.
“Ow,” Norman squeaked.
Miss James grabbed his arm as she pulled the needle from his buttock and the Wicked Queen broke free from Norman’s hold. Norman slowly slumped to the ground as I ran to examine the Queen’s wounds, then held a wad of sterile gauze against the laceration to stop the bleeding. She broke away from me and delivered a sharp kick to Norman’s side.
I finally reached the point where I just couldn’t take it any more.
I yelled at the top of my lungs, “EVERYONE STOP, JUST STOP, RIGHT NOW.” I let my voice drop a few decibels as Miss James joined me at my side.
“Now, listen, all of you. There will be no more knives or spells or anything. Everyone out to the waiting room and sit. Not you, Ms. Henson, not until I can check your neck more closely to see if you need any stitches. Miss James, would you please call the police and the Coroner for Old Mamba. Thank you.”
The seven dwarfs slowly made their way out to the waiting room. Sleazy started to speak, but I held up my finger gesturing for him to be silent. I examined the Queen’s neck more closely. The cut was superficial and had stopped bleeding. I cleaned it with Betadine, then dried it, steri stripped it closed and applied a new, sterile dressing. I then motioned for her and Miss James to follow me out to the waiting room.
The Queen sat alongside the seven dwarfs, while Miss James stood by me. I stared out at a bizarre scene, the wicked Queen dressed in black Spandex, seven “little” people sporting beards, dressed in outfits ranging from seventies leisure suits to Sleazy’s black suit and red bow tie. I paused for a moment before I spoke. Sleazy tried to speak, but I signaled that he should be silent.
“You have made this one of the more unusual night’s we’ve experienced here art the Clinic,” I began, “and that is quite a trick considering some of the bizarre things that manage to pass through those doors. But, we have had assaults, magical spells and death join us here and it is now time to get to the bottom of this. I will start with you, Ms. Henson. Do you have knowledge regarding the illness which has come upon Crystal Blue?”
At first the Queen just sat there.
“I promise you, Ms. Henson, that if you are truthful your diminutive employers will do you no more harm. Isn’t that so Mr. Sleazy?”
I waited for a reply and then repeated, a bit more forcefully, “I said, isn’t that so Mr. Sleazy?”
“Yeah…” he answered, barely audible.
“What?” I responded.
“Yes, we won’t hurt her anymore,” Sleazy answered, clearly. His six companions nodded in agreement.
“Now, Ms. Henson, what do you know about voodoo and witchcraft, as practiced by the now deceased Old Mamba?”
The Queen looked around and seemed a bit embarrassed, but finally spoke.
“I did mention, one time, to Old Mamba, that I wished Crystal Blue was gone. That I had been the top girl until she showed up. But, that’s all. I never asked her to do anything. Well, maybe she saw me moping about and she would ask me what was wrong and I’d point to something blue or make some sort of gesture. I never thought she would or even could cast such a spell.”
“But, you are always doing magic as part of your act,” Sleazy observed.
“Sure, cheap parlor tricks I learned from an old boyfriend, pull some flowers from a hat or make a bird disappear. You never saw me do anything else, did you?” the Queen asked, her question directed to everyone listening.
There was a general murmuring that actually did agree with her.
“It seems, however, that Old Mamba has managed to cast a true spell, or drug or hypnotize or something to Ms. Blue; there is no question,” I observed. “Living Death. That’s the spell she circled in her voodoo book. Do any of you know anything about it; how to break the spell?”
“In the old story, it was true love’s kiss what worked,” one of the dwarfs, Hunky, I think, remarked.
“Well, that may be as good a place to start as any,” I decided. I, for one, was stumped. Narcan didn’t do anything; allowing time for a drug to metabolize wasn’t accomplishing anything. There was no mark on Crystal that would suggest she was injected with anything. Her liver, renal, and respiratory function were all normal. She just wouldn’t wake up. She did not respond to any neurologic stimulus, no posturing, no localizing of pain, no eye opening, nothing. And she looked peaceful, so peaceful sleeping, just sleeping. We didn’t have a CT Scanner at the clinic, but I had no doubt it would have been normal. I turned back to the dwarfs.
“True love’s kiss is as good a place as any to start,” I announced. Do any of you know if she has a boyfriend of any family?”
“She lives alone,” Norman reported. “And, she’s never mentioned any family. She used to say that our little emporium was her family. I guess it’s kind of sad.”
“Norman, don’t you have a key to her apartment? Didn’t she give you one in case there was some sort of emergency? This certainly qualifies as one,” Sleazy said.
“Yup, got it right here,” and he held up a key ring with about a hundred keys on it.
“What’s with all the keys?” I had to ask.
“Well, let’s see. This one is to my apartment, this one is to the Emporium, this one is to my mom’s house, the front door and this other is to her back door. This one goes to my locker and …”
“Never mind, I get the picture. Now go see what you can find and take someone with you.”
Skanky shot up his hand. “I’ll go.”
“OK, OK, check it out and bring back anything that will give us a clue as to the lovers in her life. Oh and before you leave, why don’t you each give her a kiss; just in case one of you is her true love.”
They looked at each other with a smirk on their faces and then rushed into room one.
“Just on the cheek, you two, and just a light kiss.”
They looked disappointed as they each planted a light kiss on her cheek. Nothing happened.  They left to check out her apartment.
Each dwarf in turn planted a kiss on her cheek and even the Wicked Queen kissed her, all without success.
“What we really need is a handsome prince,” I remarked. For completeness sake Miss James and I also kissed her, with, thankfully, no results. Once all this kissing was finished a police car pulled up.
Officers Kreplock and Jenson came in.
“Hey, Doc. Good evening Miss James. What’s going on?”
I proceeded to recount the events of the night with embellishments thrown in by Sleazy and Busty.
“So let me see if I’ve got this straight,” Officer Kreplock summed up when we’d finished our story. “There has been some sort of assault on a stripper named Crystal Blue and two assaults on stripper Margaret Henson aka the Wicked Queen, the old cleaning lady from the strip joint may have been one perpetrator, but she’s dead, while one or all of these seven dwarfs may also be perpetrators. Meanwhile two of these dwarfs are off on some sort of home investigation trying to find some clues as to the identity of the now drugged or comatose Crystal Blue because you all have a wild idea that ‘true love’s kiss’ will break the spell she’s under and wake her up from her coma?”
“That’s it in a nutshell, Officer,” I replied.
“Doc, you’ve been watching too many late night movies. Let me call the hospital and get an ambulance over here to take your comatose patient to the hospital.”
I looked him in the eye and then looked through the open door into exam room one and the peacefully sleeping Crystal Blue. I knew he was right to take her to the hospital. Still I’d seen so many peculiar, bizarre occurrences, met innumerable weird and wonderful and eccentric patients here at the clinic that a magic spell cast over one of my patients just didn’t strike me as being much out of the ordinary, at least for this nighttime clinic.
“I’ll tell you what, Officers,” I negotiated, “just wait to see what the two dwarfs, Norman and Skanky discover. If we can’t wake Miss Blue up, then we’ll send her to the hospital.”
“OK, Doc, as long as it’s not too long a wait.”
“Oh, it shouldn’t be long. Here they are now. What did you find?”
Norman walked in empty handed.
“Well, her apartment is pretty empty. Nothing on the walls, no photos, no computer, no diary, no letters, nothing. But, while we were looking around we heard growling from the bathroom and found him.”
Norman pointed outside where Skanky was wrestling with a big headstrong German Shepherd.
“At first he growled at us and bared his teeth as we searched around. But, I think he figured out we were there to help, because he calmed down after a few minutes. As we were leaving, feeling pretty much like failures he ran to the door with his leash in his mouth. I didn’t think we had time to take him for a walk, but he wouldn’t let us out the door unless we brought him along. I think he decided we would take him to see our poor Crystal.”
“Keep him in the waiting room for now, please,” I suggested, but then I thought for a moment. “No, wait, let him free.”
Skanky and Norman looked confused, but then released the dog. The beast started barking and then bounded into exam room one and stood up on his hind legs and started licking Crystal Blue’s face. As he did this there started to be flashing lights of red and blue, a wind blew from nowhere and a white light engulfed the dog and Miss Blue. We all stood by, dumbfounded, as the light and wind grew brighter and stronger and then suddenly stopped.
I half expected to find the room empty, while also half expecting Crystal Blue to walk out with a handsome prince on her arm. And, she did walk out, only with her dog at her side. The dog was not an enchanted prince. He was just a German Shepherd. He did have a tag, however, with his name engraved upon it. In big white letters it said “PRINCE.”
After this every one filed out of the Clinic. News of the miraculous occurrences made the Enchanted Emporium a top tourist attraction and the popularity caused Sleazy to tone down some of the more unusual performances. Miss Henson and Miss Blue became fast friends and started an act together, playing to packed houses up and down the coast. Prince was prominently featured in the show.
After everyone had left it was just about quitting time. Miss James and I had breakfast together.
“I guess there’s no love like a dog’s love for its master. Prince sure proved that,” Miss James sighed.
“Well, that is one kind of love and I certainly believe it is true love. Maybe you and I can discover some other type of love…”
Her eyes widened and then she stared down at her bacon.
“Why Dr. Barnes…” and she laughed as we finished our breakfast.