He Might Just Cure You

Episode 3: The Plan

"Whaddi I tell Honey? Don't let him find out." Jim sat on the bench and stared out at the cars on the street next to the small run-down park in their equally run-down neighborhood. All he saw were red and white lights inching by in the darkness. "Lez not upset my father, right? Right?"

"Mmm," came the mumbled agreement, as Dan grabbed the bottle from him and took a swig. "Do you want to do something about it?"

"No!" Jim didn't need to retaliate against the Wheelers. "She's practically a childhood friend. An old family friend. And a doctor, too." He hiccupped. "You know, a respected doctor." He started to take another drink and then looked at his empty hand. "We don't deserve respect, only doctors do."

Dan's voice floated back to him. "I thought you barely knew her."

Jim ignored him. His head started pounding. No, wait, that noise was definitely outside of his head. He turned to look back at the building. Some fools were up there, messing with the sign. "Hey! Bloddy Hell!" Shit, can't even curse right I'm so damned drunk. "Don't touch the signboard! My father's name is on that sign! My great uncle's name is on that sign!" Jim staggered to his feet, shaking his fist at the two thugs who were just trying to clean up. "Hanzz off!"

He felt Dan steady him. "Calm down, Jim. Lose the tension."

"Bastards!" Jim pointed at them again. "Don't you dare!" They had already stopped their work.

"My old man cried, Dan." Jim blinked, trying to focus on just one of his friend; there seemed to be a few Dans standing near him. "He's never cried. I made him cry."

"We've all cried, man."

Jim ignored him. "You know why? Because I'm not a doctor. I'm not a doctor!"

"Actually, it's 'cause you lied to him," Dan whispered.

"Whad ya say?" Jim toppled back to the ground gently. The stars were so close and so bright. No, wait, that's just a street lamp. "I've upset everyone." He sat back up, swaying a bit as he did so, and grabbed the bottle from Dan's hands. He tried to drink from it, but he somehow missed his mouth. Disgusted, he threw the bottle into the street. "You know what, Dan? I'm gonna be a doctor, too."

Dan's voice reached his ears, sounding a bit muffled. "Sure, Jim. Let's talk about it tomorrow."

"I knew you'd say that ... that I'm sloshed. I'll forget by tomorrow." Jim turned to face his long-time friend, raising an eyebrow defiantly despite his drunkenness.

Dan sighed. "Jim, forget it. What's the point?"

"The point?" Jim stood back up clumsily and took a step toward him. "I'll become a doctor. And then I'll date Honey. No, I'll marry Honey. They'll see. That Dr. Wheeler will see." He raised his voice. "You don't know what Dr. Wheeler said! I was there and I was silent. Like a coward." He lifted his fist up to the sky. "I'll show him! I will be a doctor!"

He took a deep breath and turned back to the dark-haired blur near him. "Dan, find out which is the best medical school in Manhattan."

 

Jim stared at the front of the New York University Medical Center. He stood there for a while, watching the people going in and out of the revolving doors. Finally, with a sigh, he pushed through the one on the left, the words 'TISCH HOSPITAL' written in capital letters above the door. Dan strolled beside him, and a half-dozen members of his gang were also with him. They all turned to the left, following a sign that said 'Admitting'.

"Out of the way," Dan mumbled roughly, shoving aside a young man in light blue scrubs. He took out his switchblade and started flicking it open and closed as they made their way down the halls.

They came to a large room, and the very air of the place seemed hushed. Patients were waiting to be seen, and doctors or nurses were going in and out of doors with an air of business.

Jim glanced around the spacious room. "What now?"

"I'll ask this guy." Dan pointed to a red-headed man in an olive green uniform. He looked like he might be a janitor of some sort. "Hey, you." He put a hand on the man's shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.

"Wh ... what?" The stranger looked at the group somewhat nervously.

"Relax." Dan flicked his switchblade closed and stuck it in his pocket. He read the oval name patch on the man's shirt. "So, Bill, whom does one see for admission?"

"Oh. Fill the form out, over there." He pointed to a desk across the pathway.

Dan immediately noticed the cute nurse sitting behind the desk and flashed a smile in her direction.

"Who's the patient?" Bill asked.

"No one." Dan shook his head.

The hospital worker shrugged. "Then who's to be admitted?"

"Jim." Dan was barely paying attention to the man as he stroked the stubble on his chin and attempted to flirt with the desk nurse across the distance, winking at her and giving her his most charming smile.

"What's wrong with him?" the worker asked, looking nervously at the group of thugs.

"Nothing." Dan glanced at Jim who was staring intently at his hands.

"Then why admit him?" Bill was very confused.

"He wants to be a doctor." Dan mumbled the words.

"Who?" Bill leaned forward to hear him better.

"Jim!" Dan was losing his patience.

Jim turned to the man in green and knocked the cap off his head. "He's talking about me!"

Bill didn't even flinch. He started laughing. "Yeah, right. And I want to become an astronaut." He started to walk away.

Dan flicked his switchblade out of his pocket and put a hand on the man's shoulder. "Listen you bloody jerk-off. Enough of your crap." He held his knife to the man's throat. "Now, Bill, whom do we meet to get Jim in here as a student?"

The man looked warily down at the knife. "Uh ... you want to become a doctor ... meet the dean."

Jim motioned for Dan to put the knife away. "What's a dean?"

Bill's eyes darted from Dan to Jim. "Err ... the headmaster, like a high school principal. He's in charge of admissions."

"Great." Jim clapped a hand on the man's back. "Where is he?"

"You're in the wrong part of the building. You need to go back down that way and then follow the yellow pathway—or maybe not." The man thought for a second. "I think this is his surgery day. He still likes to operate one day a week, keep his skills sharp, you know? You can probably find him in the operation theater ... upstairs." The worker pointed over at the wide staircase leading to the next level.

 

Jim threw open the doors of the operating theater, completely oblivious of the nurses who had tried to stop him. Dan, Mikey, and the rest of the gang followed close at his heels.

A patient was laying down on a gurney, tubes connected to his hand. About five other people in the room were wearing light blue hospital scrubs. They had caps covering their hair and masks covering their faces.

"Who's the dean here?" Jim asked gruffly.

"How did you get in?" one of the doctors asked, clearly agitated by their presence.

"Are you the dean?" Dan asked.

"Belden, get them out of here!" The man pointed to the door.

"Yes, sir." A tall man with dark hair showing at the edges of his cap stepped toward them. "I'll help you. Let's step outside first." He ushered them back toward the door.

Behind him, Jim heard one of the doctors laughing nervously.

 

"You want admission to the NYU School of Medicine?" Dr. Belden looked at the red-head in front of him curiously. He'd seen all kinds of students, but this man looked rough around the edges. He couldn't picture him sitting in a university classroom. He glanced around at the rest of the motley crew. One of them had "borrowed" a wheel chair, and he hoped there wasn't a patient lying on the floor somewhere in a hallway.

The man nodded. "Yes. I want to become a doctor. Dr. James Frayne!" He had a wistful expression on his face. "No, not James. Jim. Dr. Jim Frayne." He nodded again.

Brian shrugged. "Okay. Have you already done your pre-med program?"

"Pre-med?" Jim looked concerned for a second. "Yes, yes, of course. At Columbia."

"Great. What was your GPA? And your MCAT scores?"

"Uh ...." The man hesitated. "How much do you need for admission?"

"At least a 3.9 GPA. And 30 or more on the MCAT if you even want to be considered." Brian wondered why Columbia wasn't helping him with admission procedures. Shouldn't this man already know all this stuff?

"Yes, right. Of course. I had a 4.0 GPA. But this MCAT ...." Jim trailed off.

Brian gazed at the red-head. He couldn't possibly be serious about becoming a doctor. "If you haven't taken the MCAT yet, you'll have to register for that."

Jim nodded. "Where do I register and when can I take it?"

"They're holding the exam tomorrow in the auditorium, but it's too late for you to register for it now. I'm not sure when the next one is, but you should be able to find out online." Brian felt like he was wasting his time. Did this man really think he could just waltz into the hospital and decide to be a doctor?

"Is this exam really necessary?" Jim sounded hesitant.

"Of course! It's mandatory." Brian tried not to shake his head. This man in front of him didn't even seem to know what the MCAT was. He was beginning to doubt he'd even gone to Columbia.

Jim and his dark-haired friend glanced at each other and then spoke as one. "You took this exam?"

Brian beamed. "I got a perfect 45, highest grade possible."

"Very good!" Jim shook his hand in a congratulatory gesture. "Dan, congratulate him!"

"Excellent!" The other man agreed. "Dr. Belden, you said?"

"Yes, Dr. Brian Belden." The doctor shook Dan's hand as well.

"Say, where do you live?" Dan asked casually.

"Sleepyside, when I'm not here in the city." Dr. Belden smiled.

"Sleepyside?! Why, that's where Jim's from." Dan grinned over at the redhead.

"Don't you need to get back to the operation?" Jim pointed at the door from which they'd exited. "I've got to prepare for the entrance exam now."

"Right. Good luck!" Dr. Belden waved at them as he went back to the operating room. They were a strange couple of guys, but something about them told him that underneath their tough exterior, they were good people. Besides, the guy was from his home town.

He frowned momentarily. Frayne—the name sounded familiar, and Jim seemed to be about the same age as he was, but Brian didn't recognize him. He shrugged his shoulders and went back inside the operating room. He'd check his yearbooks later and see if he could find him.

 

Dan chuckled as he dipped the spoon into the yogurt and then held it out to feed their guest. "My mom always used to say, when she was alive, anyway, that eating yogurt before an exam was good for your brain; you'll get better marks."

Brian protested, trying to free his hands from the goon that was holding him. "This is wrong!"

Jim glanced at him from the pool table where he had just taken a shot. "It's fine. Your dad's in good hands. Aren't you, Peter?"

Peter Belden held the pool cue and gazed at the billiards table. He was too intent on the game to answer. He bent over to take his shot and called out, "Four-ball, corner pocket."

"This is wrong!" Brian shouted out again.

"Hey, Brian." Jim turned around to face him. He winked at the young doctor. "Dump the tension, dude. Your pop will be fine with us." He turned back to his opponent, who was cueing up his next shot.

Peter seemed oblivious to the implied threat they had over Brian. He was just visiting the neighbor and enjoying a game of billiards. He glanced at his son, now. "It's just a friendly game of pool with young Mr. Frayne and his friends. What's wrong with that?" He turned back to the game.

Jim grinned. "Go and take the exam, Brian. You'll do great. Top marks, right?"

"Go confidently." Dan glanced at the shirt Brian was wearing; it was one of Jim's and fit a bit loose on him. "Hey, Mikey, do we have anything in a smaller size?"

Mikey shook his head. "Only black or white t-shirts or tanks."

"It'll do," Brian insisted. He'd rather wear his own shirt, but Mikey had "accidentally" ripped it with a knife when ushering Brian into the elegant Frayne home. He'd thought the owner of the place had died long ago, and he was pretty sure Jim rarely actually stayed there. At least he knew why he recognized the name, now. He saw it when he passed the mailbox nearly every day. "What if I get found out?"

"Just remember, your name is James Winthrop Frayne, the Second." Jim reached for the pool cue and the chalk. "Get a move on, Doc. I don't like being late for an exam."

Dan put an arm around Brian's neck and shoulder, ushering him to the door. "You saw his transcripts. 4.0, right? Don't forget to sign the 'I-I' with your name."

"I-I, right." Brian looked around nervously, his eyes resting on his father. Then he groaned. "We're sure to get caught!"

Dan sneered. "All you have to do is the entrance exam. This MCAT or whatever you call it. Quit your moaning."

Mikey stuffed a small card in Brian's shirt pocket, a somewhat mischievous smirk on his face. "There's your ID card. I'll give you a ride to the university." He grabbed a hold of Brian and pulled him along.

"Remember: you pass, or we kick your ass." Dan shut the door behind the pair.

 

Brian sat with at least a hundred other students, all taking their exams on that day. Most of these people were hoping to get into next year's program, not the one that started in the fall. Jim seemed to think he could start this year, not have to wait at all. He tried to explain that he couldn't take the MCAT this late in the game, but his words fell on deaf ears. Then again, he wondered how Jim Frayne, II, had even managed to get registered for today's exam. He reassured himself that even if he did pass this test for Jim, chances were still slim that he'd get into next year's program.

He tried his best to concentrate on the questions, but knowing his father was in the hands of those hoodlums—those cheats—he found it rather difficult.

All the same, he was very familiar with the material. He finished quickly and handed his test to one of the professors watching over the exam. "Done, sir."

"That was fast," the other doctor said. "Say, don't I know ...."

But Brian was already on his way out the door. He hoped that other doctor didn't actually recognize him. He was sunk for sure. This would be the end of his career. And worse, those mobsters would beat him up, or maybe even kill his father.

Brian tried to sneak past Mikey, who was waiting for him outside. It was to no avail.

Mikey grabbed him and shoved him into the waiting car, a permanently off-duty taxicab that had looked out of place at Ten Acres but was inconspicuous here in the city. "That was fast, Doc! Are you sure you passed? If you didn't ...."

Brian didn't need to hear the end of the threat. "Yes, I passed. Now get me back to my dad!"

 

A couple of hours later, feeling like he'd barely survived Mikey's erratic driving, Brian rushed through the door of the game room at Ten Acres. "Dad!"

Jim turned to him, putting a finger to his lips. "Shh." He shook his head quietly and pointed to the pool table. His father appeared to be about to make a difficult shot to sink the eight-ball and win the game.

Brian always knew his father loved to play billiards. He'd played all through his college years, and he'd been in some sort of billiards tournament before and had won quite a hefty purse. But he didn't think it was such a great idea for his dad to beat this crook. What if he got upset over being bested?

His dad glanced up at his son, nodded his head, and then took a swig from a glass of what looked like orange juice. Yes, that would be it. Dad's favorite drink always was orange juice.

He put the glass back down and readied his cue stick. Brian noted that both Dan and Jim were watching him intensely. With serious concentration, his father took the shot. All eyes in the room followed the white ball as it struck the eight-ball at an odd angle, and the eight-ball hit the side of the table and then ricocheted into a corner pocket.

Everyone around the table cheered. Everyone. Brian let out a sigh of relief. They were happy for his dad; they wouldn't hurt him for his win.

 

It had been nearly a month after the exam before Jim finally got the letter with his scores. He scanned the paper quickly, aware that the gang members were all watching and waiting to see how he would react. Verbal reasoning ... percentile range .... He wasn't sure what all these different sections were, and then he saw the one that actually meant something to him. Total score ... 43S ... percentile range: 99.2 – 99.9. "I passed with flying colors!" Jim almost felt like jumping for joy, or maybe even doing a song and dance in celebration. But what would his gang think of him, then? "I passed," he repeated more calmly.

Dan was grinning from ear to ear. "I knew you could do it!" He slapped Jim on the back in a congratulatory gesture. "Knock 'em dead, Doctor Jim!"

Jim chuckled. "I thought I was supposed to be saving lives from now on."

 

It was the first day of school. What an unfamiliar feeling that was ... school. But this would be different. He was at the New York University School of Medicine. He was going to become a doctor. He'd had to forge some papers, bribe and threaten more than a few people, but, in the end, he'd convinced everyone that stood in his way. A tiny thought nagged at the back of his mind: he shouldn't be taking short-cuts like this. But he didn't have time for however-many-years of pre-med, or even to wait to apply to next year's program. He needed to be a doctor as soon as possible.

He walked through the halls of the school and hospital building, still confused by the blue, yellow, and green "pathways" people spoke about. He knew he was supposed to go down the yellow path, but he couldn't figure out which that was. Why didn't they just draw lines on the floors or walls or something to make it easier?

A receptionist in the main lobby had told him to keep going straight, but as he looked around, it didn't seem like he was in the right place. Still, he kept going straight and stumbled into the emergency room somehow. He spotted a man lying on a gurney, foam coming from the man's mouth as he spasmed. He turned to a nurse and tapped him on the shoulder. "Hey, what's wrong with him?"

The nurse glanced at the patient. "Attempted suicide. Swallowed poison."

"Then why is he lying here? Shouldn't he be taken to an operating room?" Jim was tempted to wheel the man to an operating room himself, if he knew where that was exactly. "Who's here with him?"

"No operation. His mom still has to finish filling out the form." The nurse pointed outside the doors and indicated a woman standing in a line at the registration desk in the waiting area.

A doctor walked by and Jim grabbed his arm. "Doc ... he's dying. Do something."

"He's being taken care of by Dr. Mundy." The doctor tried to continue toward the doors.

"This is the emergency room!" Jim was outraged. This was a hospital, wasn't it? "He's dying in front of you. I'm not going to wait for another doctor!"

The doctor looked at Jim for the first time since he had grabbed him, and then over at the patient Jim was pointing to. "We've given him activated charcoal to bind whatever he might have taken while we're waiting for the toxicology results."

"And?" Jim glanced at the dying boy, quite a few years younger than himself. "Can't you do anything more while you're waiting?"

"Not at the moment. He's in good hands. Dr. Mundy will check in with you soon, I'm sure." The doctor glanced at his watch, apparently eager to go. "You should go wait back out in the hall with your mom. She seemed pretty shaken up, understandably. Attempted suicide is a difficult thing to deal with. We have counselors here that all of you can talk to. Meanwhile, if I remember correctly, she was pretty confused over the insurance forms. Maybe you can help her fill them out?"

Jim stared at the doctor in disbelief. He wrapped his hand around the doctor's throat and shoved him against a wall. "What if I 'attempted murder' on you? Will the hospital save you or do we need insurance forms filled out first? Huh?"

The doctor stared back at his attacker, eyes wide with fright. "O ... kay ...," he choked out.

Jim released his hold.

"Listen, Dr. Mundy and I already examined him earlier. The activated charcoal seems to be working." The doctor massaged his throat. "He's breathing fine—"

Jim cut him off. "You call that breathing fine? He's spasming, and foam's coming out of his mouth."

"I know it looks bad, but he's going to be fine. We got to him on time." The doctor took him by the arm and attempted to lead him back out to the waiting area. A woman was ringing her hands, literally just squeezing her fingers on one hand, then the other, back and forth with complete nervousness. "Let your mom know that your brother will be fine, okay?"

"You're sure?" Jim gazed at him steadily, trying to determine if the man was being sincere.

"Yes. His vitals are good, the poison's being neutralized. He will be fine," the doctor replied, his voice calm and soothing.

Jim nodded at him. "Thank you." He turned and gazed sympathetically at the distressed woman, never bothering to correct the doctor's assumption that he was the patient's brother. He wandered over to her. "Is he your boy?" Of course he is, you nimwit!

"Yes." She glanced at him and then looked nervously back through the doorway.

"Dump the tension. They'll get all the junk out of him in no time." Jim smiled at her, although he didn't feel much like smiling. He just wanted to try and reassure this woman that her son would be fine.

The woman nodded, although it didn't seem like she quite understood him. "Who are you, dear boy?"

Jim pointed to himself. "James Frayne. First-year student here." He looked around the hall. "I gotta run to class. If the doc bugs you, find me."

 

Honey Wheeler stared at the man walking toward her with utter disbelief. It can't be! He caught her eye before she could turn away, so she quickly looked down at the file in her hand. Please, please don't let him recognize me!

"Hello, ma'am!" Jim called out to her.

She turned her back to him. "What?" she mumbled.

"Where is the first-year classroom?" he asked.

What? Why would he be asking about the classrooms? "Why?"

The red-head tilted his head down, trying to look at her face. "What 'why'?"

"Why are you asking where the classroom is?" She flipped a page in the file, even though she hadn't read a word of it.

"Because I'm late," Jim explained.

"For what?" He can't honestly be in school here, could he? Celia had confided in her, so she knew he had no education. He couldn't have completed pre-med and be enrolled here, at her father's university. That would be impossible.

"The class. Today is my first day." Jim sounded proud.

Honey looked up from her file, catching his smile in her peripheral vision. "But what will you do in the classroom?"

"I'm a student." His tone held a note of aggravation, but he was still being polite.

No way! Honey turned to face him now, not even worried if he would recognize her. "Student?"

"I got a 43S on the MCAT!" He grinned as he bragged. "Where's the class?"

She stared at him. What she had felt before was disbelief. The incredulity she was feeling now ... the doubt ... this was just ... impossible.

"Hello?" He waved a hand in front of her face. "Where's the class?"

"You're a student?" She started to feel a little faint as the reality hit her: Jim Frayne had scored higher on the MCAT than she had.

Jim rolled his eyes. "I'll tell you what ... what's your name?"

She didn't answer.

He reached down and grabbed the identification card hanging from the lanyard around her neck. She was glad, and not for the first time, that she had chosen to use her mother's maiden name as her business name. Even though she worked at the hospital and her father at the university, she didn't need the extra attention the name Wheeler seemed to attract, even on this side of the building.

"Dr. Madeleine Hart." Jim smiled at her again; a very charming lop-sided smile. "Dump the tension. I'll find the classroom myself. You just go on and take care of your patients. Okay?"

He walked past her, and she turned to gaze after him, trying to figure out just what kind of scheme that ruffian Jim Frayne was up to now.

He stopped a couple of interns who were walking down the hall. "Where's the first-year class?"

"You're looking for orientation? Straight down, then left ...."

 

Jim walked into the large auditorium and looked up at the sea of faces. In spite of feeling a little overwhelmed and out of place, he walked up one of the aisles toward an empty seat.

"Good morning, everyone," a familiar voice greeted.

Jim did a double-take, and then held a brochure in front of his face. Dr. Wheeler! Well ... crap! The students around him all stood up as the man entered, but Jim crouched down further in his seat.

Dr. Wheeler went to the large desk in the shape of a half-donut at the front of the auditorium. Six other doctors stood behind him. He tapped the microphone lightly, to verify it was on, and then spoke. "Welcome to the New York University School of Medicine. I am Dr. M-dot-Wheeler, the dean of this university." He paused importantly. "Please, sit down." He motioned with his hand for the students to take their seats.

Jim took advantage of the opportunity to duck completely behind the connected row of small desks in front of the seats.

"I'm pleased to inform you," Dr. Wheeler was saying, "the country's best doctors have studied in this very hall. They sat on these very benches, just like you are sitting."

Jim pulled out his cell phone. He quickly tapped a name on his contact list.

"Yeah."

"Dan, you had to select this school, didn't you?!" He tried to keep his voice low as he spoke tersely into the phone.

Below him, Dr. Wheeler droned on. "You should be proud that you are to be a part of the 170-year-old institution."

"He's right here, yapping about something," Jim whispered harshly into the phone.

"This institute has a history of producing good doctors—no—great doctors. Which one of you wants to be a great doctor?"

Around him, students were raising their hands. Jim wondered why, but didn't dare raise his own. The student next to him gave him a nasty look, but Jim shrugged it off.

Dr. Wheeler nodded his head appreciatively. He pointed to one of the students. "Yes, you?"

She stood.

"Do you think you'll be a good doctor?" the dean asked, his voice pleasant and inviting.

"Yes, sir," she answered firmly.

Dr. Wheeler came out from behind his desk. He put a hand to his ear. "Can you hear me?" he bellowed.

"Yes, sir," came the chorus of responses.

"Good." He walked closer to the young student he had called upon. "What's special about you?"

"Sir." Her voice was full of confidence as she replied. "I love people. I believe I can feel the patients' suffering. I want to treat them as friends, not just as patients."

As she spoke, Dr. Wheeler lowered his head. When she finished, he lifted it again with a small sneer in place of his smile. "We are not here to make friends! In my twenty-five year career, I haven't befriended a single patient." He shook his finger for emphasis, and the young female student lowered her head. "I have not felt their pain; I have cured it. And I've done well. Mmm?" The auditorium remained silent in respect for the great man. "I do not love my patients."

He made his way back to his desk. "Confused? Mmm? Let me explain." He was back behind the microphone on the desktop. He held his hand out flat. "See this hand? Rock steady. It's done thousands of operations, but it never shook. But if I were to operate on my daughter, it will shake for sure." He paused for emphasis. "Why? Because I love my daughter." He shrugged one shoulder. "Friendship, empathy, attachment—these are weaknesses for a doctor."

The dean gazed over the crowd of students. "For the next five years, you'll be taught that a patient is just a sick body; nothing else. I'd like to wish you the best of luck. Any questions?"

Jim had long since hung up the phone. Friendship is a weakness? A patient is just a sick body? What crap! He was more than irritated by Dr. Wheeler's speech. He disagreed with almost every word of it. I'll show that pompous Dr. Wheeler. He raised his hand, although he was still squatting under the desk and out of sight. "Yes, sir."

"Yes," Dr. Wheeler replied, looking down at his desk.

Jim stood up and grinned slyly at the dean. "If someone is dying inside the emergency room, is it necessary to fill out a form first?"

There was a spattering of chuckles from the other students.

Dr. Wheeler slowly lifted his head, a look of utter dismay crossing his features. He quickly regained his composure and spoke into the microphone. "Your classes start tomorrow at 8:00 AM. Thank you very much. Dr. Spiro will take you through the rest of orientation." He stepped away from the desk and started heading out the door.

 

Dr. Wheeler sat in his office, a file spilled open on his desk. "James Winthrop Frayne, II." His daughter sat across from him, and one of his senior staff members, Dr. Brian Belden. "4.0 GPA. 43 on the MCAT. 99th percentile. How?! I don't know how!!" He dropped the paper in his hand, and it floated gently to the desk.

Brian gulped. He stopped biting his nails long enough to answer. "How would I know, sir?"

Dr. Wheeler sighed. "Yeah, how would you know?" His voice was much calmer again. "I don't get it. How did he get so far, so quickly?" He started laughing.

Honey gazed at him. He had never been able to get his idea of laughter therapy across to her.

The laughter turned to a bit of a sob, and Dr. Wheeler sank back into his swivel chair.

"Dad," Honey started out timidly. "It's okay. Why are you so upset by this?"

"I am not upset!" His voice raised ten decibels as he pounded his hands on his desk. "Do you know who he is?!"

Brian and Honey gazed back at him, neither willing to answer.

Of course they don't answer; they don't know. "A thug! A mobster! A villain! I can't believe he really went to school ... that he's in my school now!" He suddenly seemed to calm down as he slowly stood up from his desk. "Hang on ...."

Brian stood as well, although Dr. Wheeler wasn't sure why.

The dean came around to his daughter's chair and sat on the corner of his desk. "He hasn't seen you here, has he?"

"Yes, he did," Honey admitted.

He spoke again before she could explain further. "Did he recognize you?"

Honey shook her head. "Of course not, Dad. He hasn't seen me in over twenty years. And my I.D. card reads Madeleine Hart, remember? He has no idea who I am."

"Ah, thank God!" He kissed the top of her head. "He should never know that you're my daughter. Understand?" He looked over at Brian, still standing. "Belden, come here." He gestured with his finger for Brian to step closer.

"Yes, sir." Brian leaned in closer to him.

"Nobody should know that Honey is my daughter. Okay?" He started losing his temper again. "She's my daughter, but no one can know that. You understand? Be very careful!"

"Don't worry, sir." Brian held out a calming hand, trying to placate him.

"Don't worry?!" His hands moved up and down with each word, calling attention to the amount of pressure he was feeling.

"Calm down, sir," Brian whispered.

"Calm down!" In a much quieter voice, attempting to do as Belden suggested, he added, "Take a deep breath. Calm down." He raised and lowered his hands rhythmically as he slowly inhaled and exhaled. I'll calm down, all right. I'll calm down, and then I'll plan my next move, Mr. James W. Frayne, II.




Author's Notes:

Word count: 5,739

Huge thanks to Jenn, Dana, and Trish for editing this for me. They have all given me very helpful critiques and feedback that have helped improve the story.

Dana, I can't thank you enough for the medical school insights!

Jenn, you went above and beyond in this one. Seriously. Thank you so much.

Trish, as always, your input is extremely helpful!

This is part of a late CWE #6, starring:
James Winthrop Frayne, II, Dan Mangan, Matthew Wheeler, and Honey Wheeler.
Also starring in this episode:Brian Belden.
Guest appearances in this episode: Bill Regan as the janitor and a mention of Lester Mundy (off stage) as an emergency room doctor.

The movie is Munna Bhai, MBBS. Moving the action from Mumbai to Manhattan posed quite a few challenges. Things are different in New York, and I will be asking people to really suspend their disbelief at some of the upcoming situations. But I have fabulous editors who have given me some ideas, so hopefully I can manage to make this work somehow.

I must thank my sister for inspiring me, and also for helping me cast this particular movie; not to mention semi-permanently lending me her copy of the movie. Thank you, Sylvia!

Background image is from iStockPhoto.

All copyrighted material and characters are used with no permission whatsoever but with tons of love and admiration.


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