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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)

TITLE: Three Blind Doctors
By Troy Manning


Marcus returned from space with a severe cold. At first the physicians he consulted were flummoxed as they had never seen a bacterial infection quite like his. Because of the top-secret nature of his mission, he was unable to tell them which planets he had visited. However, even if he did say for instance, “I visited Saturn and Mercury,” it probably would have made little difference. The samples they took revealed a cheese-like substance that was slowly eroding, as though being eaten by an invisible rodent. In the previous century, such a discovery would have been evidence that Marcus had been on the moon. Today it was far less obvious where the cheese was.

Dr. Bartholdy quickly yet studiously severed the cheese sample with his scalpel before it disappeared completely. It wasn’t exactly cheddar and neither was it American, but it shared the same coloration with both. He wondered if it was even cheese, but Marcus assured him the effects it had on his body were quite the same as those he experienced when consuming more than an ordinate amount of said substance.

The less convinced Dr. Evans secured another sample and set it before Brenda. Brenda was one of his more finicky lab mice who would settle for nothing less than the finer cheeses and wines. She eagerly consumed the entire sample then fell into a severe sneezing bout. After several futile efforts to stabilize Brenda, Dr. Evans finally obtained favorable results with a 2001 petit syrah.

The physicians entered into vigorous debate as to how best to proceed with Marcus. As Marcus was a former alcoholic, Dr. Bartholdy feared that by prescribing wine, they would only be exchanging one disease for another. He suggested instead that the cheese disease would soon run its course and disappear given how quickly it seemed to erode without interference.

Ever the skeptic, Dr. Evans took another sample and increased the microscope’s magnification. While this didn’t make the actual culprit more visible, it did distinctly show the marks of incisors that were gnawing into the cheese. He solemnly surmised that when the cheese was gone, the invisible creature would start in on Marcus’ pancreas. When Dr. Bartholdy asked him why the pancreas, Dr. Evans replied that he was just throwing that out as an example.

A further complication arose when they discovered that, while cheese would disappear from one locale in Marcus’ innards, more would inexplicably appear in another area. The doctors agreed that such seemingly indeterminate behaviors was more characteristic of quantum physics than biology, even if the specimens were clearly more like cheese particles than cheese waves. They concurred that another specialist should be recruited for the project.

Dr. Fuhrmann was a reputable experimental physicist. In lieu of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hadrian Lothar’s still being on sabbatical, she was the next to be recommended. Dr. Beatriz Fuhrmann, though ghastly fearful of mice, consented to the assignment since the repulsive pink tail would be invisible anyway.

Having secreted more than a liter of mucous and engrossed in the current issue of the Daily Planisphere, Marcus remained sufficiently occupied, if rather light-headed. He did notice, though, that Dr. Fuhrmann wore no wedding ring and that behind her rather gargantuan lenses was a woman possessing more than a pedestrian beauty. While Marcus, given his prestige as an astronaut, was generally quite unafraid of initiating discussions with women, he knew the fact that rodents disgusted Beatriz didn’t bode well for him. He immediately regretted having begun his conversation with her by asking if she thought he mightn’t be able to just pass the rat and cheese. She replied very formally that the series of appearances and disappearances they were detecting suggested that his body was riddled with rats and cheese, and that they wouldn’t be so easily moved. Still, by crying, Marcus was able to somewhat soften the bespectacled object of his interests.

Marcus was quarantined for several weeks while the doctors undertook their endless series of tests and experiments. By this time, the cheese had long been devoured, as had an appendix that was due for removal anyway. Drs. Bartholdy and Evans placed indiscretionary bets as to which organ would go next. Meanwhile, Dr. Fuhrmann had unexpectedly bonded with Brenda as she discovered they shared many of the same tastes in wine. And as a result, she became more accepting of the rodents Marcus housed.

To Marcus’ great relief, these too eventually passed. “Phew!” exclaimed Beatriz as they did, fanning at the electrifying air.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Wood02/18/10
Wow! What imagination. Poor Marcus. Good job.
Mildred Sheldon02/18/10
I loved this. It had me laughing at the referal of three blind doctors like three blind mice. This was well written. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/18/10
A nice twist to a nursery rhyme. It was funny. Good job.
Mark Bell02/19/10
nice job of taking science fiction and giving a new twist on an old fairy tale. got lost a couple of times, so you might want to work on your transitions. all the same: Good Job!
Lyn Ruth02/22/10
nice story :-) very good!
Amanda Brogan02/24/10
Whoa, cheese-disease-inducing planets, invisible rodents, and sneezing mice. Talk about creative! Why does it make me think of Looney Tunes and "Duck Dogers of the Twenty-fourth and a half CENTURY!" :D I think you should be a screenwriter for Saturday morning cartoons. ;) I had to laugh at the sentence "Drs. Bartholdy and Evans placed indiscretionary bets as to which organ would go next." What inconsiderate doctors! (But funny nontheless.)