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March 21 – A Tale of Two Doctors… and an Administrator (Part 1)

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Lisa Fargazer was sitting by the fire in the office again, at the end of a particularly long day.  She meant to rest only for a moment or two, before going upstairs to check on the water supply for the inmates’ cells, and look in on Dr. Solsen.  But the fire was warm, and the rocking chair seemed more comfortable than usual…

The next thing she knew, she heard a soft cough behind her.  Startled, she looked around, quickly stood up, and bobbed a nervous curtsy.  “Good evening, sir,” she said to the stranger.

The man smiled at her.  “Forgive me, miss.. I hope I didn’t startle you.”

“No, sir.  I was just resting a bit.”

He extended a hand out to her.  She looked at it for a few seconds, and gingerly put her hand in it.  He tightened his grip just a bit, and slowly shook her hand.  “I am Doctor Spatterdash, miss.  I am hoping for a position here at the hospital.  I have submitted my credentials, but not yet heard back…”

“I see,” she said warily.  Yet another doctor, and who knew what he was like?  Still, she had to be respectful.  She looked up at him with veiled eyes.  “I’m Lisa–I work here at the asylum.”

The man smiled again, and touched his hat.  “A pleasure to meet you, Madame.”

Lisa shifted uncomfortably, rather put off guard by so much courtesy.  “I’m just the maid here, sir. Wash dishes, scrub floors…”

The man looked started.  “Do not talk lowly of such things, Miss Lisa.  Dirty dishes and unkempt floors will make people ill or dead, two things I was warned about earlier in my career.”

“Yes, sir.”  She had learned a little about such things in her weeks working at the asylum, though she knew what she did could be done by anyone.

“Well,” Dr. Spatterdash continued, “is there anything I may do to assist you?  As I am not on the staff, I felt I should perhaps offer my services as a volunteer, to get to know more about the asylum.”

“You would have to talk to Mr. Canergak about that, sir,” she replied with just a bit of stiffness in her manner.  “But he’s out of town for some time yet.”  She paused, thinking.  “I suppose you could ask Dr. Lionheart.”

The man nodded.  “Both are new names to me, alas, but I am sure they are fine practitioners.”

That statement surprised Lisa–she’d assumed this was another doctor being brought in by Canergak.  That Dr. Spatterdash didn’t know him was a point in his favor, and she relaxed a little.  “Mr. Canergak owns the asylum, sir. And the hospital. Though he generally leaves the running of them to others, like Dr. Lionheart.”

“A true man of power,” he replied, grinning.  “Understanding how to delegate is a key role. I formerly worked as a surgeon in London, amongst other places… there is much I can turn my hat to.”

“I’m sure Dr. Lionheart would be able to help you,” she said, more warmly than her tone had been before.  “Would you like to leave a message for her?”

“I would be honoured, miss.  Would I leave the note here, or send it to her by a messenger?”

“You could leave it here, and I’ll be sure she knows of it when she comes in again.”

“Thank you–I’ll do that.”  Dr. Spatterdash reached into a pocket and took out a calling card.  He jotted down a few lines on the back of it, and placed it on the desk.  Lisa made sure to note its position, so she could point it out to Dr. Maddox later.  “There,” he said with a grin.  “Written in my most unbreakable hieroglyphs, to confirm my vocation as a medical man.”

Lisa nodded, looking a little confused.  The man continued, “Do you know if there is accommodation anywhere near here? I am still seeking somewhere to live.”

Chewing on her lip a little, Lisa considered the question.  She certainly couldn’t mention the Vole.  What would work for an adult?  “Well,” she replied finally, “there’s Brunel Hall, but that might be full.”

Dr. Spatterdash nodded gravely.  “A kingdom for a room, I take it…”

Not understanding the quotation, she continued, “And there’s the Excelsior Hotel, near City Hall.  And there might be a loft apartment open in the Palisade area, near the train station.”

“I see.  Well, what I spend shall doubtless be related to what I shall earn, I hope! But I have means to keep myself in suitable surroundings, I am sure.  I shall see if the lodgings here are suitable for a gentleman of my progress.  In the meantime, thankee, Miss Lisa.  I hope we shall be firm friends.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, smiling at him a little as she escorted him to the front door.  He bowed politely and walked outside.  Closing the door behind him, Lisa hurried to her delayed chores.

((To be continued…))

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