It was green. It looked unhealthy. And it was affixed to his left biceps. The room smelled faintly of iodine. “Doc, what the hell is this thing, anyway?” Walter asked, staring at the repulsive blob on his arm, wondering if this New Age doctor knew anything about curing his insomnia. Or was this doctor simply a lunatic? Walter couldn’t believe he was paying forty dollars for this treatment. This was definitely the last time he would use the phone book to find a doctor in L.A. He had found this one listed under ‘Cures’.
“The moss is safe and friendly,” the doctor answered in a low breathy voice that Walter assumed could belong only to a fruitcake. Of course, Walter might be letting his imagination get the best of him. Or was he? To Walter’s knowledge, doctors always displayed multiple credentials on their walls. This one displayed none.
“It is a rare Polynesian moss,” the doctor elaborated, “capable of extracting the poisons from your body through your skin. It cleanses your system, much like your own liver. You may not know this, but the most common cause of insomnia is toxins in the blood, toxins which the liver has a difficult time removing. These toxins negatively stimulate the brain causing disruptions in the sleep cycle, hence insomnia.”
The strange glint in the doctor’s eye, coupled with an overly friendly smile, worried Walter. He knew little about livers, except how to fry them with onions. But if the moss did cure his insomnia, he might form a different opinion. Until such time he would remain unconvinced.
“How much longer do I need this attached to me?” Walter asked. “Not that I am complaining, if it will help me sleep, but it kind of gives me the creeps.”
Walter looked again at the moss, almost sure he had seen it move. In his opinion it was nothing but a damned organic leech. Forty bucks and all he got was an 18th century cure that cured nothing except the hunger of a quack doctor. A couple of green things in his fridge could probably do the same job should he care to get into this business himself. It was easy to have your name listed under, “Cures.”
The doctor shone a light into Walter’s eyes. “It is probably enough,” the doctor said, hovering far too close for Walter’s liking. The doctor snapped on a pair of rubber gloves and then, very gently, almost lovingly, peeled the moss from Walter’s arm, smiling warmly the entire time.
Walter could see a blue stain where the moss had been. It looked as if he had been hit in the arm with a baseball. “Thanks, Doc. I’ll let you know how I make out,” Walter said, thinking the exact opposite. Cured or not, he wasn’t coming back.
“I’m sure that you will. See you soon,” the doctor said. The glint returned to the doctor’s eye. But a glint of what? Glee? Perversion? Longing? Walter didn’t stick around long enough for any more contact.
Once safely in his apartment, Walter picked up a book and tried to read, hoping that when his head hit the pillow he would actually sleep. He wasn’t sure that he would. With the turning of every page, the face of the doctor kept painting itself across his mental easel. Distracted by the doctor’s face, which replayed itself like a hated song he occasionally found himself humming, Walter set the book down and got a glass of water. His apartment felt very dry and he was thirsty.
When Walter returned to the couch, he examined the stain on his arm left by the moss. Damn, he could swear it was bigger than when he left the doctor’s office. Wondering if his arm was infected, Walter pressed on the stain. There was no pain. Probably the stain or bruise or whatever it was would go away in a couple of days. If not, he would visit a hospital and see a real doctor.
Walter poured himself another glass of water. It was growing late. He would try to sleep.
He tossed about fitfully under the blankets. His insomnia was not cured. The treatment, if it could be classified as such, was not working. He grabbed the glass of water on his bedside table and finished it. The inside of his mouth felt like it was lined with hair. He fumbled for the light, but gave up after a couple of tries.
Suddenly, the image of the doctor’s face appeared in his mind again. The detail was incredible, even down to the glint in the eyes. That glint didn’t seem so strange to Walter now. He could almost understand what it meant. The doctor, in fact, was not unattractive. Walter’s thoughts drifted and he actually did fall asleep for a time.
When he woke, it was the middle of the night. The image of the doctor’s face remained. Walter felt like never before: invigorated, alive and very, very alone. The treatment had done something wonderful to him, but he didn’t know what. All he knew was that he felt compelled to go to the doctor again, and now.
Soon he was back at the doctor’s office. Standing on the sidewalk, Walter could see a light still on inside the house, a house which doubled as an office. It reminded him of one of those restored homes in Bungalow Heaven.
The doctor was waiting for him. He knew it. He strode quickly up the steps to the door, but before he could knock, the door opened and the image of the doctor’s face, the one fixed in his mind all night, struck him with the full force of reality. The doctor was beautiful and beyond compare. Walter was in love and knew he had found his mate.
They went inside, closed the door and embraced. Their lips met and opened. The sickly sweet smell of iodine intoxicated Walter and he knew true bliss. The kiss was long and passionate. The green hairy tendrils in their mouths intertwined in an orgy of joy. The doctor had been alone so long without another.
Walter was elated that she had chosen him for the treatment.
© Copyright 2009 Paul Darcy. All rights reserved.
Paul Darcy spends most of his time underground in the dark. This does not mean he is a vampire, though this would afford him greater insights into his paranormal fiction, but rather his writing space is located in the quiet basement of his house. A published author with dozens of short stories, three novels, and a screenplay currently looking for homes, Paul strives to one day emerge into the light…metaphorically, that is.
5 thoughts on “The Treatment by Paul Darcy”
Eeuw! Eerily, ickily good. And yes, in my sexist brain I pictured the doctor as a man until the end. Nice twist.
How can you resist that title? Or the last name of the author? Great romp.
Ok. I really like this. Great similes, great pacing, thoroughly engaging. Well done.
A very fine short story.
I think paul is my fav sister here so far.
I have to say I pictured the doctor as a man also (what Petrea said). Well-paced story. Keep me engaged from Word One and, being an insomniac, I was doubly curious about the ‘cure’. And then the ending… OMG… that was great.