Wasty Presents: 1001 Shocks For Nightmares

The Doctor Is Dead

Athelstan Wyck had just put on his coat and went out the door of his apartment. He looked at his watch. It was already 2:30pm and at 2:45pm he had to be at Dr. Charles Renfew's for the annual health check-up. It was his first visit with this doctor because he had just moved from New York to Los Angeles here a month ago and therefore had to change doctors. Now he hoped that he didn't have a sickness or disease. He felt a bit uneasy as he couldn't quite picture this new doctor. He had come to trust the one in New York. That one always explained what he was going to do next during an examination.
Athelstan only had five minutes left now and the doctor's house was still a few streets away. He walked faster. Quite out of breath he reached the door. He rang the bell and entered the waiting room. He was the only one there. The waiting room smelled of disinfectants and was painted in a repulsive white. A few wrinkled magazines lay about and a badly nourished plant stood in a corner. The window opened to the backyard and he sat down near it in order to look outside. Even though it wasn't cold he felt a little chill. Then the door opened and an assistant in a white coat appeared. Unfriendly she told Mr. Wyck to follow her. She directed him to Dr. Renfew's office. The doctor, who also wore a white coat, was heavy, had only few and uncombed hairs left and had a conspicuous nose. He welcomed Mr. Wyck with a shake of his callous hand and a sly smile and pointed him to a chair. After he had recorded the personal data, Athelstan had to take off his top and move over to the examining table. First the doctor checked the respiration and the reflexes of the knees, then he took a blood sample. As the doctor saw the blood he suddenly seemed distracted. He appeared spaced-out and apologized quickly before walking out a door. Athelstan didn't feel at ease anymore at all. He opened the window to catch fresh air.
Meanwhile Dr. Renfew was in a room next door. He swallowed some kind of pill that he got out of a cupboard. He was dizzy and he had that tingling sensation in his fingers again. This had occurred several times in the last few weeks and afterwards he couldn't remember anymore what had happened. If he had told anybody about it, he would have had his license revoked.
Now too he had lost control. He took a scalpel from a small table, put it in his pocket and returned to his patient. When he saw the doctor he immediately closed the window and obediently sat back on the examining table.
With a dull expression Dr. Renfew approached Mr. Wyck and said that he now would have to examine his throat. He also asked useless questions like if he had his tonsils removed and if he had ever had yellow fever.
With a flashlight he examined his mouth, nodded affirmatively and turned around. Athelstan didn't notice how Dr. Renfew took the scalpel out of the coat pocket. Else he surely would have made a dash for the exit and would never have returned here. With one hand hidden behind his back the doctor walked back to the examining table.
"Now we want to check if your spine is straight. Could your roll over on your stomach, please?" he proclaimed. He fumbled on the spine, raised the scalpel into the air and rammed it between Mr. Wyck's ribs. After a suffocated scream he laid still on the table because he was dead. The doctor turned the body on its back, crossed its arms over the chest and brushed the hair out of its face. Then he grabbed a chair and sat next to the examining table. Dreamingly he contemplated the body. As he looked at his desk a few minutes later he noticed his daily planner where he marked the appointments. He saw that the next patient was due at 3:10pm which was ten minutes from now. He suddenly realized what he had done and was aware of his guilt. Again he went to the nearby room. There he grabbed a new scalpel and sat back down on the chair next to the body. For the last time he had a good look at the body then he committed suicide. With a banging noise he fell over backwards. The blood stained the white coat.
At 3:10pm the unfriendly assistant called the next patient, Mr. Phillys Scrubb, who suffered from osteoporosis. Painstakingly he followed the assistant who walked fast just to be mean. She held the office door open for him without looking inside herself and impatiently slammed the door shut again.
Mr. Scrubb entered and expected the doctor to sit in a chair behind his desk. Instead he saw him laying on the floor covered in blood. He knew immediately that he was dead and limped to the assistant's office as fast as he could. "Quick," he yelled with a raspy voice, "the doctor is dead!"
The assistant hurried to the doctor's office with another employee, a cleaning woman who worked for Dr. Charles Renfew for years already. "What has happened?" the cleaning woman asked. The assistant replied: "Like every day there is a dead patient on the table, probably murdered by the doctor. But today our dear doctor himself lies dead in there."
"Mr. Wyck," whispered a soft, likable voice, "wake up. I'm sorry about the delay but the doctor got sidetracked. You must have fallen asleep in front of the window." The voice belonged to a friendly assistant in jeans and blouse.
Dr. Charles Renfew, a slim, groomed man with glasses, about 29 years old, welcomed Athelstan.


Copyright © October 1980, Wasty and Whiskey, The Doctor Is Dead
German title: Der Arzt und der Patient
85 lines
Reading time: approx. 5 minutes


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Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com