by David Gelber
"Night Clinic" is a collection of short stories which tell the unusual events which occur at the free clinic attended by Dr. Barnes and Nurse James. Monsters, magical beasts, villains along with ordinary folks come to the clinic looking for health and hope.
"Night Clinic" is a unique melding of medicine and magic.
I glanced at Mr. V. M. Pire’s chart before going into the room. The space for age was left blank, his vitals were: BP 60/30, heart rate 40, respiratory rate 12, temperature 92.
“Miss James, are these vitals correct,” I asked, not believing the numbers.
“Took them three times, Dr. Barnes, but there’s no need for alarm. You’ll see what I mean when you see Mr. Pire,” She an¬swered in her most professional tone.
This night gets more bizarre every minute. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, knocked on the door, and went in to see Mr. V. M. Pire. I saw a pale young man sitting on the chair in the corner, dressed in black pants, black shirt and wrapped in a black coat. Even with his coat he looked cold, shivering, his arms held tightly across his chest.
“Good evening, Mr. Pire. I’m Dr. Barnes. What brings you in here today?” I asked in my usual doctor’s bedside tone.
“What’s that supposed to mean? Do you think that I changed myself into a bat and flew in. Or maybe I just danced along the full moonbeam. I know what you’re thinking: Another deluded, crazy who can’t cope with reality,” he spouted with venom in his voice.
“Actually, the way this night has been going, I was truly expect¬ing a vampire. Who else could have vital signs like yours and notbe in a coma? So tell me, what’s the problem? If you don’t want to say, you are free to leave. I have plenty of other sick people to at¬tend to.”
He calmed down, stood up, and started to pace around the room.
“I’m… I’m not sure where to start. You see, I… I’ve been having these fantasies and, well, with the full moon and everything, I just couldn’t stand it. I even went to their meeting, thought about join¬ing in their activities.”
He paused for a moment. I could see he was upset and I tried to calm him down. I put my arm around him and lead him to the chair. He almost had tears in his eyes. “Go on,” I said in a soft voice. “What are these fantasies?”
He looked at me with his dark, deep set eyes. “To be a wewuff,” he whispered in a muffled voice.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you said,” I replied with true concern in my voice.
“To be a WEREWOLF,” he answered loudly. “It’s driving me crazy. I know it’s ridiculous. I mean, I’m a vampire, the best of the best. Last month I downed six units of AB neg in under thirty sec¬onds, all from the same vic… same donor.”
“Sit down and tell me about it,” I suggested, doing my best to imitate a Psychiatrist.
“I guess it started last full moon. I was out at night, like usual, and as I was flying around the neighborhood, thinking about din¬ner, I saw a whole pack of them, werewolves. They were circling around some helpless wino and then they attacked. After their kill they all howled at the moon, gave each other high fives, and then there were the girls. Dozens of them, all gathered around these vi¬cious beasts, oohing and awing. Meanwhile, every night I’m out, shivering, looking for blood. Alone, hated by everyone, even other vampires who would just as soon cut your head off as share a drop of their precious stash.”
“It must be a tough life,” I observed.
“You don’t know the half of it, Dr. Barnes. So, a couple of weeks ago, I’m laying in my coffin, trying to sleep. It must have been noon, and I start to thinking, Wouldn’t it be great to be a werewolf? Get to wear a fur coat, not be cold all the time, only worry about being a vi¬cious monster once a month. Then I say to myself, ‘Get over it, you’re a vampire, you’re better than them.’ But, I can’t get over it; I can’t get the thoughts out of my head. I tried to talk to one of the Elders. Well, you would have thought I was wanting to become a priest, the way he reacted. After that I got scared, I guess, and then I went to see them tonight. All the werewolves were gathered together, I even went inside, tried to meet them. As soon as they saw me they surrounded me. ‘Look at sissy boy,’ they taunted. ‘Afraid of the big bad wolf?’ I tried to talk to them, but they just laughed. I left, feel¬ing more and more depressed. I just wanted to end it all. I even broke into the hospital and stole this.”
He held up a case of thrombin.
“A couple of swigs of this, then all my blood congeals and it’s the end. Well, I got scared and I wasn’t sure what to do. I saw the Clinic sign and decided to stop in. So, here I am.”
I stared at him for few moments, not sure what to say or do.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David Gelber, a New York native, is the seventh of nine sons and one of three to pursue medicine. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1980 and went on to graduate medical school in 1984 from the University of Rochester.
He completed a residency in General Surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and Nassau County Medical Center on Long Island, NY, in 1989. Dr. Gelber now is in private practice in Houston, TX.
Gelber has been performing surgery for more than 25 years, but over the last few years he began to pursue his passion for writing, initially with his debut novel, "Future Hope", followed by its sequel “Joshua and Aaron.”
These were followed by two books about surgery “Behind the Mask” and “Under the Drapes.” The apocalyptic “Last Light” and historical fantasy “Minotaur Revisited” round out his published works, while numerous articles have appeared on his blog “Heard in the OR.”
Now he presents “Little Bit’s Story” and his collection of magical medical short stories, “Night Clinic.”
He has been married to Laura for 28 years and has three college aged children. He and Laura share their home with five dogs and numerous birds.
- Future Hope ITP Book One
- Joshua and Aaron ITP Book Two
- Minotaur Revisited
- Behind the Mask: The Mystique of Surgery and the Surgeons who Perform Them
- Under the Drapes: More Mystique of Surgery
- Last Light (e-book only)
- Heard in the OR ( http://heardintheor.blogspot.com)
Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?
I did some research on some of the characters who pop up. For instance, Mr. Spock, of Star Trek fame, shows up at the clinic and I needed to do some research about him, although I know most of the original Star Trek episodes by heart. The medical scenarios were drawn from my experience as a surgeon for the last twenty five years.
The best book/s you ever read?
Tale of Two CitiesBoth are historical novels which have interesting stories which ultimately lead to redemption of individuals while presenting the surrounding history in a fascinating manner.
Do you have strange writing habits?
Ideas for stories pop into my head at very strange times. For instance, being a surgeon, I might be up to my elbows in a patient’s bowels, when an idea for a story I’m working on may materialize. I do my best to keep my mind on the more important task, but my “muse” shows up at most inopportune moments. However, my writing is just me sitting at my computer and pounding away on the keyboard.
Where did you grow up?
Scotia, New York, which is a small town near Albany and Schenectady. While I was growing up, Scotia was really a suburb of the General Electric Company, which had its headquarters in Schenectady NY and employed most of the people who lived in Scotia. Every night I went to sleep with the big neon “General Electric” sign flashing on and off through my window.
How did you get into writing?
I thought I might be a writer when I was in college, but a variety of circumstances discouraged me at that time and I took the easy way out and became a surgeon instead. Over the years I had this idea for a book and a particular character. Finally, in 2006 I started to write “Future Hope, ITP Book One,” which had the character Joshua Smith as one of its secondary heroes. He then became the main character in “Joshua and Aaron, ITP Book Two.” I’ve added five other books to these two, the latest being “Night Clinic.”
What do you consider your best accomplishment?
My marriage and my children. I’ve been married to Laura for almost 29 years and we have three great children. Everything else I’ve done pales in comparison.
What is your favorite quote?
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
The cover is what catches a prospective buyer’s eye. If this potential reader is merely browsing, then the cover certainly is important. An interesting cover might lead a reader to pick up the book, read the back cover and buy, or at least file the title away to be considered at a later date.
How did you come up with the title? Names?
I started with the first chapter which was just a short story called “Night Clinic.” This became the title for the entire book. Each subsequent chapter is a stand alone short story, but they all take place at this Night Clinic, tied together by the characters, Dr. Barnes and Nurse James.
Names are usually random and mostly have no deep hidden meaning.
What was the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Ideas appear at odd moments. I’ve often changed a story line or character on the fly. Sometimes I’ll be writing, putting the words down and then be struck by the thought that “if I make this character with this attribute or make him do this it will add to the story, or make it more interesting. In my first book, “Future Hope” I had a street evangelist character, Richard Cosby, who preached a shallow, you deserve more than this gospel to the downtrodden of society. As I was writing I came up with the idea that he should be more sinister and, thus, he became more of an agent of the devil and in the end his true nature is revealed. In “Night Clinic” similar changes were made.
For example, In the chapter “More Night Clinic” a character appears who seems to be only a shallow, self centered mother. As I was writing I decided to change her completely so that in the end the reader learns that she is a truly noble person who has to contend with a very difficult situation.
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:
David will be awarding a $50 Amazon/B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour,
and a $25 Amazon/B&N GC to a randomly drawn host.
a Rafflecopter giveaway