Dr. Van Stiefer, a man alarmed by illogic
and disquieted by the slightest chaos,
opened his surgery on Carriage Road East
to very little fanfare.
That would shortly change.
As a medical student, Van Stiefer could barely contain
his boredom when faced
with the halt and lame.
At St. Cecilia's Hospital,
attendings had to stop the young man
from amputating in cases of sprained ankles
out of ennui and expediency.
now is his moment.
Dr. Lars Van Stiefer has a revolutionary idea.
He hopes it will alleviate, or entirely prevent
an array of difficulties and infirmities.
He will treat romantic love as a neurological disorder,
like tremors, or rabies.
His patients, beset with every variety of odd behavior,
will be brought in by stretcher,
and he will bandage their hearts, tightly,
with clean bandages,
leaving only the tiniest new scar.
Good order will be restored,
and following a brief period of recovery,
they can go back to work,
or to their wives and husbands,
ready to face life with new health and calm.
Dr. Van Stiefer is celebrated, feted,
asked to speak before august gatherings of renowned physicians.
The dreary halls of St. Cecilia's fade into dusky memory,
and the doctor takes to his celebrity
with dignified grace.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Van Stiefer's womanly emotions
begin to wobble on their axis.
When the doctor arrives home,
she broods, and piles his plate with medical texts,
inviting him to use them as
supper or suppositories,
though she does not phrase it exactly in that way.
Unknown to him,
she forges a sympathetic connection with his nurse,
a certain Miss Pelby.
By the time they have lunched once,
been to the variety stage show twice,
and kissed a third time,
the wheels are greased for her own severe case of nervous illness--
that is to say,
No surprise, then, that Dr. Van Stiefer,
faced with the unfamiliar landscape of this domestic hiccup,
should have brought her,
the very next day,
to his surgery.
Was Mrs. Van Stiefer homicidal?
The doctor's own writings declare this an impossibility
in a woman of good background.
she was found in the waiting room by a medical equipment salesman,
with a bloody sleeve and a fit of the giggles.
Dr. Van Stiefer's esteemed colleagues,
arriving at graveside,
discussed among themselves what ought to be done for the new widow.
"Death by misadventure" having claimed her husband,
it was decided,
by these learned men,
that the prudent thing would be to recommend her into the care of the late doctor's nurse.
Mrs. Van Stiefer stayed on in her house,
under Miss Pelby's expert care
for the duration of her uncommonly long convalescence.
Thank you to Shawna for the word list!