Not at all, Brian. My whole story sounds phoney, I know. That's www.medicalbooks.ru why I avoid telling it. '
Father said, ‘Brian, haven't you heard me addressing Ted as "Doctor" for the last thirty minutes? The thing that makes me so angry - so gravelled, rather - is that Ted knows more about the art of medicine than I could ever possibly learn. Yet his shop talk makes me want to go back to the practice of medicine. '
Theodore cleared his throat, sounding just like Father. ‘Mrrrph. Dr Johnson -‘
‘Yes, Doctor? '
‘I think my superior knowledge of therapy - correction: my knowledge of superior therapy - bothers you in part because you think of me as being younger than you are. But, as I explained, I simply look young. In fact I am older than you are. '
‘How old? '
‘I declined to answer that question when Mrs Smith asked it -‘
‘Theodore! My name is Maureen. ' (That exasperating man! )
‘Little pitchers with big ears, Maureen, ' Theodore said quietly. ‘Dr Johnson, the therapy of my time is not harder to learn than is therapy today; it is easier, because less of it is empirical and more of it - most of it - is based on minutely developed and thoroughly tested theory. With correct and logical theory as a framework you could catch up on what new has been learned in jig time, then go quickly into clinical work under a preceptor: You would not find it difficult. '
‘Damn it, sir, I'll never have the chance! '
‘But, Doctor, that's what I'm trying to offer you. My sisters will pick me up at an agreed rendezvous in Arizona on 2 August 1926, eight years from now. If you wish, I will be delighted to take you with me to my time and my planet, where, if you wish, you can study therapy - I am chairman of the board of a medical school there; no problem. Then you can either stay on Tertius, or return to Earth - to the exact spot and instant that you left, if that is your wish, but with your medical education updated and you yourself rejuvenated. .. and with renewed zest for life, that being merely a side effect but a fine bonus of rejuvenation. '
Father looked strange, haunted. I heard him murmur, ‘"- unto an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world -"'
Sergeant Theodore answered, ‘"- and the glory of them". Matthew, four, verse eight. But, Doctor, I am not the. Devil and I am not offering you treasure or power - simply the hospitality of my home as I have enjoyed the hospitality of this home. .. plus an opportunity for a refresher course if you want it. But you don't have to make up your mind tonight; you have more than eight years for that. You can postpone your decision right up to the last minute. Dora - that's my ship - has ample room. '
I turned and put my hand on Father's arm. ‘Father, do you remember what we did in 1893? ' I looked across at Ted. ‘Father read medicine under a preceptor who never believed in germs. So, after Father had been in practice for many years, he went back to school at Northwestern University in 1893 to learn the latest knowledge about germ theory and asepsis and such things. Father, this is the same thing - and an incredible opportunity! Father accepts, Theodore - he's just slow to admit what he wants, sometimes. '
‘Mind your own business, Maureen. Ted said I could take eight years to answer. '
‘Carol would not take eight years to answer. And neither would I! If Brian permitted. If Theodore can bring me back to the same hour and day -‘
‘Would I meet Tamara? '
‘Of course. '
‘Oh, my! Brian? Just a visit and I come back the same day -‘
Theodore put in, ‘Brian, you can come with her. A few days or a few months vacation, and back the same day. '
‘Uh. .. Oh, Heavens! Sergeant, you and I have a war to win first. Can we table this till we come back from France? '
I don't recall how the talk got around to economics. First, I was sworn to silence about the periodic nature of female fertility. .. and took the oath with my fingers crossed. Fiddlesticks. Both doctors, Papa and Theodore, pointed out that my mucous membranes had never been invaded by bugs - gonococci and spirochete treponema pallidum and such - because I had been drilled and drilled in ‘Always use a rubber except when you want a baby', and my girls had been trained the same way. I didn't mention the far more numerous times when I had happily skipped those pesky sheaths because I was pregnant and knew it. Such as the night before. Avoiding disease does not depend on anything as trivial as a rubber purse; it depends on being very, very fussy about your intimates. A woman can catch something bad in her mouth or in her eyes just as quickly as in her vagina - and much easier. Am I going to copulate with a man without kissing him? Let's not be silly.
I can't recall ever using a rubber after Theodore explained exactly how to chart my fertile span. Or ever again failing to ring the cash register when I wished to.
Then I heard, ‘ - 29 October 1929. '
I blurted, ‘Huh? But you said you were leaving in 1926. August second. '
My husband said, ‘Pay attention, Carrot Top. There will be a quiz Monday morning. '
Theodore said, ‘Maureen, I was speaking of Black Tuesday. That is what future historians will call the greatest stock market crash in all history. '
‘You mean like 1907? '