“Doctor! Doctor!” Mary-Ann howled as she ran through main street carrying her boy. The store owners peeked their bald heads out their doors.
Dr. Hoover came in on his rickety wagon. Two spokes were missing on his right wheel. His horses were mighty and stood strong. One of them could easily pull the doctor, let alone two.
Dr. Hoover wore all black. Hat and all. He drove down man street, the clops of the horse’s hooves echoing down the way. He stopped at Mr. Whittaker’s candy shop. The one next to Mr. Forrest’s house where his wife hung herself three years ago during a wind storm. There he tied up his horses.
Across the street was Mrs. Hershey (the woman having an affair with Mr. and Mrs. Horace down the road). Her two sons, Griffin and Jon, had set out east to pursue their insurance business that failed three years after they started it up.
Mary-Ann carried her boy’s limp body down main street. The boy’s little arms and legs swayed with each clop of Mary-Ann’s heels. “Doctor! Doctor!” She ran to the doctor’s wagon. He had opened the back of the wagon and was searching for his toolkit.
“Yes, ma’am?” the doctor said, still looking for the toolkit.
“Oh doctor. You have to help my boy. He’s sick. He’s awfully sick. Look at him, his skin is green.” Mary-Ann said.
The doctor turned around with his kit in hand. The boy’s skin was green alright. “How long has he been like this?”
“Three whole days now. Ever since he messed with that Ouija board that that witch doctor sold it to him.” She placed her boy down on the ground for the doctor to inspect. “I told him not to mess with those devil things. My husband tried to beat the devil out of him, but he just won’t leave my boy alone. He breaths and we hear this awful roar and gurgle coming from his chest. Must be the devil.”
The doctor pulled up the torso of the boy’s shirt. He was purple around the ribs. There was red specks on the surface of the boy’s skin. The boy whimpered and groaned in a hush. “Witch doctor?” he asked Mary-Ann.
“Yes sir. That witch doctor ain’t nothing but trouble in this place. You know he was struck by lightening when he moved in last year? The chickens in Mrs. Harvey’s farm, her daughter was the one that went bankrupt, her chickens haven’t clucked since he came here,” she said.
“Can the boy eat?” he asked.
“Not a swallow. I even made him soup with the carrots and onion that Mr. Freeman grows in his yard, not the other Mr. Freeman who spends his time at the whorehouse, but the Mr. Freeman that almost went to jail for assault after he drank to much at the saloon on the corner? You know the one where the fire took two months ago? Well, I made soup with his carrots and onions.”
The doctor placed the back of his hand on the boy’s forehead. He then dug into his toolkit and pulled out a thermometer. 102.
“Okay. I’ve got just the thing.” Dr. Hoover got up and went to his wagon. He searched around in the back until he pulled out a pill bottle. “Ma’am I’ve seen this all too many times.”
“Really?” she said.
“Oh yeah.” The doctor shook the bottle. The pills rattled. “Those witch doctors are a dime a dozen,” he said.
“You don’t say?”
“Oh, just about every town has one of them witch doctors running around. People all around pointing fingers at the witch doctor, you’d think he murdered somebody. It’s all work of the devil. And in I come, a man, and fix the devil’s doings with a couple pills,” he said.
“He almost murdered my baby. What are those pills?” she said.
“Levofloxacin. For pneumonia. You’d find it in a drug store, if you had one here in town. I imagine you don’t,” he said.
“Oh no. We hadn’t had a new building built since Rev. Ulysses came in and took over Father John’s baptist church after he killed Mrs. Birch’s girl during the exorcism. You know it was only two weeks before the witch doctor moved in last year? Nothing but trouble,” Mary-Ann said.
“Seems like it now doesn’t it, ma’am? Give these to your boy. He should feel better after two or three days,” he said.
Mary-Ann snatched the bottle of pills from the doctor’s hands. She opened it up and shook out two pills.
“Only one for today, ma’am,” the doctor said.
“Right,” she replied. She whispered something to her boy’s ear. The boy opened his mouth and took the pill before passing out limp again.
“And tell your husband to stop beating your boy. Lest he catch the devil too,” he said.
“You’re doing the lord’s work, doctor,” Mary-Ann said.
“Well, someone has to. If anything is to get done these days.” Soon after he untied his horses and set out in his wagon to the next town.
The man did god’s work. As it has always been so.