Gorgeous Ch. 01byTaunus©
Disclaimer: This story is fiction cast in the future. No resemblance to persons living or dead is intended or should be inferred.
While delivering his first lecture on Statistics, Professor Harold Wolfgang entertains the bored mass of his students with some jokes. He defines statistician in a number of ways: "A statistician puts his head in the oven and his feet in the refrigerator and, on the average, he feels just fine. A statistician is a mathematician broken down by age and sex. A statistician is a mathematician who lacks the personality to be an accountant." So the seminal introductory ideas were disseminated.
Day by day, Harold can feel his Parkinson's disease advancing. Mundane, banal, routine chores require extraordinary effort. The disease has plagued the elderly from earliest times. The symptoms can be alleviated, but the inevitable progression cannot. Briefly stated: The disease is irreversible, progressive, and incurable. "No matter how bad today is," Harold jests, "tomorrow will be worse."
In the faculty lounge, Harry takes his pills with coffee. Dr. Schwinger comes and joins him. "Is that Dopamine, Harold?" the good doctor asks. He already knows from the grapevine the issue.
"Among other things, my good friend," Harold replies. "I fear that this will be my last class. I am already looking into assisted living."
"Why not move to your quaint, rustic, bucolic cabin in the high hills and procure a sentient gynoid to service you?" Dr. Schwinger asks.
"Not viable!" Harold interjects. He is embarrassed by the symptoms of the disease, including Erectile Dysfunction (E.D.).
"I have a possible cure!" Dr. Swinger remarks. "It's years from being certified for human use. In fact, we have only recently been permitted to do studies with mice. However, I have some prepared, for whomever is brave enough to try the experimental drug."
"What have I to lose?" Harold retorts. "Soon the medicine I'm taking will become impotent and ineffective. Then there is no exit or return."
"Come by my office tomorrow, old friend, and be prepared for a change in your life." Dr. Swinger promises.
That evening the professor can barely sleep. His mind races through various scenarios and statistical sample spaces. He does check to see that his advanced medical directive (AMD) are current, notarized, and witnessed. Like many whose years are greater than "threescore and ten," he fears the real possibility of being trapped in a permanent vegetative state (PVS).
An earworm, a piece of music sticking in one's mind, resonates. It is "Love Potion Number Nine." He imagines a vial of elixir with foul odor and nauseous taste. The drug is to be injected via a hypodermic syringe.
"Just a little sting," Dr. Swinger remarks. "Try and relax. Tell what you are experiencing, Harold. I will be recording."
"I am running, running, running!" Harold reports. "It's almost as if I were a beast being pursued by hunters and hounds. It's like some old black-and-white movie, a "Film Noir." Harold lapses into a torpor. It is almost like suspended animation. Dr. Swinger is concerned, but decides to allow the patient to remain comatose. After about an hour with no noticeable change, Dr. Swinger leaves his patient to relieve himself on the toilet. Returning, Professor Harold Wolfgang is nowhere to be found.
Dr. Swinger is worried and concerned. He calls security to lock down the building and search for the professor. The building is search but Harold is not found. On the roof, however, a torn pile of clothes is found. It was almost as if the clothes were ripped off by some wild carnivore---a mountain lion, or bear, or (gulp) a wolf.
Campus security is called. They examine the roof of the building and decide that only a helicopter could retrieve anything from the roof. To leap to the next roof is beyond any human's ability. The campus police fill out a report and decide to wait the compulsory forty-eight hours before filing a Missing Person's Report. The do question Dr. Swinger, but he conceals the fact that an experimental drug was used. He remarks that Professor Wolfgang was only there for a routine physical exam.
It came to pass that that selfsame day there was a convention on campus of heroes, heroines, and villains. There are caped crusaders, furries [sic], aliens, and mutants. Harold enters the expo. But he is no longer professor Harold---he is a furry monster. His Parkinson's disease is in full remission. But at what price?
A Super Girl costumed caped crusader approaches the werewolf. "What a cool avatar," she murmurs. His eyes are transfixed on the youthful coed. She is nineteen years old, 5'6", and 35B-25-35. The measurements of a model no less.
17 September 2012