Thursday, November 29, 2012

George Matrix, MD  Detective-Gynecologist  Chapter 1, Part 1

                                              GEORGE MATRIX

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy
                                                                                    Act 1, Scene 5

Chapter one

          I pulled into the doctor's parking lot on Monday like any other day, found a spot, locked the roadster and walked across the pavement to the physician’s office building.  The lot was half full of cars but still seemed pretty lonely.  No one noticed me as I walked along.  I hoped for a quiet day with no major interruptions.  Just see my patients and go home.  I needed rest. 
          I had to keep my mind under tight control because if I didn't I could be easily overwhelmed by all of the problems and issues that swirled around my life and work.  It was hard to find peace within the maelstrom.  You had to consciously work for it and I had worked long and hard to mold my life into the shape that I thought it should be.  In some areas I had been very successful but in others the story was quite different.  I knew from experience that jumping right in, letting all of the feelings come, wasn't a good way to begin the day.  I had to get my mind ready for how cold the water might be.
          The weekend had been difficult, starting with early Friday morning coffee with Detective Dirk.  We were celebrating, at least celebrating as much as Dirk could manage.  The case that he had given up on, the one the police department had deep-sixed, the one I picked up and investigated because I thought there was a chance and because I liked the looks of the client, a blonde with no tan lines and a great smile, was solved, the "alleged" killer in the slammer and my client happy.  She was happy to have the killer of her millionaire husband behind bars, happy to have her own motives cleared and happy to have me as her detective and her gynecologist.  I'd given her the best that I could, the best detective work money could buy and the most thorough physical exam she would ever have.
          Detective Dirk sat across the cracked linoleum table from me.  After a big case broke we would sit and stare at each other over a strong, black cup of coffee.  Lilly’s diner had a lot of what people politely called "character".  Others might say it needed some repairs, but it was always packed with people.   Fronting on Broadway, the main thoroughfare, and painted a fading pink, a lone neon sign declared “Lilly’s” above the glass front door.  All of the windows were steamed, it was noisy and there was the familiar smell of frying bacon belching from the swinging doors as the waitresses went in and out from the kitchen.  Booths of faded red vinyl lined the windows and old aluminum kitchen tables separated the booths from the long row of stools along the counter.  It seemed that every seat was taken and waitresses wove their way between tables and along the narrow aisles balancing plates of steaming scrambled eggs and pancakes that were too big for the plate.
          Watching Dirk, it occurred to me that he must always sleep in his clothes.  I wondered if he had gotten hold of some manual years ago that described what a police detective was supposed to look like and how he was supposed to talk and act and had memorized it word for word.  Either that or the work made him what he was. 
          I wondered about the “how to” book that I must have studied.  I called it the “What Life Should Be” manual.  It started with a confused childhood of strict discipline and stoic emotion, a fascination in the opposite sex during the teen years (which might have had its origins in my mother’s woefully inadequate explanation of where babies came from) and an overpowering drive to be responsible, dedicated, the great White Knight with dreams of being a hero as I accelerated through adulthood.  Now, I was playing out my life the “way it was”, trying to understand and accept the role I was given (or in some cases created by my own actions), trying to look the part, accept the part, be the part.  Still, I had dreams and passion that lurked within me.
          The reality and end result of where my life had taken me was what I was now, as I sat and watched Dirk.  I was filled with conflicting emotions, desires and drives that dared and drove me.  It was only my dual professions that seemed to allow release from my internal struggles, even though they may have been responsible for many or most of the turmoil.  Dirk, I was sure, looked at me as a complete, successful and talented man; someone to emulate.  It was easier to let him keep thinking that, than to try and explain what was going on inside.  It would have been more information than he would have wanted, or needed. His world would be shaken and he didn’t do well with that.  He needed things simple and orderly, despite his habits or habitus.
          Whatever the case one thing was certain, Dirk was a man who would rather bite you on the ass than give you a complement.  But, after staring into his coffee until it was cold, with a set of his jaw and an intensity in his eyes that said he could keep it hot by force of will, he looked up, twisted his mouth into what he probably thought would pass as a smile and said to me, "I've got to hand it to you Matrix, you did it.  I didn't think the case had a corn flakes chance in a long soak of milk to be solved.  I honestly thought she did it.  Hell, she stands to inherit 50 million bucks.  That's plenty of motive in my book.  I saw the evidence just like you and I didn't see the crucial piece.  You did!  I admit it, Matrix, if there is a mystery and a woman involved, you're the man to beat."
          I looked past Dirk, trying to avoid thinking about the weird analogies he often sprinkled into his conversations, and studied one of the waitresses walking between the aluminum tables, squeezing around the occupied chairs.  Black, beautiful smile and heavy set, she bent over each table taking orders, her ample breasts bulging and swaying just under the plunging neckline of her uniform.  It was enough to add another 5% to her tip for most customers.  You could tell that she knew most of the regulars.  I wondered if she took good care of herself, had regular check-ups, did self-breast exams.  I smiled, "Well, Dirk, you just have to know women.  And it’s a matter of gestalt and which piece of evidence to follow.  Being a doctor I've learned how to read people, look at the signs and symptoms, see the little things that others miss; and I do have a deep appreciation of women.  I'm just glad I could help her out."
          I may have been needling Dirk again, but what I said was true.  I did appreciate woman.  There is something about them, something about the way they think and something about how they move and the strength that they carry in their bodies.  I readily admitted to my patients that there was no way men could ever have babies.  Women also have a sensuality that, if it isn’t damaged by abuse or neglect (things that a lot of men seemed to be more proficient at), is mesmerizing, captivating.  And finally, they have the clitoris.  The only human organ whose sole purpose is sexual enjoyment, it contains four times the number of nerve endings as the penis.  Most men either don’t understand it or take it for granted.
          Yes, I definitely liked women, professionally and personally.  I had an innate “sense” about them that I couldn’t explain but could definitely feel when it was tuning in.  As it seemed with all things, they contributed to both the wonder and the pain within me.  In my life they had come and gone.  Some had come and stayed.  They all had added their mark to my life, both good and bad, and I carried their memories with me.  Some I thought about every day, with a smile on my face; others I used all the powers of my mind to try and forget.  All of the women in my life were important to me and I tried to treat them all with compassion and caring.  I had a reputation of being very attentive to their emotional and physical needs.  I wanted to be, needed to be, thought of as a good man, a good physician, a good detective.
          There were some memories that were still hard for me to face.  I am a man carrying all of the foibles of humanity as much as any other.  I didn’t want to admit to Dirk that I made mistakes.  He wouldn’t know what to make of such an admission.  It would be foreign to the way he thought about life in general and me in particular.  But those mistakes were made honestly and were part of me, added color to me, “colors taken from the palette of experience and brushed across the canvass of my life.”  Even when I thought it, it sounded trite, but it was true.  I hoped that those mistakes improved me, made me better.  Sometimes I had my doubts.
          I was losing myself in my reveries, about my women and the memories they had left, when my beeper went off.  It was Sarah.  The number on the LCD was for her cell phone.  I had left her feeling good earlier that morning.  Sometimes that feeling lasted, sometimes it didn’t.  She was always glad when I broke a case because she hoped, then, that that meant extra time for us.  We were still trying to define our life together.  She gave up a lot and accepted a lot in our relationship and I did try to understand and make it up to her when I could.  Our responsibilities and commitments often kept us on the run and apart.  She tried to understand me, the kind of life that I led and the needs that I had professionally and as a man.  Her understanding, however, didn’t at times come without stress and tension.  Sometimes it came with anger, upset and sadness. She was a very important person in my life and a very good woman.  I was committed to giving her and the child we had together a good life and she knew it.
          We had a lot of history.  We had gone through a lot of hurt and a lot of happiness.  We made big mistakes together and we learned from some of them.  It wasn’t always easy.  In fact it was seldom easy.  I was the first to admit that having a relationship with me, as a physician and as a man, was difficult at best.  My intentions were always good but then, again, that was what the road to hell was paved with.  After ten years we had come out of the other end of a dark tunnel.  There was more light now but we still struggled with compromise and balance.  I didn’t envy her.
          I had a past life whose only good contribution was the one kid I brought with me.  Sarah had a much different experience but brought two kids along with her.  Then we had one together and that was a whole story in itself.  We had a common agreement of solidarity and purpose and battled through the raising of them; and not without scars.  But they all were turning out to be good, sensitive human beings who cared about others and that is what we thought was important.  We were down to the final molding of the one that we had created.            
          The number I was looking at was her cell phone and, given the time it was, she must have been taking our youngest daughter to school.  It was always an ordeal, a battle of wills.  If you put the two of them together, they were always late and, since she always drove our daughter to school, they were always late.  It was kind of a running joke at the school.  I punched in the numbers.
          “Hello, George?”
          “Hi sweetheart.  What’s up?”  I could tell by her tone that she was tense but holding up.
          “I just dropped off our sweet, but late, daughter and was on my way to get a latte and I thought I would call and see if you could meet me for coffee?  I was hoping we could spend some time together this morning.”
          “Thanks for calling, honey; I wasn’t sure I would hear from you this morning.  I was thinking a lot about you and needed to tell you that I love you.”  Dirk was fidgeting, with a sour look on his face, across from me.  “I’ll have to take a raincheck on that coffee though; my day is looking pretty hectic right now.  Did Amelia get her homework done?   Is she ready for her presentation this morning?”
          “Yes, she and I ran through her speech one last time before school.  That may be why we were late.  She is good.  I think that she inherited your memory and flair for the dramatic.”
          “Well I know that she’s getting her physical beauty and compassion from you.”  Amelia was eleven and a good kid.  She was an interesting mix of her mother and me.  “Tell her I’m proud of her and I’ll try to let you know what’s happening to me today.”
          “That would be good.  I’m sorry we can’t get together.  Talk to you later.  I love you.”
          She hung up but I continued the conversation for a moment, just to irritate Dirk, “Oh your welcome honey.  I’m always glad to be of service to a woman with an itch that needs scratching.  Wow, you were really something this morning.  I don’t know where you got the idea for that position.  Let’s try that again, soon.  Okay, I love you too, bye.”
          I hung up the phone and Dirk started right in, he didn’t miss a beat.  He was still chewing on what I had said about the millionairess and glad that he didn’t have to listen to my end of the conversation any longer.
          "Yeah, I'll bet you wanted to help that rich babe out.  C'mon doc, tell me a little bit about that dish.  Even without 50 million bucks she looks mighty tasty to me."
          I looked away from the waitress, now sauntering along the row of stools at the counter.  I thought I recognized her as someone I had examined before, but to really know she would have to put on an examination gown.  Probably shouldn't ask her to.  Probably would create quite a little stir at this diner; though I could give her a card.  Glancing sideways at Dirk I gave him a wry smile, "That's the good thing about being a detective-gynecologist, Dirk.  I get to keep confidentiality at both ends."
          I could tell that Dirk wanted more, but I just smiled and took another sip of coffee.  My client was a beautiful woman and she did have 50 million bucks, but it was important to me to maintain my complicated and convoluted code of detective-gynecologist ethics.  I didn't want to jeopardize my reputation.  Women came to me for many reasons and I wanted them to feel secure.  They needed to know they could tell me anything without fear of leakage.  They needed to be able to turn their bodies over to me and feel that they were safe and that it was the best thing that they could have ever done for themselves.  There was a lot of trust involved and I could be trusted in both my professional and my personal life.  The women I cared for in both lives knew it, though the complexities of that trust were sometimes hard to explain.  Dirk never said it but, looking at him, I knew he felt it in his gut, I took good care of women. 
          The waitress walked up to our table and leaned over.  "So, Detective Dirk I notice this fella with you.  He keeps looking at me and I'm wondering if you should introduce us?"  She leaned more towards me, her bulging breasts fighting to stay covered beneath her blouse, as she looked sideways at Dirk.  "I'm thinking maybe we met before or something."
          Hardly looking up from his coffee Dirk muttered into the cup, "Yeah, Molly this is Doctor George Matrix, he and I work together sometimes.  Matrix, this is Molly Harmon.  Molly works here most days."
          I began to speak, when a surge of awareness hit her.  "Say you're that Detective-Gynecologist guy I read about!  When I read that piece in the paper about you the other day I said to myself, Hey!  I think I went to this guy years ago.  Now that I look at you I know I'm right.  You've changed a little over the years but not that much, Doc.  You remember me, don't you?  I guess I’ve changed some too.  My name used to be Sanders.  You delivered my kid!  You know women don’t like having a strange man mess with them, you know, down there.  But as I remember, you weren’t all that hard to take.  Seems like you were dressed more like a cowboy, though."
          I looked at her intently.  She was like I said; big, black and with a great smile.  I had gone through a cowboy phase years ago but I got out of it because the surgical shoe covers that the hospital provided weren’t keeping the bodily fluids off of my boots and they were to expensive to ruin and to hard to get off for deliveries.  She was right; it had been a while, maybe ten years now. 
          "Yes, Molly Sanders.  I believe I do remember you.  It's been a while though."  As she leaned closer, I noticed a distinct cafe-au-lait birthmark on her left breast, disappearing under her neckline, darker than the surrounding skin.  Its outline vaguely resembled the state of Texas.  "Yes, I do remember you.  You're originally from Nebraska, right."  I had a funny way of remembering women I had met and examined.  It was a method that wasn't always easy to explain.  But it worked, and women surely appreciated the personal touch that it added.
          "That's right.  Wow, you remembered!  That's pretty impressive Doc."  Her eyes widened, "Say, how about another cup of coffee on me.”  She tipped her coffee pitcher toward my cup from about a foot and a half away and let it fly.  She hit the cup dead center, filled it to the brim and didn’t spill a drop.  “You know, meeting you makes me glad I came over, 'cause I really need to get in to see a doctor.  My periods have really been messing up lately.  A lot more bleeding than usual.  And really unpredictable, not regular at all."
          Her forwardness and manner didn’t even phase me and I didn’t have to look at Dirk to know he was squirming.  I got this all the time, from strangers on the street who recognized me, to family members.  Women never seemed to have trouble talking to me about their bodies, about things they probably wouldn’t mention to their husbands or lovers.  I reached into my shirt pocket and pulled out a card.  Judging from her apparent age and weight I suspected that her ovaries weren't working right.  Probably not ovulating.  "No problem, glad to help, just call my office.  I'll talk to my receptionist and have her work you in next week if you'd like."  Handing out cards was something not every gynecologist did.  Most would be a little nervous about it.  My experience was that women appreciated my up-front attitude and didn't mind.  They took it as a compliment more often than not.  Handing out cards had helped me to build quite a large practice.  I didn't always hand them out to the real beauties either.  All types of women got my cards, women that interested me in many ways.  Heavy, thin, short, tall, beautiful, homely, buxom, small, they knew they were all equal in my eyes and that I would treat them right.  I didn't see any conflict of interest in handing out cards to women I encountered outside of the office, I knew I was good and that I could help.  All they had to do was ask, or call for an appointment.
          Molly read the card over the table, "Dr. George Matrix Detective-Gynecologist.  That's great, thanks doc, I'll give you a call.  Maybe I ought to talk to you about my slime-bag ex too!”  She paused, seemed to be lost in thought, and I wondered what she was doing to him somewhere in her mind. Then she came back to real time, “Say, you know this diner is a hub of a lot of activity besides just eating and sometimes I hear things, if you know what I mean.  If you ever need information and I got it, all you got to do is ask."  She gave me a sly wink and sauntered away from the table, smiling and slipping the card into her skirt pocket, then stopped at a nearby table, pulled out her order pad, leaned over and began taking orders.
          Dirk looked up from his coffee, his eyes following Molly through the diner.  "Matrix, I don't know how you do it.  Must be half the female population in this town been to see you and the other half wants to get in.  Why you want to spend time running down killers, drug lords, gangsters and other riffraff?  Doesn't make sense to me.  Hell, I wish I was the printer that made your cards.  Bet I could make more doing that then I get from the precinct."
          "That's a hard question to answer Dirk.  For me being a detective and a gynecologist is a perfect blend and I like the challenge.  But it's my overall relationship to women that's the key.  As a man I can appreciate and enjoy all women in general, as a gynecologist I feel a responsibility to keep their body’s healthy and working right and as a detective I want them to feel safe in this world and to get a fair shake.  I want to protect them and fix what I can in their life physically, emotionally or otherwise, which takes me back to being a man, I suppose.  It may be unorthodox but I’m always professional."
          Dirk stared hard at me.  He never seemed to listen to answers to questions, "Well, congratulations on your last case, but I still got work to do and there are some disturbing notes coming across my desk lately and I got a woman calling me non-stop.  Maybe you can help."

Friday, October 12, 2012

          *                 *                 *                 *
          Caught up in that past reflection, I remembered that it was dark then and that I was working late at the office, with just a desk lamp shining low over my papers.  I was dictating with my feet up on the windowsill, my back to the door.  I heard something scrape on the floor behind me and spun around in my chair.  She was standing in the doorway leaning against the jam.  We made eye contact and she walked into the room, tall and blonde, smiling a smile that would have melted a weaker man.  She was dressed to the nines and had a body that you could tell she knew how to use.  I stood up as she came around my desk and pointed two 38’s at me.  It was then that I realized that she was carrying a gun in her right hand.
          “So, you’re Dr. Matrix,” was how she started out.  “I need your services.  I’m a desperate woman,” she continued in a low alto.
          I thought that it must be cold outside or she was really glad to see me.  She wasn’t afraid to stand up close, inside my space.  She was a cool number, a close talker.  She didn’t seem desperate.  “What kind of services are you after.  I can offer you a wide variety, some very personal, and they’re all guaranteed,” I said with a slight smile on my face, “...and why the shooter?”
          Her voice a whisper, her eyes locked on mine she said, “The gun is because it’s dark outside and I’m scared.  I need you for a job.  It is going to be hard and require a lot of probing on your part, maybe into some areas that you aren’t comfortable.  But I think that you’re the man to do it.”  She had a gentle hint of a French accent.
          “Probing comes with my profession, believe me, so that doesn’t concern me.  But, before I agree to help I am going to need some history, about you and about what you’ve got yourself into.  Like your name for starters,” I whispered back.  “And you are safe here.”  I added, as I slid my hand down along her arm and gently took the gun out of her hand.  She took a step back and gave me that smile she had walked in with.  It made me think of a thousand sensual moments.  It was obvious that she was a complete and total package.  It would be hard not to want to help her.
          She proceeded to tell me about her dead husband, about the multi-million dollar inheritance and about the police.  She needed help getting out of the murder rap and she had heard about me from a lot of sources.  She gave me her complete history, including the fact that she was way behind in having a physical exam and pap smear.  She was very emotional and I comforted and reassured her.  I told her that she needed to trust me and that I would take care of everything.  I agreed to take the case and told her to see me the next morning in my clinic.  I figured that was a good place to start.  The rest was history….
          The hum of the road brought me back inside the roadster.  It was 5:30 AM and the sky was starting to show signs of the oncoming dawn when I idled back into the garage.  I went into the house and found that the ghosts and terrors had fled with the gently growing light.  Within a few minutes I was back in the bedroom, in my sleeping clothes, crawling back into bed.  It didn’t look like Sarah had moved.  I could just see her sensual rounded curves under the bedsheets and momentarily considered gently waking her with kisses and caresses.  She would have obliged me, even half-awake, because she loved me and wouldn’t say no, and she liked how I made her feel, despite the tension.  But it had been a difficult weekend for her too, so instead I lay down next to her, feeling her warmth. 
          Sarah stirred beside me and brought her arm across my chest.  She was warm and fragrant.  Her skin always had a delicious, sensuous aroma.  I brought my hand to her shoulder and down along her side and discovered, in that moment, that she was naked beside me.
          “You’ve had quite a weekend.  I’ve been waiting for you,” she whispered.
          “I have.  I thought you were asleep.  I didn’t want to wake you,” I replied as I gently caressed her round, full breast, finding the nipple and softly teasing it. 
          She moved against me and opened herself to me, letting me know that she didn’t want to just talk.  “I need some quality time with you too, you know,” she said as her hand moved across me.  “I need your touch,” she whispered as she led my hand across her smooth, soft abdomen.
          It was then that we began our dance together; a wonderful warm, erotic dance of the senses.  She was a wonderful partner.  We had been together a long time and though we knew the steps they were always new and fresh.  We danced a slow dance and in those moments we were in our own world, just the two of us. 
          She let me explore her, touch and arouse her as she returned those sensations to me.  She was firm and gentle and I moved with her.  I could hear her breathing change and could feel the waves of pleasure course through my own body.  She moved over me letting me have her whole body and finally at the perfect moment our mutual pleasure exploded, mingling our minds and bodies together in an intimacy and closeness that words fail to describe.
          Exhausted, she lay down beside me; her body warm and slick with the wetness of sex.  “Wow,” was all that I could say.  Lying there with my arm around her I could feel her body relax and her breathing become deep and regular.  She was asleep in my arms.  We had shared what we both needed and now she could sleep.
          With the growing light in the room I tried to quiet my mind.   I knew that the chance of sleep was unlikely.  Lying there I closed my eyes and watched the patterns of light against dark, flashing across the back of my eyelids.  I tried to find stars in the patterns because I knew that I could float through them into sleep.  I thought about the demons that had fled the house and those that were always there, on the edge of my consciousness, waiting to trap me in their web of depression, confusion, anger and fear and I thought about the very short weekend I had just survived.  I thought about Sarah lying beside me and the solace she gave me.  I needed to get some semblance of rest before the morning came.  I knew it would come too quickly. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

the beginning...

George Matrix,

“—all of those moments will be lost in time,
like tears in the rain.”

                                                                   Roy Batty, Nexus 6

                                                                                 Blade Runner


          I had finally gotten to bed about 2:00 AM Monday morning after spending most of the night filling out reports at the police precinct and answering questions.  No matter what I chose as a career, it seemed like paperwork and lawyers dogged my every step.  The paperwork was a necessary evil but the lawyers descended on you like ravenous jackals, their nostrils flared with the smell of blood and money, circling, hoping for something injured, dead or dying to feed on, growing fat off other’s misfortune. They were like the plague in the middle ages adding a putrid stench of death to the scent of humanity.  I said a little prayer involving them as I drifted off to sleep.  I doubted that it would be answered. 
          At 3:30 AM a call from the hospital maternity unit invaded my dreams.  The phone brought me out of a deep sleep that I had fallen into pretty easily.  After all, I was exhausted.  My dual professions, as a gynecologist and as a detective, had collided and combined to create a weekend for me that few would believe, or even understand.  At first I didn’t know what I was hearing but as my awareness rose out of the dark depths of my dreams I realized that I was hearing the phone ringing next to my head.  Feeling around on the nightstand I found the phone, eventually, and brought it to my ear.  “This is Dr. Matrix,” I said, barely registering my thoughts in the real world.
          “This is labor and delivery.”  It was Lynn, a night nurse who had been working on the maternity unit for about four years.  “Sorry to have to call you at this hour, Dr. Matrix, but a patient of yours, Marissa Jackson, just came in and she is well into her labor.  In fact, she is pretty close to delivery.  I think that you had better head this way.  She is about eight centimeters dilated and moving pretty fast.  The baby is doing fine but I think it is coming down breech.  It doesn’t feel like a head in there.  You had better hurry Dr. Matrix.  Do you want me to call anesthesia, or for more backup help?”
          “No, I’m on my way,” was all I could manage as I hung up the phone.  Sarah hadn’t even stirred beside me.  She had shared a bed with me long enough and even though I wasn’t there as often now she still knew the routine.  Her back was to me and I could hear her soft, steadily rhythmic breathing.  My eyes moved over her sleeping form and I thought of the stress that we’d been living through for so long, most of it a result of my life, my demons, my professions.  I was glad she could sleep through the ringing.  She seemed to have problems finding the peace that sleep offered. 
          Throwing off the covers I rose up and sat on the side of the bed.  I took a few deep breaths, trying to shake off the extreme tiredness that enveloped me.  The shadowy silent specters of the night filled the room and dark emotions swirled around me as I battled them back into the black recesses of my mind, trying to throw off my sleep deprived weariness.  Rubbing my palms against my face I stood, walked over to the closet through the darkness, felt around for the clothes that I needed and got into them as fast as I could.    Dressing in the dark was nothing new to me, though I did show up at the hospital once wearing two different shoes.  I was on cruise control, doing what I had done over and over for so many years.  And it was getting harder and harder to do it. 
          Finding my keys on the bureau I made my way through the darkened hallways down to the main floor of the house, through the kitchen and into the garage.  Exhausted from the weekend and deep into the night, I could feel the ghosts of my life follow me through the darkened halls and rooms.  They were always there.  It was difficult to know whether it was stress or weariness that brought them to life but it was these times, in the depths of the dark house, where they haunted me.  They were silent specters of bad decisions, bad relationships, heavy responsibilities and life changing moments that I could look back upon and wonder what my life would have been like “if”.  Black thoughts of anger would engulf me and many a night I traveled in my mind to imagined worlds of revenge and retribution.  Sensing my vulnerabilities- depression, frustration and hopelessness would try to lay siege in my mind.  These were just the tips of icebergs floating in the oceans of emotion that I watched with fear, and sometimes envy, as I passed them in the night.
          Sliding into the roadster and firing up the engine as the garage door opened, I backed out onto the street and headed toward the hospital.
          From Sarah’s house I could get to the hospital in seven minutes in the dead of the night.  That time also included pushing the envelope on a few traffic laws.  Accelerating down the road I lowered the window to let the cool air pour over me, to help me wake up and to get my thinking straight before I got to the hospital.  It had rained on and off during the weekend and I loved the fresh clean smell of the air that swirled around me, its coolness on my face helping to clear away the darkness.  It was that time of night, just before dawn, when there were no other cars on the highway and the world seemed so peaceful and serene.  It was during these quiet moments of reflection when I wished that the world were different.  At the beginning of the day it seemed to offer so much.  By the end of the day what it seemed to offer was definitely different, darker; but that just might have been me.
            Everything that flew by the roadster was still in black and gray.  The only light was the soft glow of the roadster’s instrument panel and the headlights against the black pavement.  I didn’t want music, instead I just listened to the purr of the roadster’s engine, the low hum of the tires and the sound of the wind.  There was a certain peace that I found in the lonesome darkness.
          As the brisk air flowed past me, in the quiet of the roadster, my thoughts often turned within and I longed for my youth that I had left behind.  I thought of all of my hopes, dreams and desires.  I thought about what made me alive and unique and how all the elements of my life were interwoven and interconnected.  I thought a lot about the women in my life.  I thought about the universe and I thought about God and I wondered at the miracle and mystery of the world that flew by me.  I could feel the constant tug-of-war between feelings and fantasy, dedication and desire, love and passion within myself and I wondered which side would win.  By the time I was at the hospital I was fully awake and ready to go.
          What dark demons haunted me or what dreams I dreamt didn’t matter during these times.  Babies waited for no man and now, once again, there was a woman who needed my help.  Somehow these moments would transform me and I could put aside the internal cacophony and find focus in using my skills to help a woman in need.  Running to the Maternity unit I could tell by the activity of the other nurses that Mrs. Jackson was, indeed, moving along quickly.  Lynn poked her head out of the room that Mrs. Jackson was in and smiled, “Oh, there you are, Dr. Matrix. Marissa is ready for you now.  She was completely dilated when I checked her about one minute ago.  She is definitely in a breech position, too.  I’m sure that’s a little bottom that I am feeling.” 
          In my experience, Lynn was one of the best maternity nurses with whom I had ever worked.  She was also one of the most beautiful, both inside and out, and she was a patient of mine.  She was natural, sandy blonde with a gorgeous smile.  Her eyes sparkled and her lips were moist and full.  I had a tremendous appreciation for the type of woman that she was, as a gynecologist, and as a man.  As a physician I also had a great appreciation for the type of nurse she was.  Because of her very warm and caring nature the patients loved her and, contrary to rational thought, she seemed to enjoy working nights.  She was confident and competent at what she did and nothing seemed to faze her. 
          My practice style didn’t faze her either.  If a patient of any other doctor had shown up at eight centimeters and breech there would have been complete bedlam on the unit, with nurses racing around, the doctor shouting orders and the patient and family in a complete state of panic.  No other doctor would touch a vaginal breech delivery for two reasons; lawyers and their own inability and inexperience.  I still did them for three reasons; 1) I was good at what I did, 2) I wasn’t afraid to use my abilities to help my patients and 3) I hated the self-serving lawyers and I was not going to let them dictate the care of my patients.  I hated “knee jerk” medicine that was meant to keep the legal dogs at bay.  I always tried to do what was right for the patient, to use my skills and experience to help the patient, despite the circling Jackals.
          “Do I have time to change into my scrubs?”  I asked.
          “She is doing great, Dr. Matrix, really in good control considering that this is her first baby.  When I told her that I thought she was breech she said that she wasn’t worried, because you were her doctor and had already talked to her about the possibility.  I think you have time, but hurry please.”  She flashed that incredible smile at me again as she disappeared back into the room.
          The last time that I had seen Mrs. Jackson in the clinic I thought that she was breech after examining her and, indeed, had had a long discussion with her concerning that situation.  I discussed the risks with her, but as all doctors do, I naturally skewed them in the direction of my own beliefs, talents and clinical experience.  Most doctors had no abilities when it came to this type of situation, or they handled this and every situation as if a lawyer were lying next to the patient with his (or her) legs spread, too.  Those doctors would have given her a whole different slant on the situation.  A lot of Mrs. Jackson’s calm probably had to do with our discussion; and she knew my reputation as an obstetrician.
          It is never a good idea to take a lot of time outside the delivery room when a baby is on its way down the birth canal, so I ran down to the doctor’s changing room, stripped out of my clothes, put on my scrubs and was back in Mrs. Jackson’s room in about two minutes.  Lynn had Mrs. Jackson up in stirrups and was coaching her through her pushing efforts.  Mr. Jackson stood on the other side of the bed, holding his wife’s hand, his eyes wide and dilated and looking very nervous.  I could see that it was definitely a butt that was bulging at the edge of the vaginal opening.  Behind us the television droned a re-run of Rio Bravo on the hospital cable channel.  It seemed to be the only movie that played at this time of night.  Nobody in the room was watching it.  It was just white noise. 
          The butt-first or “frank breech” was the most common type of breech presentation.  Statistically, if anyone bothered to read the literature, there was little difference in outcome between it and the baby coming headfirst, especially if the physician knew what he was doing.  In fact the baby was just as likely to sustain an injury being delivered through a c-section incision, as it was if it came out of the birth canal.  A colleague of mine once performed an emergency c-section on a woman who came in at eight centimeters dilatation with a breech in her second pregnancy.  She had delivered her first baby, weighing nine pounds, head first and vaginally.  He told her that there was too much danger and risk involved in letting her deliver a breech baby naturally, therefore a cesarean section was indicated and it had to be done quickly.  While he was in the operating room doing this “emergency” surgery another patient of his came to the Maternity unit in labor, with her first baby, also in a breech position.  She delivered a healthy baby spontaneously in the hospital bed before any nurses could even get to her. 
          I got into my surgical gown and put my sterile gloves on, without taking my eyes off of Mrs. Jackson’s bulging vaginal opening.  I did a quick visual check of my delivery instruments and glanced at Mr. Jackson.  “Are you doing okay?”  I asked, smiling encouragement.  He looked like a deer caught in the headlights; the bright lights of responsibility rushing toward him.  I remembered that feeling when my own kids were born and I sympathized with him.  In his state of being overwhelmed and scared for his wife he did manage a nod in my direction.
          I made eye contact with Lynn and looked at Mr. Jackson.  She understood and brought a chair over to him, encouraging him to sit down during the last part of his wife’s labor. We had both seen fathers topple over like leaden oaks as their baby was delivered, sustaining everything from forehead gashes to concussions depending on where they landed.  The last thing Lynn and I needed was to have to take care of him too. 
          Sitting on a stool, I rolled up between Mrs. Jackson’s legs.  Talking gently I spoke to Lynn, “Okay, Lynn, when most of the baby is out, except for the head, I may put a towel around the body and ask you to hold it horizontally.  I’ll only do this if I need to put forceps on to help get the head out.  Otherwise, I want you to be ready to give me pressure just above the pubic bone as I deliver the head.  Got that?”  She nodded and smiled at me as she held Mrs. Jackson’s hand.  I knew that I could rely on her.  Her abilities made doing what I did easier and her smile made my work more fun; always the sign of a very good nurse. 
          Then speaking to Mrs. Jackson gently, I continued, “Marissa, the baby is doing fine.  All you have to do is push it out.”  I smiled reassuringly, “With a breech baby I need you to push with all of your might after I get the butt and the legs out.  I need you to push the head down so that I can get the arms out.  Can you do that for me?”  I smiled and spoke quietly and confidently.
          She didn’t notice my bedside manner.  She was moaning intermittently, consumed with the last stages of her labor.  She did look at me occasionally, giving me the feeling that she knew that I was there and that she had heard me.
          The baby’s butt progressively stretched through the vaginal opening and, using maneuvers that I had developed over years of experience delivering babies, I was able to get the butt out without tearing Mrs. Jackson’s vagina.  Some physicians would have cut her from stem to stern because of their misguided notions and fears surrounding a breech delivery.  After the butt I popped the legs out one at a time.  I looked up and said, “Well Mrs. Jackson you definitely have a little girl here.  Now its time for you to really push for me,” and then aside to Lynn, “Okay, get ready to give me that downward pressure.” 
          Supporting the baby’s abdomen as Mrs. Jackson pushed with all of her remaining strength, I helped the baby out to the shoulders.  Feeling inside her vagina, along side the shoulders, I was able to find the arms.  The first popped out easily and the second was stuck up over the baby’s head, like it was raising its hand to ask a question.  I had to rotate the body to the opposite side and sweep my finger up and over the head to find the elbow, to bend it, and then bring the arm down across the chest and out of the vagina.  Now the baby was delivered, except for the head.  I was in that critical time that seemed to flow in slow motion.  The baby’s umbilical cord was effectively compressed in the vaginal canal by its own head, cutting off its oxygen.  There was no going back. 
          “Okay, Lynn, I need that pressure now,” I said as I slid my hand into the backside of the vagina, still keeping the baby’s body horizontal along my forearm.  Finding the face by feel I put my middle finger into the baby’s mouth, brought its chin down and then, in concert with Lynn’s pressure, brought the body up and with a turn, a twist and a flip the baby was delivered.  I suctioned its mouth as it took its first breath.  The baby started to cry as if insulted by the treatment it had just received.  It was a vigorous little girl.
          Sitting there with a brand new baby in my hands I found myself in that moment of marvel that I always experienced when I brought a new life into the world.  I am always mystified and amazed.  It is almost a spiritual feeling that never changes, no matter how many babies I deliver.  That moment reminds me, every time, of my own children, of when I brought them into the world so many years ago.  The great mysteries of life, God and the cosmos are never very far from my mind but never closer than in such a moment.
          The baby was crying and squirming.  I broke my momentary reverie, clamped the cord and had Mr. Jackson, standing next to his wife with an ashen, worried look, cut the cord.  The clamped portion of the cord still had pressure in it and blood went everywhere when he did it.  He looked pale, but didn’t look like he would faint; always a potential problem with husbands, boyfriends and significant others. 
          I placed the baby on Mrs. Jackson’s abdomen.  The baby was crying, Mrs. Jackson was crying and Mr. Jackson was fighting back tears.  It was a great moment.
          Finishing up, after the placenta delivered, I shook Mr. Jackson’s hand, thanked Lynn for her help, did my paperwork at the nurse’s station, went down to the doctor’s locker and changed back into my street clothes.  On my way out Lynn walked out of the Jackson’s room, “That was a great, Dr. Matrix.  I had fun, but I don’t think that the patients ever really appreciate what you do for them, especially in this situation.”
          “Thanks,” I said, smiling at her, “It does seem thankless sometimes, but it was fun and you were a great help.  I always enjoy working with you.  It makes these situations a lot easier.”  I punched in the code to let myself out through the unit’s double doors.  “The feeling is mutual,” she said with a flash of her smile and what I thought might have been a wink.  “By the way,” she continued, “do you think that I could see you in your clinic this week?  I just burned through another boyfriend and I want to be sure that he didn’t leave me with any surprises.” 
          “I’m sorry to hear that,” I said reaching out and touching her arm, “What kind of idiot would let you go anyway?”
          “Another one who didn’t like the hours I keep, I guess”, she said with a little sadness in her voice.
          Smiling at her and putting my arm around her shoulders I spoke softly, “There are some things and some people who are worth the loss of sleep and you are one of those.  A guy would have to be a complete fool not to see that.   Just call my office and tell them that I want you worked into my schedule whenever you wish.”
          A smile returning to her face, she looked up at me, her eyes shining with a hint of tears, and whispered, “Thanks Dr. Matrix.   Thanks for understanding.  That helps.  I like it when you have to come in here on my shift.  You are a good physician and a good man.  It always makes my day, or night I should say.”  As she spoke she brought her arms up and around me and hugged herself to me.  She held herself there for a moment and I could feel the fullness and pressure of her breasts.  She looked up as she released me and smiled warmly, her eyes still moist.  She turned and I watched her walk up the hallway toward the nurse’s station.  She had a great walk.  I hated the hurt that I sensed in her.  I could feel that old feeling of wanting to do something about it.  But, I knew that there were some problems that I couldn’t solve, at least, not without other consequences.  After all, I was just one man.  I had a bit of sadness in my eyes as I watched her move up the hallway away from me.
          Turning and still running on autopilot, I made my way out through the hospital’s corridors and doors to the doctor’s parking lot, found my roadster and headed back home.  I kept the windows up, just listening to the sounds of the roadster and letting the tensions of the delivery experience fade and my mind relax.  I smiled to myself as I thought about Lynn and her wink; and that brought my mind around to my client in the case that Dirk and I had been celebrating on Friday before the events of the weekend overcame us.  She and Lynn shared a lot of similarities.  That case seemed pretty routine now, in fact pretty tame even though it had all of the elements of murder and money, given the weekend that followed our celebration.