George Matrix, MD Detective-Gynecologist Chapter 1, Part 1
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Hamlet
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Act 1, Scene 5
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.
“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
. "Yes, I do
remember you. You're originally from Texas , 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. Nebraska
"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."