Returning To Graphite
Interview of James McPartlin
News for June
Brotherhood of the Spiderby Michael A. Kechula
"Doctor, something terrible is happening. I think I'm turning into a bug."
"That may not be such a bad thing."
"Whadda ya mean?"
"Being a bug has certain advantages."
"Am I hearing right?" Harry asked. "Aren't you gonna say I'm delusional and try to convince me it really isn't happening? Aren't you gonna prescribe extensive psychotherapy and drugs to help me overcome this?"
"If you wish. But that's very expensive, and if you're turning into a bug, how would you pay for long-term therapy?"
"Hmm. That's true. I wouldn't have a penny. Bugs don't have financial transactions. Never saw a beetle carrying a wallet."
"That's exactly my point about the advantages of becoming a bug. Your life will be far less stressful. You won't have to pay taxes or rent, or even buy food and drink."
"Which has often caused me lots of distress," Harry said, "especially when I got laid off and didn't know where my next dollar was coming from."
"I think you'll be fine. Just relax and let it happen."
"You seem to think it's normal."
"As normal as apple pie," the doctor said.
"Then I'm not mentally ill?"
"Not if you think you're turning into a bug."
"Then there's no reason for me to be here."
"And no reason to return ever again," Harry said.
"Correct. Unless you want me to give you a shot to hasten the process."
"You can do that?"
"Sure. It's quite ordinary. We learned how to do that in the first week of medical school. You'll feel a little pinch, and you'll be on your way much faster. By the way, do you
know what kind of bug you're turning into?"
"No. Is there a way to find out?"
"Really? I never could have guessed."
"Of course not. You never went through medical school. If you had, you would've learned about that in the second week."
"Good grief," Harry said. "I wonder what they teach in the third week?"
"They used the third week to review what we learned in the first two. Then there was a big exam."
"I woulda thought they'd use the time talking about how blood circulates, or how muscles work."
"They used to do that. Before we took over."
"The Brotherhood of the Spider."
The doctor grabbed his ears and lifted. His head slid off to reveal his true identity.
Harry screamed. "You're a--"
"Spider. A bug-eating spider to be exact. Too bad you haven't changed into a bug yet. I could go for a nice snack."
Panicked, Harry ran for the door.
Halfway down the block he ran into a policeman.
"Officer. Please help me. My doctor's a spider. He just pulled his head off, and I saw what he really is."
Fortunately for Harry, the cop had dealt with countless loons during his long career.
"There, there, now," said Officer O'Leary. "Don't fret. Come with me around the corner to the Urgent Care Center. Let's get something to calm you."
"I'm not crazy," Harry said.
"Of course not. But you sound very nervous. The good doctor will give you something for your nerves. You'll love this doctor. She's a knockout."
When the cop ushered Harry into the doctor's office, he told her how nervous Harry was. Harry took one look and fell in love.
"Officer O'Leary, would you mind waiting in the next room?" the doctor asked. "I'll let you know when I'm finished treating this poor, unfortunate man. Then perhaps you can see that he gets home safely."
"Sure thing, Doctor," O'Leary replied. "I'm always glad to help a citizen."
"I'm going to give you something to calm you," the doctor told Harry. "Which arm should I use?"
"My left," he said, intoxicated by her nearness and the attention she was giving him.
"Ouch! That pinches."
"Sorry. Didn't mean to hurt you. Aren't you glad this is the last time you'll ever have to get a shot?"
"Yeah. Wait a second. What about this year's flu shot?"
"You won't need it."
"It's quite complicated," she said. "You'd have to attend medical school to understand. Now, lie down and let it take effect."
She pulled up a chair and held his hand.
She must like me, Harry thought. No doctor ever held my hand before.
Harry started to feel nice inside. He tried to tell her, but his voice didn't work.
"Oh my," she giggled, "you're the handsomest June Bug I've ever seen. If I were a spider, I'd gobble you up."
Before Harry could fly away, she put him into a glass jar.
"Officer O'Leary," she called. "You can come in now."
The moment the policeman saw the cute bug, he removed his hat, pulled his ears, and lifted his head off.
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