Author: WF Peate
Thunder shakes the ground leaving an ozone smell. Rain clouds stream across the sky like whales.
I’m holding my Quantum computer phone to my left ear with my left hand while casting my fly rod with my right. A shiver goes up my spine from standing in the ice-cold trout stream.
“Hon, one more fly cast and I’m coming home. Be there by dinner.”
Kaboom. A flash of lightning strikes my fly rod and travels through the phone.
Darkness. So this is death.
Why do I have to pee?
I stagger up. The Quantum phone is a molten mess. I’d paid three months’ salary for access to all the world’s knowledge, continually updated.
I’m new-born calf weak. I stumble to the highway and a truck takes me to the emergency department where I work. Ears ring like a fire alarm.
“Doc you’re a mess,” shouts Nurse Renee as she cuts off my muddy burned clothing.
“Thanks. See someone about your Wilson’s disease.”
Her brow furrows. “Nothing wrong with me. Here’s your transportation to the scanner.”
My colleague Dr. Ross Quinton turns the screen so we can both read my scan.
“Bob you had two God shots. Lightning entered your left brain. Should’ve killed you. If you had fallen face forward into the stream you would’ve drowned.”
I never noticed before, but Ross smelled like he was dying, bitter and sweet — garlic in an ice cream cone.
“You were holding that Quantum phone to your left ear. Maybe it absorbed the electricity?”
“When can I return to work? Gillian is disabled and Scooter is ten. I’m the breadwinner.”
At home, Gillian and Scooter make me comfortable. Gillian takes a phone call. She rolls to me in her wheelchair. “Renee, Ross Quintin’s wife, says thank you for referring him to a cardiologist. He just had four-vessel bypass surgery. She saw a doctor about her Wilson’s disease. Says you diagnosed it when she was your nurse.”
I tell her how I knew about Renee and Ross.
“Bob, you have always been a great diagnostician, but . . . “
“Not this good. Ever since I got electrocuted holding that Quantum computer phone I can read signs on faces.”
Scooter’s face lights up. He shows us an article about a woman who couldn’t speak because of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Stanford put neural sensors on her brain and she was able to speak using an avatar.
“Did the lightning through the Quantum computer phone create a neural data port in my head that accesses all medical knowledge? I can’t type and I can barely hear. How’re we going to survive financially?”
Word got out about the “Miracle Doc.” Folks lined up at our door. Donations were never enough.
One day we watched the CEO of the biggest tech company.
“He’ll be dead in a week.” I called his office. They thought I was a crank and hung up.
I put our money on that CEO’s company on a short call (You profit when the stock price goes down). Our money doubled when he died. I watched, diagnosed CEOs, and made rewarding investments.
One evening the President spoke. Surgery would save her.
“Ross I’m glad you’re better.”
“Thanks to you.”
I said the President needed surgery ASAP. “Ross, you’re politically connected, leader of our association.”
“I know Sandra Sittau, the President’s chief of staff. I’ll call her.”
Ross made a different call, “Senator Charles. Your odds of taking the nomination away from the President are going to improve dramatically this week.”