Click on page to destroy writing

Duel of the Doctors

By 

Chase Schneider

D

octor Home emerged from the stairwell onto the roof of Sacred Lung Hospital. He looked around at the small crowd gathering at the far side. High above a crescent moon posed menacingly, like a diamond scalpel waiting to drive down on its foe. Doctor Home stepped out into the cool night, felt the gravel crunch beneath his feet and tasted the earthy tones of autumnal air. Fight night, he grimaced, 'Bout time.

The crowd turned to him as he approached. Home scanned their faces. Tonights crowd was composed of nurses and orderlies he recognized, there was even the weird giant of a janitor present. Standing in the corner the man looked more akin to Mary Shelley's monster than the man who cleaned the bathrooms. Doctor Stephan from obstetrics had decided to show up as well, his face still black and blue from last weeks fight. Home reveled in his handiwork. From the edge of the roof an announcer with a megaphone introduced him, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce the Prescriber of Pain, the Defender of Dialysis, your Crazy Colonoscoper, Doctor Charles Home!"

Whoops and hollers filled the night as Doctor Home waved at his fans. His white coat billowed behind him. He decided to add a little flourish to his entrance by raising up his titanium stethoscope and pumping up the crowd. Home approached the arena in a swagger. Crudely made, the arena was a circle defined by glow in the dark paint and intersected by a single line that cut through its diameter. Doctor Home took up residence at the far side of the circle, nearest the edge of the roof. He waited patiently for his opponent to appear.

"Home! Home! Doctor Home!" The crowd chanted. He'd have home field advantage tonight and Doctor Home always loved a good match on friendly turf.

From the far side of the arena a male nurse appeared and signaled to the announcer. Silence fell upon the crowd as the door opened. Through the dark threshold stepped Home's opponent. The crowd gasped. From his perch the announcer introduced, "That's right ladies and gents. We got a surprise fight tonight! Standing against my homeboy Doc Home is none other than the Fearsome Physicist, the Newtanic Necromancer, Doctor Haytham Ford!" The announcer paused for effect, then; "That's right folks tonight we're giving you a double dosing of the doctorates!"

The crowd was ecstatic. Almost instantly Home saw bets exchanged in the audience. Lines were being drawn and odds calculated. The finance dweebs calculated fiercely on their TI-89's. He scowled. Home had known his fight would be against a fellow Doctor, he however did not realize that meant this doctor. It was an inside curveball, a nasty trick. He made a mental note to berate the dean of medicine about it tomorrow morning.

Doctor Haytham Ford, graduate of MIT with degrees in physics and aeronautical engineering, was a force of nature. With a win-loss record that match Home's own; 32-nill. Ford stood at the top of the underground NASA bracket. This would be a cross-league match then, very well.

Ford approached the ring and dropped his heavy peacoat. Beneath he wore an argyle sweater vest over white button down, complete with corduroy pants. A classy, yet nimble outfit, Home had to respect the decorum. He was equally ready to teach a 400 level class as he was to throw down. Likewise Home dropped his white coat. Beneath he wore his iconic mismatched pair of blood stained scrubs, still unwashed from his first fight. His raiment of terror, Home smiled as Ford look at him appalled. This would be an easy victory, Home thought to himself with a fearsome grin.

The announcer began to initiate the fight. He spoke, "Place your final bets now. Place your final bets! This is a league match and as such will follow league rules; no genital mutilation, no trash talking of alma maters, no using of the belt, or Oxford shoe, or prescription glasses, and finally absolutely no tearing of degrees. Are we clear?"

"Yes!" The two doctors replied in unison.

"Then let this rumble on the rooftop begin!" He sounded the blow horn on his megaphone and the two doctors sprang into action.

The fight started slow at first, with the two circling on another measuring each other up.

"You look well Charles." Doctor Ford said sardonically. "How long has it been?"

"Four years I believe, since Sawgrass." Home replied casually, yet carefully watching for his moment to strike.

"You played a good game that day, though if I recall you never quite mastered that slice of yours." Haytham teased. A childish tactic, he meant to goad Home into an attack, but the MD of Orthopedics was smarter than that.

"Helped me out on the 18th hole if I remember correctly. Beat your ass." Home replied easily.

"By one stroke, I'd hardly call it a victory." Ford replied.

The two launched at each other simultaneously. Locking together Home tried to swing his leg beneath Ford's, but the master of physics batted him away with a knee. In an instant Ford was behind Home and with the momentum of two bodies they tumbled to the ground.

"Newton's first law old chap." Ford grunted.

"You think you're so clever." Home hacked through an armbar. "But you never learned Newton's fifth!"

"Newton's fifth?" Ford said confused. Then Home swung him over in a perfectly executed Japanese wizard motion. Ford landed hard on his back.

"An object in motion tends to go fuck yourself." Home said separating himself from Ford. The crowd cheered wildly. Home paced around his foe as Ford hobbled back to his feet.

The two squared off again and began to pace in a circle. Home smiled with Colgate-Dazzling white teeth. "I know you Haytham. Do you forget I was there when you dislocated your hip. I know about your broken pinky, how it causes you chronic pain, and oh I know about that prostate. I know all about that shit, motherfucker."

"You think you've got me beat?" Ford snapped back, "Bitch I'm about to take your ass to the moon."

The two collided, roaring. Punches were thrown, kicks exchanged, beautifully executed wrestling moves traded. The scrap went on for a good ten minutes before Ford started to weaken. Home still going strong, forced his way through Haytham's defenses and caught him in a stiff chokehold. Behind them the edge of the roof mere inches away. The crowd gasped in anticipation.

"This is it, Ford." Home grunted. "Yield now and I won't humiliate you in front of all these people. Think a fall from this height'll kill you?"

"N-never." Ford hacked.

Gravel shifted underfoot and in a blink, Home felt his weight shift off the balls of his feet. Air whooshed past his face as he was swung around. Home felt his body accelerate rapidly as he spun around the planted Ford. Next thing he knew he was facing upward, staring at the crescent moon. He half expected the gravel rooftop to come up and meet him, but it never did. Instead rows of windows passed through his peripheral faster and faster and Home realized all too late that he'd been thrown clean from the rooftop.

Back on the roof the crowd watched aghast. Doctor Haytham Ford stepped up onto the precipice and looked down at the bloody scene below. He spit a wad of blood in its general direction and said,

"It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden change in momentum."

From behind the janitor approached. The freakishly tall man gazed over the edge at the mess that was Doctor Home and winced. "Yeesh," He said as a cold chill passed over him.

Haytham turned to the janitor and looked him up and down. The man's gray jumpsuit looked quite lackluster compared to his own ruffled attire. "Best get to cleaning that then." Haytham said, nodding his head down.

The janitor shrugged, "Eh, guess its still not as bad as that jerk that lodged a penny in one of my doors."

Quiz question:

In Duel of the Doctors, what popular American sitcom did the janitor at the end of the story reference?

House M.D.

House M.D.

Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy

Jane the Virgin

Jane the Virgin

Scrubs

Scrubs

Congratulations!
correct answers enable commenting.

 continue with 

Issue 7

published 

February 22, 2017

Duel of the Doctors was written by Chase Schneider. Chase has been writing short stories for the last decade and a half. When he was 11 he was published in The Anthology of Short Stories for Young Americans. A poem he wrote once was featured on The Flying Island Literary Journal website, which he thought was pretty neat as well. He archives most of his short stories on his Reddit sub at https://www.reddit.com/r/ScribeSchneid/.

i dont feel like fininishing this website right now and i am sorry

I just really dropped

the ball when I had the chance

to learn French in school.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

 continue with 

Issue 7

This writing was originally published in Opium Magazine, and is not listed in the Lit.cat archives.
The copy link button above may be your last chance to bookmark it.