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Bedside Manner
written by "Samachson, Joseph, 1906-1980"
...ble." "Impossible? You won't even try?" "My dear patient, the wrecked ship is hundreds of millions of miles behind us. The expedition has its appointed task. It cannot retrace its steps. It cannot waste time searching the emptiness of space for a stereo which may not even exist any longer." "Yes, you're right ... I'm sorry I asked, Doctor." He read either her mind or the hopelessness in her voice. He said, "Do not make any rash plans. You cannot carry them out, you know." "I'll find a way. Sooner or later I'll find a way to do something to myself." "You are being very foolish. I cannot cease to marvel at how foolish you are. Are many human beings like you, psychologically?" "I don't know, Doctor. I don't care. I know only what's important to me!" "But to make such a fuss about the merest trifle! The difference in appearance between one human being and another of the same sex, so far as we can see, is insignificant. You must learn to regard it in its true light." "You think it's insignificant because you don't know anything about men and women. To Fred and me, it's the difference between life and death." He said in exasperation, "You are a race of children. But sometimes even a child must be humored. I shall see what I can do." But what could he do? she asked herself. The ship was a derelict in space, and in it, floating between the stars, was the stereo he wouldn't make an attempt to find. Would he try to get a description from Fred? Even the best human artist couldn't produce much of a likeness from a mere verbal description. What could someone like the Doctor do—someone to whom all men looked alike, and all women? As she lay there, thinking and wondering, she had only the vaguest idea of the passage of time. But slowly, as what must have been day followed day, she became aware of strange tingling sensations all over her body. The pains she had felt at first had slowly diminished and then vanished a...

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