by Carl L. Biemiller,
edited by C. J. Carnahan and Eric Biemiller

lightning Copyright © 2005 by Eric C. Biemiller

Please respect the copyrights.
The chapter links are located at the end of each chapter.
Chapter 3

Reginald B. Bailiff was overflowing his kitchen when Dr. Decker Todd arrived. Bailiff overflowed any room that managed to cage him for a time. There is a news picture somewhere in existence which shows him posed with the New York Knickerbocker basketball team in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks look like hobbits, and the Garden itself seems shrunken. Dr. Bailiff, sometimes called Beetle (as well as other things) by friends, was a sizeable man. His clothes, although exquisitely tailored, always looked bagged, as though they encased a dark and roily storm cloud. He was a dark man, so black, in fact, that the no-light of a well bottom could be called blond by comparison. Set within the ebony satin drum which was his face was a pair of gentle amethyst eyes, their purple glints forever changing.

Those eyes danced over the rumple that was Dr. Todd.

“I know,” said the huge man. “You’ve got something for my funny farm. Your patient, the Kynwood boy, has psi talents, and while you don’t believe there are any for really real, you want me to stop by and explain whatever has betrayed your own good brain. After you stuff on my food, that is.”

“Listen, oh Zulu warrior, I didn’t come here to knock your silly science, if it is one. Just to eat your buns, no waffles, bacon, ham, kidney or eggs, thanks. And, ding-blast-it, how come you always know what I’m going to say before I know what Im going to say? Ah, ha! That gabby telephone operator at the hospital, eh? And you gave her the fancy third degree when she called. Why don’t you get a job as one of those fancy black detectives on television? By gollies, I’m hungry. Maybe I’ll try six or eight eggs with you, and a dibby-dab or dozen sticky buns.”

“I got all the degrees in medicine they got to dole out, an’ ol’ whitey pink skin hollers for a short order cook.”

Reginald B. Bailiff beamed and lighted up the kitchen. He could have told Dr. Todd how he knew what Dr. Todd was going to say before he said it.

Dr. Bailiff was a telepath long before he played all-pro football for the Minnesota Vikings, before he became a medical doctor, a highly competent surgeon, and one of the world’s most eminent psychiatrists.

He could read minds if he so elected.

He was a PK, a psycho-kinetic. He could transport physical objects across physical spaces in all directions without any apparent use or physical means.

He had the power. He was an adept in many of its uses. He was dedicated, a priest to the ethics of its use for good. He knew more about Ballard Kynwood Junior than Dr. Todd would ever know. He would never divulge how he came by his information nor explain his responsibility concerning that information.

“You want to tell me about the Kynwood boy or can’t you shove words around that bun? Man, you better learn to eat and sleep right or someday, in that operating room, you’ll go for gizzard and get tripes, and have to sneak what’s left of the patient out at night in a baggie.”

“Never. I am the best; with work I’ll get better, but maybe never good enough to do all that has to be done,” said Decker Todd, pensively sucking nut caramel sticky from his thumb. Anyhow, about the boy, most of it’s hearsay although the source is rock-steady in my opinion …”

He told about nurse Willoughbee’s self-pouring pitcher and air-floatable glass. He grimaced shamefacedly and told about the thunk on his head, and his memory of a telephone call that wasn’t exactly a telephone call. He told Beetle Bailiff about the EEG chart records and his unusual desire to keep them for his own files. As if prompted, he told about the geranium plant which was, he added, irrelevant, of course, or was it? He described the medical condition of Ballard Kynwood Junior in detail as one expert to another.

“Frankly, he’s doing better than I expected,” he said.

“And, something else, somehow, although nobody I know about told them, his parents knew that he was out of the woods on his way to recovery. From what I’ve been able to gather, they breezed out of the hospital early as bird song and right happy saying they’d be back later.

“Nice people. Maybe you know them? He does it here at the university with romance languages or lit or some other arts college nattering. He writes too. Very fit people. He was a skinny end at some Big Ten state factory, and they tell me she hits a heavy tennis ball… Their kid’s an only child …”

“Simple,” said Dr. Bailiff, with only the smallest of drum booms in his voice. “Lots of love in that family. Junior told them he felt fine and not to worry.”

“Blam-bust-it, Beetle! Why do you make statements like that?”

“Because they’re true.”

“The kid was unconscious. He couldn’t talk. He still can’t and his parents weren’t anywhere near him anyhow.”

“Who said anything about talking? Look you’re a surgeon, a good one, and maybe you’ll be a truly great one. How many times on that operating table or anywhere else in that hospital have you seen things you don’t understand and can’t explain? And when are you going to accept them instead of upsetting yourself and chewing at them? You’re a fine, sensitive, good man, ol’ pink whitey, and you ought not to pretend that you’re really bugged by what you can’t stuff in a box and measure.”

“Blat,” said Decker Todd. “I just like everything tidy.”

“Exactly. Now what do you want me to do?”

“Whatever you want to do. You’re the head of the Department of Parapsychology. You’re the expert on psychic phenomena, and ESP or extra sensory perception, and Minnie Glockenspiel speaking from the dead to Heever Glumlolly in English when Heever only understood Polish and was deaf to boot.”

“Well, you po’ li’l bitty with only five senses that takes some doin’, don’t it?”

“I thought I’d ask the Kynwood’s about using you as a consultant on the case. There are both physical and psychological after effects in brain damage, and I want to be sure the boy gets the best we can give him.” Decker Todd paused a long moment. “No,” he said. “That’s only part of the truth. I’m going to tell them who you are and where your interest lies. If I read them right, they’re not going to love their kid less if he turns out to be a spook. They’re intelligent people, and I’m a lousy liar.”

“Have another bun.”


“Because the world is full of rewards and punishments, and I love you.”

“That’s what you told the Green Bay quarterback before you took off his head to hang on your locker door.”

“My dear Dr. Todd, there has always been a certain risk in our friendship ever since you over-charged me for a used book when we were students together. The risk will deepen with the years.”

“One only dies once,” said Decker Todd, unbuttoning his shirt to get a better scratch at his tummy.

“Someday that word will be obsolete. Change is a more operative term, and that’s what everything everywhere is all about anyhow.

“I suggest you die into some shoes then, and die out of a T-shirt to something more conventional for visiting, and put to death all your orange neckties.”

“I ought to clean up this mess.”

“Not from what I hear. You’ve got all those liberated research women in your department scurrying over here to do housework all the time.”

“Least I can do is put this quarter-pound of butter away.”

“Nah. You’ve got it on your finger. Eat it.”


“Hospital. That’s where the boy’s people will be, and where he is, I think.”

Woodie Junior was certainly in the hospital, but he was wandering in a world so vast that it seemed to approach infinity, a world of wonder where microseconds and light years were the same units of time.

Woodie Junior was wandering around in his own body. He had already discovered that the so-called “five senses” he had learned about in school, the senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell did not mean perception as the billions and trillions of cells which made up the vastness of his body knew perception. He had many more than “five senses”. He had senses beyond number and, maybe, beyond understanding. Certainly his skin recognized touch. But within it there were receptors for heat, cold and pressure as well. There was a “receiving” unit in his inner ear that gave him a “sense” of balance. His muscles had “senses” which told him how his arms, legs, and neck were working. Heart, liver, lungs, glands, the very cystoplasm from which the cells are made in all living things had “senses” which reacted to many forms of energy, electromagnetic radiation from the sun and bioelectric currents generated within his own magical body. He knew without any need for explanations that this incredible world loaned him by God was linked to all life. He knew that the world, which was his body, was “sending” and “receiving” all the time. He could even “send” himself out-of his body and return to it.

He knew as he wandered the vast and incredible realm called Woodie Junior, pausing occasionally to thin the pains in his head and ease the aches of his other injuries, that he had the power.

He knew that he must hide it, and protect it, mostly from his own carelessness, and a fierce desire to use it.

He knew that very soon he would be tested to determine the power of his power, and taught how to control and use it properly. The knowledge comforted him. He began to surface from the depths of his body. He could see his mother and father getting out of the car and entering the hospital. He saw that doctor, Decker Todd, whom he knew but never met as people normally meet, and with him was the biggest, blackest, somehow kindest, man he ever saw.

Woodie Junior watched them all meet in the hospital lobby and nod and shake hands. They were coming to see him. He opened his eyes and tried his voice to get ready. It worked better than a whisper.

“Hello,” he said.

“And hello to you too,” said a very nice nurse. “And even welcome as well.”

“My parents are coming to see me.”

“Of course they are, but I don’t think your doctor will let them do more than take a look. He might not even want them to disturb you as yet.”

“My doctor is with them.”

“Hmmmm. Ballard isn’t it?” How do you know?”

“I just know,” he said softly.

The nurse walked softly to the door of the recovery room and peered down the corridor. A hospital attendant was mopping the floor. It was obviously a task for giants involving an instrument weighting six tons or more. The mop moved six inches in one direction rested, and moved six inches in the opposite direction and rested and rested and rested. There was no one else in the corridor. The nurse walked back to Woodie Junior’s bed.

“Sure you do,” she said. “Sure you do, and they’ll be right along any time now. Would you like a drink of water?”

She reached for the pitcher and glass on his table. As she poured she caught the boy’s glance sliding over her shoulder and the smallest of smiles which formed at his lips.

“Mother,” he said.

The room seemed very full, and Connie Kynwood was running light and caressing fingers over her son’s face.

“Mother, mother, mother,” he said. “And Dad, oh Dad,” he added.

Ballard Kynwood Senior swallowed past the fist that suddenly formed in his throat.

“Hey, Woodie, ol’ buddy Woodie, hey,” he muttered.

“Woodie, I’m Dr. Decker Todd. This is Dr. Bailiff. And this is a one-minute visit for your folks. I’ll be back when they leave.”

Woodie Junior nodded. He felt weak and somehow like crying and warm and loved and very glad.

“I’m sorry I busted up the bicycle, Dad,” he said.

“Yeah, I feel pretty bad about that bike,” said his father soberly. “When I heard about that bike I was nearly done in. You want to try for smashing up a car in a few years?”

“Woodie!” snapped Connie Kynwood.

“Who?” asked Woodie Junior.

“Me?” asked Woodie Senior.

“Kiss and run,” said Dr. Todd firmly.

The Kynwood’s turned and left.

The boy’s eyes followed them to the door then swung to the black satin face which hovered so far above his bedside that it seemed to hang suspended from the ceiling. Woodie Junior fell up and into that face.

“I know you,” he whispered.

“I know you too, son,” said Reginald B. Bailiff.

The nurse in the corner, one with the room’s furniture, and accustomed to being ignored upon occasion, muttered to herself.

“Sure he knew they were coming. Where were they when I looked? Turning a corner, no doubt. He knew, all right. How? Why, he made them up and there they were, that’s how. I knew this day would be silly. The sun came up square.”

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six
Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Two Chapter Twenty Three Chapter Twenty Four Chapter Twenty Five Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty Seven Chapter Twenty Eight Chapter Twenty Nine Chapter Thirty
If you have any comments about this manuscript, please contact me at:
To the Harvest of Memories C.L. Biemiller's Home