By Mitchell K. © 1991, 1997
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Index of Chapter 3

3.1 - Home...for just a brief moment 3.6 - On Our Knees
3.2 - The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run 3.7 - At T. Henry and C. Williams' Home
3.3 - Meeting the Doctor 3.8 - The Meeting at T. Henry's
3.4 - Back to Cleveland 3.9 - The Message is Brought to Cleveland
3.5 - In the Hospital 3.10 - Cleveland Begins to Come of Age

Chapter 3.3

Meeting the Doctor

Some of these human relationships and fallacies that we have been mentioning may seem formidable hurdles to you at the moment. But you will be surprised at how quickly they become insignificant if you stop drinking.

IF you stop drinking... Do you want to stop? Are you completely sincere in your desire to stop once and for all?

Put it another way. Do you finally realize that you have no choice but to stop? Are you convinced that you would rather quit drinking than go on the way you are?

Robert V. Seliger, M.D., Alcoholics Are Sick People (Alcoholism Publications, 1945) p. 47

When Clarence had run out of the money he borrowed from the bus driver and when there were no free drinks he left the bar. He felt somewhat bolstered by the effects of the alcohol. He slowly unfolded the piece of paper that Dorothy had given him. Straining to read in the unfamiliar sunlight, he read the address, 810 Second National Building. Looking at a clock in a store window, he saw that it was almost twelve noon. Plenty of time to reach the office by the hours of two to four P.M. He proceeded on to another bar down the street for, maybe, "just one more, or two."

Clarence reached the Second National Building a little before two. He went upstairs and walked directly to the doctor's office. He read the name on the door. It was painted in black and gold on the glass window. "Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, Rectal Surgeon."

Clarence laughed as he thought to himself, "My, that's a new approach to cure drinking." He paced the hallway. He hesitated, trying to decide whether to go or stay. He knew that his problem was most probably located in his head, but he thought that this particular doctor worked on this "cure" a bit lower than that. He paced for what seemed like hours; but, in all actuality, it was probably just minutes.

Doctor Smith arrived just after the stroke of two P.M. He shook Clarence's hand with a firm grip. That shook Clarence all over. Dr. Smith said, in a loud, strong, booming voice, with a distinct Vermont accent, "Young feller, you must be Clarence. You can call me Doc."

Clarence was taken aback. He thought to himself, "How did he know my name?" He didn't stop to think that Dorothy probably had called earlier. Which in fact, she had. She had called to tell the doctor that her wayward husband might be showing up at his office that day. She had warned the doctor that, if Clarence did indeed show up, he would probably be in a state of intoxication.

The doctor took Clarence through his waiting room and office into another, and smaller room. This room had a table and a couple of chairs in it. Doctor Smith, "Doc," asked for him to sit down.

When they were both seated, Doc proceeded to tell Clarence about the doctor's own personal story of recovery from alcoholism. Clarence, still suffering from the lingering effects of his last "just one more," heard something totally different.

It seemed, to Clarence's alcohol-fogged mind, that the good doctor was telling him all of the events surrounding Clarence's own sordid existence. "How does this man know all about me," he thought to himself? "He must have been following me."

Then Clarence remembered the articles about the Mad Butcher. Panic set in. The sweat began to soak through his pores, and he thought he was about to become the Butcher's next victim.

Robert Smith (not Dr. Bob) points to the place where he found the murdered body at Euclid Beach, aphoto from the Cleveland Plain Dealer

At just about that time, the doctor told Clarence that he wanted to put him away in a hospital so no one could get at him. The doctor had probably said that to him because he had sensed Clarence's panic, agitation, and paranoia. This was, however, at that very time, exactly the wrong thing to say to Clarence.

For at that very moment, the name of the man in Clarence's dream became very clear. Clarence suddenly remembered, the name of the man in his dream on the bus - the name that had frightened Clarence so much that it sent waves of terror throughout his whole body.

That man's name was Robert Smith! What Clarence couldn't remember, in his alcohol-induced fog, was that Robert Smith was the name of the person who had found a body and was not himself a suspect. And he certainly was not the same Robert Smith who was sitting directly in front of him.

The Robert Smith, the Doctor Robert Smith who sat in front of Clarence, sensed that this particular drunk sitting in the chair opposite him was about to jump out of his own skin. Dr. Smith sensed that Clarence was filled with unspeakable and unknown terror.

"No one could get at me," Dr. Smith had said. That was the problem: Clarence wanted, at that very moment, to be where everyone could get at him. Everyone except for the Mad Butcher.

Clarence bolted out of his chair, nearly knocking the doctor over. He ran through the office, bumping into patients who were waiting in the outer office. He pushed open the door and ran down the stairs and out into what he thought for sure was the safety of the streets.

He didn't stop until he was far away and hidden in the confines of a darkened tavern. His thoughts raced through his brain. They ranged from relief to rage, and everything in between. Relief that he had gotten away with his very life and rage over his wife, his loving wife, who he now thought was in cahoots with the Mad Doctor. The same doctor who, he thought, had been about to set him up for a painful and gruesome death. The rage intensified, as Clarence plied himself with alcohol; and then it subsided as he drifted off into another alcoholic stupor.

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