Comments on stories from Ten Minute Treats (the book)
I have arranged my comments in the order that the stories appear in the book.
1. The Teapot. General Practice has taught me so many lessons and this true story is just one of them. I feel that one of the attractions of a career in medicine is that, as a doctor, you have wisdom thrust upon you, just by seeing and experiencing so much with patients!
2. Breakfast. Conan Doyle based the original Sherlock Holmes on a practising clinician, and how much moreso nowadays can the canny doctor tell about a patient, often from across the room; we can tell a lot from the way they walk, the way they dress, the likely conditions/disorders they may have, what medications they might be taking and possible side-effects etc. This story was based around the new Medical Sherlock Holmes in the guise of an “APW” (advanced people watcher!)
3. The Final Shadow. A Sci-Fi story with a dramatic twist which highlights some big philosophical questions. (cf footnote **, but only after you have read the story!)
4. The New Recruit. A rather sexy story – for which I apologise – about a very predatory male who exploits women in an especially ruthless way. Women should know that such men are around, but I hope that the story is highly entertaining.
5. The Beast of Satan. An attempt to enter into the mind-set of Mediaeval Christianity and how they all would deal with a true horror!
6. Armando Aguilla. Chief of Police. Does the office make the man? Though totally unsuitable for the post, Armando takes on the role of police chief and makes a great job of it! I do hope you found this funny, though I think the story is pretty good too!
7. The Storm. More Sci-Fi about an idealised community, escaping from a brutal world on their movinging island; but are the residents all truly happy there?
8. A Funny Turn. TGA stands for Transient Global Amnaesia in which the patient loses any memory whatsoever over a time-frame of several hours. What might he have done during that time and how it could alter his future was the idea behind the story.
9. The Inheritor. I woke up one morning blissfully happy in my home with a great feeling of ownership. Yet a short reflection made me think that 10 years from now – certainly in 20 years, it would not be me waking up there but someone else; I wrote the story to explore this idea.
10. The Door. Another story about an arrogant and predatory male and a lovely innocent girl that turns into a very readable (I hope) “Ripping Yarn”.
11.Journey to Callisto. These days people don’t have enough time for each other and are continually engaged with computers and other devices rather than each other. I took this trend to its extreme in this Sci Fi exploration.
12. The Stranger. In a way this is a very pure Love Story, with some quirks and tremors.
13. The Cougar. A fairly compelling story I hope you agree, but really about the pain and beauty of unrequited love.
14. True Love. I wrote this story for a couple of young adult patients who were both beautiful and loved by their families but who were letting life pass them by. The story shows that beauty and talent are not enough and I hope you ended up loving the ugly twin for his character!
15. The Tunnel. This story is a ‘parallel-emotion’ exploration which would fit for anyone who has to walk through a terrifying experience just to maintain their existence. In fact, it was written for the daughter of a friend who was born with fibrocystic disease and some years ago, after resisting as long as she could, finally had a heart-lung transplant. I wondered what it might feel like when you have to go through a death-like experience to stay alive and so I wrote this story for her.
After the operation I went up to Newcastle (where she had the surgery) to see if hypnosis might help; I think it did, because she asked me to visit with her when, some five years later, she was becoming terminally ill to do some more hypnosis.
I went to her funeral last year; she was 37.
Should she have had another heart-lung transplant? She said she had already been through death once and couldn’t face it again. She was very brave and achieved a lot in her short life – she even qualified as a doctor and had many friends.
The story which I updated while staying over for her funeral tries to simulate how it must feel to go through an ordeal like that, and, as you may imagine, there is a lot of symbolism in it.
The Black Rat: Death
The Great Owl: The Surgeon
The Little Owl: The anaesthetist
The Bats biting her flesh: the initial incisions
The Supporter: her own heart and lungs being replaced
16. Journey through the P-Zone. A hero has to be sacrificed for the greater good in an advanced high-tension Sci Fi horror.
17. The Last Job. Hope you enjoyed the master criminal’s final hurrah!
** Authors’ Notes: In the story, Dempsey crammed a lifetime into just a few minutes of his “execution.” By extrapolating from what we know in neurophysiology and hypnosis experiments, this will eventually be a real possibility. The questions are:
1. Did Dempsey have a happy life? Experientially he certainly did! 2.Would such an execution – when it becomes possible – justify the death penalty?
The idea was to take the reader to experience an extraordinary beautiful world – as indeed it would have been for Dempsey – to hide the realities of the Final Shadow.