FOR YOUR EYES ONLY - MICHAEL J. SOLENDER
Dr. Zane had specifically chosen Ophthalmology as he felt it offered him the greatest emotional distance from his patients. An incurable introvert, he loved the science that he found in medicine but dreaded the people contact.
He supposed he could have been a researcher, hiding in a lab all day, but he loved the mechanics of the eye and was fascinated by the complexity he found in its study. The irony of looking into patient's eyes day in and day out and never seeing them was never lost on him.
His practice was steady and he earned a good living. Routine myopia diagnosis, Lasik surgeries, the growing Boomer Macular Degeneration cases all kept his weekdays full, but not overburdened. It was meaningful, if not boring work and only rarely did he run into tragic cases that kept him up at night.
When Stacy Ferris walked into his office that morning, he simply gasped out loud. She had apparently heard that reaction previously as she didn't even flinch. She was an absolute stunner. Creamy complexion, perfectly pouty lips framed below a slightly upturned and glorious mushroom of a nose. All on top of a toned package that was more like a tight steel cable than the middle-aged housewife that he was expecting.
Zane was not one to stare, but he couldn't help himself, and clearly given the gauze-lined shades, Stacy Ferris was blind or doing a rather good imitation of a sightless person. Zane rechecked his appointment book and noted Ferris, a new patient, was indeed blind, referred by the Sheriff of all people to Zane for post-hospital treatment from a recent assault.
"Hello, Mrs. Ferris, I'm Dr. Zane. How can I help you today?"
"It's Ms. Chew, I'm dropping Ferris. You see, I was assaulted by my husband and with the pending divorce, I'm dropping his name in favor of my maiden name." Ms. Chew was deliberate and breathy as she spoke. "I realize now that my blindness is permanent. I am slowly coming to accept that. The Doctors at the hospital and the Sheriff's office suggested you might be able to help me alleviate the pain, however."
"Of course, let's see what I can do. Please remove your glasses and I'll have a look." Zane was still struck by her beauty, even after the glasses came off revealing swollen, puffy eyes that had a milky film covering her corneas.
Upon looking closely, he noted the most severe case of chemosis and corneal swelling he'd ever seen. Actually, he'd never seen chemosis; he'd only read about and studied it in med school. There was typically only one source for such an injury, yet he couldn't believe it could be that.
"My, my, this is a severe injury. We're you exposed to some chemicals?" Zane asked.
"If snake venom is a chemical, then the answer is yes. Naja Nigricollis, specifically, Black Necked Spitting Cobra. My husband left one in our bed for us to find." She was still breathy in her response, almost teasing Zane.
"Us?" he quizzed.
"Why, yes, if you must know, I was having an affair with his Assistant at the zoo."
"Assistant? At the zoo?" This was getting stranger by the minute.
"Yes, My husband is the Chief Herpetologist there and his Assistant is in charge of the reptile house. Twisted, eh?"
BIO: Michael J. Solender lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Harriet, where they obsess over their garden. He hails originally from the sometimes frozen tundra of Minneapolis, MN. There, he ignored (only once) his mother's advice to pursue a career in medicine and became a Corporate Klingon. A recent Corporate Refugee, Solender is a freelance writer whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is a contributor to Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, A Twist of Noir, Thrillers Killers 'N' Chillers, 6 Sentences, Powder Burn Flash, and Flashshot. He blogs at Not From Here Are You?