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Am I Still There?   By:

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction September 1963. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.


Which must in essence, of course, simply be the question "What do I mean by 'I'?"




Lee slid off the examining table and began buttoning his shirt. He had had a medical examination every six months of his adult life, and it always seemed strange to him that, despite the banks of machines the doctor had which could practically map a man from a single cell outward, each examination always entailed the cold end of a stethoscope against his chest.

He tucked his shirt into his pants and turned to the examining doctor who was writing on a chart.

"Well?" Lee asked him.

"Sound as a dollar," replied the doctor. "Of course Dr. Flotman or Dr. Roberts might turn up something on their electronic monsters, but I see no reason why we can't go ahead on schedule."

Lee felt relieved. Even while being examined by technicians, M.D.'s and biologists, he had been conscious of the hundreds of little dull pains which had nibbled like mice in every corner of his brain. Sometimes he felt like a piece of his brain was being completely smothered, a horrible sensation of having a part of his head severed from him. This would go away, but would appear again in a different area, usually in about fifteen to thirty minutes. Well, the doctor said he was fit for surgery. That would end this nagging pain, just as it always had in the past.

"... If you're ready now." Lee became aware the doctor was speaking to him.

"Oh," Lee said. He had no idea what the doctor was talking about. "I'm sorry, I guess I didn't hear what you said "

The doctor smiled tolerantly. "I said you can see Dr. Letzmiller this afternoon to get the final O.K."

"Letzmiller? Who's he? I thought you said I was ready to go." Lee knew he sounded a little petulant, but he was tired from all these examinations, and besides, his head hurt.

The doctor, Gorss, Lee thought his name was, was rather young but seemed used to this kind of thing. He turned on his tolerant smile again. "Dr. Letzmiller is chief of the Familiarization and Post Operative Adjustment Section. He can explain himself better when you see him."

"Is he the last one?" Lee asked. He was already following Dr. Gorss out the door and down a corridor.

Dr. Gorss stopped before a door marked "Dr. C. L. Letzmiller," and opened it. "The last one. You take these," he handed Lee a thick manila folder, "and tell the girl Dr. Gorss sent you for your interview." He waited until Lee had entered, then closed the door and left.

Evidently Dr. Letzmiller had been expecting him, for very shortly Lee found himself sitting at the doctor's desk, comfortably seated in a brown leather armchair. He was facing a rather pudgy man, who was leafing through the manila folder Lee had given him. Finally Dr. Letzmiller looked up.

"Well. Well now, Mr. Lee, suppose you first tell me about yourself, and then I'll tell you about me."

"Tell you about me?" Lee asked.

Dr. Letzmiller smiled. It was another tolerant smile, but it seemed more sincere than Gorss'. "I suppose the best way would be for me to review these facts on your medical history. You are Vincent Bonard Lee?"

"Yes, sir."

"Date of birth?"

"August 11, 1934."

"That would make you four hundred nine years old."

Lee hesitated. He never really thought of his age. It had long ago ceased to be of any importance to him. Of course he remembered his birth date... Continue reading book >>

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