Chapter 18: Quackbusters
Residents of the Towers are at last taking legal action against Dr. Kingman.
The new residence manager is Harry Nankhani, a Pakistani man who is rude
and profane. The circle performs a reversing spell against both men. Jacoba
learns that she has breast cancer. Kingman catches the nurses substituting
herbs for harmful prescription drugs and threatens them.
The chapter title and the cat’s costume come of course from the 1984 movie,
With Elsie having another asthma attack, we see Kingman in action again.
We also see what his real interests are. The evidence he leaves against
the nurses will be resolved in chapter 26.
The judgment against Kingman is a quotation from a real document. I was
once a witness against a doctor who was investigated and lost his license.
They sent me a copy of the judgment
“… ever wash.” Please don’t think I’m bashing an entire nation. Nankhani
was suggested by three Pakistani men I encountered in the 1980s. I did
some writing for one, and he refused to pay and cheated me out of a lot
of money. The second was engineer on a project where I was a technical
editor. Nankhani talks like he did. A student in one of my classes had
such a strong body odor that I had to appeal to the dean of the college
for help. These three men expressed Nankhani’s attitudes about the U.S.A.,
the proper place of women, extramarital sex, religion, and personal hygiene.
They added up to a good villain, and as I kept writing, I just made him
awfuller and awfuller. (In 1989, the Taliban were only beginning to exercise
their power in the lands north of India.)
I met Robert Robinson at the
AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County when I was an AIDS emotional
support volunteer in 1989. He asked to be in the book I was writing. He
was young and he was cute and he died. Nowadays, thanks the medical research,
AIDS is not always an immediate death sentence; it’s a chronic disease
that requires an enormous amount of medication.
Jacoba’s disease will progress through chapter 23.
The crones again discuss the ethics of hexing and reversing spells. Many
witches believe that we should never hex or do any kind of “manipulative
magic.” Because the word “manipulate” comes from the Latin word for “hand,”
however, any action we take is manipulative. The word “hex” comes from
the German word for “witch.” The crones explain that a reversing is more
satisfactory because it returns negative energy to its sender. What goes
around comes back around.
Rita and Geneva also work successfully to the benefit of the other residents
in chapter 26. Here are two more examples of active elderly women.
Have you ever done a hexing or a reversing spell? Why or why not? What
do you believe about such work?
What do you think will happen to Dr. Kingman in the future?
What do you think is the best kind of medical practice? Standard scientific
medicine? Holistic medicine? A combination? How and when do we decide when
to turn to magic for healing? Have you used magic for healing? What happened?
Copyright © 2011 by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. All rights reserved. Permission
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