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Free Bleeder (1968)

Free Bleeder (1968)

©1967, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1967). Free bleeder. Unpublished short story.






To the best of my knowledge I wrote this story while still in high school. I might have written it my junior year, but I’ve dated it to my senior year. Certainly by the time I was in college I would have known better than to create a fictitious type of alcohol in a future that would have undoubtedly preferred single-malt scotch.


Free Bleeder

By Dallas Denny


Lan Kthu reached out and grabbed the microphone. It seemed to be floating. “This is Doctor Kthu sp— hic- speaking.”

“Doctor? This is Marilye Harbot. Could you come over to my house and—”

“Don’t make— hic!— phone—I mean couse halls— I mean house calls.”

“But Doctor— my son is—”

Lan Kthu slammed the microphone down into its cradle. “Who the hell she think she is, anyway?” He turned back to the greenish—yellow liquid in the tumbler. “S’good stuff,” he muttered. This to no one in particular. “Who she—hic—think ­she is, calling me at this time? I’m just getting started on a good binge. She shunta called me my house, anyway.” He eyed the one hundred twenty proof shisti. “Baby—me and—” He was interrupted by the phone. Grabbing the receiver, this time he switched on the visual. A woman’s tear-filled face swam into view.

“Wassa matter, lady? You lose your watch or somethin’?”

“Oh, Doctor! It’s my son. He has—he has a cut that won’t stop bleeding! It’s a very minor wound, but it just won’t stop bleeding!”

“Justa minnit, lady. I’ll be right over.”

Lan switched off the phone and dug into his desk. He

came up with a packet the size of a large candy bar. Hurriedly, he gulped it down.

Within a few minutes the de-alcoholizer had changed the alcohol in Kthu’s system into glucose and levulose. This left him feeling sober and even a bit spry. As he grabbed his overcoat and started out through the door, Kthu remembered he didn’t know the woman’s address. Come to think of it, he had even forgotten her name, so he couldn’t look her up in the phone directory.

He had to wait an hour before she called again.

“Doctor, you said you’d come right over. It’s been hours!” “I’m sorry, Mrs.—”

“Harbot. Marilye Harbot.”

“—Mrs. Harbot, but I didn’t get your name. I was—shall we say, indisposed.”

“Well! I suppose—”

Swell, thought Kthu. I guess she doesn’t know doctors are human. He cut her off in the midst of a tirade on drunken doctors and space pirates. “Lady, just tell me where you live and I’ll be right over. This time I mean it.”

“Forty-one Kramer Drive, but I wouldn’t want a doctor who—”

Kthu switched off the phone, grabbed his case of instruments and medicines, and ran out the door.

Forty-one Kramer Drive was a large house in the most expensive residential section of town. As soon as he pressed the doorbell, a tune began playing inside the house. This continued until the white-faced woman he had seen on the visiphone opened the door.

“Come in, doctor, and hurry.”

Kthu stepped inside. The boy who was afflicted was stretched out on the living room couch. He had a bandage on his hand, which was still seeping blood.

Kthu glanced at Mrs. Harbot. “Go get some ice cubes.” She stood there staring stupidly. “Go!” She moved off as if in a trance.

Kthu slapped a fresh compress on the cut, which would have been trivial in an ordinary person. To a person with bleeder’s disease, however, a scratch could be fatal. Kthu drew 10 cc of clotting factor into a syringe. He injected the contents into the boy’s upper arm. Looking up, he yelled, “Damn it, lady, get in here!”

She arrived, breathless. “Yes?”

“You got a vehicle?”

“Yes, two, but one has a flat tire and my husband has the other one.”

Kthu jerked his car keys from his pocket. “Go start my car.”

Mrs. Harbot obediently went outside. Kthu picked up the child and carried him outside.

When he reached his car he laid the child on the seat beside him. Jerking his thumb at the back seat, he growled, “Get in.” Mrs. Harbot got in.

The hospital was twenty miles away. Even though he was driving at top speed, Kthu had time to ask questions. “How old is he?”

“He’s four.”

“Is this the first time he’s ever had a cut?”


“Why wasn’t he euthanized at the hospital? The blood test given to newborns should have showed he was a hemophiliac.”

“Uh—my husband had a nurse inject some clotting factor into the blood sample.”

“No self-respecting nurse would have—”

“As my husband says, money talks.”

Kthu shut up. Presently he ventured, “He’ll have to have a transfusion.”

“Who? Oh, yes.” She looked at her son. “His blood type is AB positive.”

“OK. I’ll get him in through emergency.”

Kthu braked the car to a screeching halt in front of the emergency entrance of the hospital. Hopping out, he grabbed the child in his arms and ran inside.


Twenty-four hours later Kthu ushered Mr. and Mrs. Harbot into his office. “Have a seat,” he said. They did.

Mr. Harbot said, frowning, “Why did you call us here?”

Kthu sucked at his teeth. “As you may know, before the science of genetics was perfected, there were many undesirable genes, dominant and recessive, which caused such conditions as hemophilia, susceptibility to cancer or heart disease and diabetes, color blindness, and baldness.” At this, Kthu ran his fingers through his short black hair. “In the twentieth-first century there so many undesirable genes circulating that more than ninety percent of the people in the world had a defect or defects contrary to nature. Under natural conditions hemophiliacs would have died off, but medical science kept them alive. Geneticists began discussing this problem. They decided there was no need to hasten the extinction of the human race. They had the World Congress decree all those who had undesirable genes would be allowed to have only one child. When this law was passed, riots broke out in all the major cities. Militia-—”

“Very interesting, Doctor, but how does this pertain to us?” Mrs. Harbot smiled.

“Well, after the non-hemophiliacs won, it was decreed all persons with unpleasant genes would be euthanized. That law still holds. You will be sterilized, Mrs. Harbot, on Monday. Your son will be terminated on the same day. Tests will be done on Mr. Harbot, and if he is a bleeder, he will be…”

“Stop!” Mr. Harbot leaped from his chair and grabbed Kthu. “You miserable bastard—you can sit back and order us sterilized while you have all the babies you want! Why—”

“Please! You don’t see—”

“I see enough. I am personally going to tear you apart with my bare hands!” He started to rise.

Kthu made a quick gesture with his hands, knocking Harbot to the floor. Mr. Harbot picked himself up from the floor and struck Kthu in the nose. A thin trail of blood ran down the front of Kthu’s face.

“Please, Herbert,” said Mrs. Harbot. “You know what will happen if you get yourself hurt.”

Harbot fumed, but made no further attempt to harm Kthu.

Kthu cleared his throat. “Let’s see. Oh, yes. I think that concludes our business.”

“I refuse to be euthanized,” Harbot growled. “I’ll go to the courts. I can buy anyone. Say…” Harbot glanced around the shabby office. “You look like you could use a few credits.”

“No. I’m sorry, but—”

Here Mr. Harbot became angry again. “Why—why—you little freak! I’ll have you barred from practice.”

Kthu placed his fingertips together. “What, sir, are you angry about?”

“Angry? Why? Because of you, you little shrimp.” Harbot spat on Kthu’s desk.

Kthu stood up. “If you want another doctor, then leave. He’ll also schedule you and your son for termination.” Anyway, as the authorities are already aware of your situation, you have no recourse but to turn yourselves in.”

The Harbots left. Kthu sat back down at his desk. He could taste blood in his mouth. Ignoring the stream which still ran from his nose, he turned and opened the liquor cabinet. He withdrew a green bottle and poured three fingers of shisti into a shot glass. Shaking nervously, he drank the shisti, and then poured another shot. That remark about having children had hurt. Of course, Harbot couldn’t have known, but…

Kthu wiped a hand absentmindedly across his nose, smearing his face with blood. Ignoring the bottle of clotting factor in his desk drawer, he poured another glass of shisti.