Excerpt of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam
(Page 1 of 11)
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The following is the complete text of "How to Get Into Medical School, Part I", from Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.
HOW TO GET INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL, PART I
Desperate stragglers arrived late for the
molecular biology final examination, their feet wet
from tramping through snowbanks and their faces
damp from running. Some still wore coats, and rummaged
in the pockets for pens. Entering the exam hall,
a borrowed gymnasium, from the whipping chaos of
the snowstorm was to be faced with a void. Eyeglasses
fogged, xenon lamps burned their blue-tinged light,
and the air was calm with its perpetual fragrance of old
paint. The lamps buzzed, and their constant static was
like a sheet pulled out from under the snowstorm,
though low enough that the noise vanished quickly.
Proctors led latecomers to vacant seats among the hundreds
of desks, each evenly spaced at the University of
Ottawas minimum requisite distance.
The invigilators allowed them to sit the exam but,
toward the end of the allotted period, ignored their
pleas for extra time on account of the storm. Ming,
who had finished early, centered her closed exam
booklet in front of her. Fitzgerald was still hunched
over his paper. She didnt want to wait outside for him,
preferring it to be very coincidental that she would
leave the room at the same time he did. Hopefully he
would suggest they go for lunch together. If he did not
ask, she would be forced to, perhaps using a little joke.
Ming tended to stumble over humor. She could ask
what he planned to do this afternoonwas that the
kind of thing people said? On scrap paper, she wrote
several possible ways to phrase the question, and in
doing so almost failed to notice when Fitzgerald stood
up, handed in his exam, and left the room. She
expected to rush after him, but he stood outside the
Are you waiting for someone? she asked.
Shortly after they arrived at the Thai-Laotian café
half a block from campus, Ming said deliberately,
Fitz, I simply wanted to wish you the best in your
future endeavours. You are obviously intelligent, and
Im sure you will be a great success.
The restaurant was overly warm, and Fitz struggled
out of his coat, wrestled his sweater over his head, leaving
his hair in a wild, electrified state. He ran his hands
over his head, and instead of smoothing his hair this
resulted in random clumps jutting straight up.
Same to you, he said, smiling at her almost excitedly.
She watched him scan the bar menu. When she
asked for water, he followed suit. She liked that.
She said, Also, thank you for explaining the Krebs
cycle to me.
Any time, said Fitz.
I feel guilty that I havent been completely open,
said Ming. She considered her prepared phrases and
selected one, saying, It didnt seem like the right time
in the middle of exams.
Nothing in real life makes sense during exams,
said Fitzgerald. He tilted in the chair but kept a
straight back. Ming reassured herself that he had also
been anticipating a talk, and soshe concluded with
an administrative type of resolutionit was appropriate
that she had raised the topic of them.
She leaned forward and almost whispered, This is
awkward, but I have strong emotional suspicions. Such
suspicions are not quite the same as emotions. Im sure
you can understand that distinction. I have this inkling
that you have an interest in me. She didnt blurt it out,
instead forced herself to pace these phrases. The thing
of it is that I cant have a romantic relationship with
you. Not that I want to. Now she was off the path of
her rehearsed lines. Not that I wouldnt want to,
because theres no specific reason that I wouldnt, but
IWell, what Im trying to say is that even though I
dont especially want to, if I did, then I couldnt. The
waiter brought shrimp chips and peanut sauce. So
The above excerpt is the complete text of the short story "How To Get Into Medical School, Part 1" , pages 1-30 of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Copyright (c) Dr. Vincent Lam, 2007. Reproduced with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.