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More on Dr. Pender ...


“Dr. Pender?” she called out. The woman was standing beside one of the half-opened sets of bleachers. “Excuse me, are you Dr. Jon Pender?”
Pender came to a halt and turned slowly about. He saw a very attractive lady in her late thirties. He smiled at her and she began walking purposefully toward him. Her business suit left plenty to the imagination, but there was no dismissing the fire in her eyes.
Yes,” he replied. The woman stepped up to him, her hand extended. Pender shook it and accepted a business card. “So Ms. – ah – (looking down at card) – Bergh. What can I do for you?”
“Hannah, please, Dr. Pender.”
Pender released her hand and read the rest of the card. He looked up, he said: “Only if you will call me Jon, Hannah.”
“Thank you, Jon, I will. I apologize for disturbing your work-out.”
“We just finished, Hannah. Do you know anything about basketball?”
“Just enough to know your team won.”
He laughed. “Yes we did and it’s unusual.” When she didn’t add anything he did with: “I think I’ve heard of your company, headquartered out of Dallas. Weren’t you the ones who developed the latest generation of antibiotics for active drug-resistant TB?”
Hannah said naught. She let her smile stay put as she nodded. There was no missing the ice as it re-entered her eyes. Pender knew the small talk was over. Whatever point she needed to make, she was fixing to get to it. Pender asked: “So tell me why Hudson-Smythe Pharmaceuticals has got you up so early on a Saturday morning, Hannah.”
“I’m here for you, Jon.” He smiled. She smiled. “I’m flattered you’ve heard of our little company.”
“Hudson-Smythe’s doing some good work.”
“Thank you. I’d appreciate a few moments of your time, Jon. I’d like to tell you why I’m here.”
Pender sat on the hardwood and began some cool-down stretching. “You don’t mind, I hope?”
“Of course not,” Hannah replied.
“Good. Then, fire away.”
“We are in the process of putting together a research wing at St. Anthony from scratch. We need your help.”
My help?
“How so?”
“What do you know about virus causing carcinomas?”
Pender stopped his stretching. Looking at Hannah he said, “Just enough to be frightened by the implications. Fascinated enough to wish I knew much more.”
“That’s excellent to hear. How would you like to be part of our lab? We need a lead researcher, Jon, and I want that to be you.” Hannah saw the expression on Pender’s face change twice.
“Damn,” he said. “I’d love to, but I can’t.”
“May I ask why?”
“I’m obligated to complete my residency at the hospital and then I owe – “
“Four years of medical practice to the federal government of these here United States of America. Yes, we know all about that.”
“How do you know that?”
“Come on, Jon,” she replied with a barely hid smug, “the card I gave you shows me listed as the Research Coordinator, correct?”
“Well,” she replied with a growing grin, “I coordinated some research on you.”
Pender was quiet a moment. No point getting mad, what she looked up was essentially public record. Sort of. “Then you must realize that I won’t be available until I fulfill my obligations.”
“May I impose on you a suggestion, Jon?”
“Sure Hannah. What’s on your mind?”
“I want to explore you coming to work for me. I believe I can figure something out regarding your civil service contract. What I propose is this: go home, get cleaned up and meet me in the research department in, let’s say, two hours. If you have the time, we can discuss this thoroughly then. Agreed?”
Pender thought a moment. When he quickly realized he had nothing to lose, he agreed. “My shift at the hospital doesn’t begin until this evening.”
“Very well, Jon. I shall see you shortly.”
Hannah Bergh then walked away without another word. Pender watched her go. He thought she had a great ass for a suit.
Maybe, he thought while resuming his cool-down routine, but she’ll never get me out of my civil service contract. I might as well have signed that motherfucker in blood.


Pender was next in line. The Quaalude he’d taken earlier was beginning to take effect. His nerves were relaxed enough now for Pender to realize just how damn cold they kept this pharmacy.
Pender wrapped his thin arms around his middle and shifted his weight from left to right. He could feel how tiny his cold upper arms have become. They were barely more than the bones that gave his arms structure.
A strong kid could snap them in two, he thought.
Most of the veins in Pender’s left arm had already collapsed from repeated use.
The little old lady in front of him retreated with her prescription. Pender took her place at the head of the line. The pharmacy technician standing behind the counter gazed at Pender with barely disguised disgust. It was almost as if there was a big scarlet letter tattoo on Pender’s forehead that read: Hi! I’m a dirtball junkie!
Jesus, he thought. The tech moved perceptively away from him. She glanced over her shoulder at a mirror. Now doubt it is a security camera. The tech is afraid of me, Pender realized. What have I become? People are afraid of me now.
Pender moved up to the counter and told her his name. Pender handed her his driver’s license for ID and this month’s coveted prescription from Dr. Fox. He had no clue as to who Dr. Fox was, or even if there really was a genuine Dr. Fox. All Jon Pender knew was that each month Hannah Bergh gave him a prescription for synthetic heroin, written by Dr. Fox, and each month he filled it. Lately, she’d also been giving him a variety of additional pills. He took them all. They subsidized his monthly usage enough to where he always had a nice drug collection at home.
Pender found he couldn’t look at the frightened tech, or anyone else for that matter.
Damn it. I should have never gone to that interview.

—END excerpt PHARMACIDE Post #9…’NEWER POSTS’ for #10!!