Woody: His hands were brown and slender and astonishingly deft. He poked the hypodermic into a capsule of thick yellowish stuff – the serum – and then, with infinite care, he drew the plunger slowly and steadily upward. The glistening chamber filled. He withdrew the needle, lay the hypodermic down, and then with all the gentleness in the world, he began to fold back Harry’s sleeve. It was as though he were folding rare old lace. He inched the sleeve carefully, under and up Harry’s arm until the vein came into view.
Ganderbai: I’m going to fasten a tourniquet on your arm, now. It will be just about the elbow. Do not move your arm. Do not twitch your muscle.
Woody: Gently, gently he tightened the rubber tourniquet and Harry’s arm began to flush dark. The vein began to swell, blue and tight. Harry kept his eyes on the ceiling.
Ganderbai: Now I’m going to insert the needle in the vein. You must not react. By that I mean you must not tense your abdominal muscles. Believe me, Mr. Pope, this will not hurt.
Woody: Very carefully he placed the syringe almost flat against the arm, slid the needle in sideways through the skin and into the blue vein. Slid it slowly but so firmly that it went in smooth, smooth as a knife goin’ into a cheese.
Ganderbai: Shh, shh…
Harry: You’re good, aren’t ya, Doc?
Ganderbai: You must believe that.
Harry: You’re not gonna let me die, are ya, Doc?
Ganderbai: I am your friend. You must believe that.
Harry: Are ya, Doc? You won’t let me die.
Ganderbai: No, no, I will not let you die. Now, be still, and think about that.
Woody: With all the care in the world, as he had pushed the needle into the vein, now he pressed the plunger down, pressed the serum through the needle and into Harry Pope’s body. I watched Harry. His eyes were on the wise, gentle face of Doctor Ganderbai. His eyes wanted desperately to believe what Ganderbai had told him. Now the hypodermic was empty, and slowly it was withdrawn. And then slowly the deft, graceful little hands loosened the rubber tourniquet, and then Ganderbai looked up, met Harry’s eyes, and smiled. Harry tried to smile back, but the smile jumped and twitched and died.
Harry: You’re taking care of me, huh, Doc?
Ganderbai: Yes, my son. Now you must be still while the serum is pumped through your body. Be very still, and be very assured, I am your friend.
Ganderbai: The serum will save you. You will escape harm.
Woody: He beckoned to me and I followed him outta the room and out onto the dark porch. The air was heavy and hot. Ganderbai stared out at the blackness, drummed his fingers softly on the railing.
Ganderbai: Your… your friend is in grave danger.
Woody: Yeah, but the serum. You gave him the serum.
Ganderbai: I gave him the serum, but…
Woody: It isn’t any good?
Ganderbai: It is the finest known to medical science… and it is worthless.
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Woody: So, there it was. Harry Pope, the man who had been an enemy of anyone and everyone who didn’t come from his country or speak his language, was now halfway through death’s door, and his only hope lay in a Doctor Ganderbai, of another race, another creed, another country, and another color. Now for the first time in his life, Harry had made a gesture of friendship toward a person of another race. First time, and it seemed to me, the last.
Ganderbai: No, my friend, the serum is worthless.
Woody: What can we do then? The snake is bound to wake sooner or later. Harry’ll move; he won’t be able to help himself, and the snake’ll strike!
Ganderbai: We must think.
Woody: Look, I’ll shoot it. I can hold the gun low and flat so that even if I hit Harry, it won’t be a penetrating wound, and I’ll blow the snake, sheet, and all clear of the bed, huh?
Ganderbai: But you don’t even know which of the many folds and creases in that sheet is the harbor of the snake.
Ganderbai: You might shoot the air.
Ganderbai: You would most certainly wake the snake then.
Woody: No, we can’t do that.
Ganderbai: I… I think… I think I have a solution, Mr. Woods.
Ganderbai: We will… we will anesthetize the snake. Yes. We’ll use… nitrous oxide, or ether, or chloroform. I think the last. Chloroform. Yes.
Woody: We put the snake out, right while he’s lyin’ on Harry? Is that the idea?
Ganderbai: That is it, Mr. Woods. Now, if you will please drive quickly down to my house, my boy will show you where I keep my supplies. The chloroform is in the bottle with an orange label.
Woody: Orange label…
Ganderbai: Yes. Bring it back as quickly as you can. I will stay with Mr. Pope and try to keep him… assured.
Woody: Well, he seems to like you.
Ganderbai: We all like the doctor when we are sick.