A first-person account of Dr. Hurley’s Restorative Baths and Spa, continued

We recently received correspondence from our esteemed research colleague Wiebke Henning, who has been looking into the background of Dr. Hurley’s Restorative Baths and Spa. She had previously unearthed a letter (which you can find here) sent from one Antonia Gallagher – a distant relative of Ms. Henning – to her sister in northern Germany, in which some details of Dr. Hurley’s spa came to light. Our editors also discovered a further letter (here) when on a recent trip to Ireland.

Seamus Hurley’s history is slowly becoming clearer, however, thanks to a new letter provided by Ms. Henning. The letter, once again from Antonia Gallagher, documents more of the fledgling doctor’s methods and cure-alls. Reproduced below in the original German, we have taken the liberty of translating the letter for your reading pleasure.

My dear Sister,

I hope this letter finds you and yours in the best of health. We have heard that winter hit you hard this year. Are the potatoes and the cabbage at least serviceable? I do hope that everything will flourish again in spring, and that you can replenish your stores. Here in Ireland both of these vegetables are awfully fashionable. And they grow so well that we could almost certainly live off of them for decades.

I have decided to remain in Dr. Hurley’s spa a little longer. The treatments are helping me terrifically, and Eamonn, too, believes that a longer stay can certainly only do me good. Ten days ago on Friday he came to visit me for a few days. He cannot always extricate himself from his official duties, but Brian, his aide, knows enough about the business by now that he can do without Eamonn for a few days. My beloved husband even let himself be cajoled into trying out a few of the Doctor’s remedies. And what do you know, he was so spry on his feet after taking Hurley’s Footbath Cure! Oh, but I haven’t told you anything about those yet! Alongside the potions and tinctures, Seamus has built a footbath for us! Behind the barns there is now a cabin where large troughs have been set up. They are filled with water, and we must stand in them and wade around for at least half an hour. The water is icy cold, and it is mightily strenuous having to lift your knees as high as the Doctor orders. But given that he tells us it will do no good unless you do as he says, I always try very hard! My absolute favorites are the baths that contain not only water, but also the most wonderful slush. You feel just like a child, with skirts hiked up to your knees and with bare feet walking round in this mud! The mud gets in between each of your toes, and I always stay in there so long that the Doctor himself comes and orders me to get out. Often, I can convince him to let me have a few more minutes with that splendid feeling. And I honestly believe that the Doctor’s presence during any treatment improves its effect. During one of these moments, I asked the Doctor where he acquired all of his medicinal expertise. You wouldn’t believe it, but he actually devised most of his curative treatments himself during long hours of research, and he tested everything on himself until he found the correct recipe and dosage for every potion and tincture! I marvel at this courageous, clever, and selfless man! Even now, he continues work on his most recent cures. And just imagine – he actually asked me to help him with his tests! I am a little worried about how the whole thing works, but of course, I would like to help support Dr. Hurley’s in any way I can. It’s the least I can do to show my gratitude. I will tell you all about it soon!

Yes, I am so thankful to be here. My nerves are so much calmer. Every evening, I partake of at least two potions. Afterwards, I sleep tremendously well, so much so that I don’t even want to go without the potions any more. How I wish I could share this experience with you!

My dearest, I would be awfully happy to hear from you again soon. And I cannot wait to see you again, soon, I hope soon. I am disappointed that my trip was not possible, but I am more than thankful for what I have. But who knows, perhaps times will get better for you again soon. No guest would be as welcome to me than you!

My most heartfelt and loving kisses,

Your Sister

Meine liebe Schwester,

Ich hoffe dieser Brief erreicht dich und die deinen in bester Gesundheit. Wir haben gehört, dass der Winter euch in diesem Jahr hart getroffen hat. Sind denn zumindest die Kartoffeln und der Kohl brauchbar? Ich hoffe sehr, dass im Frühjahr wieder alles gedeiht, damit die Keller voll werden. Hier in Irland sind diese beiden Gemüse schwer in Mode. Aber sie gedeihen so gut, da können wir sicher noch jahrzehntelang drauf vertrauen.

Ich habe mich entschlossen, noch ein wenig in Dr. Hurleys Bad zu bleiben. Die Behandlungen tun mir hervorragend gut, und Eamonn meint auch, dass ein längerer Aufenthalt sicherlich nur von Vorteil sein kann. Freitag vor 10 Tagen kam er mich für einige Tage besuchen. Nicht immer kann er sich aus dem Kontor loseisen, aber Brian, sein Gehilfe, weiß schon so viel über das Geschäft, dass er auch einmal ein paar Tage ohne Eamonn auskommt. Mein geliebter Mann ließ sich überreden, selbst ebenfalls einige Anwendungen des Doktors auszuprobieren. Was meinst du, wie gut zu Fuß er wieder war, nachdem er Hurleys Tretbadkur hinter sich hatte! Ach, von denen habe ich dir noch gar nicht berichtet! Neben den Tränken und Tinkturen hat Seamus ein Tretbad für uns gebaut. Hinter den Ställen steht nun eine Hütte, in der große Tröge aufgestellt sind. Sie sind mit Wasser gefüllt, und man muss mindestens eine halbe Stunde darin stehen und umherwaten. Das Wasser ist eisig kalt und es ist mächtig anstrengend, die Knie immer so hoch zu ziehen, wie der Doktor es vorschreibt. Aber weil er sagt, dass es sonst nichts bringt, gebe ich mir immer viel Mühe!

Am allerliebsten sind mir die Bäder, in denen man nicht nur Wasser tritt sondern die auch noch schönsten Schlamm enthalten. Man fühlt sich wie ein Kind, wenn man mit nacketen Füßen und bis zu den Knien hochgezogenen Röcken im Matsch tritt! Der Schlamm gelingt in jeden Zwischenraum zwischen den Zehen, und ich bleibe immer so lange darin, bis der Doktor selbst kommt und mir vorschreibt auszusteigen. Oft kann ich ihn überreden, mich noch ein paar Minuten länger des herrlichen Gefühls hingeben zu dürfen. Ich glaube zudem, dass die Anwesenheit des Doktors während der Behandlung die Wirkung noch verbessert. Bei einer dieser Gelegenheiten fragte ich den Doktor, wo er all seine medizinischen Weisheiten erlangt hat. Du wirst es nicht glauben, aber er hat doch tatsächlich die meisten der Kuranwendungen selbst in langen Arbeitsstunden erdacht und alles in Selbstversuchen erprobt, bis er für alle Tränke und Tinkturen die richtigen Rezepte und Dosierungen heraus hatte! Ich bewundere diesen tapferen, klugen und selbstlosen Mann! Noch immer arbeitet er weiter an neuesten Kuren. Und stell dir vor, er hat mich doch tatsächlich gefragt, ob ich ihm bei den Tests helfen würde! Ich fürchte mich ein wenig, wie das wohl vor sich geht, aber natürlich möchte ich Dr. Hurleys unterstützen wie ich nur kann. Es ist das Mindeste, das ich tun kann, um ihm meine Dankbarkeit zu zeigen. Ich werde dir bald berichten!

Ja, ich bin wirklich dankbar hier zu sein. Meine Nerven haben sich hervorragend beruhigt. Ich nehme nun jeden Abend mindestens zwei der Tränke zu mir. Danach schlafe ich hervorragend, und ich möchte gar nicht mehr ohne die Tränke sein. Wie gern würde ich dieses Erlebnis mit dir teilen!

Meine Liebste, ich würde mich fürchterlich freuen, bald wieder von dir zu hören. Und ich kann es nicht erwarten, dich hoffenlich bald auch wieder zusehen. Ich bin traurig, dass Reisen in die Heimat mir nicht vergönnt sind, aber ich bin mehr als dankbar über das, was ich habe. Aber wer weiß, vielleicht bessern sich ja auch die Zeiten bei euch bald wieder. Kein Gast wäre mir mehr willkommen als du!

Es grüßt und küsst dich aufs Herzlichste

Deine Schwester

* * * * *

Wiebke Henning is a northern German native who fills her professional life with lots of language(s)  and spends her free time buying flowers, eating Italian food and drinking wine as well as watching soccer and drinking beer. She’s also a great coffee lover and is looking forward to the day when she can afford an apartment that has a kitchen big enough to house a professional espresso machine.

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Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Week 34

And so ends another fabulous week at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure. This week saw fantastic fiction, more splendid photography, excellent art, and a whole slew of sonnets for Dr. Hurley’s contest.

Here’s what you missed this week:

Textual:

Pictorial:

And here are the sonnets we received for the contest! Voting for your favorite will begin tomorrow. We will also be selecting two Editors Choice winners!

Sonnet: Mchele to Wali

for Bob
Spring is sewn in summer’s sweating earth,
a seed of an idea too small to see.
I walk through mud and wonder what it’s worth
to wait for warmth we trust will come to be:
After a frost, a freeze, a dismal streak,
the promise of renewal is a call
that echoes off the clouds and sounds so weak
it comes late if it even comes at all.
We sleep, we fall, we curl against the dark,
we dream of things we wouldn’t dare to think.
These days are hardly here, these nights are stark,
and yet the peonies are blooming pink.
I know that I am scared. I don’t know why.
We stand still when we really want to fly.
by Audubon Dougherty

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Sonnet: Look at Our Reality, Dude

You know you’re in a foul and rotten mood
When you respond to Rumi with, “Bite me.”
Look around at our reality, Dude.
Times I think you’re happy just to spite me.
An orgasm ain’t going to pay the bills.
And the economy says “no” to dreams.
We rant and we march while the rich man chills.
Echo is the sole result of our screams.
But if we don’t choose death, then we must live.
And stop daydreaming of wine and of roses.
Forget our income and learn how to give.
Appreciate what’s under our noses.
And stop judging ourselves and finding fault.
Enjoying life before it reaches “halt.”
by Susan B. Reinhard

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Sonnet: On the modish movements of youthful folly

Are we not men, who wear our breeches tight,
With stripèd cardies, checkered shirts of plaid,
Our face adorned with spectacles that might
Repair our vision were they not a fad?

The city streets we ride with fixèd gears,
A mustache soft depending from our lip.
We like not what you like, but when appears
A draft of PBR we take a sip.

Where once we loved that beaut’ous lady dear
Whose corset forced her cleavings oh so high,
Yet now, we young men gaze back at the mirror
Like copiously-bearded Narcissi.

That beaut’ous lady? Fellows, we eclips’d her
When we birthed that ogre named the Hipster.

by Daniel F. Le Ray

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.

Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Before Someone Else Screamed

.

he last humans take too long to die at the cross.

It’s not easy. I don´t derive any special pleasure from doing this. I didn´t ask to be the deliverer.

But something had to be done.

I supervise personally all the crucifixions.

Some of the men and women nailed to the crosses scream, some moan, some have no more breath left in their lungs even to gasp. Some are dying, some are dead, most of them are already rotting. I watch them closely as my armored car leads the silent motorcade along the otherwise empty avenue.

I don’t wear armor. Not even a uniform. And donning any kind of special costume would simply be ridiculous. I´m not a whining six-year old bourgeois kid whose rich parents were killed in a dark alley (what were they were doing they in the first place after all?) and years later dons a hood and a cape in order to arrest criminals. Anyone who keeps focused in revenge after so much time is a sociopath, and as such should be treated.

On the other hand, being a run-of-the-mill dictator wouldn´t do either. Hitler redux? No. Milosevic? Definitely not. This is not about hate nor ethnic cleansing. This isn’t even about revenge.

This is about results. This is about getting things done.

When the limited nuclear and biowarfare conflagrations started all over the world, there wasn’t a single place where we could hide. Humankind was doomed. It was just a matter of time: in a few generations, mutations, cancers, every DNA-related disease would wipe it out of the face of the Earth.

Humankind was doomed. But there was still a chance for us post-humans.

We were so few then. But young and full of hope. We want fix everything that was wrong with the world. All we wanted was peace.

But then things changed.

And people started dying.

In the middle of the chaos that ensued, I saw a chance and took it. With a group of my peers, I managed to take control of a small country’s arsenal and made good use of it.

But, even eradicating a few more major cities out of the globe, the example I wished to set couldn’t be attained by surgical bombings or by game-like distance shootings.

My first edict after making myself Ruler Supreme of the World was to ban all guns and firearms.

Many complained. I arrested the most vocal for life.

I executed the most violent.

I resurrected old instruments of execution. Gallows, guillotine, and, finally, the only time-honored, proved, one-hundred percent execution foolproof method.

The crucifixion.

It took a long time for the remnants of humankind to accept it. But they eventually did. They accepted the awful truth.

Someone had to do it.

.

.
hy me?

I had a dream.

In this dream, I was being chased by a beast in a jungle. I ran, ran like crazy, ran like my feet never touched the ground. I felt my heart thumping wildly, almost as if I was going to have a heart attack.

I never saw the beast.

A psychotherapist once told me that I was the beast in the jungle. It could be. I stopped seeing the shrink anyway. I still didn´t know how to deal effectively with things which bothered me then.

Now, after much pain and suffering, I learned. If it had happened today, I would have shot her the moment she told me those words.

The most important lesson I learned in all those years: at some point in a chaotic situation, someone is going to scream. It doesn´t matter who the scream is aimed at – it may be a person being robbed, a victim of a car crash, an eviscerated victim of a shot in a trench in the middle of a war.

It may even be a patient in a psychiatric ward.

But someone will scream. And everything will run out of control.

So I did what it had to be done. I screamed. Through my actions, I screamed louder than anyone else in the room, and the room was the world. Before someone else screamed.

* * * * *

Fabio Fernandes is a writer based in São Paulo, Brazil. Also a journalist and translator, he is responsible for the Brazilian translations of several prominent SF novels including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, England, and the USA, and in Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded. Another story is forthcoming in The Apex Book of World SF, Vol. II, ed. by Lavie Tidhar, later this year. Fabio blogs here and tweets here.

His other contributions to the Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Sonnet: Man on Woman

How I wish men could live like animals,
Whose instinct isn’t fucked over by thoughts.
The sperm and egg of wolves or of camels
Are simply mixed when creatures get the hots.
But man demands his eyeballs must be pleased
And then we have to talk for hours on end!
For dinner and a movie, being teased
And judged upon the money we might spend.
Yet, I do not want to be a hippo
Without the joys of civilization.
Without cigars or Beaujolais nouveaux
And seduction with my copulation.
To love a female and hear her laughter,
Give a God damned happy ever after.
by Susan B. Reinhard

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

Sonnet: Reflections on Imprisonment

We wake walking in darkness, craving light.
Alone within the silence, first we call,
then fearing our own weakness, choose to fight;
decide we cannot fly, hope not to fall.
We are the progeny of mirrored halls,
reflections in a lifetime’s worth of eyes–
our years are spent to recognize ourselves;
retrace our stitches, and pick out the lies.
Imprisoned fast by all the things we are,
and all the many things we cannot be,
our minds somehow fix on the distance far;
our hearts soar linnet-high above us, free.
We build our cages, frightened of our wings–
and yet, shut tight inside, a bird still sings.

by Lydia Ondrusek

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!

The Prawns, The Crab

They had hidden a hornet nest in my mailbox,
sealed it in and shaken the box much.

Noon was time and I flapped it open for mail,
discovered stings, much energized running,
and yelps in leaps to my house.

Down the lane:
The prank-asses jerky and stumble-laughing.

The day came for unawareness, I scouted,
after waiting months for them to forget me.
With a large stick or small bough,
I ran into the street and knocked them
from their bicycles, watched them laying
on the pavement then, arms and legs flailing,
helpless, unable to stand or turn aright.

I then bent, showing my flyer-gun,
and jabbed them with staples, ka-chok ka-chok,
while they writhed and yipped and moaned,
little dots of red on their faces and hands—

What are you looking at?” one asked
as they sped by on their pedal-chain-wheels.
Going to prison, I thought, making
an old man’s choice to leave them be,
staple-gun tucked beneath my shirt,
leaning on the stick as if an improvised cane.

* * * * *

Ray Succre is an undergraduate currently living on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son.  He has had poems published in Aesthetica, Poets and Artists, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries.  His novels Tatterdemalion (2008) and Amphisbaena (2009), both through Cauliay, are widely available in print. Other Cruel Things (2009), an online collection of poetry, is available through Differentia Press. His publications at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.

Sonnet: Woman on Man

Could God have made men less like animals,
Or not bidden the females to clean the cave?
The Bible tells us to cook the victuals,
And obey our dear Masters as they rave.
Bronze Age called a harem respectable,
Even today in Saudi Arabia,
Women have to be undetectable.
God bless America, for we are free,
To own the property, not to be it.
I would rather be ailing and lonely
Than be regarded as a piece of shit.
My only fault was to choose the wrong man,
I’ll try again, if Fate says that I can.
by Susan B. Reinhard

* * * * *

This is part of a series of featured entries in our first-ever poetry contest.
Stay tuned for more and get ready to vote for your favorite!