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Re-Use License for content from Pyegar's Small Powers domain  by Dave Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative Works 3.0 License. .
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Stephan (#2)

Stephan had failed progressively downward in his choice of careers.


He had applied for medical school, but his scores and his grades were not even close to qualifying. He then started the EMT training, and was promptly booted out for insubordination. So here he was, instructing staff in an assisted-living facility in the operation of their newly deployed defibrillators, as the manufacturer's representative. The devices, as the marketing collateral stated, were essentially idiot-proof.


"Good thing," thought Stephan.


"Now it is important to realize that defibrillator devices do not restore a stopped heart to its normal operation. They are scientific instruments with on-board logic designed to fulfill one function, and do so reliably. They terminate arrhythmia -- irregular heartbeats -- a condition which can lead to fatality or severe heart damage if not corrected. It is a myth that they "restart" a non-beating heart." Here he went off-script. "Have you ever had your car engine get stuck in a back-pressure cycle on a cold morning? It won't fire up, but it won't stop either? Arrhythmia is like that, only the valves in the car engine can take it better than yours and mine."


In truth, he was almost asleep behind the sound of his own voice, cycling through the spiel. “Once,” he reflected without pausing the spoken and tediously-rehearsed monologue, “Once I restarted a heart.” It was by sheer will and without a minute of training. He had been 13 years old, and his fat old dog lay panting heavily on the floor. Queenie was a good old girl, she had grown up with him, and he, like nearly every boy, loved his dog. But at this moment, she was badly distressed. He was alone at home and had no idea of what to do. Queenie spasmed, and then, lay quiet. He felt her chest- no breaths, no beating. He cried out, "Queenie!" And-- he sort of -- pushed with his hands, and the sheer force of his will, he supposed. Then Queenie looked up, licked his face, and trotted off to her water dish as if nothing could be more natural after nearly dying.

The years since then, Stephan felt, had been mostly wasted in the search for a repeat performance, or, at least, an explanation. He accepted that he was not doctor material, nor would be be an effective EMT. This gig as a manufacturer's rep. was not going so well, either. "...detecting a pattern which can be correctly through appropriately-delivered shock."

The white-haired man in the front row collapsed out of his chair. "Oh God," Stephan thought, "Am I going to fail again?"

Someone called 911, and Stephan fired up the device.


"No shock is indicated," said the recorded voice.




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