“I have more,” the man in the long black trenchcoat muttered as he stumbled into Doc Spearmint’s antiseptic office.
Carania, the woman who ran the office, stood. “I’ll get the doctor. Have a seat please.”
She vanished into the back room as the grizzled man fell into a padded, uncomfortable chair. He heaved a burlap sack closer to him, holding it closed with a trembling hand. The bag shivered and tried to inch away. The man yanked it close again. He absently raised a hand to a sugar-glazed cut on his face.
After a moment, a nondescript woman came into the lobby, followed closely by the doctor. “It’s a common ailment, Samantha. Don’t worry about it. Take the pills three times a day, and everything will clear up in less than a week.”
The woman nodded. “Thanks, Devin.”
The doctor blinked. “You know my first name?”
She smiled. “You told me when we were dating. Don’t worry. Not many people remember what we do when we’re going out.” She kissed him on the cheek and stepped out.
The moment the door closed, the man with the perfect dark-brown hair turned to the wounded man slumped in his waiting room. “Get back here.” As he passed Carania, he ordered, “Cancel my afternoon appointments. Take a paid day off.”
Doc Spearmint led the limping man back to an examination room. As soon as he shut the door, he spun. “How many?”
“What do I owe you?”
“Normal price. Plus fixing me up. They fought like mad.”
Doc nodded, rubbing his hands together. “Yes, yes. Show me.”
“You sure? They’re a wild bunch.”
The doctor glanced to his wall of jars. One jar held gummy bears. Another contained little mints. A third had pineapple jawbreakers. The entire wall displayed candies of various sorts… except the many jars that were empty. “I need to get to work right away. We’re low on medicine.”
The man stuck his hand into the bag, rummaged about a bit with a grimace, and pulled out a struggling creature about a foot tall. It had a bulbous belly, protruding bright-red ears, and mint-green legs. It kicked, bit, writhed, anything to get away from the man’s firm grasp.
Doc Spearmint sighed. “Perfect. Set him down and I’ll get right to work.” He turned to his equipment table and seized a glittering scalpel.
The man pinned the creature to the examination table. He squealed and groaned. “Let us go, we don’t want it so!” it called.
“Shush,” Doc Spearmint ordered. He cut down, severing the things leg. He plucked the foot off and dropped it in a jar of thin mints, and deposited the leg in a jar of striped candy sticks. Clear high-fructose corn syrup leaked from the creature’s wound onto the exam table.
The thing screamed as Doc went about his work, taking each piece of its body and adding it to his medicine jars. The grizzled man simply held the creature still. Then the second creature was distributed. The third. When the last little thing was disassembled, Doc looked at the man. “Thank you for your help. Now, let’s get you fixed up.”
“Candy goblins are nasty buggers. I’m glad they’re useful for something.” The man shook his head. “I’ll hunt them down to the last one.”
“Oh, don’t do that. Without them, I won’t have any medicine.” Doc Spearmint grinned. “And where would I be without that?”
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.
Doc Spearmint last appeared in The Eyes of Doc Spearmint.
Doc Spearmint returns in the Family of Doc Spearmint.