“Thank you again, Dr. Carmichael,” the middle-aged woman said sweetly as she walked to the office door. “I do appreciate your seeing me on such short notice.”
“Anything for a patient, Mrs. Bridge,” said the doctor, a handsome African-American man approaching his mid-thirties, with a smile. “You let me know if you have any more trouble sleeping, OK?”
When Mrs. Bridge left, so did Dr. Carmichael’s smile. He scowled as he turned and walked into the private bathroom within his posh Park Avenue office. He scowled at himself, at his reflection in the mirror above the sink.
“Josh Clay,” he said to his reflection, “how’d it ever come to this? Treating rich hypochondriacs, doling out sleeping pills and diet pills and anti-depressants. Damn, man, you’re no better than the street-corner dope-pushers!”
The man who had once been Tempest of the Doom Patrol turned away from the mirror, disgusted with himself.
He walked back to his desk and looked at his appointment book. One more patient to see today, and that was nearly an hour away. He turned on the radio, trying to relax, to forget the questions plaguing his mind.
“–negotiations breaking down,” the radio news announcer said. “If an agreement is not reached before midnight Friday, the entire police force of the city will go on strike. The mayor’s office had no official statement, but offered assurance that–“
Joshua Clay, now Dr. Jonathan Carmichael, snapped off the radio with a quick twist of the dial.