Dr. Dallas! Dr. Nicholas Dallis! You are wanted in Emergency!
Actually, Dr. Dallis retired from the practice of psychiatry some years ago. He lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., quietly writing comic strips, which he then mails to various artists who draw the pictures. Nine weeks later, these will appear as the latest episodes of Apartment 3-G, Judge Parker, and Rex Morgan, M.D.
But lately, he has been receiving hysterical complaints from all over the country. Dr. Dallis, you've got to do something! I can't stand it any longer!
It's not about me, doctor, it's about a friend of mine. No, really. Well, not a friend, exactly, but I've known him for years -- and this sudden change that has cover over him -- it's awful.
Rex was always a wonderful man, kind, gentle, firm, considerate, there when you need him, equal to any crisis, calm knowledgeable, conscientious -- and now! None of his friends recognize him any more. He's got this wild look in his eyes, he's so restless all the time, and he's been casting funny glances at a woman patient -- and even at that patient's mother.
Well, no, it's not really peculiar behavior -- except if you knew the old Rex Morgan. Let me tell you about him.
About 40 years old, Rex has been in the practice of internal medicine since 1948, when he would have been 11. He's a nice looking man, who has always worn his hair in a neat pompadour, never a hair out of place, and his face is always composed in a nice but sober expression. I don't ever recall having seen him smile, let alone laugh. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever saw him move. He doesn't get excited easily.
Actually, he doesn't ever get excited -- that is, the old true Rex never did. No, he especially never got excited about -- ah, women. Once, I remember, some rich, chic woman was after him and leapt out at him after a date and kissed him on the mouth, and he just stood there, with a faint look of disgust on his face, but too polite to take his handkerchief and wipe his lips, although you could see he wanted to.
No, no, no, no, no. That wasn't it. A lot of people thought he must be, but I can't imagine his being that way, either. The point was that he was asexual.
Oh, he has a girl friend. June Gale, his nurse. They've been going together for about 30 years, and she's hoping it might lead to something, but he's in no hurry.About once a month, they have a dinner date at her place. She always cooks steak. He always gets a telephone call right after he's finished his steak, and then says he has to leave right away. I think he has an understanding with his answering service.
He has a busy but quiet practice. and a terribly nice younger doctor named Brice Adams eventually joined the practice. The rest of their circle consisted of a cantankerous old woman named Melissa, and a rather racy doctor named Keith who is always getting into advantures and having to leave town.
That is, it went on like that for years. Then all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, Rex changed, he decided not to take Brice back into practice with him, he got himself a new office in one of those fancy medical buildings -- you know the kind, where the patients have to sit for two hours in low-slung furniture, listening to Muzak, before the doctor will see them -- and even his friends look different. Melissa, who was not a bad looking old thing if you don't mind Lyndon Johnson earlobes, looks dreadful now, but that's understandable because she's just had another heart attack. June looks strange, but she's probably frantic about Rex.
And Rex! Well, his hair is always in his eyes, his tie is awry, and he can't sit still for a minute. Then there's that strange look in his eyes as if he had suddenly discovered -- no, it's unthinkable. Not Rex Morgan.
Doctor, what's the matter with this man? Is this what they call Male Menopause? Will he get over it? Is ther any hope?
That's the complaint. Here is the medical report from Dr. Dallis:
Dr. Dallis confessed that he, too, was deeply worried about the changes in Rex Morgan, and in a sense felt responsible. He had for some years been thinking that Rex was too passive, too quiet, too controlled.
So when the artists who had been drawing Rex retired, Dr. Dallis took in a new associate, Frank Springer, and asked him to see to it that Rex got a bit more active, and loosened up somewhat from the rigid life he had been leading.
Although Dr. Dallis points out that Rex has been slowly changing over the years -- his face has filled out considerably since 1948 -- he agrees that this last abrupt change is to drastic. Having consulted with his associate, he now promises that he will have Rex looking at least recognizable, if not exactly like his old self, if at all possible.
To all those who have complained, Dr. Dallis answers, in effect:
Take two aspirin, and call me if things don't look better in nine weeks.