Excerpt, Horseshoe Bay — A Return of Sorts by Lars Kohesiv. Hear an audio clip below.
Gel fought the doctors at every turn. He had several of the risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bad triglycerides, heart murmour and a family history of heart attacks (father died at 61 and Gel’s older brother Stefan barely survived his at 57).
Oh, Gel was on. Amusing and then some. Much chortling in our beer.
Gel turned 58 today. To celebrate we were drinking beer at The Rusty Gull — listening as Gel used black humour, clever puns, a series of accents, up and down, and patented wordplay — natural enough for a man born in the East End of London — to attack GPs, cardiologists, medical tests and treatment in general. But that was just for starters. Before Gel really got revved up. Then followed a blistering fusillade against Big Pharma and the script doctors they own and bribe. A cruise or set of Callaway golf clubs to those who write prescriptions for billions of pills, statins in particular.
At one point Father Jim asked Gel about meds. Was he taking any?
‘Pills,’ said Gel, ‘all kinds. BP, statins and low-dose aspirin.’
‘But there’s more,’ he said, unbuttoning his shirt halfway down his chest. There, in a mat of red hair, a series of electrodes were taped to a Holter monitor documenting his heart rhythm for the next 48 hours.
What change of tone. Subsequent riffing fell flat. People paid up and left. Father Jim and Gel slowly made their way down the back stairs to stand in the parking lot of The Rusty Gull.
‘Stay the course, Gel. ‘Kidding aside, they can do so much today.’
Gel didn’t say a word. Just stared across the inner harbour where a long line of cloud blocked the backside view of the city.
‘Remember Nils Lofgren?’ said Father Jim. ‘He wrote a song for Keith Richards when he was dying of heroin.
‘Keith Don’t Go.’