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"AHHHHHH......." The doctor poked at my throat with the giant popsicle stick, shining his little flash light into my mouth and humming. I tried not to gag on the popsicle stick. My theory was this: If I could save some random girl on the street and change her numbers from seconds to years then someone else could save me. The most logical place to look for help when one knew one was about to die was the doctor's office.

The doctor pulled back and laid the popsicle stick on the counter beside him, mused, then put on his stethescope. Now, I decided, was when he'd discover what was wrong with me. I breathed when he told me to and rubbed my knees to keep the cold stethescope from making me jump when he pressed it against my back. After he'd listened to my gizzards and stuff for a few minutes, he shook his head, "Hmm..."

"What is it, doctor?" I asked, "Is it... bad? Can you save me?"

The doctor pulled his stethescope off and pocketed it. He pulled a swivel chair over and sat down in it, then faced me. "Mr. Carter, you are perfectly healthy."

"No, there must be some mistake," I replied, "I'm dying."


He sighed and shook his head, "The only thing you've got is a case of hypocondria." He laid a hand on my knee and smiled like an old grandfatherly type trying to give advice. "Nick.. AJ told me about what happened this morning."

"That's not what's wrong with me," I told him, "I see numbers... and they count down to when a person's gonna die, and mine say I'm gonna die.. really soon."

The doctor looked at me with gentle, understanding eyes, and I thought for sure he was gonna understand me, and help me somehow. Instead, he stood up. "Maybe what we need here is a different kind of doctor. Let me get the number for Melissa Jole, she's therapist that I've worked with before with other patients, she's very well trained." He smiled.

"I'm not crazy, doc," I replied, shaking my head.

"I know," he answered lightly, "I know, Nick, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes there's feelings inside that you have to let out."

"Doctor," I said, "You don't understand... I'm not gonna be here long enough to let anything out. I just need someone to save my life."

"Like you did that young lady, I understand, Nick," the doctor smiled, his eyes sad. "I'll have Lillian schedule you an appointment with Miss. Jole and she'll be able to help you out a lot better than I can. How's that?"

I shrugged, "Yeah whatever."

"The first step to feeling better, Nick, is accepting that you need the help."

"Okay," I answered. I hopped down off the table and grabbed my jacket. I paused at the door. "Doctor...?"

"Oh yes," he stood up himself and opened a cupboard and pulled out a box. "Do you want cherry or orange today?"

"Cherry," I answered, taking the lollipop as he held it out to me. "Thanks," I said, pulling off the wrapper and sticking it into my mouth.

The doctor smiled, "It's gonna be okay, Nick... you'll see."