The Health Führer: Pt. 1

The Health Führer: Pt. 1

A Story by Richard Longbow

A satirical look at alternative medicine. Part 1.


           “Oh God, my head,” were the first words Ronald Swagner said when he woke up Saturday morning. A recovering alcoholic, Ron had given into his personal demon one more time last night and was now paying the consequences. He’d drank an entire bottle of bourbon to “reward” himself for staying sober for a month. He couldn’t let this hangover take over his day, so he mustered the strength to get out of bed and made his way to the shower.  He had a lot to do today. He had to get groceries, get his suit dry-cleaned, and his long-time friend, Jimmy Watts, was probably already on his way over to borrow Ron’s lawnmower for the day.

            As he got out of the shower, he held back the urge to vomit. He felt ashamed, he didn’t know why he had to drink last night. He found some aspirin in the bathroom cabinet and washed it down by taking a few sips from the faucet. He then went back to his room to get dressed. By the time he’d gotten his clothes on, he heard a knock at the door, and then the sound of the door opening.

            “Hey Ron, what’s the code for your garage?” Jimmy yelled up the stairs. “Hold on, Jimmy. I’ll be down in a sec,” Ron replied. Ron made his way down the stairs. “You don’t look so good Ron,” Jimmy said. He couldn’t let Jimmy know he drank, he thought, he didn’t want to admit he let the bottle win last night. “Yeah, I’m just not feeling so good, that’s all. I don’t know what it is,” Ron said. “Oh, well I won’t hang around long then,” Jimmy replied. They went outside to get the mower. “Sorry to bug you like this, it’s just that my mower’s still getting repaired, and Lynne and I won’t have time to do yard work for the rest of the week,” Jimmy explained. Lynne was Jimmy’s wife, and a math professor at North Central Toledo Community College, the same school Ron taught at. Ron was a chemistry professor, however, so he never really saw Lynne at work. “It’s okay, I don’t think I’m that sick,” Ron said.

As Ron drove the mower up the makeshift ramp of two-by-fours that led into the bed of Jimmy’s truck, he began to feel nauseous. He pulled the mower up, parked it, handed Jimmy the keys, and vomited all over the side of Jimmy’s truck. “Ron, I think you should go inside,” Jimmy said. “No, that’s okay, I feel better now,” Ron was embarrassed; he told Jimmy he was going to grab the hose and wash it off for him. As he walked to the side of his house, his nose began to bleed. “Aw hell, Jimmy, I gotta run back inside real quick, my damn nose is bleeding,” he said. “Go ahead and stay there, last thing I need is to get sick and you look awful,” Jimmy responded. Jimmy grabbed the hose and washed the side of the bed himself. He then closed the truck bed and drove home. Ron went inside, grabbed a tissue, and fell on the couch. He had a miserable hangover. He knew he’d have to take a brief nap before resuming his day.

It was three in the afternoon when Ron finally woke from his nap. He felt a whole lot better now. His headache was gone and his stomach wasn’t churning. He got up and drank some water. He wasn’t going to get drunk ever again, he thought to himself.


Ron made it to the dry cleaners just before it closed and then went grocery shopping. Ron didn’t like to shop; he knew exactly what he had to get at the store and wanted to be out in a few minutes. As he made his way down the aisles, he decided to grab some orange juice to kill the remnants of his hangover. He drank from it as he shopped and then he heard Lynne Watts yell from the other side of the aisle. “Ron, how are you? Jimmy told me you were sick,” she said. Ron didn’t know why she had to yell it so loud. She probably made some customers uncomfortable because they now thought a sick guy was drinking a carton of orange juice in the store. “Yeah I’m a little sick,” Ron replied. “A little? I heard what happened this morning and your nose looks terrible.” Ron didn’t know what she meant by that until he reached up and realized there was still a little dried blood around his nose from earlier. “Oh, yeah. No. It’s fine,” he said. “I think you’re lying to me, but okay,” she said. “Did my mower work alright for you two?” Ron asked, trying to change the subject. “Yeah, well it worked for him. I had to stop by the college earlier so I couldn’t help,” she said. “Oh, you’re still teaching that,” Ron sneezed and then continued, “Sorry, that, uh, weekend class?” he asked. Lynne covered her face and said, “Yeah, well I’m going to keep shopping, see you later. There’s no harm in stopping by the doctor,” and hastily walked off. “Okay, bye,” Ron said and turned to finish shopping. Why did Jimmy have to tell her about this morning? Jimmy must have made it sound bad to make her walk away like he had the plague just now.

After Ron unloaded the groceries from his car, he grabbed his cell phone off the counter. He saw he had a message and opened up his voicemail. “Mr. Swagner, this is Kurt Gaines from NCTCC, we’d like you to call us back as soon as you can.” Gaines was the vice chair of the college, he must have wanted something important. Ron called him back.


Jimmy Watts was eating dinner when the phone rang. “Hello?” Jimmy said. “God damn it, Jim!” he heard Ron yell from the other end. “What? What is it?” Jimmy asked. “Why the hell does the whole college think I have swine flu?” Ron yelled back. Jimmy was a little confused, then he realized something, “Oh crap, sorry Ron, I may have made a sarcastic statement to Lynne like, ‘I think Ron has swine flu,’ earlier.” “Well she must not have caught the sarcasm Jim, because she told the whole damn college about it. I’m not allowed to go back until I get a clean bill of health they said,” Ron explained. “Well, you can’t be sure that you don’t have swine flu, so maybe that’s a good thing, Ron,” Jimmy replied. Ron knew he had to come clean, he sighed, “It was a hangover, Jimmy, a hangover. I drank last night and didn’t want to tell you about it.” “I thought you were done with that,” Jimmy said. Ron sighed again, “I am, but I just decided to drink a little last night. But what am I gonna do about this swine flu thing now? I have a ton to do on Monday and I can’t waste time by going to the doctor.” “Just go tomorrow,” Jimmy suggested. “I can’t, he’s not even open Sundays,” Ron replied. “Oh, you know, my buddy Chris knows a naturopathic guy you could see tomorrow,” Jimmy said. Ron wasn’t a fan of alternative medicine. He was skeptical of people that claimed knowledge of a subject without gaining that knowledge through science, but he had no other choice so he asked, “Fine, what’s his name?” “I’m not sure on the name, he goes by the title of ‘Health Führer’,” Jimmy said. “That’s creative,” Ron said sarcastically, “I guess I’ll have to stop by him tomorrow. Next time I puke on your truck, don’t say anything to anyone." “I won’t. I feel really bad about this. He's a bit expensive, but I’ll see if Chris can get you a discount or something. But I gotta go. I’ll call you back later. I’m real sorry, Ron. Bye,” Jimmy said and hung up. Ron thought to himself, "The ‘Health Führer'?" Something about that name bothered him.


© 2009 Richard Longbow

Author's Note

Richard Longbow
Continued in part 2.

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"Oh what a tangled web we weave..." Glad this is continued because it left me wanting to read more. It is interesting, and very plausible. Hipe we don't have to wait tooo long for part 2. Please send me a RR when it is posted.

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Added on November 8, 2009
Last Updated on December 22, 2009


Richard Longbow
Richard Longbow


I'm an Economics major that likes to write. I was told by one professor that majoring in Economics was a waste of a creative mind. However, I'm also good at math and research and I can't just ignore t.. more..