By Hazel <Ihazel@yahoo.com>
Submitted March 2000
Summary: In this tongue-in-cheek story, Lois interviews the strangely-named Dr. Folk about an insidious addiction that has no cure.
"Okay, Doctor Folk," said Lois, her pen poised expectantly over her notepad. "What can you tell me about this new drug? FDJ?"
"FDK," the man corrected her. He sighed. "It's not pretty, Ms. Lane. It's a thousand times more addictive than anything else on the market, and as far as we can tell, there's no cure."
Lois frowned at this. "No cure? There's no cure for cocaine, either."
"Perhaps I should have worded it differently," Dr. Folk agreed. "Let's say, rather, that rehabilitation has, so far, proven impossible. To date, there has not been a single case of a person who has succeeded in getting over the addiction."
Lois' eyes widened. "Not a single case?"
"Not yet," the doctor told her. He gestured towards the computer on the desk. "I've been monitoring our patients. Some of them seem to go quietly dormant for years, and then the sudden need blazes up again and becomes completely insatiable. Our longest 'sleeper' case has been two years, four months, and eleven days. Just last week, the man in question succumbed."
"That's… scary," Lois mumbled. She shook herself. "Do your studies document what FDK does to its victims?"
Doctor Folk nodded and rattled off the list without bothering to consult his files. "Incredible euphoria. A single hit can keep the victim grinning for days, yet constantly seeking more. Side effects include a tendency towards sleeplessness, aching finger joints, neglect of outside interests, and eyestrain. Some victims retreat into themselves; others become more garrulous. On occasion, a 'bad' hit will leave the victim despondent, but these happen only rarely.
"As the drug eventually works its way through the system, the victim is suddenly struck by a craving for more. The victim will do anything to get more FDK, including spending hours on end in pursuit of a single extra hit."
Lois bit her lip, trying to retain her professionalism. "What exactly do you mean by 'anything'? Have these kids been hitting the streets?"
"Actually, there are many more adults involved than 'kids,' Ms. Lane," the doctor corrected her. "There are exceptions, of course, including confirmed reports of a mother-daughter pair who apparently seek FDK together. Still, most victims are twenty-one or older; there have been several documented cases of suffering teenagers, but the ones who seem the most addicted are usually in their thirties or forties."
Lois looked up at him sharply. "Do you mean to say that *adults* are getting hopelessly addicted like this?"
"Oh, yes," Dr. Folk nodded soberly. "There have been cases of normally responsible men and women sneaking fixes in the workplace, turning up red-eyed in the morning because they've been up all night… I told you it isn't pretty, Ms. Lane. I wasn't kidding."
"So you have adults running rampant, robbing and stealing people blind in order to afford their next fix?!"
"No, no, Ms. Lane," Dr. Folk said hastily. "That's the one saving grace of FDK. In terms of money, it's absolutely free. All you need is access."
"Availability, shall we say. The necessary equipment. Even the most rudimentary tools can be used in a pinch, although most of our patients seem to prefer more sophisticated methods."
Lois sat back, trying to hard her confusion. "So you're saying that FDK victims are only harming themselves? They're not a menace to society?"
"That's a matter of opinion, I suppose," the doctor said judiciously. "After all, think of all the hours that are wasted by the victim in pursuing the fix. Who knows what might have been accomplished in that time?"
"Well, yes, I suppose. Those symptoms you listed didn't sound very pleasant. But at least they're not hurting anyone else."
Dr. Folk hesitated. "That's not entirely true. There is a strong tendency for victims to spread the addiction. In their excitement over the fix, they will encourage others to give them further doses, and also offer doses to others in an effort to proliferate the problem."
"They offer doses of FDK to other victims?" Lois stared at him, incredulous. "But I thought you said that the victims are constantly looking for another fix!"
"It's hard to explain," said Dr. Folk, spreading his hands in apology. "But it seems clear that a FDK victim can somehow give a fix to another victim without lessening his or her own dosage. It seems almost symbiotic; the more fixes one victim offers to others, the more that victim seems to receive from those same sources."
"Wow." Lois sat silently for a moment, then asked one last question. "So, there's no cure, and no hope for rehabilitation. What's being done to get FDK off the market?"
"Nothing?" Lois was horrified. "But all those lives…"
Dr. Folk shrugged. "As you yourself said, Ms. Lane, FDK really only harms the victim. The physical side effects do go away with time; a 'sleeper' patient is as healthy and well adjusted as we are. Look at it as a chronic disease that flares up on occasion." He gave her a quirk of a grin. "One thing's for sure, Ms. Lane — the victims are most definitely happy. They do no harm to others, except those that are suffering from the same condition; they even manage to hone skills through their addiction, and it definitely keeps them off the streets. For the time being — until the powers that be come up with some kind of miraculous solution — that's the best we can do."
Lois left Dr. Folk's office with her head down, deep in thought. Were FDK victims really happy, or did they secretly long to escape their addiction? Was there any way to save them from themselves?
An absent-minded glance at her watch shook her out of her reverie. "Oh, no!" she muttered, walking more quickly now as she trotted towards her jeep. "I'd better hurry if I'm going to get this written up and submitted to Perry before today's deadline!"
As she unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel, she smiled to herself. The first paragraphs of her article were already writing themselves in her head. "Yep, this is going to be a good one," she decided, turning the key in the ignition. "And if Perry knows what's good for him, he'll tell me exactly how good it really is…!"
THE END. ;)
(With a cheerful cyber-wave to Nan and Tara Smith… and if you haven't figured out yet what "FDK" is, why not write and tell me what you k of my story? <bg>)