chapter the second

Paterson, Professor Sir Roy, has been haunted by his own non-existence ever since infancy. On the surface he appears to be a model of superstar celebrity status, a surgical and academic success, but underneath he is a man tormented by fear of failure. In his dreams he often dies, or very nearly, chased by … well, by something he cannot quite identify. He is like a rabbit caught in headlights, out of control.

From our perspective, knowing what we do, we might imagine that he has a phobia of woman, a fanatical yet well hidden mysogeny, a displacement of the fear of his own Mother. She looms above him, omnipotent, nipples tumescent, the pit of her gaping cavernous mouth sucking him in to nothingness. Woman’s existence voids his soul. She shuts the door to meaning. But these musings really are for later.

In these days of hyper-cancerphobia wealthy victims are queuing up for his renowned brand of beauty-conscious cancer surgery. He (quite brazenly yet somehow also illicitly) specializes in professionally proscribed, that is to say dis-approved or banned, cleavage-sparing surgery for breast cancer excisions. Also, (and this surely can’t be lucky coincidence, can it?) such cleavage-sparing breast amputations not only preserve his fetish object: the cleavage, but also leave malignancy, cancer cells, in-situ programmed to do his divine work of destruction: destroying his phobic object, woman, the Mother.

The narcissistic pervert is trapped in an earthly purgatory, the Phallic Mother’s desire ensnares him like barbed wire in the no-man’s land of the First World War so that he cannot turn to social norms for tranquility.

Paterson lives alone in a fashionable ground floor Huntley Street apartment deep amongst the sprawling structures of University College Hospital London. He once had a wife, the daughter of a senior foreign diplomat, but she eventually divorced him citing his mysogeny and ‘problem with women’. So, for now, he lives alone. And he has no children.

This isn’t great for his preferred public persona as a lay preacher in the Plymouth Brethren and a friend of ‘Cornerstone’ the high Tory cabal for British Christian faith, flag and family.

As he steps out from No. 22 in the stylish terraced row Paterson oozes self-satisfied superiority, from his closely shaved double chin and shiny Saville Row suit all the way down to his initialed gold cuff links and highly polished black shoes. His striped pink and white shirt with its starched collar speaks to Christian ‘ancient traditions’, whilst a gold ‘Albert Chain’ dangles from his waistcoat, emphasizing respectability, and paunch. He notices a spider web glistening with morning dew hanging from his wing mirror and brusquely brushes it away.

Now, pale baggy-eyed and sweating, yet smartly besuited, he shuffles and stoops awkwardly into his executive style SUV. He belts up, switches on, slips into gear and revs hard, the throaty roar and the image of Victoria’s cleavage nourish the remnants of his arousal. He anticipates pleasure I deserve this I need this as he slices with satisfying ease through the traffic and into the skin of the smooth breast. Victoria is the first patient on the list in his Walpole Street clinic.

There are enemies, there always are, those pathetic and small minded interfering surgeons who have the fall to doubt his prowess, bastards, and he has yet to attend the scheduled disciplinary committee at the General Medical Council summonsed because of his cleavage-sparing operations at the private hospital. There are also Brethren in his Church who frown upon his research on the Cure for Cancer seeing such work as interfering with God’s Will since disease is a punishment to be suffered for Sin.

Can’t they see he embodies God’s will?

His inner circle, brethren disciples and the small coterie of loyal and protective clinic staff are in awe of what they see as his brilliance, insights and devotion to the Zero Cancer agenda, his efforts to popularize screening and his surgical skill at seemingly curing cancer even whilst miraculously preserving women’s beauty. They believe in him, all he does and his aura of pure power. He steams ahead whilst other more sceptical medical staff turn a blind eye not daring to challenge.

The power over the anaesthetised woman exposed under his surgical gaze is what arouses him to the compulsion to destroy, to promise immortality by condemning to death or to a game of Russian roulette in which he stacks the odds against the Mothers survival.

The Professor is involved in promising research into the long awaited Cure for Cancer. The race for The Cure is on and the government wants this to be a British discovery. He has been appointed head of a prestigious research unit at UCH into oncologic venomology: the use of venoms to find, illuminate and treat cancers. The Palisraeli Deathstalker Scorpion venom has been shown to find and illuminate breast cancers. And there has been gossip amongst academics of a new source of possible treatment from an as yet unidentified venomous Australian spider. There is a subtle buzz in the air in both UCH and Walpole Street and an added sense of urgency and importance in Paterson’s stride. He sees himself cloaked in ermine already.

Victoria’s partner Martha is kissing her goodbye as she leaves for the clinic. Are you sure you don’t want me to come? No it’s fine I’ll be fine I’ll let you know when I’m out.

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