It should be said that the names have not been changed to protect the innocent nor has permission been sought to use them. These are probably some of the worst character names in my writing history. Alex Hamilton. Dr. Livingstone. Really? Aside from that, the basis of the story in founded on my own teenage infatuation with Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton of Doctor Who fame and a genuine dislike of who I was at that time.
Began: July 8, 1987Prologue
My name is Alex and I have a story to tell if you’ll listen. I’ve told you kind of a lie. My name is actually Benjamin. Since I’ve told you a lie you may not believe my story but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t the first time I’ve told it.
It’s a true story about how I dealt with being told I was adopted. That’s where I Alex. But it’s all told in my story. I’ve finally written it down in a form the publishers weren’t fond of but I wouldn’t change it because writing “I said” after everything I said sounded egotistical to me. So I wrote it from your point of view. In other words, “he said” or “Alex said” or something else will come after something I said. I just wanted to get that straight.
So, my story begins like this.
With his long brown hair and chestnut brown eyes, Alex Hamilton couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe. But he took into consideration he had a nice house (but a brother and sister to disturb him), an okay car (’78 Olds Cutlass Calais, given to him by his parents because he had earned it), plenty of reasonably fashionable clothes (a closet full), and of course his tunes (Pioneer stereo), and his book collection (no comment).
It was on all of these things he thinking about when the DJ on 94Tyx (94.7 WTYX) announced the accident that would change his life forever.
“It seems that a British car failed to slow down when a Japanese car was coming onto the interstate at Terry,” Dr. Dave (Dave Diamond) was saying. “There weren’t any witnesses for comment and JPD says it was just another accident. This accident occurred about two hours ago. This driver of the Japanese car wasn’t hurt and didn’t press charges, blaming it on the slippery road.
“But the driver of the British car was injured and taken to Hinds General Hospital where she was identified at former BBC actress Sarah Fielding. She was better known in the BBC’s The Challengers series as fiery Australian Sandra Bernhold.
“Again, that’s Sarah Fielding in Hinds General Hospital. In other news – “
Alex had turned off the radio. He knew what the other news was – more from the Iran-Contra hearings.
“I wish to hell they’d leave Oliver North alone. That poor stupid man was doing his job and probably scared crapless of demotion if he didn’t do it,” Alex said to himself, heading down the hall from his bedroom into the kitchen.
Alex had intended to go and pick up his girlfriend, Rhoda, when his mother called.
“Alex, didn’t you use to watch The Challengers?” Liz Hamilton said.
“Yeah,” he answered, coming into the living room. “I still watch the re-runs on PBS. And I’ve collected all but five books.”
Alex knew what she was going ask next simply because of the first question but he didn’t interrupt.
“Did you hear about this Fielding woman getting hurt in a car accident?”
“Yeah. Just now on the radio. Is it really six o’clock?” he asked, knowing the only way she would have heard about it was on the news and it came on at six.
“About five after,” she said.
“I gotta go,” Alex said, starting for the door when Burt Case, newscaster, stopped him.
“We’ve just been informed that auto accident victim Sarah Fielding had become conscious. Miss Fielding is probably better known as Sandra Bernhold of the BBC’s The Challengers series.
“Dr. Livingstone, the doctor in charge of her says she came to about twenty minutes ago and seemed fine but felt weak. Dr. Livingstone found she had internal bleeding and needs blood but will take it only from her son whose name wasn’t released to the press. Dr. Livingstone is checking the records now.
“On the brighter side of things – “
Again, Alex had interrupted but not by turning the set off.
“A romantic but stupid thing to do,” he said. “Well, I shall return. I’ll be home about ten.”
“Where are you going?” Liz asked.
“Mother, I’m taking Rhoda to the movies. We’re going to see Dragnet. You know, ‘book ’em, Danno’.”
The grin on his face faded when his mother told him that wasn’t Dragnet, that was Hawaii Five-O, she thought.
“Whatever,” he said, closing the door and heading for the car. Looking at the ’78 Olds, Alex remembered repainting it. The body shop took out the dents, stripped the old paint with a sand-blaster, buffed the scratches, repainted it the yellow-beige it was, put two wide black stripes down the middle, and one on either, put a racing spoiler on the back and made sure the back tires were bigger than the front. They had also, somehow, made the single exhaust into a dual system.
He had gotten new seat covers. This made the grand total of $672.92, and a ticked-off sister with whom he had to share the car. Alex shared it. He “allowed” her to drive it. But for now the thirteen year old Terri was in South Carolina for the month – thank God!
Alex opened the door when a blue ’75 Ford pick-up pulled into the garage. His dad, Gerry, was home.
“Where you going, son?” he asked.
“I’m taking Rhoda to see Dragnet.”
“You’re hardly at home any more,” he said. “But I know you’ve been planning this. I forgot for a second that you’re seventeen.”
“Dad, I gotta go.” He knew when to get lost. His dad had a habit of being long-winded lately. Since he’d been taking Rhoda out anyway.
Alex opened the door when his mother ran out the door, her blond hair flying and her blue eyes wide as saucers.
“Alex, we’ve gotta talk!”
“Momma, it’s gotta wait ‘til I get back from the show. If I don’t go now, I’ll be late and Rhoda’ll be PO’ed as hell. I’ll see you when I get back.”
Alex sat down in the driver’s seat and as he started the car his mother came round to the open window.
“Sarah Fielding’s just gone unconscious and Dr. Livingstone thinks she’ll be critical with two hours. It’s because she’s bleeding slowly.” Mrs. Hamilton was talking rapidly and in a slightly angered tone.
The horrified look in Mr. Hamilton’s eyes didn’t go unnoticed by Alex.
“Why should it concern me? I was fond of her in The Challengers but you act like I know her personally. I’m going now.” He started to pull out.
“Stop the car, Alex!” his father yelled.
“Get out,” said Mr. Hamilton quietly.
Alex got out of the car, turning it off as he did.
“What?” he said defensively. “What is it that’s so important it can’t wait?”
“Give me the keys, Alex,” said his father.
“The hell I will!” yelled Alex.
“Give me the keys!” ordered his father.
Alex knew that to be the “voice of god from on high” and gave him the keys.
“Go inside, call Rhoda and tell her a relative is sick and in the hospital and that you are going to see her,” said Mr. Hamilton.
“What’s this all about?” said Alex.
“Just do it, Alex,” said his mother, reassuringly. “We’ll explain later.”
Alex went inside and called Rhoda. The call took all of ten minutes. Rhoda didn’t believe him.
“I hope to hell you’re happy!” Alex said with clenched teeth and fists.
“Alex,” his mother began. “Dr. Livingston from Hinds General called and told me what I’ve feared for seventeen years.”
“Is he sure it’s the same Sarah Fielding?” his father asked.
“Is this some sort of joke?” Alex asked. “I admit I was infatuated with her when I saw the series the first time. Big deal! Most guys are in heat over Brooke Shields. Whoopie!”
“Yes, he is.”
“Damn! Why now?”
“It’s not her fault. We were going to let it just fade away behind us. We should have told him.”
“Told me what? Look, what’s going on?”
There was a pause.
“Alex,” his father began, “the reason we were up in arms about you watching that stupid Challengers series and over this was simply this: Sarah Fielding is your natural mother. You’re adopted.”
There was another pause. Then suddenly Alex was laughing.
“Oh, you’re good, Dad. You even kept a straight face. I couldn’t do it.” He stopped laughing. “Look, I’ve got to call Rhoda and explain all this. She’ll die.”
He started to get up but his mother’s straight-faced look sat him down.
“You’re serious, aren’t you?” Alex laughed. “You’re mad, the both of you are utterly mad!”
“Alex, we don’t know how to convince you.”
“Call Dr. Livingstone,” suggested his Mrs. Hamilton.
“That’s a good idea. Why don’t you, Alex?”
“They say you’re supposed to humor madmen,” said Alex, getting up and going into the kitchen. He picked up the receiver. “What’s the number?”
They gave him the number and he dialed it. The hospital desk nurse got Dr. Livingstone.
“Dr. Livingstone, this is Alex Hamilton – “
“Alex, am I glad to hear you. Miss Fielding needs you urgently!” he said breathlessly.
“You mean what my parents told me is true?”
“They just now told you?” Dr. Livingstone said, shocked.
“Yeah,” said Alex in a quiet, tearful voice.
“I’m sorry, Alex. But they weren’t lying. Sarah Fielding is your natural mother and the Hamiltons are your adoptive parents. Alex, you’re adopted.”
There was real concern in Dr. Livingstone’s voice as he told Alex the truth.
“Listen, Alex, she needs you. She won’t take blood from anybody but you. She’ll go critical in less that two hours without it.”
“We’re on the way,” Alex said quietly.
“Thank you, Alex. And I really am sorry you had to find out this way.”
“It’s not your fault, Doctor. If not this way then I probably wouldn’t have found out at all.” He paused. “Good bye.”
“See you in a while, Alex. Good bye.”
They hung up.
“So you wouldn’t have told me if this hadn’t happened, would you?” Alex asked cynically.
“We would have in time, dear,” his mother began.
“You’re a lair, a shit-faced liar!” Alex yelled.
“Alex! I don’t want to ever hear you speak to your mother like that again!” his father yelled back. “Do you understand?”
“But she’s not my mother, is she? And you’re not my father, so don’t worry about it!”
There was a quiet pause.
“I’m sorry,” said Alex quietly. “You understand, don’t you? I mean, how am I supposed to react? Just say ‘well that’s okay, ma, pa?’ or something like that?”
“You’re right, Alex. We should have told you sooner,” said Mr. Hamilton. “But how would you have reacted say two – no – three years ago?”
Silence in which Alex thought.
“I don’t know.”
There was silence again.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” said Alex, starting for the door. “My mother needs blood. Let’s go. It’s an hour drive.”
He headed for his car automatically and got in the back.
“Dad, you drive.”
Mr. Hamilton thought maybe Alex was being conservative – there was more room in his car than in the truck – until he noticed the fuel gauge. Suddenly he understood that Alex simply wanted his mother to see his wheels.
Mrs. Hamilton came out after turning the lights off and got in the car. They first went to a gas station and then headed north for the hospital at the legal speed limit of sixty-five. It was still an hour drive.
Dr. Livingstone was waiting at the main desk. He came right to them as they approached.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, Alex, it’s good to see you again even in such circumstances. If you’ll just follow me.”
They followed him to the elevator. He pressed the button for the eighth floor. Then he turned to Mr. Hamilton.
“Why didn’t you tell Alex?” he asked.
“Because we didn’t think she’d ever be in America again, at least not in Mississippi.”
“No, you just didn’t think!” said Dr. Livingstone roughly.
“Now just a minute,” Mr. Hamilton started.
“No, he’s right, dear,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “We didn’t think. But it’s too late to argue. Alex knows now and that’s all that counts.”
They were quiet.
The bell rang and the doors opened. They had reached the eighth floor.
“Okay, Alex, have you ever given blood?” asked Dr. Livingstone.
“No, why?” Alex asked.
“Because this is going to hurt a bit.”
Dr. Livingstone took them to a room. In the room were two beds. On one was a woman with short auburn hair.
“Is that . . ?” asked Alex.
“Yes it is. Lie down on the bed, Alex.”
Alex lied back and the nurse took his shoes off then came around to his right side. She picked up a bottle of alcohol and a cotton ball. She soaked the cotton ball and rubbed it on his arm just below the elbow.
She took a tube with at needle at one end and a piece of plastic cord. She tied the cord around Alex’s arm above the elbow. Alex winced at its tightness.
The nurse stuck the needle into his arm where she had applied the alcohol and released the plastic cord.
A few drops of blood came out and she attached a needle the other end putting it into Sarah Fielding’s arm just below the elbow. The transfusion had begun.
To make him more comfortable, the nurse took off Alex’s socks and belt. She also took out his billfold and spare change, as well as taking off his jeans. All of this without jarring the needles out of place.
Mr. Hamilton watched with his brown eyes as the nurse pulled cover over Alex. He ran a hand through his brown hair. There was something he had forgotten. Brian! His youngest son – actually, his only son – was staying at a friend’s house. He had to call Brian.
“Dr. Livingstone,” he said, “where’s the nearest phone?”
“Nurses station at the left end of the hall.”
“Thank you.” He left the room.
“Are they going to be okay?” Mrs. Hamilton asked, noticing Miss Fielding’s light pallor and, just now, Alex’s own fading color and dull eyes.
“Alex is weakening,” said Dr. Livingstone, “but that’s to be expected. He’ll probably pass out, but again, that’s okay. They’ll be okay.”
Just then everything went black for Alex, who did finally pass out.
The brightly lit hospital room greeted him in its cold glory as Alex awoke.
“Good morning, Alex,” said Dr. Livingstone. “How do you feel?’
Alex looked at the grey-eyed, grey-haired man in his doctor’s coat.
“I feel like complete sh – “
“Alright,” the doctor interrupted. “I get the picture.”
“It doesn’t really hurt anywhere apart from my arm, but I feel kinda floaty.”
“That’s to be expected.”
“I know. Loss of blood.”
“And due to the amount of iron in your blood, Miss Fielding should be feeling perky when she wakes up.”
“That’s a matter of opinion,” said a strong Australian accent.
“Miss Fielding,” said Dr. Livingstone, getting out of his chair and walking over to her bed. “How do you feel?”
“Like complete sh – “
“Okay,” the doctor interrupted. “You two are definitely kin.” Dr. Livingstone turned to Alex. “You should be okay in an hour or so. Your blood cells – “
“Will regenerate,” Alex interrupted. “I know.”
Dr. Livingstone looked at him. “How do you know? What grade are you in, Alex?’
“I’ll be a senior in August. I know because I’ve had advanced biology.”
“Then right off the top of your head, what does DNA stand for?” he fired.
“Deoxyribonucleic acid,” Alex fired back.
“That’s a mouthful,” Miss Fielding grinned.
The doctor grinned, too. “Very good, Alex.” He paused. “I’ll leave you alone.”
He went out of the room, Alex’s thanks following him.
Alex adjusted his bed so he was sitting up but reclining. Miss Fielding adjusted hers to about the same angle. She looked at Alex for a long time before breaking the silence.
“I suppose you’re wondering why I gave you up?” she asked gently.
“Let’s say the question crossed my mind,” Alex answered flatly.
Sarah Fielding began the story. Her boyfriend was to receive his father’s fortune at twenty-one, if he married eighteen, if he didn’t before the old man died.
Charles Thurgood, her boyfriend, had decided he’d had enough of his father’s (Charles Sr) pushing him and had gotten her pregnant so they’d have to get married. This would be to show his father who was the boss but chickened out at the last minute, paying for her way to America (and back to Australia) so she could “get rid of it.”
Love being as it is - or, rather, was - she “got rid of it.”
Now after seventeen years, she had come to America after her tour of duty on The Challengers on an acting contract.
“I came through Mississippi for the single purpose to see my son,” she concluded. “You’ve turned out quite handsome, considering you look more like me than Charles, thank heavens.”
“Whom I don’t even know,” said Alex evenly. He turned to her, getting out of bed, still in his pullover shirt and underwear. “Where are my clothes?” He looked around.
“Do you feel up to doing whatever you’ve planned?” Sarah asked.
“Quite,” said Alex, pulling on his jeans. He sat down in the chair and pulled on his socks. “How do you feel about a walk around the hospital grounds?”
“Sounds alright. Why?”
“Because I don’t like hospital rooms and it’s warmer out.”
Alex put on his shoes, then stood to put on his belt. He checked his billfold and put it in his right hip pocket, found his spare change and put it in his right front pocket.
“That nurse didn’t remove my change and billfold for nothing,” he said, putting on his watch. “She pinched my butt and copped a feel to see how I’d react. If I find her, I’ll repay her gladly.”
“That’s not you, Alex,” Sarah said. “I haven’t known you that long but I know an imitation of Troy Star when I hear it.”
“All the same, under any other circumstances, I’d do it.”
“I doubt it.”
“You’re right. I wouldn’t. That’s not me. I don’t know who but it’s not me.”
“Have you ever watched The Challengers?” Sarah asked.
“One of the biggest fans. I have only five more books to collect.”
And before she could stop him, Alex named them in order and gave the author.
“Are you any kin to Janet Fielding of Doctor Who?” Alex asked.
“First cousins on my father’s side.”
“That makes her my second cousin, doesn’t it?”
“I think so.”
“Great, because I want autographs,” Alex grinned.
Sarah gave a groan of feigned misery.
Alex went into the bathroom to wash his face and use the toilet while Sarah dressed. He stepped out to find Sarah waiting.
“Indigestion?” she grinned.
Alex only grinned back and waited for her to come out. While he waited, he called the nurse. When she came, Alex asked her to tell Dr. Livingstone he and his mother were going for a walk.
The nurse told him to wait for Dr. Livingstone to look them over.
Sarah came out of the bathroom to find Dr. Livingstone looking Alex over.
“Going for a walk, I hear,” he said.
She sat down to let the doctor look her over.
Alex thought about his adoptive parents, realizing they weren’t there.
“Where are Mom and Dad?”
“They went home last night after I told them you’d be able to come home today.”
“They drove all the way home just to have to drive all the way back.”
“I’ll take you home, if you like,” said Sarah.
“But first, we’ve got a walk to go on.”
With that, they got up and walked out, saying goodbye to a slightly amused Dr. Livingstone.
They stepped out into the sunlight of the early afternoon.
BACK TO TOP