The Cure for Simpsonitis
by Liv

Author's notes: This scene takes place in episode three after
Hornblower carries a malnourished Archie to bed.

********

After an intense 48-hour medical examination, Don Alfredo Massaredo's
doctor comes out of the room and diagnoses Archie with no fewer than
25 illnesses:

1/ Anorexia
2/ Bulimia
3/ Ingrown toenail
4/ Migraine
5/ Paranoia
6/ Schizophrenia
7/ Scurvy
8/ Agoraphobia
9/ Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
10/ Depression
11/ Compulsive Obsessive Disorder
12/ Acne
13/ Hernia
14/ Incontinence
15/ Near-sightedness
16/ Asthma
17/ Shingles
18/ Measles/Mumps
19/ Pleurisy
20/ Mouth ulcers
21/ Laryngitis
22/ Conjunctivitis
23/ Food poisoning
24/ Impotence
25/ Fever

 

"Impotence?" quizzes Hornblower when he reads the list.

"Er, sorry," says the doctor. "That is what I am treating Don Alfredo
for. That actually should read `Epileptic fits'."

"Oh I see," says Hornblower. He continues to study the list
carefully. He notices that out of the 25 illnesses listed, four of
them are related to malnutrition, another four are mental disorders,
two problems are related to eyes, three are related to skin ailments,
two are related to mouth and throat problems, three are organ
disorders and the rest are related to lack of control over bodily
functions, feet problems, irregular brain patters and the fit is a
disorder of the nervous system.

The doctor can sense Hornblower's scepticism. "Actually" says the
doctor "what Mr Kennedy is suffering from is an extremely rare
condition known as `Simpsonitis'. The illnesses on that list are just
the symptoms. If only we could find the root cause of his illness we
could eliminate all the symptoms!"

"Simpson, did you say?" says Hornblower.

"No, I said SYMPTOMS," says the doctor.

"Oh," says Hornblower, and they stare at each other.

Luckily, Hornblower's act of mishearing has given him an idea.

Hornblower goes back to Archie's cell and for the first time tells
him that Pellew has done away with Simpson good and proper.

"He's dead, Archie," assures Hornblower. "He won't be able to harm us
anymore."

On hearing this Archie immediately recovers from incontinence,
paranoia, compulsive obsessive disorder and hernia.

Then over the next couple of days Hornblower manages to get Kennedy
on a regular diet of roast beef, ham and eggs, trout or three plus
some much needed Vitamin C from the fresh fruit the Duchess picks for
him. This cures Archie of all illnesses relating to malnutrition,
including migraines caused by lack of food.

At the final stages Hornblower manages to coax Archie to "come
outside" and have lengthy discussions about planning an escape. At
first Archie does a lot of "hmmm?" and "wha -?" to the questions
being put to him by Hornblower, but pretty soon his attention span
returns to normal and he no longer has the voice of Simpson echoing
in his head. He is thus cured from ADD, Schizophrenia, and
agoraphobia.

Don Alfredo also permits Archie to take a long-overdue bath and
borrow his razor, comb and nail clippers, which helps to mitigate his
acne and in-grown toenail problems.

Ironically, by the time Hunter makes a rash attempt to escape,
Kennedy is almost fully recovered and has loads of great hints about
how to escape (During one discussion Kennedy confides to
Hornblower "you could always hide yourself in the back of a donkey's
cart and be ridden out of town, or pop yourself in an empty barrel
when the wine sellers come just like in Ali Baba and the Forty
Thieves.")

Hunter's escape attempt fails miserably.

Luckily, though, they make it back to the Indy until Hornblower's
desire to honour his parole sees them coming back under a flag of
truce. Archie is still prone to sniffles and is still slightly
depressed (mainly because his eyesight hasn't got any better and he
still has sporadic epileptic fits). However somewhere in his fragile
heart he feels stronger and more alive, and when he comes back to the
prison and announces "this almost feels like home" he also declares
he is determined to "never be poor or hungry again!"