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It is good to see someone persisting in what they should have always been doing.
Your story is easily one of the most compelling stories I have ever read and one of the most sadly funny. Something about those delinquents lurking around the hospital, with their cell-phones going off at all hours of the night, made me shriek with laughter. Having spent a lot of time in Italy, I also often nodded my head with frustration.
I loved your matter-of-fact language and the curt painful way you end this story. The winning entry is good and deserved to win, but I would also vote for your story to win first prize. Great writing! Where can I read more of your stories?
Ah, the pleasure of a linear tale well told. Or, as I think the Italian adage goes (accents missing), "Se non e vero, e ben trovato"--- "It may not be true, but it's a good story. " I like the way this one unfolds almost like a folk song: first there was one, then two, then three . . . And the situation of strange doctors in a strange land is so evocative--in my case, the memory of my landlord driving me past the island hospital during a stay in the Azores. He shook a finger and warned, "They go in, they don't come out." Glad I never cut my thumb there. Glad you cut yours, Adam, if the outcome was okay and it triggered this winner.