Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner:
St. Thaddeus had once been a mental hospital that was owned by the City of New York, which then sold it to Columbia University, which tried to renovate it into just a regular hospital but did a half-assed job so that as of the mid-1980s, it still looked and felt and even smelled (they couldn’t get the smell out no matter how much they tried) like an asylum. It wasn’t a public hospital, but nobody wanted to go there for surgeries—not when you could go to Lenox Hill or Mount Sinai. In 1988, a finance group bought it from Columbia, which dumped $100 million into it and turned it into a modern marvel: glass and metal and stainless steel and state-of-the-art everything and the smell finally gone. Being at the hospital was like being inside the future, but as it was imagine by science fiction films in the last part of the twentieth century, not the actual future we ended up with, where everything just turned out being smaller and flimsier than it used to be.
As unconscious woman awaited Toby in the ER. “Karen Cooper, forty-four. Unresponsive since arrival, reported by her husband. Elevated AST/ALT,” Clay said. Clay was the runt of this round of fellows. He had a slightly lazy eye, which would stray only when he’d been staring at you for a long time, as if the eye were done with the conversation and was hinting at the rest of him that it was time to go. It was unclear if he knew about his blackhead situation.
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