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Pharmacological Research Gone Berserk
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Pharmacological Research Gone Berserk (Needed: Volunteers) "A medical mystery" A test of will power, a romance, some humor, a little sex & a little violence. While going to the bathroom in the dead of night, Shea McTory witnesses a gurney disappearing into a darkened elevator. Was one of the volunteers lying on it? Is something going on in secret? Something maybe illegal? Maybe even dangerous? Standing at his partly-opened, private door, after rubbing both sleep-starved eyes, he sees the night nurse back on her station and everything is quiet again. So, did he see something suspicious, or not? Was he maybe even hallucinating? He has no idea, but what he "thinks" he saw will bother him all night, and later challenge and antagonize him. The conditions he's living under will prevent any open investigation...any wrong move could even get him kicked out. Where he's living could be compared to a Prisoner-of-war camp. Prisoners-of-war live in a place cold and dirty, they eat only what they're given, and their bathroom is likely a pail or can. And they're locked up. They probably are allowed a little exercise but can go nowhere. I've never been a prisoner-of-war, so I don't know, exactly, what happens, but I can imagine, and I'm pretty sure a prisoner-of-war camp is not a very nice place. In this novel there are some similarities to a prisoner-of-war camp. Nutrition research volunteers live in a warm and clean facility, and are absolutely locked up. They can go to movies, the mall, bookstores, pretty much whatever, but their every move out in the regular world is chaperoned. No candy, pop, cigarettes, alcohol, and no sex, not even a public water fountain, no anything that people living a normal life can have anytime they want. Life at MEAL, the Metabolism & Excretion Analysis Laboratory, is not a normal place. Men--volunteers--living there are told what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and definitely how to go to the bathroom. At the end of their meals they're required to clean their dishes, literally, to lick them clean, so that they get every drop of nutrition measured out for each individual volunteer. There's lots of free time, but tests like electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, underwater weighing, controlled exercise, et cetera, go on all week. So, it's not really like a prisoner-of-war camp, and nobody gets tortured or brutalized. And even though they signed their name and get paid for living under these conditions for up to six months at a time, they still have the option of stopping, of quitting. And that's the clincher, what makes living at MEAL similar to, but also way different from, a prisoner-of-war camp: any time they can't take it a moment longer, they can leave. The real test is emotional: Frustrations build, tempers flare, love affairs, friendships, hatreds, develop.
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About the Author

James W. Nelson was born in a little farmhouse on the prairie in eastern North Dakota in 1944. Some doctors made house calls back in those days. He remembers kerosene lamps, bathing in a large galvanized tub, and their phone number was a long ring followed by four short ones, and everybody in the neighborhood could rubberneck. (Imagine that today!) James has been telling stories most of his life. Some of his first memories happened during recess in a one-room country schoolhouse near Walcott, ND. His little friends, eyes wide, would gather round and listen to his every hastily-imagined word. It was a beginning. Fascinated by the world beginning to open, he remembers listening to the teacher read to all twelve kids in the eight grades. He was living in that same house on the land originally homesteaded by his great grandfather, when a savage tornado hit in 1955 and destroyed everything. They rebuilt and his family remained until the early nineteen-seventies when diversified farming began changing to industrial agribusiness (not necessarily a good thing.) He spent four years in the US Navy during the Vietnam War (USS Carbonero and USS Archerfish, both submarines.) After the navy he worked many jobs and finally has settled on a few acres exactly two and one half miles straight west of the original farmstead, ironically likely the very spot where the 1955 tornado first struck, which sometimes gives him a spooky feeling. A little more Biography: He lives among goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, crows, cottontails, squirrels, deer, mink, badgers, coyotes, wallflowers, spiderworts, sunflowers, goldenrod, big and little bluestem, switchgrass, needle & thread grass, June berries, chokecherries, oaks, willows, boxelders and cottonwoods, in the outback of eastern North Dakota.

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