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The Hospital Ship - Page By Page

Chapter 2 - Rescued - Page_29

“What do you mean by the terms ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’?”

At this question, the Judith looked a little irritated as though these were stupid questions with obvious answers. For his part, Functionary assessed Judith as someone who knew the right words and the language within which to place them, but ultimately she was not someone with any critical appreciation of the meaning of terms she deployed. His questioning clearly discomforted her. Functionary rapidly concluded that Judith was someone with neither the knowledge nor the understanding to answer his questioned satisfactorily.

But Judith had practical intelligence enough to use the period created by the musings of Functionary to take the initiative and bring the awkward questioning to a close. “You need some sleep now. You have had a tiring day. You must not over do things. Let’s take things steady.”

Judith had grasped the arm of Functionary firmly and had encouraged him to get to his feet without his consciously deciding to do so. As he precariously stood up, the chair seemed to automatically reverse away. A gentle shove from Judith and Functionary was standing abutting the plinth, holding onto its edge for support. The next second and he was trying to hoisting himself up on the the flat surface. As he sought to complete this manoeuvre, Judith firmly grasped his body to assist him. Yet as she completed this professional action her hands seemed to travel across his chest and groin in a manner which conveyed more sexual curiosity that professional imperative. Now lying flat upon the plinth, Functionary glanced towards where the face of Judith had been. It was the first time that Functionary conceived of Judith as a gendered and sexual being rather than some medical operative whose functioning was entirely removed from other, more socially complicated needs and desires. But Judith was already walking smartly towards the exit, dimming the lights as she went: “Sleep well now.”

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