Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Page 99 -- Galen's Kids

Page 99 from Galen's Kids
A College Retrospective
By Kevin Doyle
Reprinted with Permission: Copyright By Kevin Doyle. All Rights Reserved.

Book Description: College. Tests. Future. Career. My Life. Why am I here?

Galen’s Kids traces the story of Brian Murphy, a sophomore attending St.Barrows College, a small private college in Helena, Montana. Away from his mid-west roots, he tries to fit in as a pre-med student facing a withering academic curriculum. Out of sync with his classmates, the Montana environment, his roommate, and the mid 1970’s; Brian finds himself “in way over his head” amidst a crew of focused, hard charging collegians. Galen, the famous ancient physician — whose therapeutic traditions still influence today — brought to the medical discipline, curiosity, confidence and relentless study that consume so many of its students. Brian is one of those kids, faced with a collegial perspective he doesn’t get, a cultural state of mind that he doesn’t relate to, a personal confidence he doesn’t have and a Big Sky Outlook he doesn’t understand. He struggles to fit in. His search for his own identity is influenced by his support network: the wizened loner, the quintessential doctor-to-be, the psychological misfit, a couple of sociopaths and most importantly . . . Sandie. A pre-med student herself, she leads Brian on his journey and shows him his own path. He may not be pre-med material but he’s still a collegian. Maybe in the true liberal arts tradition, he could be a future college professor. Just choose, decide, focus, stay on track, be like us, Sandie hopes. But can he? Facing personal demons, temptations, downturns, short-term victories and distractions; he drifts from Sandie’s oversight and vision. But to where? Can he make it back? Join a modern pilgrim’s quest in a small town college, whipped along by his decisions and their consequences. College is the laboratory where we first heat the test tube of our lives, where we face the discovery of who we are and what we need and why we choose what we do. If you’ve sweated college, your future and how you fit in; you have to read Galen’s Kids.


After a two minute walk over to their wing, he could hear Dan’s cheap stereo playing a Marshall Tucker song. “Fire on the Mountain, Lightning in the Sky.” Except fire was pronounced “fahr.” What the hell is a “fahr?” ‘Why can’t these country western music stump jumpers pronounce “fire” correctly,’ he wondered? He peered into their room and saw they were both there with a couple of other “bio” types. There was strong evidence that drinking was occurring. Brian was offered a beer. Third one in less than ninety minutes. One of these days, he would learn “food first, then drinking.”

"Well, Brian, where ya been, buddy? Don’t believe you were in your dorm room last night.”


Maybe if Brian feigns confusion he can get out of this.


“Well, what?” No, not looking good here.

“Didja spend the night with Sandie?”

Women accuse men of bragging too much about their bedroom exploits, perceived or real. There wasn’t anything to brag about in this situation. Sandie and Brian stripped down to appropriate nighttime garb and shared a few hours of sleep together. That was it. Oh yeah, and five minutes of reproductive organ exploration too. But who would believe him? Telling anybody anything would eventually get back to Sandie. This heavy relationship stuff was getting more complicated by the minute. Going to Sandie’s mom’s house for dinner was looking to be a good option at this point.

“Where I was or who I was with doesn’t matter.”

“You bagged her, didn’t you?”

“I didn’t bag anybody. Will you two depraved fuckheads shut up and knock it off?”

Brian was just pissed and embarrassed enough that Danny and Sam momentarily backed off. There would be another time to face their questioning and he could give them enough details to shut them up. But for now they’d have to let it go.

“OK Murphy, we’re cool, have another beer. What are you up to tonight?”

“I’m supposed to hook up with the still virginal Sandra and go out or something.”

“How do you know she’s a virgin? Maybe in high school or before you hooked up with her . . . some wild stuff happened?”

Brian was part surprised and embarrassed by Danny and Sam’s third degree. It was meant in good nature and they weren’t sure if Brian would ‘fess up’ anyway . . . . but it was part of the ‘if you run with the "pre-medders," you better come prepared to play’ mentality.


Kevin Doyle was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended three colleges before graduating from Indiana University as an English major. He joined the Navy in 1980, serving five years aboard ships. He was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan for three years, then received orders to San Diego. Taking time off from the active duty Navy, he went into the family´s desktop publishing business and spent eight years being a part of the entrepreneurial work ethic.

A new career opportunity arose and he went into commercial printing and rejoined the Navy as a reservist. He returned to his university town of Bloomington, Indiana, working at a commercial printing plant.

The sad events of "9/11" changed many lives and careers of Americans. Mr. Doyle returned to active duty in Mayport, Florida as an anti-terrorism officer for a sixteen ship naval surface group. Two and a half years later, he mobilized with US Central Command (USCENTCOM) in Tampa, FL. He was assigned to and provided staff support to the Combatant Commander´s Interagency Coordination Group. This experience allowed him a unique view into the overlapping world of military, law enforcement, intelligence and State Department activities in the war on terror.

Departing active duty and now working as a contractor in Force Flow Management, he remains at USCENTCOM, and commutes between Jacksonville, Florida and Tampa.

Overseas travel has included trips to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Italy, Puerto Rico, Germany and to the mid-east country of Qatar.

He is married to the former Elizabeth Evangelista of the Republic of the Philippines and is the father of an adult and teenage child, Alison and Ian. His hobbies include motorcycling, a firearms enthusiast, reading and being an inveterate "homebody."

The story, Galen´s Kids, has been under development for some years and is a fictional recollection of the times he spent at college in Montana. It looks at students, their pressures, attitudes and private college life in the mid 1970´s.

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