The morning started too early. For some reason, I snapped awake just before sunrise and could not fall back to sleep. Probably that ball of guilt in the pit of my stomach. I suspected it is a minor example of what a condemned man feels on the morning of his execution.

I lay in bed and stared thoughtlessly at the ceiling waiting for sunlight to fill the room, feeling only dread, finally hauling myself out of bed. I got my usual tea and biscuit on my way to the trolley, and for once, I did not bother to buy a newspaper. The colossal headline, Cholera Continues, told me nothing new, and I would learn all I needed to know at the office. Mostly, I was not up for reading about failure and death. It just fed the anxiety.

I reached the office forty-five minutes early, part of the joy of getting up with the sun. It was quiet in the building. I walked up to my office and, upon entering, was barely surprised to find Mr. Bosworth sitting in my chair at the desk, reading a newspaper.

“Good morning, Sir,” I said. “A bit early, isn’t it? To what do I have the honor?”

“Good morning,” he replied. “It is too early. At my age, I prefer a late start, but events seem to be conspiring to prevent me from sleeping in.” He showed me the paper he was reading. “Have you seen this?”

It was the Journal that I had avoided reading.

“Not yet,” I said.

He frowned and shook his head. “Well,” he said. “The newspapers are in quite a tizzy. Today there are three hundred and fifty dead. And over seven hundred cases of the Cholera. They are of the opinion that neither the Crown nor its Societies are doing enough to either prevent or treat the illness.”

He stopped and looked at me for a long moment. I said nothing.

“And,” he said, “It has come to our notice that there is a rumor suggesting that is about to change. A few in your department have been very busy with investigations into the nature of the Cholera, its cause, and treatment. Yet the only reports I have received have been the standard summaries on the number of cases and the quarantine.”

He stopped again and looked at me. I still said nothing.

“No comment?” he asked.

I thought for a moment and said slowly, “There have been some interesting findings concerning the cause and treatment of the Cholera. Findings outside those of the Societies. Or the Crown.” I paused.

“And you think that if you went through proper channels, the information would likely be suppressed,” he finished for me.

I nodded.

“I see,” he said. “And I can’t say that you are wrong.” He folded the paper. “I gather you have an alternative method to disseminate this new information?”

I nodded.

“And you know if you are wrong with your conclusions, you might as well move to France. And that might be the case even if you are right?”

I nodded again. “Lives are at stake,” I said. “Lots of lives. So, it is worth the risk. But what we have discovered is the real deal. I know it. And besides, I have always wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.”

Bosworth smiled thinly. “I wish you the best of luck, Mr. Bruno, I really do. But I am sorry to say you are on your own with this one.”

“I have always understood that to be the case,” I said.

He stood up, shook my hand, and left the room.

I sat at my desk and looked out the window and noted that the ball of anxiety had grown. I wondered just how large it could become. Could it rupture through the skin? It felt like it. There was, after all, only so much room in my belly. After a while, I sighed and looked at the paperwork that had piled up over the week. Now was as good a time as any to finish it. Nothing like being lost in repetitive work to clear the mind. Or numb it.

The next three hours were mostly uninterrupted as I answered letters and finished departmental paperwork. Papers have been, and always shall be, signed, routed, and filed, from now until the end times. Shortly after 11, I heard shouting through the open window:

“Extra, Extra. Read all about it. Breaking news. Cholera Treatment Found. Only in the River Weekly. Get it here.”

I put my head out the window and saw the newspaper vendor near the front of the office waving a broadsheet as he yelled. That had been fast. I had left Colvin less than 18 hours ago, and they had written and produced a newspaper in response.

I walked down to the newsboy and purchased a copy, a single page, and took it up to my office to read.

Cholera Solved

The Cause Found

The Treatment Discovered

Portland—For the first time in the history of Mankind, a cause and a treatment for the Cholera has been discovered. In a pioneering breakthrough by members of the Multnomah Ministry for Social Hygiene, aided by Mathematics Professors from the College, the Cholera has been SOLVED. A unique understanding of disease that may transform the approach to illness. What follows may seem a fantastical story, almost too unbelievable to be true.

Perhaps of equal importance, the cause, and the treatment, of the Cholera has been missed by the Medical Societies for centuries, resulting in untold suffering and death. Now that the truth of the Cholera is known, this suffering and death can now be averted.

The River Weekly stands by all that follows.

First, the source of the Cholera is water. And not just any water. It is water from a pump in the Kenton neighborhood park. This water is the sole source of the Cholera.

How is it known that this water is the source of the Cholera? Almost all those who have consumed water from the pump have developed the Cholera. An extensive investigation by the Multnomah Health Department demonstrated the association.

When cases of the Cholera are mapped the location of the cases shows the pump to be at the center of the outbreak. Each dot on the map below represents a case of the Cholera, and the cases form a circle with the pump in the center of the circle.

But then, how did the Cholera travel to Lake Oswego and Beaverton? In an ironic turn of events, water from the Kenton pump was brought to both cities by a Homeopathic Philosopher, who used the water as part of a treatment to prevent the Cholera.

Both east side families that developed the Cholera had consumed water from the Cholera laden Kenton Pump as well as human feces from a Cholera victim in the form of a Homeopathic nosode.

The reader, at this point, is probably either aghast or disbelieving that people would deliberately be given feces from a Cholera victim. But that is precisely what is in a nosode, the Homeopathic version of the Variolation of Jenner. Stool from a Cholera patient was mixed with water from the source pump and given to the patient to prevent the Cholera. Instead, it gave them the Cholera.

But what is it about the water that leads to the Cholera? In the water are creatures, animalcules, so small that the eye cannot see them unaided. But with the aid of a microscope, a device that magnifies the vision, these animalcules can be seen. They are slender, active, bean-shaped creatures that swim through the water.

How is it known that these animalcules cause the Cholera? The animalcules can be seen in the water from the Kenton pump. The animalcules are not in standard tap water. The animalcules have also been seen in the stool of a Cholera victim. When water is boiled, the animalcules vanish.

How such small creatures cause the Cholera remains a mystery, but all the information points in one direction and one direction only: these animalcules are the cause of the Cholera.

There are three ways to avoid the Cholera:

  • Do not drink water from the Kenton Cholera pump.
  • Boil your water before drinking.
  • Avoid Choleric nosodes.

And should you suffer from the Cholera, there is now an effective, simple, and inexpensive remedy to keep up with the flux. Drink seawater mixed 4:1 with sugar water. It is a method used in the French Caribbean, historically successful, but has hitherto been unknown to the Crown Medical Societies. If seawater is unavailable, then water is mixed with table salt, and sugar is a substitute. The recipe is simple: 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 quart of boiled water.

The cause of death from Cholera is often dehydration due to the severity of the flux. The theory is that the ocean water/sugar combination more closely reflects the constituency of the blood and serves as a better replacement than other fluids.

Four important discoveries by our Ministry for Public Hygiene.

The source of the Cholera: water.

The cause of the Cholera: Animalcules.

The prevention of the Cholera: avoid contaminated water from the Kenton pump, Homeopathic Choleric Nosodes, and boil water before drinking.

The treatment of the Cholera: water with salt and sugar.

This breakthrough has been accomplished due to the application of a new Philosophy, which is named the Empirical Method. It is an organized, systematic, and methodical approach to solving problems. The Empirical Method has the potential to revolutionize the approach not only to disease but all human endeavors by providing a framework to guide how problems are solved.

The Empirical Method consists of

1. Defining a question

2. Gathering information (referred to as data) and resources

3. Forming an explanatory hypothesis

4. Testing the hypothesis by doing experiments and collecting information in a reproducible manner

5. Analyze the data

6. Interpret the data, drawing conclusions that are used as a starting point for a new hypothesis

7. Repeat

While seemingly simple, applying the Empirical Method in practice is difficult. It should be pointed out that none of the Medical Societies have developed their Philosophies using the Empirical Method, relying instead on tradition and testimonials. It is why their approach to this, and past, outbreaks of the Cholera have been ineffectual.

Now that the Cholera has fallen before the Empirical Method, it is now time to apply the same approach to other diseases and, perhaps more importantly, to the Medical Societies.

A door to a new world has opened before us. It is time to pass through it.

I turned the page over. The other side contained advertisements, none, I was not surprised to see, were from the Medical Society. 

I set the paper down on my desk. I was happy to see that no one I worked with, including myself, was named in the article. Some protection, I supposed, from irate Homeopaths. But this single sheet of paper was a bomb with a very short fuse. It was going to anger the Medical Societies, especially the Homeopaths, and perhaps the Crown, although for different reasons. I doubt it would take long before someone wanted my head on a pike.

I sighed. Well, if I am going out, I might as well go out being useful. I walked down to the cubby room, where I found George hard at work filling the slots. “How is it going?” I asked.

“Fine for me, awful everywhere else. We are seeing more cases and deaths from the Cholera.”

“Well,” I said. “I am hopeful that there is an end in sight.”

I gave him my copy of the paper.

“Read this. And if anyone needs me, I’ll be in Kenton, helping with the Cholera.”

“Sounds good,” he said.

I turned and walked out of the office, wondering if it was going to be for the last time.



  • Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, from 1990 to 2023. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His multi-media empire can be found at

Posted by Mark Crislip

Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, from 1990 to 2023. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His multi-media empire can be found at