Rated R. Contains…well, blood.
by Joe L. Hensley
April 13: Today I made a discovery. I was allowed to look in the mirror in Doctor Mesh’s office. I’m about forty years old, judging from my face and hair. I failed to recognize me, and by this I mean there is apparently no correlation between what I saw of me in the mirror and this trick memory of mine. But it’s good to see one’s face, although my own appears ordinary enough.
I must admit to more interest in the pretty bottles on Doctor Mesh’s shelves than my face. Somewhere in dreams I remember bottles like those. I wanted the bottles so badly that a whirling came in my head.
But I didn’t try to take them, as I suspected that Doctor Mesh was watching closely.
Doctor Mesh said, “You’re improving. Soon we’ll give you the run of our little hospital and grounds, except, of course, the disturbed room.” He pinched me on the arm playfully. “Have to keep you healthy.”
About the Author
His first fiction sale was the short story “And Not Quite Human,” published in the September 1953 issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction. His first published novel was The Color of Hate in 1960. He had 20 more novels and collections published (over half of them in the series featuring Indiana circuit judge Donald Robak, which began with 1971’s Deliver Us to Evil) and around 100 short stories. His collaborators in science fiction included Alexei Panshin and Harlan Ellison; he co-wrote one mystery novel (Loose Coins) with fellow Indiana prosecuting attorney Guy M. Townsend. His last novel, Snowbird’s Blood, was published in February 2008. Many of his mystery novels were set in the fictitious Bington, a place which combined aspects of Madison and Bloomington.
Hensley remained active in science fiction fandom throughout his life; the Hensleys were familiar faces at science fiction conventions such as Rivercon and Midwestcon. Hensley was a First Fandom “Dinosaur” (which meant he had been active in fandom prior to July 4, 1939), and received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 2006.