“…under arrest for the illegal distribution of an illicit substance.” Were the words Doctor Ben Friedman heard when his brain finally engaged again. He knew this moment was coming, but he still wasn’t quite ready for when it did.
The two detectives standing on his front porch looked at each other awkwardly when he didn’t respond immediately.
“You know, I considered gobbing down a whole handful of the things when I heard about what happened down in New Orleans,” Friedman said to the pair.
“Probably best you didn’t do that, Doctor Freidman.” The one that spoke gestured past Friedman, through the open door behind him. “You’ve got a family to think about, after all.”
Friedman shook his head. “I’ll have my license revoked for this. I won’t be able to practice medicine. If I’d been a man, killed myself, with the life insurance, they might’ve been able to keep the house…”
The other detective took his arm, leading him down toward the car. “Don’t ever think I’ve heard ‘been a man’ and ‘killed myself’ in the same breath before,” he said as they walked. “Less of course if it was saying how he’d never been one.
“A man that is.”
In 1917, an opiate drug ring was busted in New Orleans. It lead back to a group in Memphis that was illegally distributing opium tablets, and at the heart of that group was our Doctor Friedman. He was writing thousands of false prescriptions for the drugs. The bust put an end to the largest drug operation in Memphis until the start of Prohibition.