Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Episode 18

The Three Fates

The ancient Greeks were big on Fate, and being 100% Greek, Nick Kallias figured it was natural for him to agree with his ancestors that the Fates played games with mere mortals. Too many times in his nearly sixty years, the Fates had shown their powers.

He thought of this as Claire Monroe wrapped the bandage around his left hand.

"Stay out of the kitchen, Nick," Claire said, "and leave the sharp knives to your chef."

"Nah. I've taken pits from hundreds of avocados and never done this," he replied.

Claire met his eyes with one of her looks. "Really? You want to argue about it?"

Nick had been holding the avocado in his left hand when the heavy blade glanced off the slippery pit and sliced through the heel of his palm.

Claire secured the layers of gauze with adhesive tape. "Like the doctor said, you're lucky this wasn't a lot worse."

Nick ignored her. He turned to his wife, Helen, who was sitting quietly in one corner of the ER cubicle. "Helen, go get the car. These quacks are almost finished with me."

Helen had driven Nick to the hospital, where Fate had made certain Claire was the nurse on duty. Once Helen left, the atmosphere in the tiny cubicle changed. No longer buffered by Helen's presence, tension between nurse and patient intensified.  Claire wrote follow-up instructions in silence, all too aware of Nick watching her every move. She handed him several sheets of paper and recited the list of possible adverse symtoms.

"Tell your boy to stay the hell away from Selena," Nick said, grabbing at he papers she held out to him.

"Why should I?"

"Jesus, woman, why do you think?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Episode 17

Police Station
"Shit!" Biff's glance in the rear-view mirror, followed by the expletive, was the first hint Selena had of trouble. She turned and saw the flashing lights of a patrol car half a block behind them. 

"You aren't speeding. I bet he goes right past us."

Biff pulled the car tot he side of the road, and the cop slid in right behind them, stopping less than ten feet from the Mustang's bumper.

"But you didn't do anything wrong," Selena insisted.

"I did if the cop says so," Biff answered, already reaching for the driver's license in his wallet.

Chief Donati took his time getting out of the car before ambling over to tap on Biff's window. He bent down as the window opened, 'Been looking all over town for you, son."

"Yeah? Why's that?"

"Need to ask you a few questions."

"So ask."

"Down at the station."

"Am I under arrest?"


"What if I don't want to answer your questions?"

"Then you might be under arrest."

Selena didn't move while the two men glared at each other.

Biff was the first to break the silence. "I'll be at the station in fifteen minutes."

Donati leaned farther into the window. "Afternoon, Ms. Kallias."

Selena mumbled a response.

"Mr. Monroe is going to ride with me," Donati said. "I'd sure appreciate it if you'd be kind enough to drive his car over to the station."

Selena sat up straighter and looked Donati square in the face. "This doesn't sound right to me," she said. "Aren't you supposed to read him his rights, or something?"

"Not if he isn't under arrest, which he isn't."

"Selena, just meet us over there," Biff said. "Whatever this is about, it has nothing to do with me."

In the past several months, Selena and Biff Monroe had built a deep, intense relationship, the likes of which neither of them had ever experienced before. She knew him as well as anyone could, and now she was certain he was lying.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Episode 16

While they waited to board the flight that would take them back to Chicago from Miami, Blake Adams watched his wife cooly tapping away on her laptop. He admired her ability to concentrate in the chaos of the airport, but he was disturbed by her attitude. Didn't she realize the severity of the situation?

When their eldest son, David, had called that morning to report that their youngest son, Billy, was "having some troubles," the alarm bells rang loud and clear in Blake's head. For quite some time, he'd suspected there was something seriously amiss with Billy.

"Genevra, we need to discuss this," he'd said time after time. But there was always a deadline, or a new story idea, or a crisis at the magazine that was more important to her than their son's welfare.

Blake was as angry with himself as he was with his wife. He'd seen the signs for how long and still done nothing?

Even as a little kid, Billy had been weird, walking around on tiptoes, flapping his hands, singing and talking to himself. He'd had no friends at all in grade school. In high school, he began hanging around with the misfits and druggies. Kids who did everything they could to be outrageous. Expelled three times between his freshman and junior years, he'd also been busted twice for underage drinking, once for shoplifting, and once for possession of cannabis. It had cost Blake a small fortune to get the boy's record purged.

Billy had been out of control for a long time, and now Blake was afraid that no matter what he did, his son's life was about to come crashing down around them all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Episode 15

"Jack! Can you get someone to cover for me? I've got to get Billy out of here." Whitney Adams dashed into Taverna's kitchen, obviously in a panic.

It was three in the afternoon; Jack Donati was helping the sous chef prep for the evenig rush of post-holiday diners.

"Billy? What's he doing here?" Jack asked. Whatever it was, it couldn't be good. Whitney's expression alarmed him.

Jack didn't like the fact that Whitney felt such a sense of obligation to her completely screwed up family. Blake and Genevra Adams were the most self-centered parents Jack had ever seen; their youngest child, Billy, was nothing but eighteen years of trouble. David, the eldest child, seemed decent enough, but so remote Jack had never said more than two words to him.

"He's flipping out," Whitney said as she pulled her coat on without even taking time to remove her waiter's apron. "He's been weirder than ever since Mom and Dad took off for Florida. Now he's totally lost it--just stumbled in the front door, jabbering to himself about ghosts and murderers. Not good for business. I've got to get him out of here before anyone sees him."

"Hang on, I'll come with you. You can't manage him by yourself."

"It's okay. I called David. He's on his way over. I jsut need you to stay here and get someone to cover my shift."

Whitney grabbed her purse and returned to the dining room. Jack followed her. Thankfully, the restaurant was closed and empty at this hour. Helen and the rest of the wait staff weren't in yet; Nick was in the back office working.

Billy was lying on the floor in front of the bar, curled in the fetal position, whimpering.

"Jesus," Jack said, "what happened?"

"I don't know. Like I said, since the parents decided to spend this week in Florida, he's been a worse mess than usual." Whitney knelt beside her brother. "Come on, kid, let's get you up and out of here."

Billy put his hands over his eyes. "No. Please don't take me away. I didn't do it. I swear. Don't let them take me, Whit."

Jack and Whitney got the boy upright. The three of them were headed to the door when David Adams arrived. Calm and authoritative, he half-led, half-carried his brother outside and into his waiting car.

Before getting in the car herself, Whitney turned to Jack. "I'll call you when we figure out what to do about this. I'll probably have to contact the parents and tell them to come home."

"Do what you need to do," Jack said, kissing her cheek. He watched them drive away and tamped down his own resentment that Billy's shenanigans had just trashed some very special plans.