Wednesday, May 30, 2012
"Pulse is thready; BP dropping." The EMT relayed information as the gurney clattered through the doors of Pine Lake Hospital ER.
Claire Monroe thought she was prepared--the ambulance had radioed ahead what was coming. Level I trauma. They just hadn't told her who was coming.
Dr. Johnson took the most critical patient; Dr. Ford had the second accident victim, also critical, but with better vitals.
Years of training and experience took control; Claire followed procedure, followed orders.
Cubicle 1 Cubicle 2
"Code Blue." "She's stable for now," Dr. Ford said. A
"Defib." minute later, "Get the morphine going; call
"Clear." Butler; she'll need major reconstructive work.
"Again." We'll need x-rays, but in addition to these
"Once more." facial lacerations, I'm betting we've got a
"Okay, folks," said Dr. Johnson, "that's broken mandible, crushed left clavicle. She's
all she wrote here. We're done." He damn lucky her neck didn't snap." Ford caught
pulled off his gloves and tossed them in the bin. the look on Claire's face. "Know her?"
On the gurney, Caroline Wilson looked, finally, "Yes." Claire stopped short of adding, "My
at peace. son once told me he wanted to marry her."
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Once years ago, Caroline Wilson's face was cute in a pixie-ish sort of way, but her hatred of the world, and Pine Lake in particular, had pinched her features so that she looked mean enough to drown kittens. Every day, she asked herself why she'd returned to Pine Lake. There were a million other little towns she and Mark could've landed in that wouldn't be any more aware than Pine Lake of that ugly business between her and Senator Martin in D.C.
What a prick that guy had been. Acting as if he wasn't stealing from the taxpayers. Caroline had been allowed to leave town because no one could prove the charges, and Mark the Moron had stuck with her like a burr. She woke up every morning pissed at everyone, especially him. As each day wore on, she added other bitches, idiots, and incompetents to her hate list.
She backed the car out of the garage, thinking that the incomps would top the list today. Her first task was running by the DMV to get her license renewed. Nothing like a bunch of small-time bureaucrats to really bring joy to the world, she thought. She gunned the engine and headed down Main Street.
Selena Kallias drove home in a state of shock, but by the time she'd packed a bag and stopped by the bank to clean out her savings account, she was in a blind fury. How dare her father try to run her life? She didn't care what happened to him, which is exactly what she yelled at her mother while the EMTs fussed over him and packed him off to the hospital. Bastard had probably faked the whole passing-out thing. How could he have a heart attack when he clearly didn't have a heart?
That reasoning kept her moving, kept her determined to leave town. She would find Biff. She had to find him. The airport was as good as any place to start looking.
Carline sped through town, keeping her eyes peeled for cops. She didn't need another ticket. Just before she turned onto the highway ramp, the engine alert light flicked on again. Crap. The thing had been going on and off for weeks, and Mark was supposed to have fixed it. Lazy, good-for-nothing S.O.B. The steering was feeling kind of mushy, too. When she got home, she'd give that moron an earful.
On Highway 10, and old man in a blue Ford was in front of Selena, putt-putting along way under the speed limit. She swerved around him and floored it up to 80 mph, leaving the Ford in the dust. She watched the blue car recede in her rear view mirror. Too late, she turned her attention to the car in front of her, which had inexplicably slowed down. Selena hit the brakes, but not before clipping the other vehicle.
Caroline twisted the steering wheel, trying to compensate. The car spun left; the wheel jerked out of her hands.
Selena tried to stop, but the skid went on and on. . . .
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
He pulled onto the highway and drove as carefully as he could, which wasn't great, since his depth perception was definitely compromised. It was five miles from Jeni's house at the Hunter Ridge Estates to his place on the north side of Pine Lake, and the last thing he needed was a DUI. Especially since booze wasn't the only substance floating around in his system at the moment.
He had a lot to think about on the drive home.
At 2:30 in the morning, it was a safe bet Genevra would be fast asleep. He could shower in one of the spare bathrooms before getting in bed, otherwise she'd know. He reeked of booze, pot, and sex. Like a horny old dog, he loved being covered in the scent, but it would cost him his marriage if Genevra caught wind of this evening's amusements.
There was a part of him that didn't care. Tonight, even in his current state, he felt ten years younger than he had this morning. Make it twenty years. That Jeni DuMont was something else. Adorable little hussy. He laughed out loud in the car. Holy shit, she'd showed him a good time!
He decided he'd buy her a little present. Probably a diamond bracelet. All women loved diamonds, right? Just something to show his appreciation. And he'd be sure to let her know he'd be back for more.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
"What did you say to Biff Monroe?" she demanded. She was glad he was seated so she could stand over him.
"What?" Nick looked up from his paperwork.
"Don't try to deny it," she said. "I saw the two of you outside the Rainbow yesterday, and now Selena says he's gone. He's left town."
"That's the best news I've heard in weeks," Nick replied.
"No, it isn't. Your daughter is absolutely frantic, and you should be ashamed of yourself. I don't know what you have against that boy, but I'd bet my share of this restaurant that you are behind his sudden departure."
Nick glowered at his wife. "Stay out of this. She'll get over it, and I haven't made any secret of the fact that I don't want Selena mixed up with that man. He's too old for her, for one thing."
"That's a load of crap. You're older than I am, and in case you haven't noticed, Selena is a grown woman and perfectly capable of deciding who she wants to spend time with. It's not up to you."
Nick ignored her, returning his attention to the papers on his desk.
"Why are you being like this?" she asked. "Is there something you're not telling me?"
He continued to ignore her, so she played the card she'd been holding back. "Okay, then. Maybe you can tell me why our savings account is down by $10,000 since yesterday."
Helen saw the color rise in Nick's face. She had his attention now.
"So what if I encouraged him to pursue his photography career someplace other than Pine Lake?"
"Mother of God, I can't believe you'd stoop so low as bribery to get him out of town." Helen narrowed her eyes. "Unless there's more to the story. Unless...."
"Unless what?" Selena asked, stepping into the office.
"Selena--what are you doing here?" Helen asked. Too late, she realized she'd left the office door open, and worse, she had no idea that Selena was in the building.
"How much did you hear?" Nick asked his daughter.
"More than enough, Daddy dear. But please, you two finish your conversation. I think you were just getting to the good part."
Nick stood. "This isn't the time or place--"
"Yes, it is," Helen said.
Nick tried to stare her down, but she didn't flinch. "If you won't answer my question, I know who can." She turned to her daughter. "Give me your cell phone."
"Just give me your damn phone."
Selena pulled the phone from her pocket and handed it to her mother. She couldn't recall ever in her life hearing her mother swear.
"Is Claire Monroe's phone number in here?" Helen asked.
Selena nodded. She noticed her father had grown a sickly pale and perspiration had broken out on his forehead.
Helen punched buttons on the phone, then held it to her ear. The volume was high enough that the voice of the woman who answered was audible to all.
"Claire? This is Helen Kallias. I think I know how to find Biff, but before I tell you, would you please answer one question? Is my hsuband Biff's father?"
There was a moment of stunned silence before Selena heard Claire say, "Good God, no."
Nick, who had also heard Claire's reply, clutched suddenly at his chest before falling face first onto his desk.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
"Well, hello there, partner."
Blake was on his second beer after three shots of the best whiskey the Rainbow had to offer when Jeni DuMont sidled up to him at the bar.
"Jeni? What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" Well on his way to getting totally shit-faced, Blake didn't care about cliches or ogling his newest business partner in a decidedly unprofessional manner. "Nice outfit," he said, letting his gaze linger on her breasts, which curved out provocatively from a low-cut, shiny purple top. Her white jeans looked as if they'd been spray-painted on, and he wanted to grab her ass so bad it hurt.
"Buy me a drink?" she asked.
"I'll buy you anything you want, doll."
Oh, boy, this is going to be a cinch, Jenni thought. She rubbed against his leg accidentally-on-purpose as she hoisted herself on the bar stool.
"I'll have a rum and Coke," she told the bartender. Then she leaned over Blake, making sure her chest made contact with his arm. "Tell you what, cowboy, you buy this round and then let's head over to my place. I've got a real nice bar set up, and I can show you the plans for Spa-La-La."
The luxury day spa was Jeni's new business venture. She had plenty of capital, so she didn't need his money, but she had approached Blake to ask if he would help her formulate a business plan. Flattered that she would seek him out, he'd offered a few suggestions. They'd met a couple of times, first at the library, then at Starbucks, and he'd relished feeling appreciated for his business acumen. Jeni made him feel manly in a way Genevra hadn't for a long, long time.
Blake wasn't stupid, but he was bored, resentful, and restless. "That sounds like a fine idea, my dear."