“Good Wifey Drops a Dot”
Dylan moved from room to room on the second floor taking an inventory of his grandchildren while they played after having their dinner before the adults sat down for their evening meal. If Nora had asked him what was on his mind, he’d have simply shrugged and taken himself downstairs without a word. He knew it didn’t make any sense, but it felt like, if he kept at it, he’d find Sarge among them, glaring up at him. Nor did he need a head doctor to tell him that his present desire to have his family all gathered under one roof was a direct result of his ongoing inability to find his eldest son and that his compulsion to literally keep the others close at hand reflected a deep fear of losing track of them as well. Hearing the stove timer ring signaling readiness for dinner he went downstairs.
As he took his seat he noticed that Nora was passing the serving platters even though Denise, Patrick’s wife, was not in her place. Catching Nora’s eye. he shrugged his question about her tolerating this break in her way of conducting dinner service. Nora nodded towards the kitchen. Denise was on the phone nodding along as she listened. Hoping she was getting a lead on Sarge, Dylan accepted the breach of meal protocol which usually demanded that everyone be seated before anything being served. Finally Denise took her place.
“Sorry about that, Nora. But I just couldn’t get Suzy to let me off the phone or get a word in edgeways to tell her I’d call her back after dinner. She just wouldn’t stop talking once she got started.”
“Don’t worry about it, Denise. It would have been rude to just hang up on her especially when she’s keeping an eye out for Sargent at St. Syms,” said Nora with a reassuring little smile.
“That’s how I figured it too. “
Unable to restrain himself any longer, Dylan spoke rougher than he intended. “So did she have any news worth sharing?”
Denise slumped a little in her chair. “Just that she did check with her friend at the temporary morgue set up at the high school. That’s where they’ve been taking the bodies of the people being dug out of their homes and such. As she put it, there was no man there tall enough to be Sarge.”
“Oh that’s a relief,” said Nora as she chose a roll for herself and glanced at her husband.
“Is that all? What she did keep you on the phone for long then?” demanded Dylan.
Denise decided to bite the bullet and be done with it. “I made the mistake of getting her started talking about the National Guard being there at the hospital. Before I knew it, she got going good and strong about how things got even crazier than they already were the other day when some woman got into a fight with the Guards at the hospital.”
“Oh yeah?” Not ready to let Denise off the hook just yet, Dylan kept her from even looking at the food on the table by keeping her attention focused on himself. “So what was that about?”
An uncomfortable look settled on Denise’s face. “Are you sure you want to hear about that, Dyl? It’s a long story that has nothing to do with finding Sarge.”
Dylan nodded, partly out of boredom and partly to put Denise through another hoop as payback for not finding a polite way off the phone and calling Suzy back after dinner. “Why not? Dinner just started. Sounds like some off the cuff entertainment for the rest of us. So come on, what kept your ear glued to that phone for the past hour? Hmm? Share and share alike, Denise.”
Denise looked worriedly at Patrick who nodded for her to comply with Dylan no matter what the content of the story. He’d step up and run interference for her if his father didn’t like hearing what she had to say. She toyed with her fork for a few seconds. “Well, you asked for it. Just say when you’ve heard enough and I’ll stop talking.”
Dylan smiled and shook his head. “You haven’t started yet.” He passed the butter to Irene.
Denise pushed down her own discomfort regarding having to relate Suzy’s story which had taken up the bulk of the time she had spent on the phone with her. “Like I said earlier, a few days ago this woman came into St.Syms to pick up a ton of drugs for people from the Flats. Suzy said the nurses knew all about her coming for all this medication ahead of time because the doctors had been getting all sorts of calls from people who wouldn’t get their medication unless she came and got it for them. Last thing anyone needed after that nursing home disaster was another bunch of diabetic shock emergencies or worse, so the doctors agreed to give the meds to this woman as long as she had written authority from all the people the prescriptions were for. That way they’d have a record of what went out the door with her. Anyway, she comes in and loads up some backpack with all this stuff. Suzy and another nurse check all the names and papers. Everything matches up. But when the woman tries to leave the hospital and go back to the Flats then the Guards say they can’t let her go there because there’s no road for them to drive her back.
That’s when things got crazy. This woman starts in on them being a bunch of idiots since she knew damn well-,” Denise looked around at everyone else at the table eating their food and listening to her talk. “I’m toning this way down from what Suzy said. Anyway. She knew damn well that they’d watched her come down that damn hill to St. Syms wearing snowshoes and that’s how she was going back up that damn hill. She didn’t want any goddamn truck ride from them. She wouldn’t take it even if there was an open road.
Well, these three Guards weren’t going to take that kind of attitude from her and pretty soon they were all swearing up a storm and getting in each other’s faces. The shit really hit the fan when one of the Guards called her a fucking squaw. Excuse me. But there’s just no way around that one. When that Guard said that, Suzy said the whole place went quiet for about a full minute. She could hear the clock on the wall at the triage desk ticking. Now the lobby and waiting room were full of people waiting to be seen. All sorts of folks were in there watching this woman go at it with these three armed Guards. Suzy said, after it all went quiet then suddenly everyone in there blew up at the Guards. She said there were old folks, some black guys, a bunch of white women with kids, even a couple of biker guys. They all tore into the Guards like there was no tomorrow until they had the Guards backed up to the entrance doors. Suzy said it was like a standoff for a time. Then one of the orderlies, some older big black guy, got between the people and the guards and yelled, ‘Lily goes where Lily wants to go. Either you let her out that door or you will have to deal with me and everyone else here. What are you going to do? Shoot us all? Well, then you better get to shootin’, assholes, because I’m going to open that door for Lily if it’s the last thing I ever do.”
About this time some priest from St. Teresa’s shows up and gets into the mix. He manages to get everyone calmed down somehow. Which Suzy says is no small feat because this Father Timothy can barely talk straight himself. All of a sudden the priest just walks out the door with this Lily and the Guards don’t try to stop either one of them. Suzy had a whole lot more to say about it. That’s what I’ve been listening to from her for the past hour.”
Patrick stared at his wife, shot a glance at Benj then asked, “Did Suzy say anything about what this Lily looked like?”
Denise shrugged. “All Suzy said was that she had snowshoes that looked really old. They weren’t like the ones the sports guys use. They were made out of some kind of wood. Oh, and she was wearing a Hudson Bay Blanket coat.”
Benj sat back in his chair and looked at his brother Patrick who looked back at him. Together they turned to look at Dylan. “You want to tell him or should I, Patrick?”
Dylan frowned. “Tell me what?”
“You can do the honors, Benj. I just put two and two together and I am not liking what I’m thinking.” He caught Denise’s eye and nodded to indicate his approval for her forbearance in dealing with his father.
“Alright already. Tell me what?” Dylan set down his fork and knife and leaned back in his chair with his hands resting on the table.
“Well, you know when we said Stan handed us a load of crap the other morning. I’m beginning to think maybe it wasn’t all bullshit after hearing this Suzy story. He did say that Sarge and a Lily who wears a Hudson Bay coat were both chowing down at the same time at Bob’s about a week before the snow hit. Now Stan made no claim for Sarge actually being hooked up with this crazy broad. What he did say was that Sarge hot footed it out of Bob’s right after she left and in her general direction. That’s all he had on Sarge and her. But you would not believe what he told us about this Lily. Patrick and I weren’t buying a word of it. But now I’m thinking that if this broad is crazy enough to get into it with three National Guards carrying guns, maybe she is crazy enough to get into it with Father Richard about Father John and some other priests. I’m thinking maybe Stan told us some truth while making it sound like shit.”
Staring at some invisible point on the table, Dylan slowly nodded. “Funny thing about all this is that I thought Sarge was handing Nora and me a load of bullshit too when he used this Lily character to get out of here the day after Nora’s birthday dinner. Maybe if we run this Lily down, maybe, just maybe she knows something about Sarge. Or maybe not. She does not sound like a dish he would eat. But it might be worth taking a serious shot at her. Just in case. What else did Stan say about her?”
Patrick laughed. “Said she eats like a pig”
Benj shook his head. “No. He said she eats like a starving pig.”
Patrick, “There’s a difference between how a pig and a starving pig eat?”
“Yeah, there is, jackass, the starving pig is way more hungry than a pig that ain’t starving. If it’s starving enough it gets crazy and eats anything and everything it can, even its piglets.”
“I stand corrected then.”
“Keeping all this in perspective, Stan did say that Sarge was checking this Lily out. And, she was checking him out. So maybe there is a whole lot Stan don’t know about after they both left Bob’s.
Dylan rubbed his forehead. “Could be. You mentioned Father Richard. What’s that all about? Maybe he can give us a lead on this Lily—if, as you say, Stan was telling some truth.”
Patrick looked at Nora then at Dylan. “You sure you want to hear this?”
“Would I ask if I didn’t, Patrick?”
“No. But, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to like it.”
“You don’t want to get in deep shit for telling me what I don’t like. I get it. Okay. Fair enough. With everyone here as my witness, I swear not to dump on the bearer of bad news—whatever it may be. Okay?”
Nora, “Dyl, I’m going to make you keep to what you just said. If you don’t, you’re going to be sleeping alone for a month. Are we clear?”
“Perfectly, Nora. Okay let it rip already.”
Ziyi Zhang – train station fight from The Grandmasters upload by bgblindninja
Eric Burdon – The Animals – “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” upload by TangerineSequel