Missing Pieces – Part 5

He turns off the TV, fiddles with the remote control to his easy chair, and slowly raises his chair up. “Look, she dropped a glass and picked it up and . . . Geez, I don’t know.” He shrugs and frowns then shakes his head. “All I could hear was her talking about her pieces.”

Mrs. Townsend screams from the bathroom. “All right,” I say. “We’ll come back to that.” I hold up my hand. I know I need to get back to Mrs. Townsend. “Give me a minute.”

I make my way back into the bathroom. Mrs. Townsend is beginning to hyperventilate again.

“Help me,” she says. She pries her hands apart, holds them up to her face, and studies them. “What happened to my pieces?” She turns to me. “Why are they hurting me?”

“Mrs. Townsend, those aren’t your pieces, honey.” I kneel beside the tub and pat her on the back. “That’s glass.”

She frowns. “I don’t understand.” She begins to cry.

I keep rubbing her back. Geez. What’s taking the EMTs so long? I wonder. She needs to get to a hospital.

The Corral Reef Operator always dispatches an ambulance for community calls, and the EMTs usually take about 10 minutes after the call has been placed. I check my watch. It’s been 15 minutes already. I lower my head and make eye contact with Mrs. Townsend. “Honey, I’m gonna need your cooperation.”

“What do you want?” She rocks back and forth, her hands still cupped.

“I just need you to open your hands so I can see your cuts. We need to stop the bleeding.” I put the black towel on her lap and reach to pull her hands apart.

She shrugs me off. “I’ve got to keep my pieces.”

“The pieces will be fine. We’ve got to stop the bleeding, honey.” I reach for her wrist.

“Stop.” She pulls away again. She’s surprisingly strong. I use a little more force. “Nooo,” she screams. Then, I hear the EMTs in the other room, talking to Mr. Stevens. “Guys, we’re in here,” I scream. Two male EMTs quickly rush in.

A squat, young man smiles. “Did somebody call?”

“O.K., gents.” I pull them aside and take them into the hallway to discuss Mrs. Townsend’s condition without alarming her. “She’s got abrasions on her feet and hands and is resisting aid. She’s delusional and is exhibiting signs of shock. I think we need to give her an injection of Nembutal. She’s not gonna go anywhere unless we can get her sedated.”

“O.K., Bob, it’s your turn,” the squat EMT says. “Run and get the stuff.”

Bob looks at the squat EMT with some animosity. Bob puts his hands on his hips.

“It’s your turn, man,” the squat EMT says again. “You know it is. Go on, get going.”

Bob rushes off in a huff.

Then, I remember Jack Stevens. “Can you attend to her while I talk to her husband?” I ask the squat EMT.

“Sure,” he shrugs. “No problem. I can handle her.” He snaps on his latex gloves.

As I turn to leave, Ruth’s eyebrows furrow; she frowns and begins to sob again.

I come back to her side. “Ruth, I’ve got somebody who’s going to help you. This is . . . “ I turn to look at the EMT.

“Dan,” he says.

“This is Dan. He’ll take care of you.”

“O.K.,” Ruth sniffles.

I walk into the living room to talk to Jack. He’s turned the TV back on. “What’s going on Jack? Why isn’t your wife cooperating?”

“I don’t like your tone.” Jack puffs up his chest up in defiance. “What? Do you think I’ve done something?”

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories