â€œI donâ€™t know. You tell me.â€
â€œSheâ€™s obsessed with puzzles, O.K. She always wants to put them together. Her whole life, sheâ€™s enjoyed putting them together.â€
Thereâ€™s a scream from the bathroom. â€œStop it! Youâ€™re hurting me!â€
Just then, Bob arrives with the Nembutal. â€œYou called?â€ Bob smirks.
I give him â€œthe lookâ€ to shut up.
Bob looks away. â€œWhereâ€™s Dan?â€
â€œIâ€™m in here.â€ Dan is straining. â€œNurse, I think weâ€™re gonna need your help.â€
â€œIâ€™ve never seen her like this,â€ Mr. Stevensâ€™ voice trails off.
I rush into the bathroom again. Ruth looks tired and is still bleeding from her feet. She turns to us. â€œPlease, help me.â€
â€œThatâ€™s what weâ€™re here for, Ruth, but youâ€™ve got to listen to us, dear.â€
Bob prepares the shot behind me. â€œYeah, Ruth we just need you to cooperate.â€ He approaches with the needle.
At the sight of the needle, Ruth screams. â€œNooo! I donâ€™t want it. Take it away. Help me!â€ She draws her arms and hands to her body, stiffens, and closes her eyes. â€œRobert, Robert, Robert, Robert.â€
Bob steps closer. “Is she calling me by my Christian name?” Bob asks.
“No,” I say. “That was her first husband’s name.”
Bob shrugs. “Geez. I feel like I’m about to stick my own mother.”
Dan and I try to turn her over. â€œRobert!â€ she interrupts her chanting with one loud call for help. She pulls away and begins to bloody my arms with her hands. Finally, we turn her over, and I feel something pull in my back. Bob approaches and sticks her in the buttocks with the needle and releases the Nembutal.
She screams again; we release her, and back away. â€œO.K., it wonâ€™t be long now. I give her 2 minutes, and sheâ€™ll be out cold,â€ Bob says.
As we watch, Ruth wobbles unsteadily, and her eyes begin to close. As she fades, I kneel beside her and support her head to keep it from banging against the tub.
Dan turns over her hands, still gripping the pieces of glass tightly as if treasuring diamonds. He wraps them in gauze. â€œBob, push the stretcher over here, will ya?â€ Dan finishes weaving the blue gauze around her feet and hands, now resembling blue stumps. Both men lift her, place her on the stretcher, and strap her down, securing her in case she awakens. The stretcherâ€™s wheels screech as the three of us begin to leave.
I stop at the door.
Dan turns his head, â€œsomething wrong?â€
â€œGo ahead without me. Iâ€™ve got to get some answers.â€