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Death of a Ballerina – Part 6 -

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Greg looked at the ceiling and scratched the back of his head. “So you’re saying that this woman is missing a daughter, who sounds just like our victim, but we can’t interview her until she chunks out the baby?”

The tall doctor shifted in his golf shoes and nodded. “Yes. Her condition seems to be deteriorating rapidly due to the stress. We need to deliver the baby immediately.”

“And how long will that take exactly?” Greg looked down at his watch. It was 2:03pm. Officer Maine had gone in search of hospital surveillance footage. Since Greg had almost completed his investigations training, he was on his own to wrap up the loose ends at the scene.

The doctor peeked at the women’s locker room door to his left. “We already gave her a bag of Ptocin, which will speed things along, but there’s really no way to know. It could be hours. It could be thirty minutes. If she doesn’t make enough progress then we’ll need to do an emergency c-section. But she’s not in favor of that idea so we will wait until it’s absolutely necessary.”

Greg thought for a second before his eyes lit up. “Wait a second. Didn’t you say that she requested a police report a little while ago?”

“Yes.” Dr. Johnson squinted, as if trying to read the hidden meaning behind the question.

“Has anyone come to take her report?” Greg leaned forward in anticipation of the answer.

“Actually, I think that he just arrived.” Dr. Johnson motioned down the hall to an officer standing in front of the Armitage’s room. Clary was guarding the door, and shaking her head.

Greg thanked the doctor for his help, and trotted down the hall. As he walked up, the officer interrupted Clary. “Look, Doctor whatever-your-name-is. I have my orders, and they trump yours.” He slowed his words down as if speaking to a child. “My job is to take a report, and unless you have a justifiable reason why the patient should not make the report, then I have to go get it.”

Greg put a hand on Clary’s rigid shoulder, and she turned in surprise. He recognized the defiant look on her face, and grinned as a childhood memory popped in his mind. A seven-year-old Clary, standing in the doorway of his bedroom was screaming at him for mutilating her Barbie dolls. He had torn several appendages off of the dolls and painted red nail polish in the appropriate places to make the girls wounded from battle. He stopped smiling as he realized that she might actually start screaming again.

“I just spoke with Dr. Johnson, and he explained everything to me.” Greg looked Clary squarely in the eyes, his loud voice bouncing off the pastel green walls. Then turning to the officer, he said, “I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Detective Anderson. Just moved up to investigations.”

The officer looked at the badge and gun hanging from Greg’s black suit pants. He tilted his head thoughtfully, pushed a button on his two-way radio and muttered, “D-26.” Then he extended his hand to Greg and said, “Name’s Davidson. Transferred here from Franklin last year.”

“Is that so? We just lost a guy on C shift to Franklin.” Greg loosened his necktie. “So anyway, this lady in here is missing a daughter. We might have a lead on the case.” He pointed down the hall to the crime scene tape. A look of understanding lit up the officer’s face. Then he frowned.

“So what’s the problem? The lady needs to know, right?” He shrugged and shifted his weight.

“The problem is that the stress of having a daughter who’s missing, “ Clary spat the words out and waved silently towards the end of the hall, knowing full well that the patient and her husband were most likely listening to every word, “has caused her condition to worsen. We are very concerned for the health of the mother and the child.”

The angry words hung in the air for a split second before the door opened and Ronnie stuck his head out in the hall. “S’cuse me folks. My wife was wondering if you’d mind finishing this discussion inside our room. She’s straining to hear everything you say.” He grinned and pulled the door all the way open.

——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-

The plaza in front of the mall held a beautiful fountain. Rose and her mother stopped to sit on a bench in the warm afternoon sunshine.  Ladies bustled behind them pushing strollers and herding children into the sliding glass doors of various stores. Puffy white clouds dotted the sky and the air held delicious scents from nearby restaurants.  Her mother seemed content to watch the water spilling over the terraces of the fountain, but Rose felt restless. She sorted her shopping bags, and tucked two smaller ones inside the largest.

“Mrs. Clayton?” A timid woman’s voice startled Rose out of her organizational reverie.  She turned to her left to see a woman staring over her head at her mother who continued to stare at the fountains. “Professor Clayton,” the woman ignored Rose and stepped closer with her hand outstretched, “you taught my English class in college. Do you remember me? Mrs. Clayton?”

Rose moved quickly to stand. “Hi. I’m afraid that you’re mistaken about my mother.” Rose shifted as the woman looked at her. “She’s never taught English. In fact, she never went to college either.”

The woman frowned and stepped back. Her pink cardigan set perfectly matched her pink high heels. “She looks just like … Well, my goodness, that’s embarrassing. I’m so sorry.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ears and stared at Rose’s mother.

Rose smiled. “No problem. I love your earrings. They really catch the light out here.”

“Oh! Thanks. I found them on sale over there last week.” The woman pointed at a small jewelry store as she turned to walk away. “They’re probably even cheaper now.” She pulled her purse in close to her body and ducked through the stream of customers. Rose watched her melt into the crowd and disappear into a large department store.

Sighing, Rose settled down beside her mother again. The lady was mumbling to herself. Rose leaned in to listen to the tumbling words. “An epic of human frailty and dignity … summation of civilization as a whole … influential despite the …” Her eyes were vacant but the rhetoric flowed from a deep recess within her brain. Rose smiled and reached to pat her hand. “I’m glad to know you’re still in there Professor Clayton. I’ve missed you.” She leaned back against the bench and smiled up at the sunny sky.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Death of a Ballerina -Part 5-

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

“You killed him.” The crazed woman searched the floor as if looking for evidence. She nodded her head, as she crouched in the closet. “That’s why you’re keeping me here. I must be a witness.” She smacked her forehead with the palm of her right hand and lost her balance in the process. She landed on the closet floor and crouched in terror.

Rose sat on the bed after she finished straightening it. The salty tears welled up, stinging her eyes. Despite hundreds of conversations with her mother’s doctors, every fresh taste of insanity felt like a personal blow. She envied her friends who had lost their parents to easy deaths like cancer and heart attacks.

“Why are you keeping me here?” The woman had shifted back into her crouching position. The quick movements did not surprise her daughter. They stared at each other.

“You’re not a prisoner Mama.” Rose hesitated on the word Mama. Sometimes it upset her mother when she realized that she was old enough to have a middle-aged daughter. The woman seemed unruffled this time. Rose pressed on. “Where do you want to go? I’ll take you there myself.”

The woman chewed her bottom lip and rubbed her hands on the carpeted floor. “You’re my daughter then.” She glanced up for a second.

Rose nodded and waited for her mother’s next question. After a few minutes, she looked up again. “You look awful.” Genuine concern showed through the wrinkles of the elderly woman’s face.

Rose gasped and then giggled.  Her merriment seemed out of place against the starkness of the room. She tried to reign in the laughter, which only made her want to burst with it. The air burned in her lungs. Her mother relaxed from her crouch to sit with a bemused expression on her face. For a minute she seemed herself again.

An antique memory washed over Rose. She remembered her mother sitting in a similar position on the living room floor of her childhood home. Her mother’s happiness wafted through the house like a sweet perfume. Wrapping paper had been strewn all over the place. Her dad had smiled behind the 8 mm camcorder and her then teen-aged brother had rolled his eyes. Her mother had always saved the best gifts for last on Christmas morning. She remembered how her hands shook as she unwrapped the present. How many letters had been sent to Santa asking for a talking doll? Underneath the beautiful wrapping paper, she found the doll of her dreams. She ran to her mother squealing with delight.

“You’re right, Mama. I do look awful, and we should go out. Why don’t we fix ourselves up? We can go out to eat. How does that sound?” Rose stood slowly from the bed. The floor creaked as she took a hesitant step towards her mother.

“Sounds like it will take you a lot longer than it will take me.” The gruff voice did not hide the sparkle in her eyes. She reached towards her daughter’s outstretched hand and stood up from the floor. Rose moved to find clothes and underwear for her mother, before excusing herself from the room. She sighed with happiness as she turned on the shower water. Maybe today will be a good day after all.

——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-

The mall parking lot was packed with cars. Rose maneuvered her large Tahoe into a space at least a hundred yards from the entrance. “Sorry Mama. I forgot about Labor Day sales. Looks like there are lots of people here today.”

Her mother didn’t reply. She had a serene look on her face and she was staring at someone in the parking lot. Rose followed her gaze and saw a young girl struggling to open a stroller while keeping a tight grip on her baby.  The girl’s face had flushed to a deep crimson from the heat of the pavement and embarrassment. Rose examined her mother again and felt confidant that the antipsychotic medicine had kicked in. The doctor had been reluctant to prescribe it, because of the increased risk of stroke, but Rose had been persistent with her requests.  She could see the benefits already, only two weeks later. The medicines allowed her to take her mother out in public without fear of embarrassment.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Death of a Ballerina – Part 4 -

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

The rest of the morning was a blur for Clary. Between her regular patient load, the demanding questions from the detectives and the endless chatter from the nurses, she felt utterly drained by lunchtime. In fact, she didn’t even realize that she had missed lunch until she checked in on the Armitages. The couple was older than most of her patients and she was under strict orders to keep a close eye on Honey’s progress.

As the door clicked behind her, she pulled the privacy curtain aside to find the couple crying hysterically over bowls of soup. Mr. Armitage was gripping his wife’s hand. Their sobs had drowned out the noise of Clary’s entry, and she paused at the threshold of the room, uncertain as to what she should do. The pale thin man sat on the edge of the bed, tears streaming down his eyes, while his tan wife alternated between heavy gasps for air and heart wrenching sobs. Her black hair had been pulled up in a ponytail and her face was framed with sweaty tendrils. Clary quickly moved around the bed to check the blood pressure readings.

“Oh. Dr. Anderson. I’m so glad you’re here. This can’t be good for the baby. We just found out that …” the woman let out a strangled cry and took a few jerky breaths. “We just found out that our daughter is missing.”

Clary’s mind reeled. The unidentified girl in the locker room rose up before her mind’s eye. She pushed the thought aside and tried to calm her patient. “Okay. Okay. Take a deep breath. This happens all the time. What do you mean she’s missing? How old is she?” Clary’s forehead wrinkled and she turned to scan the readings on the fetal monitor.

“She’s seventeen years old. And she had a dance recital last night. At my appointment yesterday afternoon, Dr. Johnson discovered my pre-eclam-shuh, and decided to admit me to the hospital. I called Alleson and we worked it out over the phone. She was going to drive her little car over to the recital and then afterwards, she was going to come show me her routine. When she didn’t show up last night, I called her cell phone. But she didn’t answer. Ronnie went home to check on her, and the Focus was still gone. It was close to two in the morning when he got back, and I’d already fallen asleep. This morning, when the nurse came in to check on me, I woke him up, and we realized that Alleson had never called us back. We spent the morning calling her friends, and finally the police. They said that they would send an officer up to take a missing person report.”

Clary shuddered as she connected the dots. The monogram on the girl’s bag flashed before her. AMA. She glanced at the urine test results on Mrs. Armitage’s chart, and moved to check her blood pressure by hand. Her eyebrows rose as she measured 168/110. She moved to check the lady’s reflexes, while trying to keep up the conversation. “Mrs. Armitage, how many children do you have?” Clary knew the answer to the question already, because it was written in the chart.

“I have one teenaged daughter. And I had one miscarriage when Alleson was three years old.” The woman grabbed her beach ball sized abdomen and grimaced in pain. Her husband wiped sweat off of his brow. Clary placed a reassuring hand on the hospital gown, feeling the tightness of the contraction. She lifted the gown and adjusted the fetal monitor to locate the baby’s heartbeat.

“They shared the same father. We divorced ten years ago.” Mrs. Armitage looked over at her new husband and smiled weakly. “Ronnie and I wanted to have a child of our own. He has been dying to see his new son. I keep telling him that in three weeks, when the baby won’t stop crying, he’s going to wish he could put him back in here again.”

Clary smiled at the joke, and weighed the options in her mind. She told the Armitages that she needed to consult with Dr. Johnson about the next course of action. The concern in her face was obvious. The couple looked at her nervously. Ronnie licked his lips. “What’s the matter, Doctor?”

“I’m a little concerned about that blood pressure.” She admitted. “I think you might get to hear your son crying sooner than you expected.”

The couple exchanged glances before Ronnie spoke again. “Can we wait for Alleson? She really wanted to be here for this. Maybe she’s just upset because we missed the recital. She probably went to Lilly’s house. We don’t know her phone number.”

Clary looked down at the floor and struggled to keep a poker face. “Let me speak with Dr. Johnson before we make any decisions Mr. Armitage.” She forced a smile and placed the chart back in the slot on the wall. Then moving quickly, she went to page Dr. Johnson.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Death of a Ballerina -Part 3-

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

A thin crack ran through the corner of the windowpane, but Rose stared through it without noticing. Her knuckles were white as she gripped a dripping plate over the sink full of dishwater. Two birds soared effortlessly across the blue sky. She tried to focus on the plate or the birds. The kitchen radio was blaring out oldies tunes, but her mind kept straying to the sounds coming from her mother’s room. The screams and pitiful cries were heartbreaking.

Experience had been more of a drill sergeant than a teacher as Rose learned to care for her aging mother. A series of strokes had rendered the frail woman paralyzed on the left side of her body. The doctors were excited to see her regaining the use of her limbs after a year’s worth of physical therapy, but Rose was not so hopeful about this new development. Her mother’s mind had been changed permanently. More importantly, her personality had been changed permanently.

Rose sighed. It’s been thirty minutes. I should go check on her again. She rinsed the plate off and stuck in on the drying rack. After tossing the towel back on the counter, she grimly moved up the stairs towards her mother’s room.

The hollow door rattled as she knocked on it and she didn’t bother to wait for an answer. The smell of medicines and mothballs filled the room. Her mother was squatting on the closet floor, hugging her left arm close to her body. She looked up at Rose with horror stricken eyes. “He’s dead. He’s dead. He’s dead.” Her threadbare pajamas hung loosely around her emaciated frame. Her shoulder length gray hair was matted to one side of her head. Rose moved silently to make up her mother’s bed.

——- ——- ——- ——- ——– ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-
Clary’s voice sounded small in the echoing locker room. Officer Maine stood a few feet away listening to her version of the morning’s events. “After the initial shock had worn off, I realized that there was no blood. It seemed strange to me. Her tights are soaked in urine, which most likely occurred after her death. But the only traces of blood that I could see were at the roots of her hair.”

She gestured towards the crusted blood. “I think that she was yanked from behind at some point.”

Greg cleared his throat. “Did you notice anything odd about the room? Was it the same as usual?”

Clary paused to consider the question. She twirled one of the buttons on her coat. “All four of the bathroom stall doors were open. Usually some of them are open and some are closed in a random sort of way.” She looked around the room. “I noticed that the girl didn’t have a cell phone or a wallet in her bag. She didn’t even have keys or an iPod or anything. Only those clothes and the teddy bear.”

Detective Maine broke in with a raspy voice, “What do you make of this costume? The tutu, the sequins … why would she come to the hospital dressed like that?”

“Most likely someone went into labor, and she hurried away from whatever she was doing. Some kind of performance, I guess … a dance recital, maybe. It’s actually pretty common to see all sorts of costumes and uniforms on this floor. People never seem to have babies when you’d expect them to.” Clary offered a tiny smile. “I’ve seen kids in little league uniforms, a hoop skirted museum tour guide, and even a dancer of a more … um, exotic nature.” Her voice trailed off.

Greg looked at her curiously. “I thought you just started here last week. When did you see all of that?”

“Well, I meant over the past few years. I’ve spent a lot of time on the maternity floor. Just not in this hospital.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “And I spent a month here, last October.”

“That’s great.” Officer Maine tapped his pencil against his notepad. “How do you think she got here?”

Clary looked up at him in surprise. “I suppose she came in through the stairwell next door. The nurses claim they never saw her. I don’t know. What do you think?”

Officer Maine smiled. “Well, how trustworthy are the night nurses in your opinion?”

Clary chewed on her lip before answering. “Each night there’s a different group of people. And I haven’t met everyone yet. I’m still getting to know the staff.” She glanced at her fingernails. They were getting too long. “But I can’t imagine a sparkling ballerina walking past the nurses’ station without the hens clucking about it all night. It would have made interesting conversation. Someone would have noticed.”

“She’s right about that, Maine.” Greg’s eyes were bright. “I bet someone saw her coming in the door. A costume like that would be hard to forget.”

“Assuming she came in last night, after regular visiting hours, how would she get here?” Maine had his pencil ready for Clary’s response.

“She would have come in through the emergency department, and then headed towards the main elevators. She probably saw the signs for the stairwell and walked up to the third floor.”

“And then I suppose she just fell over and died?” Maine said sarcastically. He scribbled something illegible in his notepad. “Anderson, make sure the forensics team sweeps the stairwell, before they leave.”

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Death of a Ballerina – Part 2 -

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Tanjia ended her conversation with the dispatcher and snapped the cell phone shut. She glared at the phone before stuffing it back in her pocket. Then turning towards Clary, she said, “The police are on their way. Stupid woman asked if we needed an ambulance. Then she asked if the girl died of natural causes. Where do they get these people?” She shook her head in amazement and examined the ceiling.

Clary turned towards her locker and considered the warm dry scrubs inside. Hesitating, she glanced down at the body. The girl’s stage make-up stood out brightly against the grey-white flesh. Changing in this room didn’t sound very appealing, but a bathroom down the hall would be just fine. She fumbled with the lock, trying to get the combination right on the first try. Tanjia stood with her hand on the doorknob, watching Clary. Her face reflected a certain amount of distrust.

“I’m just getting a change of clothes,” Clary said. She was surprised at how small her voice sounded. After removing the scrubs and tennis shoes, she shoved her purse and umbrella inside. Her fingers slipped and the door slammed shut. The sound echoed through the quiet room, sending chill bumps up her arms.

Both women were visibly relieved to leave the crime scene. They walked together in silence. At the hall’s four-way intersection, Tanjia turned right and moved behind the nurses’ station. Clary listened as she called out the details of the ordeal to the other nurses nearby. She turned left, in a daze and found her way to the visitors’ restroom.
——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——- ——-

Greg Anderson stood in the hall, holding a cup of coffee and imagining the events of the night before. Three forensics experts were inside the locker room processing the scene, and after ten years of experience in law enforcement he knew to stay out of their way. Detective Maine stood nearby, questioning the nurse who had called 911. The stairwell door opened behind Greg, and he reflexively put his hand on his holster as he turned around. His eyes widened in surprise and he let go of his cup of coffee.

Clary paused in the doorway and they stared at each other without speaking. Her long white coat and green scrubs sent a startling revelation through his brain.

“What are you doing here?” He squatted to pick up the coffee cup, and struggled to make sense of her unexpected presence. “The last time I talked to you, back in March, you said you were moving to Florida, right?”

A sigh escaped from Clary’s lips and she shifted her weight awkwardly. “I … well, I lied to you.” She studied the top of her brother’s head as he wiped up the coffee, looking for any thinning of his dark hair. “It seemed the best thing to do at the time. The weekend before match day, you eloped with Regina. Mom told me about it while we were waiting for my match results. I was so numb that I didn’t even hear my name when it was read from the podium. All of my friends were staring at me. It was like a nightmare. That evening when you called, I couldn’t tell you that I’d be living here in Columbia. I wanted to scream at you or throw something. But you just pretended that nothing had happened.”

“Anderson!” Greg was still crouching to wipe up the last of the spilled coffee but he turned in the direction of the greasy senior detective.

“Stop flirting with that pretty doctor.” Maine grinned at Clary. “Do you have any questions for Ms. Williams before she goes home?”

Greg stood up and looked his sister in the eye. “Can we talk about this later? I want to work this out. But I’m on the job right now.”

Clary twirled one of the buttons on her coat. “Yeah. Sure. Let’s talk about it later.” Her hands shook as he walked away. She looked down at the charts in her hands, and struggled to remember where she had been heading when she walked through the stairwell door.

For more installments see the novel index. All posts and pages on this blog are the exclusive property of Citystreams; Copyright 2006-2008; All rights reserved.

Flamebroiled Donuts

We went to Sunday School today with Hubster’s family. His dad teaches the class, and today the lesson was on choosing to please God when it means displeasing men. Specifically, the lesson was applied to a work situation where an employee must go against his boss’s wishes in order to please God. The text was taken from the book of Daniel, and it focused on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who refused to worship the statue of their boss, King Nebuchadnezzar.

Later, after Sunday School, during the offering in the service, I wrote a little note to Hubster. “Where was Daniel when his friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were all thrown into the furnace?” I scribbled it quickly onto the paper, before passing it over to Hubs. He glanced at the note, pulled out his pen and immediately began writing his answer. Now, I’d puzzled over this question by myself for twenty minutes, so I was a little miffed that he knew the answer so quickly. I chalked it up to his private Christian school education and leaned over to read what he was writing. He shielded his answer with his hand as he continued and cast me a devious grin.

So I waited. Eventually, he finished chicken scratching on my church bulletin and I was allowed to read what he wrote:

“Daniel had to run down to the Krispy Kreme to get breakfast for his Sunday School class. He got back just as the fire was starting to die down.”

Two points for Christian school! Does anybody else have an answer?

Boy Trouble

Baby *Bri has three older cousins and we’re in the middle of a wild family visit. Tonight, her oldest cousin *Indiana Jones (6 years old) played a little joke on his younger brother, *Percy (2 years old). After all four kiddos had been put to bed, Indy decided it would be funny to make Percy wet his pants. So he stuck a sippy cup down his brother’s pajama pants while Percy was standing in the pack n’ play. All of the adults were downstairs talking about boring things while this occurred.

Indy’s excited squeals of laughter, instantly brought his Daddy running up to the kids’ room. He frantically called his wife to come upstairs and survey the damage. Percy’s sheets were soaked and his pants were dripping wet. Both boys just thought this was hilarious! Of course, with three play pens in use around this zoo house, there’s a shortage of clean sheets immediately available. The adults downstairs exchanged worried glances, as we listened to the scene unfolding.

My sister-in-law sleuthed out that the sippy cup had caused the accident, but could not find it in the play yard. We were relieved to hear her laughter, echoing down the hallway, when she finally discovered the Holy Grail tucked in Percy’s PJ’s! “How did Percy’s cup get down his pants?” she giggled from the doorway. Little Indy just flashed her a sly grin.

It seems that the kiddos are on a constant crusade for fun around here. It’s an adventure just to be around them!

PS: * In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t do real names on this site. My sister-in-law would never let her husband name her child Indiana Jones. Or Hans Solo. Or Darth Vader. Although, my brother-in-law just might have asked her at one point or another. He is a big fan of George Lucas.

the view from the front of the room…

Today my sixth period class had to take a test. It’s a class full of upperclassmen and half of them are seniors. We have had lots of cases of senioritis over the past few weeks. As a result, the students in this particular class have been receiving a little bit more slack than I usually give. I know that they are having trouble staying motivated since they have already completed enough of the year to graduate. At this point they are coasting through the last few weeks of the semester.

Anyway, I passed out the test and the class was beautifully quiet (a rare occurrence among high strung teenagers). I could hear the pencils scratching over the paper and I could feel the palpable tension as my students sweated over this chapter, which they probably forgot to study.

Then, with the sudden force of a radio coming on as a car starts, a cellphone rang. The owner of the cellphone looked up at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look of sheer panic. But in a flash she had wiped the panic off of her face and she started coughing loudly to cover the jazzy music coming from her purse. Her classmates, who had all turned to stare, recognized the gesture and like a chorus from a Shakespearean play, they all chimed in with their coughing too.

It was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen. Fifteen students sat coughing with all the strength they could muster. It all happened in the briefest flash of time. They banded together so quickly and so forcefully that I couldn’t contain my laughter. I desperately tried to pull together a straight face. Then, as quickly as it had started, it was all over. The girl patted her throat and announced that she must have had one of those “extremely contagious 2 minute bugs.”

I was too amused to take the phone away from her. I simply pretended that nothing out of the ordinary had happened at all.

Update: The next day, during sixth period, my phone rang unexpectedly. I recognized the sound and at the same instant a brilliant idea invaded my brain. I started coughing as loudly as possible and I walked over behind my desk to pull out my ringing phone. The whole class stared at me while I made a fool out of myself, but I continued undaunted with my obnoxious coughing, all while fiddling with my phone. After I had silenced it, I cleared my throat, walked back to the center of the room and looked them seriously in the face before saying, “I must have had that same two minute bug that y’all had yesterday.”

I tell you what, they DIED laughing. It was fabulous. Then the questions started chiming in. “But Mrs. Citystreams, I thought you didn’t realize it!” “Did you know who’s phone it was?”

I walked over to the guilty girl’s desk and said, “of course I knew that it was your phone!” They were so shocked. It seems that they think me either really stupid or really deaf.

Conversations with the Hubster

This afternoon, we had a few errands to run as a family. As a result, we spent a little longer than usual in the car, and had some interesting conversations.
This first one took place as we were driving out of the McDonald’s parking lot. We’d swooped through the drive through to get beverages, since we were parched.

Hubs: I think McDonald’s Coke tastes better than regular Coke. But I wonder if that’s just because I associate it with their fries, which really are better than everybody else’s fries.
Me: You really think that you can taste the difference between McDonald’s Coke and Coke from somewhere else?
Hubs: Oh yeah! I mean, it’s easy to tell the difference between canned Coke, 2 liter Coke and fountain drinks.
Me: Right, but could you tell the difference between, mmm… say … a gas station’s fountain drink and a McDonald’s fountain drink?
Hubs: As long as it was Coke. Yeah. I think so.
Me: Hmm! We should do an experiment. We could drive around and get Cokes from three different gas stations and then go get Cokes from three different McDonald’s and then we could test you to see if you could consistently tell the difference, while you were blindfolded or something.
Hubs:Yeah that would be fun.

(Short pause. Then we both looked at each other and started howling with laughter.)

Hubs: When would we ever have that much free time? We’d have to be bored out of our minds!
Me:I know, right?
Hubs:But if we’d thought of that back when we were kids, we probably would have done it. It would have been fun too!
Me: Well, at least we don’t see any boring times up ahead in our future.

Later on, after we’d run our errands, we headed over to have a nice dinner at one of the local chain restaurants with our recently engaged friends. As we pulled in the parking lot, we both noticed an unusual quietness coming from the back seat.

Me: I think the baby fell asleep.
Hubs: Oh no! She’s going to cry when we wake her up!
Me: I know.
Hubs: Can we just eat out here? Please?
Me: In the parking lot?
Hubs: Yeah, why not? Hey, we can get take out!

Sleeping Beauties

This morning, I startled awake at 6:22 am because my alarm clock did not turn the radio on. I rushed into the nursery where Hubster had already whisked the Brimeister out of her crib to change her diaper. Glancing around, I realized that I could still make it to school on time since he was helping. When I explained all of this to him, as I headed backwards towards the bathroom, he started chuckling.
“You do realize that it’s Saturday, right?” he said with wonder. Cheesy! I thought to myself. So it is.
We enjoyed watching the sun come up as a family and everyone had breakfast. Then we plopped down in the living room. Bridoodle is on a blanket on the floor. She’s almost ready to start scooting around. She’s fascinated by the Cheeto’s bag. She likes to crumple it. So I put it close to her but just out of her reach. She was adorable, trying to swim towards the bag. I can tell that she’s been watching the older babies crawl around at daycare, because she moves her arms and legs in a flurry of excitement and then gets frustrated when she doesn’t actually move.
Hubby laid down on the couch to watch, and slowly his breathing became rhythmic. Then the dog curled up by my side and dozed off. Now Bri, has fallen asleep as well on her blanket. Such a sweet peaceful Saturday morning. I’m so thankful that it’s not a school day!


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