Anne Caryl

Page eleven
A Christmas Poem
Merry Christmas. Are you kidding me?
About Me
The Gold Train Connection
Back to Reason
Virtual Art Gallery



From the corner tub in their master bath, Macie saw her husband sprawled on his back on the king-sized bed. The green comforter pulled up to his chin, he snored loudly.

They’d turned off the phone ringer and the answering machine greeted callers. For the first hour they paced the living room, frequently glancing at the caller ID, but they didn’t recognize many names so they left the machines to themselves.

The water lapped at the tub’s edge, spilling over when Macie stretched her legs. She laid back, submerging in peach-scented bubbles, breathing deeply. The bath was her refuge. Sometimes she bathed by candle light. Sometimes she dozed in the tub. But now Phil was there, on the bed, and she longed to feel him next to her.

Macie stepped out of the tub, into a chenille robe, and crawled under the comforter with Phil. She nudged him and he turned on his side. “Spoons,” she muttered, curling to him. She liked to sleep like spoons.

Tuesday was blustery and Macie and Phil decided to stay in. Sorkin said the clinic would re-open Wednesday. Phil called the Re/Max office and told them he’d see them tomorrow. He couldn’t put work on hold longer than that; he had a condo nearly sold, and the buyer was ready to sign. Macie curled up on the couch with an afgan she’d been crocheting for months.

“Darn. My fingers don’t want to work.”

Phil peered over his book. “I know how they feel.”

“Something’s wrong, Phil. It’s too quiet.”Macie laid the square of peach yarn in her lap.

“Come on, Mace. You sound like a ‘B’ western. I’m spooked, too, but I’m glad the phone isn’t ringing off the hook any more. What else do you want to happen?”

“I don’t…Phil, there was a suicide. . . a death. You’d think someone would want to know. Why aren’t the news people still calling? Everything’s too normal.”

Phil closed the book, put it on the floor next to his chair and pushed his glasses back on his head. “So, you want to be a star.”

“That’s not funny. You know what I mean.”

“You mean that what’s monumental in your life should be a crisis everywhere. You know what? There are so many deaths in Denver every week, the police don’t have time to spend on one that’s clearly not a homicide. Not unless they think Steve Voight’s wife held him down and dug his eyes out herself, then let him lie there and die of shock and blood loss.”

“You can really be a jerk.” Macie pulled her knees up to her chest and glared at her husband.

“Okay. Then you tell me what’s going on that the police or the media would be interested in. I mean, aside from the Right-to-Lifer’s protest.”

“I don’t know. I just . . . Phil, it’s too much, the protests and then Steve Voight just…”

“There was an unsuccessful surgery and the guy got depressed over it and killed himself. Sad, but I’ll bet it happens somewhere every day.”

“Somebody died, Phil. Somebody we knew. You can’t just make it go away. You can’t just . . . ”

“You’ve seen death before. You work with it. I’m not talking about the women with cancer you see, but even the babies . . . ”

“Stop. You stop right now. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Yes you do.”

“Not if you’re going to start picking on me again.”

“Picking on you? Look, Mace, that stuff Sunday was scripted by the pro-life people. You’re jumpy because of Voight’s death. There’s no connection between the two.”

“I suppose, but why the same day?”

“Coincidence. They’re introducing that partial -birth amendment this week and the Right-to Life people want to get into the spotlight. That’s why they picketed. Voight? Who knows?”

“But on Sunday? It isn’t right. I hate them for that. Other people will too. It’s not . . . ”

“Right. I know. Sundays are supposed to be Sabbath or something. Those guys are idiots. They think even negative publicity is better than no publicity.”

“And you think that’s all there is to it?”

“What more? That guy the FBI’s hunting . . . Rudolph? He’s a nutcase, but he has a following. There are lots of wack-o’s out there trying to be like him. They just never targeted your clinic before. You’re going to have to watch your backside for a while now.

And if you can’t, I’ll watch it. Heck, I’ll even volunteer to watch it. I’ll pay you to let me watch it.”

Macie threw the half-done afghan at her grinning husband. “Fine. So I’m paranoid. But I’m really scared, Phil.”

He picked up the throw, yarn hanging from dropped stitches, and laid it gently in Macie’s lap. “I know, Honey. I am, too. Just not of the same things.”

Macie peered into his face, but couldn’t read his expression. “What are you scared of?”

He gave a half-smile and walked into the kitchen with his empty coffee cup.

It was noon when the doorbell rang and Phil opened the door to Terry Eastman, his friend from the Christian radio station.

“Something came across my desk I thought you ought to see,” the reporter said, slipping out of his blue windbreaker.

Phil took the coat and motioned his friend to a chair. Macie stood and laid her project on the ottoman.

“Can I fix you some lunch? I was just going to get something for us,” she lied.

“Hey, thanks. That’d be great.”

Macie felt his eyes follow her as she retreated to the kitchen.

“Phil, did you guys see the late news last night?”

Macie heard the hesitation in her husband’s voice. “You mean the protesters? Yeah. The jerks. Had Mace scared out of her shoes. Wonder what the psychos had in mind afterward… cookies, cocoa and debriefing?”

“They went to Thornton.”

Macie peeked around the corner in time to see Terry pull out a photograph and hand it to Phil. “Dr. Rose’s place. Firebombed.”

“Anyone hurt?” Phil talked softly; Macie heard anyway.

“The janitor’s kid was sleeping in an examination room. He couldn’t get her out. And the building’s a total loss. Client records, everything.”

Macie’s hand shook and the tray fell to the floor.          







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Anne Caryl
504 East Furry St.
Holyoke, Co. 80734