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Here's post #5. Where we go to the end of One (I).

He sighed deeply and let the back of his head fall against the block wall. Sara reached in to poke her hand through the hole. This made him move his head from side to side. The barely perceptible whites of his eyes went whipping back and forth. Sara could see his neck pulsing with perilously restrained excitement. She feared it might be too great a deal for him to hold his mud much longer.
“You’ve been bad, Goldilocks,” he croaked. “Now you must eat all of your porridge.”
“Oh, I will, sir,” Sara replied. She was leaning toward his engaged member when she grabbed a great hand full of underwear, hair, trousers and flesh. She pulled it all down hard.
The man sucked in a huge breath from the shock and pain. As he started to drop, Sara doubled up her right fist and slammed it hard, right into the unprotected center of his solar plexus. This knocked the forthcoming scream right out of him and dropped him to his knees. Spittle sputtered from his reddened face as he gamely tried to catch his runaway breath.
Sara stepped forward. She began rummaging through his pockets. He made a weak grab for Sara’s arm and she responded by pressing a loaded .22 pistol against his sweating forehead.
“I don’t think so,” she told him. She could see how his eyes crossed while he focused hard on the business end of her pistol. “Goldilocks went home,” continued Sara. She pulled back on the hammer. “Now Momma Bear is here,” she told him, “Never fuck with the Momma Bear.”
His face was turning blue. It seemed to Sara as though the older man might even pass out. Nevertheless, Sara kept the pistol firmly planted against his forehead as she fished through his pockets. Sara found and retrieved his wallet. She stepped back a few paces and rifled through it expertly. Sara swiftly tossed hologram smart-cards, credit cards and account access cards over her shoulder saying: “Don’t need it, can’t use it, don’t want it.” Sara knew that a fourteen year-old child could never get a way with using them. They were less than useless. The cards would inexorably lead to an unwanted spotlight. Sara opened up the center of the wallet and found what she was after the whole time: Cash Notes!
The thwarted pedophile was sitting forlornly on the trash strewn ground. He watched with dismay as the young teen he’d believed was going to perform oral on him robbed him of eleven hundred bucks. Sara even helped herself to the big hand full of Note coins from the zipper compartment of his wallet. Sara folded the Notes and stuffed them and the coins deep down into the front pocket of her faded, ripped blue jeans.
“I’m going to take your money and your coat,” Sara told the man. Her hand was holding the pistol on him steady. The older man simply stared at her through his glossy eyes. He knew there was nothing he could do to restore his ego and place some order in his upside down universe. He was wise enough to let it and her go. She dropped the empty wallet into the dumpster. She wagged a disappointed finger at the naughty mister man.
Then she was gone.
Sara went straight for the Lexus and opened the back door. She detected movement from the man, so she looked over her shoulder at him. Harmless, the struggling man was crawling on his hands and knees on the filthy ground. He was busy trying to retrieve all his tossed-about money cards. The man paused in his efforts, every so often, so he could vomit.
Sara reached into the black sedan and grabbed the leather coat. Sara left the alleyway the same way she’d come. She walked quickly through the residential side streets. Sara snuck a frequent peek behind her, but no one followed. Not that she was expecting him to, just that it’s always best to play it safe. Above all things, be safe. That was what she’d learned from her mother.


Sara rested on her heels in the shadows of the apartment complex breezeway. She stared at the back of the old house sitting there. Dr. Fox used the leaning structure with a lop-sided porch as his home and office.
She noted a light on in the kitchen. Sara knew Dr. Fox was up to something.
The street that ran between the apartment complex and the doctor’s house was fairly busy with morning traffic, so Sara had to wait. When it cleared, Sara went quickly across the street to Dr. Fox’s back door. She knocked with a couple of quick raps on the door. It was almost immediately answered by Dr. Fox, himself.
“Hola, Sara,” he said.
“Good morning, Dr. Fox,” Sara replied
The very old man rubbed his hands together vigorously. His long silver hair hung in an uncombed tangled mane that flowed down the center of his back. He had constantly dilated pupils and chronic sweating, despite the cold weather. This confirmed Sara’s suspicion that the kind and proper Dr. Fox had his hands in the medicinal cookie jar. Why else would he sell the non-narcotic samples the drug reps gave him? Most doctors gave them away, as was the intention, but Fox’s habits got in the way. He used the free samples to sell at a discount, thus providing him with a zero overhead cash flow solution to his personal requirements. And the people who needed the medicines the most were the ones most likely to be uninsured or under-insured. They had no choice but to pay Dr. Fox. Then they would, at least, have a shot of getting well. This is especially pertinent with the new killer flu. It’s been spreading like flames through the homeless shelter population of the City.
“How’s your mother feeling?”
“She’s still very ill,” Sara told him.
“Oh,” said the doctor as he smiled, “That’s too bad.”
I’ll just bet.
“I could use some more antibiotics for her lungs,” Sara said instead.
“Of course, of course,” he said. The doctor then indicated that Sara should remand herself to his back porch. Sara was sure she was being kept away from the regular, fully insured patients. Dr. Fox cultivated these patients as if they were rare and fragile tulips.
I sure wouldn’t want to upset the Ruling Class, she thought.
Dr. Fox went forward a couple of meters before stopping abruptly. He slapped his forehead in mock exasperation. He said: “How silly of me, Sara. Tell me; is your dear mother feverish?”
“No,” Sara replied. “In fact, she seems too cold, if anything.”
“I see, I see,” he replied rather thoughtfully. At least, that’s how he hoped to look to Sara. She, on the other hand, could not give a shit about the physician’s intentions. Her mother needs Fox’s meds, and that’s it. “Is she, perhaps coughing anything up?”
“No,” Sara told him, “But I think she needs to.”
“But she won’t cooperate with you?”
“Not a bit,” explained Sara. “My mother claims it hurts too much to cough.”
Your mother’s illness is beginning to present itself like a viral pneumonia, Sara,” he said. “Quite possibly it could even be the very serious one that has been going around recently. Many people have not recovered, so I have to strongly urge you to get your mother to the hospital as soon as possible.”
“I can’t,” she told him. Sara reeled from what he said. She knew he was telling the truth, too. Sara personally knew of several residents of the City who’ve recently died from this illness. The newspapers were dubbing it the Transient Flu. Folks were beginning to drop like flies from it.
Well, the poor, anyway.
“Why in Heaven’s name not?” asked Dr. Fox.
“Mother refuses to wait ten hours in St. Anthony’s overcrowded E.R. waiting area.”
“Just call an ambulance, my dear,” offered Dr. Fox. “Perhaps then she will see the seriousness of her illness and the error of her ways. Riding an ambulance into the E.R. ensures the patient will get priority. Your mother will get to see a doctor right away,” he finished with a helpful smile.
Clearly the drugs you’re taking killed a shit-ton of brain cells.
Sara sighed, trying to keep her frustration in check. She had to get the antibiotics.
“I’ve seen some of the others try to get an ambulance to get them, but they refuse.”
“Refuse? On what grounds do they refuse?” asked Dr. Fox. Maybe he really didn’t know. “I was under the assumption that the ambulance companies had to respond. It’s my understanding this is the law.”
“It may be the law, but no one has been able to force their hand,” Sara informed him. “My guess is that they are too scared to come out to Tent City, Dr. Fox.”
“That’s too bad,” Dr. Fox repeated.
“I appreciate your concern,” replied Sara, “But I still need some antibiotics. Can I get them from you? I can pay.”
“I’m afraid, Sara, that antibiotics will not help your mother rid herself of a viral pneumonia. They just won’t work for what I think she has.”
“Do you have anything that can help her, Dr. Fox?”
“Ah, perhaps,” Dr. Fox replied. He placed his hand, palm up, in front of her. Like a concierge waiting for his tip, the doctor’s indication was crystal clear.
Sara reached into her jeans pocket and retrieved one single one hundred note bill. She handed it over to the doctor. Fox snatched it away. He inspected it closely.
Are you serious? Fucking quack.
“Don’t worry, Doctor,” Sara told him tersely, “The Note I gave you is real legal tender. I’m sure Snowman will take it, no problem.” Dr. Fox looked at her. Sara could see the steam rising. She should have kept quiet. All she accomplished was a delay in getting back to Tent City and her sick mother.
And I’ve got to be all kinds of stupid to mention the doctor’s drug dealer by name. Damn it! I must be slipping.
The face of Dr. Fox turned dark. He looked like he might just disintegrate into a puddle at her feet. She’d never seen him this angry before. Sara feared he might be mad enough to kick her out, never to return. But he didn’t do that. He has her Note and he ain’t giving it back. He clenched his fists. Sara remembered to never turn your back on a junkie; educated and refined, or not. You just can’t trust them. Sara stepped instinctively backward while still keeping an eagle eye on the aged physician. She reached for the .22 in her waistband, gripped it.
After a moment, Dr. Fox got a hold of himself. He calmed down enough to have his darkened face spread into an uneasy grin. Sara let go of her pistol. She returned his smile.
He said, “Yes, well. I um, I mean. Huh… I do believe I can locate a few items that will help to ease your mother’s discomfort. Now if you don’t mind,” he told her, indicating the cold back porch: the servant’s entrance.
“Of course, Dr. Fox,” agreed Sara. “I’ll wait on the porch until you return.”
“Yes, yes, of course, my dear,” he said. “I’ll be right back,” he half-heartedly promised Sara.
I’m sure you will, right after you sniff up some breakfast.
Sara stared at the closed door a moment. Then she went out to the back porch, where it was still cold as shit. Sara sat herself down on a plastic lawn chair. She brought her knees up to her chest and slid her worn jacket over her knees and shins. Her frayed knit cap she tugged down over her numb ears. The long brown top coat she’d lifted from the pervert she wrapped around her like a blanket.
Sara knew she’d pissed Dr. Fox off so royally, that she’d now be forced to wait. Her teeth were chattering and her breath smoking in the cold winter morning.
Sara began to shiver as she waited patiently for her mother’s medicine.