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“These vignettes, of ordinary lives, glimpsed through the eyes of unforgettable, often quirky characters probe the complexity of what it is to be human, while giving an extraordinary and entertaining read. The stories range from a twin sister’s bus ride encounter, to a 10 year old girl’s diary, shifting gears to explore the mind of a pregnant schizophrenic trying to escape her past and present, to my very favorite, Ms. Collette, which could easily outshine any Twilight Zone or Outer Limits.
….each (story) has a common thread lacing through them – Why are we here? Or more aptly – Where are we going? At times, many of his eccentric characters appear to have a momentary glimpse of the answer, but inevitably, their humanness pushes any potential revelations further away from their grasp…Few writers could tackle such a complex theme and pull it off so completely, time after time in an amazingly entertaining fashion.”
Sally Kale WordBeats, Word Museum’s Reader, March 2003 Word Muse, April 2003
THE DOCTOR’S FILM
Like some archaeological find, frozen in antiquity, Terre Haute, Indiana, surrounded by flat and rich farmland, seemingly disdainful of time, sets.
So it was in July of 1965.
The summer sultry hot, blackboard signs in front of mom and pop grocery stores proclaimed in chalk scrawl: HOT AIN’T IT! Sticky brown fly-strips hung full with dead blue-bottle horse, and gad flies. Weathered clapboard houses, not blessed with air conditioning, emitted hot human smells through open Victorian windows, their white curtains flapping. The blessed cool of night, coming calm in the thick humid air, mixed with the acrid smells of the Pfizer chemical plant, the paper mill and the gents coming to town with their heavy layers of Mennen and Old Spice slurried with the lusty whore house smells on Cherry Street. The Wabash River running muddy green to meet the larger Ohio and Mississippi, where the fragrance of St. Louis and Louisville flow down to the essence of New Orleans, and the larger odors of the Gulf of Mexico mingle with the Atlantic and on out to mix with all Earth’s smells.
As if transmitted from a distant planet, a lethargic late-night radio announcer’s voice crackled: “It’s five minutes past midnight and this is High Country Radio, WTHK AM, Terre Haute, Indiana. Rusty Rhodes here. Good news for you 4th of July barbecue chefs, tomorrow will be a little hot, 91 degrees, but no rain. Right now the mercury stands at 86 and the humidity is 89%. In national headlines, at Wimbledon, Roy Emerson bested Fred Stollie 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. And in-and-about local neighborhood happenings, sad news—internationally renowned surgeon of considerable local fame, Terre Haute’s own Doctor Aaron Ramsey, has become gravely ill. We have a taped phone interview with the doctor’s wife, Agatha Lorleen Ramsey: “Doctor was fine, then, middle of our trip to New Guinea, he became ill. Said he was seeing brown spots...we returned to the States immediately. For the first time in many years, here we are, home for the Fourth of July. Seems like a strange land right here in Terre Haute.”
“In other local news...”
* * * *
Agatha Ramsey leaned forward, snapped off her portable Zenith radio, then rested back on the pink tufted chaise lounge that sat in a small sitting room next to the master bedroom. Dressed in white silk pajamas, she took a Kleenex from a box and blew her upturned nose. Her sensuous full lips dry, she applied a bit of balm, then inspected, in a small hand-held mirror, her eyes—windows of lodestone, bluish gray, strained. She put the mirror down, took her hair brush, and smoothed her sable hair—silky, cut over the forehead in large bangs, the sides clipped to reach the middle of her lobeless ears. Finished, she stood and went to an adjoining bathroom. She carried her sensual slenderness with finishing school deportment and, outwardly, offered an air of intrigue, a sureness that was a striking presence which, one felt, she was pleased that you saw. Her taste in fashion, as she often put it, “Runs from Dior luxury to, oh, on occasion, an exotic lets-try-something-new look.”
Finished with her toilet, as she returned to the chaise lounge, she heard Doctor Ramsey going off on yet another of his incoherent ramblings. “Forceps, scalpel...goddamn it, what is it...suction...swim, Wabash, Frenchman’s Curve, water is warm, come on, take that suit off, get the camera, warm isn’t it, like that, yes, smile, that’s it, yes...”
Agatha made nothing (Doctor had been incoherent for over a week, eight days to be exact, day and night.) of Doctor’s babblings. He often spoke of his swimming in the Wabash as a young boy, had performed thousands of operations. She preferred to remember him as he was: A robust six foot-one, sleek two hundred pounds; Horse to close friends, Doctor to her, when he was alive, vigorous, wanting nothing, forever more.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 192
Paper Weight (lb): 8.4
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