Here is a sample of my newest book, The Tucson Prophecy, to be released this October. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
“Mr. O’Conner, it’s good to meet you,” the doctor said, extending his hand.
Jimmy shook his hand without saying anything, but that didn’t seem to matter much, as the doctor didn’t skip a beat.
“Your sister has told me so much about you,” the doctor continued.
Jimmy wasn’t one for small talk, and he didn’t much care for hospitals. In fact, the only person in the whole world who could get him to set foot in one voluntarily was lying in a hospital bed in the next room.
“How bad is it, doc?”
“Straight to the point, I see. O.k. Well, Mr. O’Conner, your sister is in the advanced stages of heart failure. As you probably already know, she had a VAD – a ventricular assist device, put in last year. However, the disease has progressed since that time, and…”
“Just the bottom line, doc, please.” Jimmy hated long explanations.
The doctor smiled mechanically before continuing.
“Of course. I’m afraid that, unless we are able to find a heart donor, she has between two to four months left to live.”
Jimmy nodded his head up and down.
“And where could we find one of these donors?”
“Well, there is an organization called the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, which maintains a list of all patients in need of an organ transplant. When a new organ becomes available, they match things like blood type, tissue type, size of the organ, and a number of other things in order to find a suitable donor. Your sister has been on the donor candidate list for over a year. If a heart becomes available, she will be one of the top candidates. Unfortunately, there is no certainty that a heart will become available in time, or that she will be the candidate selected to receive the heart.”
Jimmy nodded his head up and down.
“You already discussed all of this with my sister, correct?”
“Yes, yes, of course. At this point it is simply a waiting game, Mr. O’Conner. We’ll keep her as comfortable as we can, and have her ready if a heart should become available. We’ll be sending her home in a few days, since there’s nothing more we can do for her here at this time.”
“Thanks for the update, doc.”
Jimmy knocked on the door to his sister’s room and cracked it open a bit.
“O.k. if I come in?”
“Jimmy. Come on in,” came a weak reply from his sister.
He went in the room and looked at his sister, who was smiling ear to ear at the sight of him. He felt his heart sink when he saw how pale she was, but he didn’t allow himself to show any emotion other than a slight smile.
“Do you like the flowers I sent you?” he said, as he motioned to the bouquet sitting on the window sill.
“Yes. You know lilies are my favorite. Thank you, Jimmy.”
“Nothin’ but the best for you, Sis.”
He stared at her for a moment before continuing. As far as he was concerned, Sarah was his only family. She was his half-sister. They shared the same mother, and she had passed away five years ago, God rest her soul. Sarah’s father had died two years after that. As for Jimmy’s father – if the bum was still alive, he didn’t care to know about it. No, Sarah was it, and he would do anything in the world for her – anything.
“Did the doctor talk to you, Jimmy?”
“Yeah, he did.”
“It doesn’t look too good for me, Jimmy.”
“Yeah… I know.”
“I want to be buried beside mama, in Chicago.”
Jimmy felt a catch in his throat, but he stopped it before a sound escaped his lips and pushed the thought out of his head.
“If it comes to that, I’ll make sure it happens. You can count on it.”
“Thanks, Jimmy. I know I can always count on you. Come here.”
He walked over to her bedside and she picked up one of his hands and held it in hers. She looked up at Jimmy before continuing.
“I want you to promise me one more thing, Jimmy.”
“Sure thing, Sis, you name it.”
“I want you to get out of Chicago and start a new life… away from the business.”
Sarah never did like to say the word ‘mob’. Whenever she mentioned it, she always used the word ‘business’. Jimmy always knew she didn’t approve, but she never said so to his face, never talked down about what he did for a living. The closest she ever came to it was saying, “Jimmy, you’re better than that. I know you. You’re a good person inside.” He’d thought long and hard about it, too – about starting over. He’d saved up some money, but it wasn’t quite enough to get out. The Chicago Mob didn’t exactly approve of people getting out of the business. It would require a new face, a new identity, a new job, and not just for him – for both of them. Because if he left, they would come to her to get him back, and then whack them both.
Truth be told, he was tired of the life. He wasn’t a young man any more, and being an enforcer with the mob required a certain physicality that was better suited to a younger man. Still, at fifty years old, he was in good shape. He ate good, exercised regularly, and combined with his impressive natural size and physique, he was able to keep up and do what was required. But how long could he keep it up? Another ten years? Maybe, if he didn’t get injured or killed because he was losing his touch or getting too slow to react in a fight. He’d been waiting for the right time, and for Jimmy, with everything that was going on with his sister, now was the right time.
“You mean that, Jimmy? You’re not just sayin’ that because I’m dyin’?”
“Yeah, I mean it, Sis. I’ll get out, like you want.”
“Is it something you want for you, Jimmy?”
He paused a moment before responding.
“I’ve been thinkin’ about it, and yeah, I think I want it for me, too. It’s no life to grow old in, not doin’ what I do. Besides, I got a lot to make up for so I can see you in heaven.”
Sarah smiled, and Jimmy smiled back at her.
“Thank you, Jimmy. Thank you.”
By the look on her face, it seemed like a great weight had lifted off of her shoulders. She seemed to be at peace. It made Jimmy feel good.
He left the hospital and drove across the street to a strip-mall where there was a Chinese restaurant called, The Little Dragon. He settled down into one of the booths and ordered a General Tso combo with egg-drop soup. He thought about the conversation he had just had with his sister, mulling over the details of what he would need to do to get out of the life while he waited for his meal to arrive. When it finally came, he wasn’t very hungry.
He ate about half of the meal before giving up and signaling the waiter for the check. While the waiter was gone getting his change, he opened the fortune cookie and popped it into his mouth, and then he read the fortune. Suddenly, he stopped chewing. Staring up at him from the small piece of paper he had just extracted from the cookie were the words of the fortune:
Save the girl, and your sister will live.
Copyright 20016 – C.L. Wells – all rights reserved.