Andrea Tomlinson sat quietly next to the aisle in the dirty bus. An empty seat sat to the left of her. She sat near the center of the bus. She never liked sitting too close to the front or the back. She watched as the driver of the bus bounced up and down and left and right listening to tunes that bled into his ears from earphones. He seemed a little too happy to be driving a city bus in a depressed little town like Kingsboro.
Kingsboro was always a podunk little town stuck in the south central palm of Michigan. Jobs were moving out and economy was quickly getting worse. The residents fought over the reason. It was the president, it was the governor, it was killer bees from Mexico—Andrea really didn’t care why the town was falling apart she was only interested in finding a job.
Through the large bus windshield she watched as a young man, cute from a distance of 20 yards, stood at a bus stop. He had his hands in his pockets and watched as the bus approached. Andrea noticed his hair was trimmed short and he wore an ironed shirt and pants. They were not starched but neat.
“He looks like a recent military veteran,” she thought. That gave him extra cuteness points.
The bus stopped with a jolt and the front door opened. The man— the young veteran walked in and immediately smiled.
“Did he see something he liked?” She thought curiously then it hit her. She was staring at the man. He thought she like him. She looked down at her naked knees. She adjusted her short red skirt and shuffled her coordinated heels upon the dirty bus floor.
“How are you doing?” The man asked as Andrea pretended not to she him. “May I sit here?”
Andrea said nothing and just stared at her knees.
“Miss?” He asked.
He said “Miss”. She added a couple more points then looked up. He had a nice face, thin and sculpted. His eyes were young and blue and his hair was brown.
“May I sit here?” He asked again.
“Yes, sure,” She said with a nervousness that was surely noticeable.
“Thanks,” he said and stepped over her knees and slid into the seat next to the window.
As soon as he sat down he began to ramble. Something about computers and processors and how difficult it was. The man’s points whittled away as he pronounced each three to four syllable word over and over. The man continued to babble until the bus jolted to a stop again. Andrea stood and stepped out into the aisle way. A woman she did not see almost ran into her from behind. Andrea apologized quickly and walked toward the front of the bus. The man followed close behind. She had hoped he would of stayed on the bus but what could she do. Another man unavoidably attracted to her and she would have to deal with it.
Nancy Smith, sat in the back of a dirty city bus. In front of her sat several other passengers going about their business of laughing, joking and whatnot. The temperature of the bus always seemed to reach ten or twenty degrees higher then the temperature outside. Today is was 82 degrees.
“It would be nice to have a steady job, a steady paycheck and a steady place to live,” she thought.
She received the e-mail several days ago.
Looking for a nurse to care for patients at a research center. Interested in individuals that enjoy a challenge, or want to make a difference in peoples lives. No background check. 1 to 2 years experience.
Nancy wanted to make a difference but it wasn’t what interested her. It was the no background check. She had a checkered past that seemed to follow her. She was never at a job for longer then 3 months, if she even got the job.
“Don’t think about that,” she warned herself sternly, “maybe this is the one.”
Hope filled some of her empty heart but the stern look on the judge’s face and the reluctant verdict fought to take any hopeful gains away from her.
“I wasn’t convicted of a crime,” she thought, “it wasn’t a crime. I did the right thing.”
The bus slowed then stopped with a jolt. The driver laughed loudly. His gleeful cackle bounced throughout the steel and glass walls of the bus. Nancy stood up quickly. She began toward the front of the bus to tell the driver what she thought of his joke when a woman step out into the aisle in front of her. Nancy stopped centimeters from the back of the woman’s head. The woman’s blond hair brushed her face as she turned to apologize. Nancy smiled and accepted her apology. She allowed the blond woman and the man she sat with to move into the aisle and move toward the front of the bus. Nancy followed them out of the bus and was certain that she was going to say something to the driver. She approached the driver but only scowled at him. The driver smiled, the center two teeth under his top lip were missing and he seemed to have a corneal ulcer in his right eye. The infection, usually caused by a bacterium, caused the eye to look cloudy. Nancy smiled back, she again wanted to say something to the driver but she could not. She stood staring at his eye.
“Is there a problem?” The driver asked with noticeable uncomfort then looked forward through the front windshield.
“I’m sorry,” Nancy said, “I noticed your eye and wanted to recommend you get it treated.”
“Your so kind,” the driver said sharply, “I’m going to close the door are you getting out?” Nancy had offended him and she immediately felt awful. She turned and walked ashamed down the bus steps. She stepped upon the ground and the driver closed the door. The door slid closed with a thump that startled Nancy. “Was this how her day was going to start?”
A familiar Cadillac sat ahead of her. There was a large dent just behind the passenger door.
“Obviously, Dr. Stein still didn’t notice my accident two weeks ago,” she smiled slightly then stopped.
“Is he working here too? I think I see him sitting in the driver’s seat. I should see if he’s ok.”
Dr. Daniel Stein
Sitting in his car, Dr. Daniel Stein, recently retired from Kingsboro Mercy Hospital, thumbs through the Kingsboro Times.
He laid the paper down upon the passenger seat and glanced out the windshield at the bland, gray rectangle that was the Kingsboro Research and Development Co. He glanced at his watch—another twenty minutes to go.
He went over in his mind all that had happened in the last weeks. There had been the purchase of the hospital by Dallas Truman, a local real estate tycoon, the thorough investigation and analysis by the FBI, then the appearance of what would be called a freak.
Dr. Stein stared out the windshield wondering why his life had taken such a strange unexpected turn. He disappeared into thought and the busy hallways of the Kingsboro Mercy Hospital replaced the bland exterior of his new job.
“Can you believe they are going to force me out,” Dr. Stein had said with disbelief as he walked quickly through the hospital front hall with Andy Koffman. Andy was still a resident but when they met for the first time they became quick friends.
“I’m so sorry they are treating you like this Daniel,” Andy said
“I just don’t understand why? I’ve been here 25 years and you are barely a doctor.” Said Dr. Stein.
“We may never understand—,” Andy began but never finished. A large argument ensured behind the white curtain an ER triage unit. Soon something burst and left a dark stain upon the curtain. Andy and Dr. Stein began toward it when an irate patient, covered in blood, stepped from the curtain. He looked at Dr. Stein, his expression deadpan and his eyes cloudy. He then thrust his arms out and felt for a heavy wooden chair that sat outside the unit. He grasped it and with enormous strength tossed it at the two men. Dr. Stein ducked and fell to the floor. The heavy chair hit Andy full in the chest and he collapsed under it. Dr. Stein looked back to see his friend unconscious, under the chair. He began to stand when an IV line, with pole attached, just missed his head. Several people, staff, patients and security converged and surrounded the man. Three men in black suits burst into the ER from the right of the patient and grabbed him. The man threw them off him easily then proceeded toward the nurse’s station. He tore it apart. The large desk portions he through over his head. The chairs, he threw, flew with such force that anyone caught with one was dead. Dr. Stein lay on the floor looking back. Andy lay under the large chair still motionless.
“He’s probably dead,” Dr. Stein, said to himself as he began to slide backward to get a better look. Paper and computer equipment flew across the room. A flat screen computer monitor hit a surgeon in scrubs dumb enough to run across the hallway. The monitor hit him in the side of the head and broke his neck. The noise was disturbing. A loud crack and the surgeon fell to the floor. The three black suited men stood against a hallway wall not moving. They looked terrified, scared to even move a muscle. The people that initially gathered had all but left. The hallway was empty except for Dr. Stein, three men in suits and bodies’ dead or unconscious. After the nurse’s desk had been destroyed and thrown over the hall the man fell to his knees and then fell forward. Dr. Stein, stood and pulled the chair from on top of Andy. Andy’s chest was sunken and his face was mangled but he was alive.
“Someone get me a gurney,” he shouted. A nurse appeared from a far room and grabbed the first one she could find. She quickly pushed it up the Dr. Stein and they preceded gather Andy up. The three suited men, stood against the wall for a short time longer then rushed over to the irate patient. They talked quickly and seemed to be smiling.
“What the hell are they smiling at,” Dr. Stein said loudly. The nurse hadn’t heard him. She began to push Andy toward a room. Dr. Stein stood watching the men. They were inspecting the man as he sat face first on the ground.
“Dr. Stein?” Said the nurse.
The drab building, Kingsboro Research and Development Co., reappeared. A thin woman with long red hair stood outside Dr. Stein’s car.
“Dr. Stein, your going to be late,” she said with a smile.
Dr. Stein looked at his watch and it was five minutes to 5:00 in the morning.
“Oh, hell,” and he opened his drivers door. He straightened his black tie and began to walk quickly toward the building. He stopped and looked back. The redheaded woman was walking toward a large city bus. The driver stood outside the front door smoking a cigarette.