by D.A. Coursey
Parallelsim (two scenes side-by-side)
Jon and Martha Biggs are excited to finally take their vacation to Miami. It has been nearly ten years since their last vacation, and the first summer as empty-nesters. Jon can’t wait to sleep by the ocean, free from the heavy workload he’s had the last six months. Martha’s excited too, but secretly wants the trip to include some parental intrusion into the life of their daughter Ashley, a freshman at Florida International University. The trip is six days, and Martha’s hopeful to spend at least one day with her.
“Drawers packed? Socks? And did you grab a rain jacket, Jon?” She gave him “the look”.
“I’m capable of packing my own suitcase, Marti!” “But yes, the windbreaker with the hood is in there.”
“Alright. I know it’s hot down there, but Mary Alice said it storms in the summer and the rain can be rather heavy at times. Hopefully, we won’t need it. I’m sure sick of the rain and snow! Let the sun shine, Lord! Grab all of your medicine. It has to be in the original bottle, too, Jon. Deputy Bryce said it’s illegal down there if not!”
“I’ve got my clothes, and all these damn pills. And I think a little bit of rain is just right. Perfect time to nap in the hotel. But let’s not talk it up! I’m good with sleeping on the beach, too! We best leave. Don’t wanna miss our flight.”
“I’m coming,” Martha replied, “just have one more thing.” She pulls open a drawer in the hallway table and pulls out a box. “I sure hope Ashley loves this, “she whispered.
Jon starts honking fast. “Would you come on, woman!”
“Alright, don’t start already, “she yells to him as she makes her way to the car.
They pull down the long path to the main road.
“Stop here a minute, Jon. We best pray! Daddy always said you start every day and every journey with a prayer…”
“and if it goes wrong, nobody can blame you!” He interrupted.
I remember, honey! Your daddy also used to say “If you start something really early there’s always time for a drink in the middle.
“Really Jon!’ She exclaimed, lightly slapping his arm. “Lord, thank you for this vacation, please keep us safe as you have our precious daughter. And please take pity on me and let Jon Walker behave himself. Amen?!”
“Hey Lord, you know I’ll try. Just help her relax! Amen!”
It was a rather busy day at Mercy Hospital. The emergency room was full, and the ambulances were still coming.
Doctor Rita Navarro looks at her intern, Hobbs. “This is summer for you! Jackson and Baptist are full, Mt. Sinai is short-staffed, and so we get the beach goers too. It’s twenty minutes or more through downtown. How they expect us to keep these people alive?”
“Hard work?” posed Hobbs.
“Ours, or theirs?“ She asked, pointing at the incoming rig. “What we got?” she shifts to speaking to the EMT at the ambulance bay.
“Jane Doe. Unresponsive. Suspected TBI, but we’re unsure how.” He answered.
“Unsure. Who called this in? This girl damn near appears to be in a coma!” “Hobbs, fetch Jansen and Nguyen.
He rushes away and back again. “Nguyens not here and Jansen is doing a consult.
The EMT interrupts “Central took the call said friend called it in. She was working in the marsh at the NOAA fishery site in Virgina Key and hit her head. He said she’s a biology student, but he doesn’t remember her name. Thinks its Amber. Pulse is low and bp too. Listen, we’re in the dark here too and we’ve got another call. I’ve gotta go!”
Nurse Miranda Jenkins rushes over to assist.
“Hobbs call dispatch and tell them to get the caller on the phone. You personally talk to dispatch and have police get him to call or come up here. We need to contact family, find out if she has any prior conditions, and what the hell has happened.” “Nurse Jenkins, come with me. We’ve got to do a CT/MRI on this child, stat.”
“Such a pretty girl. What has happened to you?” She whispers to the lifeless teen as she rushes the gurney down the hall.