So, ya'll. My goal for 2017 is to complete my book and have it published. It is a book of short stories about fictional women's lives; some amusing and some, as you will note below, not so funny. I just wanted to provide an excerpt of some of the writing and I hope you'll find it on a shelf sometime soon!
This is an excerpt from Chapter 3.
MaryJean’s old Tercel was in the carport, so she was home. Janey rapped on the door and heard nothing. She did note an odor that she equated with those patients in the ICU who were being unmercifully kept alive by family members in denial. The odor of early decay, it was familiar and sad, bringing her back to the critical care unit bedsides where patients would begin the process of putrefaction before even breathing their last breath. You don’t forget that smell.
Suddenly panicking, Janey pushed the door open, which had been left unlocked. The smell became forceful and unmistakable.
“MaryJean!” she cried out pleadingly, “Arthur! Are you here?” She noted that the swamp cooler had in fact not been fixed. It had to be over 100 degrees in the trailer, and it smelled of rot. Terrified at what she might find, Janey made her way through the trailer, creeping over the threadbare carpet, down the wood paneled hallway. Her heart was pounding, she was sweaty and scared, nausea rising in her chest. She pushed open the door to MaryJean’s bedroom, and blinked at the darkness. Blankets covered the windows in a feeble attempt to block out the heat. The bed was stained and unkempt. Her eyes finally adjusting, Janey saw a large, dark crumpled lump on the floor. Suddenly realizing it was a face down MaryJean, Janey ran over to her and immediately fumbled with the fleshly folds of MaryJean’s neck to feel for a pulse. There was none. Janey stood and straddled MaryJean, attempting to roll her onto her back. “MaryJean! MaryJean. Hey!” she cried out through strained breaths as she flipped the 400 lb woman onto her back. Janey fumbled for the on switch on the lamp, finding it and gasping when light flooded the room and she saw MaryJean in the gloriousness of death. Her face was scrunched and discolored, her mouth yawning open unnaturally. Bruising was on her chest, the front of her legs, the areas Janey could see. She’d been dead for at least a day, Janey thought, noting the bruising as blood that had been pooled by gravity after MaryJean had died. She smelled of dead flesh already beginning to break down, and as though she’d soiled herself upon dying, a common and severely unpleasant occurrence.
Janey pulled her cell phone out and dialed 911.
“What is your emergency?”
“I’m a home health nurse that came to check on a patient and she is dead. Could you send police? There is no need for an ambulance.”
“Right away ma’am. Address?” Janey provided the address and walked back out to the broiling living room, waiting.
The police quickly took report upon arrival and pronounced MaryJean. The medical examiner’s office came with extra help due to MaryJean’s size and it took unbelievable effort to roll her into a body bag and load her onto a gurney. “Christ Almighty,” said one assistant, “She should have laid off the donuts about 40 years ago. This shit is ridiculous.” He said, a visible sign of detest on his face. They all agreed. Janey, for some reason, felt significant shame as a lump rose in her throat. MaryJean deserved better than that. She was a poor woman, she was an obese woman, but she was a kind woman who did the best she knew how to do. She was someone’s mother and grandmother. She had purpose, regardless of her size and economic status.
As she was leaving, Janey remembered that Arthur had been nowhere to be found. She turned around to mention this to police, but they were already headed over to Arthur’s sister’s house, where they had tracked him down. MaryJean had supposedly been at her daughters, Arthur said. He wasn’t allowed to go, so he went to his sister’s. MaryJean had lied, her daughter was out of town. She died a hot, gruesome death, alone in a dirty old bedroom. Nobody knew until a nurse showed up. Janey said a silent prayer that her life would never end that way, at 57.