Each month, write a new collection.
For the next few days, I put in eighteen hour shifts at the mobile clinic Bob had set up down stairs. Every yahoo within fifty miles had made the pilgrimage to my office for the shot that would save them from what the media called,"the forever flu." The same thing was happening all over the country. People were waiting in lines that extended for miles in every major city. I couldn't help but pat myself on the back. Then, the inevitable happened. The anti-vaxxers came out in full force against MV002. Paranoid mothers, snooty politicians, and tree huggers everywhere, began making wild claims about my vaccine. Rumors began to circulate that MV002 caused erratic and violent behavior. I brushed it off. These fools weren't trained in my field. What the hell did they know about science? Of course, every time a report came in, Ms. Donnely was all too happy to share it with me. I know she considered these stupid claims to be small victories over me. I brushed her off too. The fourth day of vaccine distribution was a brutal one. The lines weren't getting any shorter, but now they were filled with people who wanted to ask a thousand stupid questions. "Is it safe?""Can I still breast feed?""What about my pets?""Will it react with my heart medication?"After eleven hours of that noise, I ducked out and went home. The drive was quiet. I needed the quiet. I didn't want to admit it, but the news reports made me nervous. What they weren't reporting, was that most people had seen immediate recovery. But, I couldn't shake the feeling. They seemed so adamant that MV002 was harmful, some even called it "worse than the virus."I pulled up to my apartment building and parked on the street. Then, I got out and retrieved my mail from the box at the top of the stairs.As I stood there, rifling through an armload of junk mail, I heard heavy breathing behind me. I turned around, and saw a young woman standing at the bottom of the stairs. She was terribly pale and clearly dehydrated. She just stood there, swaying back and forth, staring at me with vacant eyes. "Can I help you?" I asked. "Look, I don't have any change, ok?"The woman cocked her head to one side, the expression on her face unwavering. "Did you hear me?" I shouted. "We don't pander to vagrants around her, so get lost!"I turned back to the door and rooted around in my pocket for the key. I pulled out the wad of keys, flipped to the door key, and stuck it in the lock. As I turned the knob on the door, a searing pain ran through my shoulder. I dropped my pile of mail and looked behind me. That crazy bitch stabbed me!
I missed this, but it's great! LOVE IT! We're going to have to get together and work on submitting them!
My thoughts wondered as I reviewed the security tapes yet again. I’d get back every penny of the sixty-seven thousand dollars that DeHaven stole from the Flamingo. Nobody got away with theft on Rufus Brownell’s watch. After several sweeps by different personnel casually strolling down the aisle, no one picked up any electronic signals as they strolled behind her seat. Even if she worked with a partner, an EMF frequency would have been detected. The boss, Mr. Nogales, approved consultations with several leading experts in current electronic technologies, and I even contacted a renowned magician on the strip, but after watching the tapes none of them could tell me how DeHaven won continual jackpots on my machines. She hit anywhere from twenty-five dollars to over a hundred on every single spin, and after a few hours the money really added up.DeHaven was big on games that offered bonuses and free spins and generally chose to play away from the crowds, and that alone was suspicious. But why the slots? She could win more significant jackpots at the tables or even in the high roller room, yet she chose to play penny, quarter, and the occasional dollar machines. That meant only one thing. She was electronically manipulating the machines, but for some reason was limited to the dollar amount on the slots.Fortunately, Mr. Nogales approved my suggestion to let me search for DeHaven and bust her once and for all. A simple “be-on-the-lookout” e-mail to all the west coast gaming establishments, including those on the reservations, turned up my own jackpot. Security at a small Indian casino in Santa Ynez, California, spotted DeHaven as she won modest thousand dollar jackpots in consecutive hits on a variety of machines in less than an hour that morning. It took me fifteen minutes to pack and now I enjoyed the twenty-thousand foot view from the casino jet as it flew toward the regional airport in Santa Ynez. Ten minutes after landing I’d be getting another close look at DeHaven in action.She may have left town, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t be stopped from taking money that didn’t belong to her, and I could hardly wait to end her winning streak.
Great work, Carole!!