Thursday, April 27, 2006


Part Seven

The recovery had been almost painless; Toby's new kidney was functioning fine. He was thrilled and honored to find that another patient had just given him a kidney on the spur of the moment.

All his life he'd been restricted because of his health. Now he could climb Everest. He could tour Europe. He could sky-dive. Life was wonderful!

Except, he really didn't want to do any of those things. Toby knew he'd be much more comfortable sitting at home. He would really rather keep things as they were. He liked the bus, riding his bike to work would only make him sweaty, and he'd really rather not bump into people walking to the office. And he liked the mask the doctor had made him wear over his nose and mouth. It kept him from catching colds. Besides, Nepal was too far away. He'd have to ride in a plane, and everyone knew how sick you could get breathing all that recycled air. And how was he supposed to take his morning and evening showers at the top of a mountain?

He would just rent a documentary. Over the internet, so he wouldn't have to compete with other customers for a copy. Then he could cut up a few vegetables--organic, of course--and watch it in peace.

Toby grabbed his jacket. It was only around 70 degrees outside, he wouldn't want to catch a chill.

The real question was what to do first. His parents were dead. His wife had divorced him years earlier. She was dating her yoga instructor now. They had had no children. He had always found them to be unhygenic.

It would be great, he thought, to meet the woman who had done this for him. She deserved a personal thank you.

Toby turned and walked toward the bus stop. It would only be a three-minute ride from his house to the hospital.


Victoria was worried. She'd been home from the hospital for a few days, but the pressing sense of concern had never left her. She seemed to have forgotten something important.

Carie hadn't called yet. Typical. Her daughter had no sympathy for her nerves. There were no letters, no messages on the answering machine, no e-mails, no telegrams...

Carie had been in Alexandria for two weeks without a word. Carie's flight had landed, but the airport insisted she hadn't collected her luggage. How could her daughter be so inconsiderate?
The doorbell rang, Victoria answered it, hoping it was Carie.

"Hello my darling," Drake was somewhat disappointed. Drake was doting, but he seemed unconcerned and uninteresed about Carie.

"Come in," she stood aside as he swept through the door.

"Dinner?" he smiled.

"No, I don't think so Drake," Victoria hung her head. "I want to find Carie. Will you go with me to Alexandria? She needs to know how worried she's made me! I have to tell her how inconvenient it was for me to leave right now. I mean, look!" Victoria gestured to her spotless living room. "Can't you see how much I have to do?"

"You know I cannot leave the hospital, Darling," he cooed. "You'll have to take care of it on your own."

Victoria was disgusted. This was her love affair? How droll.

"She is an adult, isn't she? I should think she could take care of herself. And you can't think of risking illness so soon after your surgery, Victoria darling. I wouldn't want to have to operate again," he looked at her wistfully.

Victoria thought over the situation. There were terrorists out there. And tribal warfare. And scorpions. And she had heard of the Egyptian Asp. Who hadn't? She wouldn't want to end up like Cleopatra. She examined Dr. Ramore. It was a pity she was so dreadfully ill, in so much danger, he would have made such a handsome Mark Antony...

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