Chapter Three

Michael all but ripped the phone out of Margaret’s hand. “Hello? Whoever this is, don’t tell me where you’re calling from, please, just give me your name.”

A flustered woman on the other end of the call said simply, “I’m Patti.”

Michael exhaled sharply. “Patti, you don’t know how glad I am you called. I want to tell you about my sister.” He then launched into an explanation of Natalie’s condition to Patti, with all the medical jargon he had heard over the last two years.

"Basically, Natalie doesn’t have enough blood vessels in her lungs, and she needs a transplant to save her," he told her. “Her rare blood type makes that a near impossibility. Natalie’s doctor figures with the damage caused by the heart attack she suffered last month, she’s got another eight, maybe twelve months, and that’s it. She’s made her peace with it, Lord only knows how, and has spent the better part of last month writing her goodbyes. She’s not a kook, isn’t a stalker or rabid fan, or whatever applies to whomever you represent. She isn’t looking for anything other than to have her thanks go to the right people. She wants to make sure that the people who helped shape her life know their contribution did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”

He stopped to take a breath, and thought he heard a quiet sob on the other end of the call. “Are you still there?” he asked.

“I’m here,” Patti answered, her voice shaky. “On the one hand, I hope to God you are a creep, making up a sad story to get something from, uh, my employers. On the other hand, I want to believe you, and pass along your message to them. You sound sincere enough, but I’ve been fooled before.”

Michael understood. As a public figure, he had heard his share of sob stories; people making up tales that would make a stone angel weep, just to get some attention. “Patti, I wish I was telling you lies. You have no idea how much. If you want to hear the story from someone else, call Dr. Neil Stilson at New York Presbyterian, tell him that Michael is waiting for his page to authorize him to tell you all about Natalie’s condition.”

“All right, I’ll call your bluff. So help me, if you’re putting me on, and this turns out to be fake, I promise, I will find you, and beat the ever-loving shit out of you.”

“Patti, if that’s the case, I’ll come to you, and bring the bat. I’ll be waiting for Dr. Stilson’s call.” With that, he rung off.


Tara Leigh said...

Ooh I like Patti. What a little spitfire! I hope she calls the dr.