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Did you miss Chapter Two?
From Bundle of Trouble
We were moved to a bright recovery room with a view
of Saint Ignatius Church. Jim slouched in a corner of
the room on a hospital cot.
Mom had left for the day, ticketless. It was only 5 P.M., but felt
I held my sleeping pumpernickel in my arms. I was told that
newborns mainly sleep the first week. It’s difficult to wake them even
to nurse. Right now sleep sounded great. Jim and I were exhausted.
“I wish I had space in this stupid hospital bed for you,” I said,
raising the bed slightly, then lowering it again.
Who could ever get comfortable in one of these?
“Don’t worry, honey, I’m fine,” Jim grumbled from the corner cot.
“I miss you way over there.”
He stood, stretched, and hobbled over to me, his legs cramped
from a long night of worry and catnapping on a bad cot. “Let me hold
I handed the baby to him. He settled himself against the
windowsill and admired her. “Hope for the next generation.”
I knew, of course, that his remark was connected to George. But I
didn’t have the energy to think about that. “I need to sleep awhile,
honey . . .”
I was already drifting off when I felt the covers being tucked
against my chin. “Take care of Laurie,” I mumbled.
“Is that her name?”
“If you like it,” I said, drifting to sleep.
“I do. Get some rest. I promise to take good care of Laurie.”
I SLEPT A FITFUL HOUR, DREAMING THAT I WAS SWIMMING IN THE BAY. IN
the dream, I became entangled with a dead body that seemed to pull
me under. As I freed myself from the corpse to swim toward the
surface, my ankle caught in the strap of a bag. The sound of cries
pierced the water. Suddenly, the water was full of bags and corpses. A
shrill cry startled me awake.
I gasped for air as I awoke. Jim was standing over me with the
baby in his arms. “Are you all right?”
I nodded, dumbfounded.
“Sorry, honey, I didn’t mean to wake you. She’s crying and I don’t
know what to do.” Jim handed me the baby.
“I think she’s hungry, or wet, or both.” I placed her near my breast.
Instead of latching on, she only cried louder, howling into my face.
Jim laughed but I felt like crying, too.
“Maybe we should call the nurse,” I said.
Before we could do anything, a tall, slender African-American
nurse glided into the room. Her name tag read GISELLE.
“What is it now? Little baby girl giving her parents a hard time?
Hush now, they don’t know what they’re doing, girl.” She rewrapped
Laurie’s blanket around her.
In an instant the crying stopped. Laurie gratefully curled into
Giselle. Jim and I stared at her.
“Did anyone teach you how to swaddle?” she asked.
“I thought she was swaddled,” Jim replied.
“Not tight enough. Babies like to be wrapped tight, like a little
burrito, or they feel like they’re falling.” She handed Laurie to Jim and
turned to me. “How’s Mama?” she asked, expertly taking my blood
pressure and temperature.
“Now that you mention a burrito, hungry.”
Giselle smiled. “Dinner’s coming up. What about pain
“Yes, please,” Jim said.
When dinner was served, I handed Laurie off to Giselle. Laurie
would spend the night in the nursery down the hall. Giselle would
bring her in whenever she needed to nurse, which felt like every
couple of minutes but at the same time too long in between. I missed
Laurie terribly when she was out of the room, but felt exhausted when
she was brought in.
After gobbling down the hospital dinner of cardboard sliced ham
and runny applesauce, I eagerly turned to chat with Jim. He was
sacked out on the cot in the corner.
I shifted to the edge of the bed to make my way to the restroom.
Wait a minute.
I didn’t need to pee. What a miracle, to go from running to the
restroom every five minutes to not needing to go for an entire night. I
sat in silence.
Finally, I reached for a pen and paper and scratched out a to-do
TO DO (WHEN I GET HOME):
1. Get better at breastfeeding.
2. Lose weight.
3. Take a gazillion pictures of Laurie.
4. Call work and let them know about Laurie and plan a return
5. George? Where is he?
WAS HE DEAD? WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED? I THOUGHT ABOUT
suicide. Certainly if he had become homeless, it seemed possible. Why
hadn’t he come to Jim and me if his only option was the streets?
What about an accident? Could George have fallen into the bay
The medical examiner had said the body was badly decomposed.
How long would it have to be underwater to decay? Had it been
caught on something that kept it submerged? Seaweed?
My mind flashed on the Mafia movies and bodies being held down
What if he had been murdered?
“Jim,” I called. He lay motionless on the cot, in a deep, exhausted
sleep. “Jim,” I called again.
He sat up, startled. “What is it, honey? Something wrong?”
“I can’t sleep. I’m thinking about George. What if it’s him, dead in
the bay? What if he was murdered?”
“Murdered? My God, Kate! I mean, he’s probably not hanging out
with the cream of the crop, but . . .” He paused, letting out a sigh. “We
don’t know anything yet. The medical examiner asked if George had
any identifiers on his body, you know . . . to help them . . . George has
a pin in his ankle and he’s also had his appendix out.”
My heart stopped.
We could have known if it was George twenty-four hours ago!
In my calmest voice, I asked, “Why didn’t you tell the medical
Jim shrugged. “Part of me is always trying to protect him. What if
the guy who called wasn’t even from the medical examiner’s office?
What if it was someone who’s just trying to find out where George is?
Like someone he owes money to or something like that.”
I held out my hand for Jim. He got up and crossed the room,
sitting on the bed. “Honey,” I said. “That makes no sense. If it was
someone George owes money to, why would they ask about his
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
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