MYSTERY

Inkless Agassi E10

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ESTIMATE 7-MINUTE READ

EPISODE 10 – RECUPERATION

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Mayor Intervenes

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Jack is facing what could be the biggest decision of his career. The outcome has the potential to divide the town, relax its standards, and derail his marriage. So he brings the matter to his father, the mayor, at City Hall.

“Hello father.”

“Hello, son. Is everything alright?”

“Quite the opposite. Remember when you asked me to escort Jillian out of town?”

“Yes, of course. Don’t tell me you’ve been hiding her here all this time.”

“No, sir. It turns out that she came to share some news. The circumstances for this revelation should be more festive but I’m just going to spit it out. You’re going to be a grandfather.”

“Wow, that brings up mixed emotions. I turned what should of been a cheerful announcement into banishment. Is she angry with me?”

“I don’t believe so. But there’s more. The father is a tattoo artist with more ink on his body than her. They are living in a van together unmarried and want to move here to Agassi and raise your grandson.”

“Jack, pull out your revolver and shoot me through the heart right now!”

“I know it’s a lot to take in, and there are other layers of complexity. The father is my fiancée’s ex-boyfriend and he may be abusing drugs.”

Grasping his chest as if having a heart attack, Bill says, “This town bears my name—your grandfather’s name. That name will be associated with a freak show. We will lose the respect of every resident. So neither of us could hold office.”

“I’m not petitioning for their admission into the town—at least not yet. Giving it some thought, I’m deeply troubled by Jillian’s association, but do not want to have my nephew living in a van.

“Ricky has told me that he and Jillian are willing to undergo time-consuming tattoo removal. It may continue beyond the delivery of her child. They are willing to cover up even faint tattoos with long garments for as long as you determine.”

“I still don’t understand. We cannot keep them undercover in Agassi. Will they even get married? How will he support a family? Perhaps she should cut him loose. We have a better chance of reforming one degenerate than two. Forgive my language describing your sister.”

“I can’t argue with your charac­teriza­tion. But if—and this is a strong condition—if there is any merit to their desire to reform, can we assist them with accommodations outside of Agassi? We could pay to retrain Ricky in a viable trade—even stipulate that they must marry before living in Agassi.”

“We’d be spending a cartload of money and taking those risks all to be closer to family.”

“Yes. That’s the bottom line. It’s an investment in a united family. As time progresses, Jillian may have more children. Nicole and I may do the same. Do you want to miss out on your grandchildren growing up together?”

“Of course not. Draw up the agreement. If they sign, I’ll pay for their transition.”

Later, Jack meets with Nicole to apprise her of the decision. She admits to more optimism for the plan’s failure than success. But she agrees not to interfere.

“You already know how I feel about Ricky. He’s a drug to me. So I don’t want to be the babysitting aunt or be all up in his face at family barbecues. If you can agree to that, I’ll support you in other ways.”

“Thank you. They need to make it through the first year. You know firsthand how difficult that is for one person. The lightening must strike two more times in the same household before they even qualify to submit an application to live here.”

“All right, do what’s best behind the scenes. I’ll put it out of my mind for a year, and hopefully much longer,” Nicole concedes.

Rehabilitation

Alison, the anorexic dermatologist, no longer experiences insomnia. With a good diet and supportive counseling, she is able to reach normal BMI. With some at-home care instructions, she is discharged into the arms of her ecstatic work partner, Beverly.

“I’m so happy to see you. Everyone, including the patients at the office have missed you. Did your doctor tell you when you can resume normal activities?”

“It’s all on the discharge papers. I can return to work when ever I choose.”

“And when do you think you’ll feel up to it?”

“Yesterday! I really appreciate you taking such a heavy workload in my absence. In retrospect, I owe you an apology for dismissing your genuine concern during my physical examination.”

“No apology necessary. I’m just glad you were humble enough to recognize the signs and take appropriate action.”

“It’s rather difficult to dismiss passing out in your arms. If you weren’t there, I could have fell and cracked my skull.”

“Moving forward, we will be lunchtime besties if that’s all right with you.”

“What about you and Michael? I don’t want to steal all your time from him? Have you two married yet?”

“No, we’re not married. I’m waiting for my maid of honor to feel better. You need to help me pick out my dress and many other details.”

“I’m honored by the request. When is the date?”

“We have plenty of time. It’s a month away. Ahh!” she screams.

“Girl! You snuck that up on me. We have a lot of work to do!”

“I may have to reserve Friday and Sunday lunches for Michael.”

“If he’s okay with it, I’m okay too.”

“Let’s get you home. Don’t feel you have to come in tomorrow full-speed. You can work a half day.”

“No, it’s okay. I’m ready. Thanks though. One good night of sleep in my own bed is all I need.”

“Do you want to pick up something to eat on your way home?”

“Come to think of it, I probably need to do some grocery shopping. I’m sure everything in the refrigerator is spoiled.”

“I already cleaned out the fridge for you. Let’s go shopping.”

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