Inkless Agassi E9

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Better Treatment


Alison’s doctor makes arrangements to move her to a 24-hour care facility with staff trained to help people with eating disorders recover. The treatment plan will last anywhere from 6 to 24 weeks.

In response to the news, Beverly visits Alison at her home before departure. She brings flowers and assures her that everything will be fine while she is away.

“Can I help you set up automatic payments or have your mail forwarded?” Beverly asks.

“It’s already done,” Alison replies calmly.

“Sure it is. I miss your thoroughness. I’m going to begin interviewing dietitians. If I can bring someone on board, those services will bring in more billable hours.”

Without objection, Alison says, “I trust you to make the right choice.”

“Your confidence in me is appreciated. I’m going to get to the office now. Susan will make sure you get settled. Love you,” Beverly says with a gentle kiss on Alison’s frail head.

Extinguish Fires

When Nicole marched out of the restaurant, she was steaming mad. It is the first time Jack saw her like that, but she had good reason. He now needs to cool down the flames.

Still at work, his phone call goes to voicemail. “Ricky and Jillian are gone. We need to talk. Give me a call when you have a chance.”

Nicole phones him five minutes later. When he answers, she begins spewing feelings. “I was livid at the restaurant for many reasons. First, Ricky is dating your sister. Second, you apparently knew about it and didn’t tell me.

“Third, he was hitting on me over the phone while he was banging your sister! Fourth, he knocked her up. Fifth, they want to live here and be neighbors. Sixth… I feel a little sorry for Jillian. Seventh… I can’t remember the other reason right now. But, because of my past chemical dependency, this is way too much stress!”

“I know, I know. Please, take a deep breath. Your list well expresses most of my own concerns. There is a reason why I did not tell you they were dating. My sister sent me a photo of the two of them cuddling each other’s tattoos to irritate me. I wanted to spare you that emotion.”

“It seems that you just delayed it. Are you really going to bend the rules and let them stay in Agassi? ”

“I don’t have that kind of authority. My job is to enforce laws. Right now the law forbids their residency.”

“So what happens next?” Nicole asks with her bottom lip poked out.

“They say they are sleeping in a van. Was that the case when you dated Ricky?”

“Pretty much. But he also had a bed in the back of his tattoo parlor.”

“I need to talk to my father about how we can assist them as a family so our nephew won’t be deprived.”

“Nephew? I’m still trying to wrap my head around my ex being the father of my nephew. There are nine degrees of wrong with that sentence.”

“I agree. During my first dinner with you, when the town was buzzing about my rebellious sister, you offered to assist her transition from an inked life. Does that offer still stand?”

“Frankly, I’m sad that your memory is that good. Never in a million years could I have considered she’d hook up with Ricky.”

“They both say they want to clear up their ink and move into Agassi to start a tattoo removal business. Possibly, he could still do legal tattooing like cosmetic eyebrows or areola pigmentation. Does that sound feasible?”

“From a business standpoint, it sounds feasible. I spent thousands of dollars to get my ink removed. The dermatologists refer many applicants to places out of town. Ricky knows his stuff when it comes to ink. So it should be lucrative. That’s the logical aspect.”

Sensing there are more considerations, Jack asks, “What else are you thinking?”

“There’s an emotional aspect. I was very intimate with Ricky. The drugs he fed me made me crave every sort of debauchery to which he exposed me. So it’s a daily struggle to suppress thoughts of that relationship.

“His face, his voice, your sister’s pregnancy all bring back vivid memories that I shouldn’t have for a brother-in-law. I’m hoping you understand and won’t put me through that.”

“I’ve always been the protector for my sister. Ricky seems like the type of guy I would work over behind the building. When he said she was pregnant, I saw my sister as a 13-year-old girl with this abuser. It took every fiber of my being not to press the barrel of my gun down his throat. I kept repeating to myself that she’s an adult now.”

“So although our emotions differ, they are strong. I need you to become my protector. We both feel that interacting with them is problematic, right?”

“I’m trying to keep an open mind. But if I were the decision maker, their application would be hovering over the paper shredder. As I said, my role is to enforce law. My father’s the one with the authority to make administrative decisions.”

“I hope I don’t sound like an evil person, but it would please me if the mayor passes a law that specifically prohibits them from reentry.”

“The sins of the father should not pass on to the son,” Jack mumbles.

Confused by the expression, Nicole asks, “What does that mean?”

“It’s something I recall from church. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years for their lack of faith. But their sons entered the promised land.”

“I’m trying to follow. Are you saying we should adopt their son?”

“Of course not. But should we punish our nephew for the sins of his father?”

“This conversation is getting too deep. We should continue it later in person after you talk to your father. But I appreciate what you said and will think about it.”

“I’ll be thinking about your feelings too. I love you.”

“I love you too. Goodbye.”

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