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Family Trouble


My younger sister phoned last night. I haven't talked to her in a while. I thought she was calling me to gossip about our older sister, but no. She's got her own shit.

Now, let me just tell you the kind of shit she gets herself into....

Ximena is a clinical psychologist on Chicago's south side. She works with families in crisis (and believe me, she's got a fabulous firsthand foundation on that). On this particular day she was doing outreach with Xavier, a guy who's getting his degree in counseling. She likes this guy because he's working on his degree after being in prison for 20 years on a murder charge. He's 35.

They are at some building in Chicago that used to house a large mental hospital, but is now being used as a sort of outpatient facility. After completing their outreach calls, my sister turns to Xavier and says "Hey, you wanna go up and see the twelfth floor?"

"What's on the twelfth floor?"

"That's where they kept all the real f-ed up folks. It's totally Girl, Interrupted."

Xavier is skeptical, but goes along with it. The twelfth floor does not have any direct access from an elevator. In order to get to it you have to go up to a higher floor and then down a series of staircases that are not necessarily near each other and that, at one time, were all kept locked. Ximena and Xavier thread their way in the near-dark through the series of stairs and doors until they find themselves in a large room on the twelfth floor. There is dusty, knocked-over furniture and trash on the floor, and the whole thing smells like mildew. Xavier, who is still on parole, does not come into the room with her. He is a sensible man who knows that if they do find anything untoward, he can't afford to be the one to find it.

And, sure enough, my sister spots a pair of legs. The feet at the end of the legs do not have shoes on them, and the legs themselves are twisted up in a position that suggests that their owner didn't just lie down for a little nappy-do. My sister is immediately wigged out and turns and runs out, screaming at Xavier "Let's get outta heeeeeeeeeere!"

Xavier is not only a sensible man, but a very large one. He has not seen anything, but scoops my sister up and rushes back out the way they came. As he's running down a hall with my sister in tow, he says "What are we running from?" "A body!" she pants. He rolls his eyes and speeds up.

They get out to the nurses' station at the front lobby and my sister is overcome with an attack of conscience. Xavier would much rather leave this theoretical body that he has not seen where it supposedly lies and get the heck outta Dodge, but my sister will do no such thing. She goes to the nurse at the desk and says "Um...there's a guy....upstairs...on the twelfth floor...um...lying down."

The nurse's eyebrows shoot up. "What were you doing on the twelfth floor?" My sister had to do a little fast talking, but her clinical psychologist cred gets her and Xavier out of being arrested. A pair of security guards is summoned and Ximena and Xavier are asked to lead them to the "guy lying down."

Ximena had completely lost her sense of direction, but Xavier, being the self-possessed person he is, knew exactly where he was going. As Xavier is saying "Left here...right through this door....down the second set of stairs..." Ximena looked at these guys and thought "Okay, Xavier is Freddy, this guy over here is Velma, that guy is Daphne...and I'm Scooby Doo."

They get into the room and Ximena and Xavier hang back. There's no way she wants to see that sight again, and she feels that now that she's led the security guys to it, she's done her duty. On the other hand, she is not without a sense of morbid curiosity. Who is it? It couldn't possibly be anyone who accidentally wandered up there.

The guards looked carefully at the body without touching it. One of them bent down for a closer look, then beckoned the other to do the same. Both of them burst out laughing. Ximena is horrified. She runs up to them, asking them what's so funny. They turn the body over...and she can clearly see the mannequin's face in the dim light.

The rosy glow coming from Ximena's face is enough to illuminate the scene.

Now that the tension's been broken, the four of them turn even more Scooby Doo. They decide that while they're here.... They start walking around the rest of the floor. The rest is much the same, trash and dusty furniture. But WAYYYYY in the back, they find a queen-sized bed up on cinder blocks. The sheets are clean, the bed is made. Someone has been up here recently. The guards immediately turn to Ximena and Xavier and ask "So - what do YOU TWO know about this?"

After a little more poking around, Ximena and Xavier are escorted out. Upon reflection, Ximena has decided that the dead body was an amazingly creative first line of defense for someone's Fortified Love Nest.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mortaine
Mar. 9th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC)
Hee hee hee!!!! Ximena sounds like a firecracker!

Good luck today!
alleahna
Mar. 9th, 2004 03:36 pm (UTC)
I feel sorry for Xavier. He musta seen his porale flashing before his eyes. Thank goodness it ended well.

The 'dead body' is an excellent line of defense, come to think about it, but to have to go through all that work just for a tryst? Hmmm....
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )