Thursday, March 8, 2007

Jay Slater read the story carefully. He put the newspaper down and thought for a few moments, then picked it up and read the story again. He smiled. This could do it. He was in a bad marriage, but there was no way for him to leave his wife. Her family's money would dry up in a heartbeat and his good life would vanish. She would cut him off at the knees if he did. It was not a marriage in any real sense of the word, he thought. Any semblance of a relationship, physical, emotional, social or companionable, had disappeared years ago. He felt a glimmer of hope as he read the story for the third time. This would do it. He finished his coffee, picked up the phone and dialed.
"Good morning,Tina. I'd like an appointment with the doctor. I've been having trouble sleeping."
Two day's later, Slater appeared at the doctor's office. He'd overdosed on coffee since making the appointment. At best he'd slept two hours last night. He felt like hell, knew he looked worse.
"What can I do for you, Jay?"
Slater and the doctor were golfing buddies. He knew he could get anything he wanted, but he had to be careful.
"Doc, I'm having trouble sleeping. Look at me. I'm death warmed over."
Dr. Sizemore grinned. "You're still worried about that two bucks I won from you last week."
"I'm trying to be serious here and you're making with the jokes. I am serious. I feel like hell. I haven't slept in a week."
Sizemore was the same age, yet the rimless eyeglasses he wore made him appear ten years older. He stroked his chin.
"Anything going on in your life that is bothering you?"
"Nothing out of the ordinary."
"You drink a lot."
"No more than usual. For a couple of nights I tried a stiff drink at bedtime, but all that happened is that I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep."
"Try a glass of warm milk."
"I tried that too. Didn't work."
Slater waited. He was hoping that Sizemore would think about the drug on his own without the need for prompting.
"There is a new drug on the market . . ."
Bingo, Slater thought.
"I don't like drugs." He nodded toward the note Sizemore was making. "Write that down."
"I'm writing you a prescription. Take one of these every night at bed time. It's best you don't drink while you're on this drug."
"Thanks Doc."
"Call me back in a week. Better yet, rest up and see if you can beat me this weekend. I'll see you then."
He stood and was out of the room before Slater could respond. He sat a moment and thought about what he'd started. He wondered if he could put it all together in the short time that was left. There was a window of opportunity about two weeks down the road, but he knew that time interval would pass quickly. Everything had to be perfect. He had to pay meticulous attention to detail. The ball was rolling. He had to remind himself not to whistle as he passed the reception desk on the way out of the office.

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