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Chapter 20: Scene 71: Meeting Pat again.

     


ThinkLink: Have you ever had to get help for someone who was sick or injured?

       "You go on," I tell Vonda. "I'll be down later." I walk over and squat down in front of Pat and tap him on the shoulder. "Pat. You awake, Pat?"


       Pat pulls his head up and stares at me. No more good-boy look. He's pasty-faced and sweaty. His hair's greasy and hangs down over his eyes.


        "Cowboy? Where'd you come from? I thought you was in a forest camp somewhere." He grunts and pulls himself around so he can sit with his back against the wall. "Where you hanging?"


       "Up on Emory. Where you said. I keep thinking you'll show up."


       "How you getting by?"


       "Victor gives me stuff to deliver. And I got a job washing dishes on weekends. Only pays two-fifty an hour, but I get to eat there days I work."


       "That ain't even legal wages . How'd the guy pay you? Out a the till?"


       "Yeah. So what?"


       "You ain't even on the payroll . He's paying you out of the till and he's pocketing the real pay for a dishwasher. You got nothing."


       That burns me . "So how good are you doing?"


       He doesn't hear that I'm mad. Or doesn't care. "Been staying with my Ma. Thing's going all right. Staying clean. Going to this group McGill put me in. Then me and Ma started yelling and I split ."


       "So. You coming back to the house?


       "Nah. Don't you neither."


       "Huh? Why?"


       His eyes are almost closed, like it hurts to look out of them. "Saw Tony last week."


       "He's on the run again?"


       "Half-way house. Got a job taking care of sick people. Nursing home. Pleasant View ." Pat slumps down and turns gray. "Gonna spew." He rolls over and purls out green goop onto the bricks.


       "You shithead. What'd you do to yourself?"


       "Got some bad stuff." He half grins at me hanging over him. "Better now. Don't worry, I ain't going to barf all over you." He shivers. "Feel better now. Be OK."


       I stare at him. "Come back with me to the house. You can't stay here."


       He rouses up. "Don't go back there. Kid I got my dose from; he says they heard a raid's coming down. Guys upstairs dragging stuff out of there. Stay away."


       Then Pat slumps over and passes out, at least I can't get him to talk to me when I shake his shoulder. I run for help. I look around for a security guard. Tess is up on the corner of Liberty talking to some kids. I take the steps up two and three at a time. "Call for an ambulance quick," I tell her. "There's a guy down there who's had some bad stuff. He's really sick. Worse maybe."



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 Updated on 5/13/04

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