DON’T ASSUME – November 2011


By Mel Goldberg


scalpelAngela walked from the hospital toward her car at the end of the dimly lit staff parking lot. She hated the long midnight walk at the end of her Saturday night shift when many of her friends were partying. To save expenses, the hospital had reduced staff to a minimum on week-ends so everyone worked more hours. She was especially tired after her twenty-four hour stint, but had drunk so much coffee her mind was racing. Only the few cars of late-night workers were scattered throughout the parking lot. She breathed in the mild and humid summer night air and remembered a few months earlier when she wore a heavy coat.

She cringed at the shadowy movement of each tree branch in the feeble light, shuddered at the rustle of every bush. As she approached her new Honda Accord, she noticed an old hard-top convertible Chevrolet with a torn roof was parked next to her driver’s side. The pale light illuminated the jumble of clothes next to its rear window.

“I’m getting paranoid,” she said out loud, as she walked, looking around, embarrassed, wondering if anyone could hear her. As she walked, she checked for her keys, reaching into her purse which hung from a shoulder strap. She withdrew her hand quickly. Whoa, she thought. I don’t remember putting that in there. I’d better be careful.

Not bothering to change before leaving, she still had on the light blue tunic and pants she had worn in the OR. She had grabbed the last clean pair in the changing room. Her five foot six-inch figure was trim, but the uniform had been clearly been meant for one of the more petite Philippine nurses. The tunic pressed against her breasts, and the seat of the pants was so taut she imagined the seam would burst with every step.

I wonder why I even bother to go home, she thought. I’ll have to be back here in eight hours.”

As she stopped before her car door, she reached into her purse for her keys, this time more carefully. “It’s pretty dark at this end of the parking lot.” The deep male voice startled her and she froze, her hand still in her purse.

She stared at her door, her back to the other car. A hand touched the back of her shoulder. Fingers slid down, pausing at her bra strap and continuing down, stopping at her derrierre.

“I like a nice tight ass and yours is perfect. Bet it’s just as tight without the pants.”

She felt a shudder of terror creep from the back of her neck to her shoulders. A hand fastened on her upper arm and spun her around. She looked up at the neatly dressed, clean-shaved man who was a head taller than she. Her mouth went dry as thoughts of rape and murder flashed through her mind. The newspapers were filled with reports.

The man bent down until his face was inches from hers, his arms trapping her against her car, his body pressed against hers. “Why don’t we take a ride in your nice new car,” he whispered. “Just give me your keys.”

Angela didn’t move. The man put his mouth next to her ear. She could feel his warm breath. “Hey, baby, I’m just trying to be friendly. I got a special like for nurses who work late.”

Slowly, Angela began to remove her hand from her purse. He smiled when he heard the keys jingle, his face inches from hers. Stainless steel glinted in the dim light as her hand flashed through the air. Blood spurted on her arm and tunic as the man gurgled and grabbed his throat with both hands. His body bounced back against the door of the Chevrolet and then crumpled to the ground, blood gushing from the cut and pooling around his head.

Angela dropped the scalpel, took the cell phone from her purse, and dialed the emergency room number. “Got a bleeder out here in Staff Parking Lot B.”

Bending over the body on the ground, her lips curled in a sneer, and she said quietly, “I’m not a nurse. I’m a surgeon.”

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