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Twists and Turns (4)

by Torsten Daerr

St. Mary's Mental Institute had originally been started by four nuns in the early 1800's. They observed patients thrown in pits full of snakes or beaten to chase "demons" from their bodies. Being appalled by the treatment, they asked for permission to intercede and improve the conditions. The county was delighted to have this "albatross" removed from its financial responsibility. Originally, the building was far away from the city, but gradually it became engulfed on all sides by various businesses and houses. It was from this institution that Heather escaped.

Heather:  (muttering to herself as she hides behind trees then races away from the building) People are so dumb… that nurse talking to her boyfriend… not even noticing me go out the door… It'll take her awhile to notice her purse is missing… I thought there might be an alarm… (She hurries down the street and spots a city bus idling at the bus stop. She runs and gets on it.)

Driver:  Good evening! That will be two dollars.

Heather:  (looking in purse) O.K. Just a minute. (She rummages in the purse. Grinning she hands him a five dollar bill.)

Driver:  Sorry, I'm not allowed to handle money. Do you have anything smaller? You need to put the money in this box.

Heather:  I don't know. (She looks again and is starting to panic) No, I don't. (She is anxiously looking backwards) Can we just go? (She puts money in the lock box.)

Driver:  That's too bad; I hate to see you waste your money. You seem scared, is someone following you? (He closes the door and she sits down.)

Heather:  Yes, I think so. (She looks around at the empty bus.)

Driver:  Well, don't you worry, you're safe now. (He starts engine and pulls away from curb.) So, you must work at the Institute.

Heather:  Yes. Today was my last day. I'm flying to San Francisco tomorrow for a new job.

Driver:  Is that right? My wife and I went there on vacation five years ago, beautiful weather.

Heather:  How nice! (She rummages through bag again.)

Driver:  So what time does your plane leave?

Heather:  I'm not sure; sometime in the afternoon. My husband takes care of all those arrangements.

Driver:  My Doris does that in our family. She plans our vacations, books the hotel…

Heather:  Excuse me, but I have a problem. I've lost the paper my husband gave me with how to get to the airport. He was supposed to pick me up, but the car battery was dead. Could you help me? Should I take a cab or another bus?

At the next bus stop the driver writes down directions for Heather to follow to get to O'Hare Airport. She transfers to another bus, then departs and signals a cab. Once inside, she smirks thinking how easy it is to outwit people. After telling the driver where to go, she opens the wallet and reads the driver's license, looks at the credit cards, and counts the cash.

Heather:  (to herself) Hey, "Patricia", let's do a little shopping at the airport. Master Card, Visa, Macy's… and $85 … not too bad… but I'll need to get more. I'll use the cash machine at the airport. First, I need to get a ticket.

Natalie is going to be very sorry that she didn't help me. And Steve… He's to blame for all this trouble. Both of them are going to regret making me suffer! They need to be punished, and then everything will be perfect. (She smiles and looks out the cab window.)

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