Alright, gang. Here’s my final installment. Bloodshot is now available in paperback on Amazon and can be accessed though this link.
As a reminder, the following chapter will differ slightly from the final published copy. Not, of course, in story or content, but in copy editing.
August 15, 1994
“You are going to work,” Maggie states firmly. Emmitt hangs up the phone.
It is mid-August. The couple sits in the living room. Emmitt still holds the phone in his lap.
“Babe,” Emmitt says as he stands and winces. He flexes one leg and another. “I shouldn’t have to. The lawyer said we’ll get 250 grand! And that’s after the court and medical fees. So, with this money coming in—”
“It wasn’t a question,” Maggie interrupts. “That money will run out. And, you know yourself. You’ll grow restless and I’ll get annoyed with you around all the time with nothing to do.”
Emmitt, knowing that she speaks the truth, frowns and nods as he reaches into his pocket. In his hand, he rolls around a small pill bottle, remnants of his doctor’s prescription for pain medication. He’s already taken one just a few hours ago, but his doctor said to take them as often as needed. Making a mental note to renew this prescription, he takes it out, opens the bottle and pops a pill in his mouth.
“Is your leg hurting you?” Maggie asks.
“I’m okay,” replies Emmitt. “Just a sudden sharp stiff pain when I stood.”
“When’s the last time you did the stretches your physical therapist told you to do?”
Emmitt sighs. “This morning.”
“Well, maybe you need to get it checked out. We can call and make an appointment now.” She stands and reaches to take the phone from Emmitt.
“It’s okay.” Emmitt says as he pulls the phone away from her. “I think it’s going away. Just gotta walk it off.”
“Or medicate it off,” Maggie says. “You know, you need a hobby, or a job, or both. Hey, maybe you can start to put that rifle you keep locked up in the mantle to use. When’s the last time you’ve been hunting with Frank?”
“Too long. Not since before Lindsay was born. Don’t worry, though. Once I can really move, Frank and I’ll go hunting again.”
Maggie narrows her eyes and crosses her arms. “What’ll you do in the meantime?”
“I’ll spend time with Lindsay. I was reading a magazine that mentioned girls her age really benefit from having a father around.”
“And their mothers,” Maggie replies sharply. She walks toward the living room, turns to Emmitt before she leaves. “Maybe I’ll get a hobby or some work, then. Maybe something artsy, like at one of those stores where they frame pictures.”
“Maybe,” Emmitt says, closing the distance between himself and Maggie. “But you don’t have to get work. Not right now, anyway. I’ll look for something when I’m cleared for work.”
At these words, Maggie tightens her lips and nods slowly. “Okay. Well, I’m going to look anyway. Maybe we’ll both get something. Wouldn’t that be great?” Maggie forces a smile.
“Yeah.” Emmitt pauses. “Maybe it would be.”
Maybe feels like a void between Emmitt and Maggie. Maybe survives on the pretense of an absolute that doesn’t exist. Not unless Emmitt and Maggie believe in endless potential and courage – a necessity for anyone, who would undertake the duty of raising a child in the faith, free of forgotten maybes.