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             The Dou-Good family were not a sit around the dining room table ’50s family, nor are they the ’80s in your face entrepreneurs. The Dou-Goods are the 2023s upper crust, tied to the internet, self-medicating, driven to spend their wealth at all costs.


              You know Dr. Bob. It was hard to think of him as a family man. His past and sometimes present did not always lead to a picture of him poising by the fireplace with family and dog while puffing on his favorite pipe. For a lesser man, the pressure not to fail would have driven him to put a bullet through his head.   Bob, for most of his life, had dodged the gun in his mouth.  Bob tried to run a very tight ship at home with about the same success he enjoyed at SPH. Just like at SPH, the moment he stepped over the threshold of his domicile he was bombarded with issues, complaints, accusations, and threats by the two women that shared his abode. Must be his karma from past indiscretions. His only solace was the sound of his heartbeat in an empty house, sans other living souls. 


             It brought a smile to his face as he took another sip of the perfect martini.

             The back door leading from the garage swung open and Shannon burst through.

“There are more packages out in the car. Don’t Just sit there getting drunk, make yourself useful for once in your pitiful life!” Yelling at the top of her lungs with an authoritarian military cadence. It reminded him of a mangy dog coming into the backyard barking at anything and nothing, to announce arrival and dominance. He would have preferred the barking dog.


             And just like that, it was beautiful while it lasted. So, the daily battle began.


               A van pulled into the loading zone of FCU and two occupants exited, moved to the rear of the van, opened the doors. The double doors of the facility flew open and the light above the doors illuminated the area. “That’s Dr. Roberts.” Nurse Rwench grabbing at Tatum’s arm in an excited state of discovery. Finally, some proof, as a body was rolled out and loaded into the van. There was some excitement in the car tempered only by Tatum’s professionalism and experience. It was far from being over. There must be conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. It required them to track the body to its ultimate destination and determine its condition as an organ doner. It was a long way from being close to being over as he tried to explain to Emily. Her mood went from jubilant to disappointment in the blink of an eye. Tatum buoyed her feelings by reinforcing the idea, this was just the first step and they connected FCU to SPH and body disposal.


             At the same time a black touring car, the kind you see in all the political and presidential caravans, drove by Tatum’s position. Emily noticed one of the men at the FCU door loading the body, pause to answer his cell phone. Coincidentally, the touring car made a U-turn, heading back to position themselves parallel to Tatum. Tatum started the car put it in drive. The men at FCU vanished into the facility, as if ghosts disappearing into the mist of night. “They’re gone.” Emily exclaimed as she and Tatum simultaneously notice the car stop and a man exit the passenger’s side. The driver lowered the window, sticks out his head and asked, “Do you have a light?” The glint of a metallic object startled Tatum into action. A gun would do that to a professional, fully aware of their deadly intent.


             Tatum yelled at Emily, “Get down and stay down.”


             Simultaneously gunning the car and heading up the street while pushing Emily’s head to the floorboard like a child pushing a jack-in-the-box back into its hiding place. Emily had no choice but to follow instructions since her head was face-down on the floor mat of the front seat. Two shots rang out, one shattered the left side back window of the now disappearing car, as the pursuers scrambled to catch up, jumping back into the car as he fired another shot at Tatum and making a hard U-turn on two right wheels almost flipping the car.


             Tatum checking his rearview mirror for pursuing headlights. They magically appeared, as if turned on by a switch. Tatum knew they were in trouble if they were caught. If they headed for a populace area, they might stand a chance of making it through the night. Emily still hugging the floor, trying to catch her breath and understand what just happened, did it really happen? “Can I get up now?”


             “Yes, but keep you head down. I’m going to get downtown as quickly as I can, we have a better chance of making it.”


               They were closing in rapidly and Tatum was not sure they would make it to the center of town.

Oh my God, were the words unspoken, running through her mind and almost stopped her heart as she looked at Tatum for guidance. He looked back at her with one of those half smiles trying to engender confidence.

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