THE WORRY DOLLS
There is a legend amongst the highland Indian villages of Guatemala.
If you have a problem, then share it with a Worry Doll.
Before going to bed, tell one worry to each doll, then place them beneath your pillow.
While you sleep the dolls will take your worries away.
Chapter 5 – “Code 6-Adam”
Kristen feared that the little girl was dead. Kristen kneeled down and she stroked the little girl’s face. Kristen tried to feel for a pulse but she could not find one with her trembling hand.
Frenzy stabbed at Kristen’s mind, saying to her, “You did this. She’s dead. She’s dead!”
Still in numb disbelief Kristen touched the girl’s throat.
Kristen sobbed, “Oh, God, please don’t let her die.”
But this time she could feel it, very weak, but it was there. Something moved. A pulse, she prayed.
“Thank you, God, thank you, God, thank you, God…,” but Kristen feared that the young girl would not be alive much longer.
Kristen glanced around the intersection. The freeway ramp was right there.
“No witnesses,” whispered something into her ear. She instantly felt dirty and evil and she burst into tears.
Kristen rose quickly, unsteadily, and was stumbling back to her car for her cellphone when a car appeared ahead of her coming up the road quickly.
A police car? What were the odds of a police car appearing at that moment?
Fumbling in her car for the cellphone Kristen poked the speed-dial for Kahuna at home. The police cruiser lit-up and came to a halt a few yards away.
Kahuna has been off sick from duty for the last five days.
This had been the first sick-leave that Kahuna had taken during his 14 years on the Los Angeles police force. He had finally gone to the department’s doctor when the intervals between migraines began to get shorter and the intensity almost crippling.
Dr. Lassandra Dean had come a long way from her ghetto roots. She was leaning-in close and shot Kahuna point-blank with the straight facts, “It-Does-Not-Work-That-Way!”
Dr. Dean’s words ricocheted off of a very displeased Kahuna.
Dr. Dean demanded, “Jack Bradford, back off on the stress! I know you! You like it!”
Dr. Dean quickly raised her hand to squelch any protest, saying, “And I am damn well aware of what your job ‘brings with it’,” wagging a finger back and forth.
Dr. Dean was relentless, saying, “We both know that you are a classic Type-A personality. And you think that stress is a tonic! You think it’s something invigorating, something refreshing, something equal to an extra shot of vitamins.”
Dr. Dean deliberately stood back to her ghetto roots and gave Kahuna “three snaps and a rainbow”, emphasizing, “It-Does-Not-Work-That-Way!”
Dr. Dean and Kahuna then laughed loudly together.
Dr. Dean let out a long melodramatic sigh and looked heavenward, continuing, “Let me put it this way: stress does give you that extra shot, but when that shot lands it lands right inside here,” and for effect she gently tapped Kahuna between his eyes.
Dr. Dean laughed again, “I know you’d rather that I said you have a brain tumor but the tests all came back negative.”
Dr. Dean then brought it all home to Kahuna, “If you don’t quit being a stress-junkie, then you are doomed to get these attacks closer and closer together, until one day it becomes the norm and you stick a gun in your mouth. Wise-up or blow up. Take some time. Get it together. The choice is yours, Officer Jackford.”
Kahuna then reluctantly had gone home to spend most of the next five days lying in his darkened den, sprawled on the couch.
Now it was raining and Kahuna dreamed.
Kahuna was straddling the back of a giant yellow canary, holding on for dear life. The canary swooped madly through the air. It was exhilarating! Without warning the canary suddenly fell out of the sky to street level and then began swerving in and out of traffic at a break-neck pace. Kahuna had been both scared and delighted at the erratic movements taking place all around him.
But suddenly the canary flew up into a church belfry and gigantic bells began to clang. Kahuna could feel the cacophony behind his eyes and he winced.
In the real world his home telephone was ringing.
In his dream world Kahuna was falling. He was no longer on the back of the wild yellow canary. He landed in the passenger seat of a faded yellow VW Cabriolet. He couldn’t turn his head to see who was driving.
“Left, left” he was yelling. “Where are we?”
It all seemed so familiar yet so strange. It was sensation from long ago; from an earlier time, forgotten during the Code-Three chaos of what Kahuna called his life.
Kahuna then dreamt that in the faded yellow VW Cabriolet he careened past a policewoman that he knew. It was Officer Sinead Mohan and she blew a loud trilling whistle directly into his ear. Kahuna winced, as the sound punched his eyeballs from behind.
He awoke before the third ring, realizing that it came from his telephone nearby on the floor.
His wife Kristen had gone out and had been furious with him. Certainly she would not be calling.
“So who died?” he thought.
Kahuna had no friends who would be calling now to chit-chat.
Kahuna’s arm was reaching reflexively toward the ringing sound when Kahuna’s brain took command and retracted his arm. He wanted to remember: he had been trying to work something out in that dream, something important. Kahuna clutched at one gossamer thread of the dream that remained and he held it, tethering himself between the evaporating dream and reality.
Kahuna snatched the over-sized couch pillow and smothered the phone.
Officer Sinead Mohan and her rookie partner Canh Nguyen had been on duty in the district for two hours when they got the report of “shots fired”. Now, as they approached the blue Volkswagen stopped in the middle of the road, they saw a woman standing unsteadily, one hand raised to cover her mouth, as if holding back a scream that she dared not release.
Sinead said to Cahn, “Call it in. We might need help here. Code 6-Adam. We’re at…South Central and East 17th.”
Sinead then quickly exited the patrol car and she drew her gun and while shooting glances all around she stepped toward the woman cautiously.
Sinead asked firmly, “Ma’am?” but gently, “Are you alright?”
The rookie officer Canh had positioned himself behind the open passenger door of the patrol car, mentally checking-off standard procedures. This was his second week on the job and he was still a little nervous, especially in this part of town. His feet were planted solid. Check. A bit wider than his shoulders. Check. His right hand rested, just above the hip and his weapon. Check.
Sinead asked the woman again, “Ma’am?” and received no response.
Kristen finally looked over at Sinead for the first time but remained silent.
There was about ten feet between the two women and Sinead was not getting any closer until she had a better grip on the situation.
Sinead pleaded, “Ma’am, please tell me what the problem is. I can’t help you unless I know what’s wrong.”
Kristen slowly allowed her hand to drift down from her mouth. She had been looking toward Sinead but now for the first time her eyes seemed to focus and truly see her.
Kristen heard her own words but the voice, distant and lost, did not sound like hers, saying, “What? What did you say?”
Sinead sensed that the woman might be in shock.
Sinead tried to sooth Kristen, saying, “It’s going to be OK. We’re here to help you. What happened here?”
Kristen broke and started to weep, mumbling, “I thought she must be dead.”
Kristen turned her head back toward her car and saw her own distorted reflection in the window.
Kristen mumbled, “Oh, God, I thought she was dead. But she’s not.”
Canh moved slowly away from the patrol car, gun now drawn. He approached the passenger side of the blue VW coupe. He looked into the front seat. Check. He looked into the back seat. Check. Then he shrugged his shoulders, indicating to Sinead there was nothing in the car.
Then Canh saw the splayed figure of the little girl lying in the street, her eyes still open, head twisted upward and staring.
Canh holstered his weapon and sprinted to the girl, crying, “Jesus! Sinead! Over there, in back of the car!”
Sinead shouted, “Canh!” and she immediately spun around smoothly in a circle, her weapon extended in both hands, surveying her situation over the gun barrel, yelling, “What are you doing Canh? We’re not secure.”
Canh’s eyes raced up and down the little girl’s figure, reporting, “She’s bad, Sinead.”
Kristen moaned, startling Sinead.
Sinead shouted in frustration, “Goddamn it, Canh.”
Canh was already calling on his phone for an ambulance. He put his jacket over the little girl’s torso, talking non-stop to the little girl as if his words were a life-line.
Sinead asked, “Was she shot?” as she continued to cover 360-degrees.
Kristen cried out, “She ran into my car!”
Sinead narrowed her eyes at Kristen and Sinead suddenly just knew that she had seen this woman before.
Sinead asked, “Ma’am? Ma’am! What’s your name?”
Kristen’s response was slow and mechanical. “Kristen, Kristen Jackford.”
The alarm in Sinead’s head went off, and she asked pointedly, “Detective Brent Jackford’s wife? Kahuna?”
Those words beat Kristen down to her knees.
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