1 In Dr. Anthony Santiago’s 27th year he was serving at the Presence Covenant Medical Center Free Clinic, Urbana, Illinois. He was in the admittance lobby talking to Head Nurse Elspeth Crusan who was 40 years old and, not admittedly, more than admired by Dr. Santiago. The lobby doors slid open and there entered Coby Smuthers, Head Field Social Worker, accompanying a young girl, followed by a sheriff. Dr. Anthony Santiago and Head Nurse Elspeth Crusan saw first that the young girl was dressed like a vagrant and then recognized that the young girl bore Down’s syndrome.
2 Coby Smuthers knew both Dr. Anthony Santiago and Head Nurse Elspeth Crusan well from previous cases of social welfare. Coby nodded, saying, “Tony, Elspeth, this is Sheriff Romeyn. We found this girl living in the shanty town along the river. She’s pregnant and we need your ‘help’ as soon as possible.”
3 Elspeth asked the young girl, sweetly, “What is your name, dear?” The young girl answered with a bright smile, “I am Natalie. I have baby Jesus in my stomach.”
4 Elspeth took Natalie by the hand and led her to the examination room. There Elspeth had her nurses give Natalie a shower in the patient bathroom before her examination. When Natalie sat on the examination table Elspeth as she prepared her instruments asked Natalie, “So who is the father of… your baby?” Natalie leaned forward enthusiastically and said, “Michael told me my baby is Jesus.” Elspeth asked wryly, “Is Michael your… boyfriend?” Natalie then laughed and giggled so cutely and said, “No! Michael is a Angel.” Elspeth stared at Natalie and then she bowed her head to examine Natalie. After a minute Elspeth raised her head and stared at Natalie again. Elspeth told her assistant to prepare the ultrasound machine immediately.
5 While Elspeth absorbed her revelation and Coby filled-out paperwork, Tony saw the dozen vagrants marching toward the lobby door and, as the lobby door parted, pigeons flew into the lobby ahead of the legion. As people waiting in the lobby yelled, screamed and shooed the pigeons the vagrants cried out, “Where is Natalie?”
6 Colby turned to the sheriff and hollered, “Get them away from me!” then he turned to the vagrants and said, “I told you this was none of your business!” The vagrants hollered back, “We got rights!”
7 Elspeth returned unto the chaos of the lobby and cried, “What the Hades is going on?!” and everything became still except for a pigeon that flew down the hallway. The vagrants said, “We want Natalie.” Elspeth said firmly, “We are helping Natalie. Now, sit down and everyone be quiet! This is a Blessed hospital!” One of the vagrants said, “Natalie don’t need your help!” Elspeth withered their resistance with a glare. Sheriff Romeyn grinned and shook his head.
8 Elspeth said to Tony, “You need to see this. Come with me.” Elspeth showed Tony the sonogram. Where the embryo was positioned there was an inordinate sonic reflection that overexposed the image. Elspeth said, “And Natalie still has her hymen.” Tony said, “Something’s wrong with the ultrasound…” but Elspeth interrupted, “We used two of them. Same images.” Tony shook his head and said, “Finish the other tests. We’ve scheduled her for tomorrow morning.”
9 The next morning Dr. Anthony Santiago studied the sonogram images and looked over the test results for Natalie. When Head Nurse Elspeth Crusan entered his office, Dr. Santiago said, “It’s a girl.” Elspeth said, “That’s what Natalie told me. She said ‘Jesus is a girl this time’. That’s what this ‘Michael’ told her.” Tony sighed, “The ‘Angel’?” Elspeth grinned wryly, “This is weird, isn’t it?” Tony then said, “The fetus apparently does not suffer the trisomy 21 as Natalie does. It seems like a healthy normal fetus.” Then Tony remarked, as he saw a gleam in Elspeth’s eyes, “A 50/50 outcome in these cases.” Elspeth was about to comment when a technician came into Tony’s office and breathlessly said, “Bad news. The sterilizer shorted-out! They found this white pigeon toasted behind it.” Elspeth looked at Tony. Tony said, “No, Elspeth, don’t start,” knowing that Elspeth was a devout member of her Dutch Christian Reformed Church.
10 When Tony explained the delay to Coby, Coby said evenly, “I heard about the sonogram and your tests. Don’t ask. I know how Elspeth is. She runs a pet rescue charity when she isn’t here. Tony, if you won’t do this I’ll move this kid to the other clinic.” Tony suddenly had a feeling and he then asked Coby, “Why are you so urgent about all this?” Coby replied, “What the hell, Tony? It’s my job. I care about this kid. What kind of a mother…what kind of a life would her baby…? Hell, what is wrong with you? It’s Elspeth, isn’t it?” Tony sighed, “Coby, I trust her. She’s a block-head but she’s never wrong. I trust her.” Coby snorted, “Never wrong? Wrong about what?!’ and Coby narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Tony and said, “It’s more than trust, isn’t it, Tony? If you won’t do your job, I’m getting paperwork right now.”
11 But Elspeth had gone to a lawyer and the abortion was delayed. Coby shouted at Tony and Elspeth, “On what grounds?” Elspeth said, “You read it: ‘Harm to Natalie’.” Coby shouted, “You will have to prove…ah, fuck, this is just a stupid stall. You are out of your mind and out your money, Elspeth. I don’t know why you’re doing this! Natalie is not one of your stray dogs. What is wrong with you?” Elspeth said, “Natalie is my stray lamb.” Coby cursed.
12 Elspeth finally had to adopt Natalie to stop the government from aborting the fetus and it was fortunate that she was a skilled nurse. Tony helped in every way he could. He even proposed to Elspeth but she did not take him seriously. Natalie’s baby was born healthy and they, Natalie, Elspeth, and Tony, agreed on the name “Jesse” for her. Jesse Crusan.
13 Jesse Crusan grew into a fine bright child and Elspeth “raised” both Natalie and Jesse in her Dutch Christian Reformed Church. In Sunday school and Catechism Classes Jesse was always questioning the poor teachers and helpers. Jesse declared to her “Oma (Grandma)” Elspeth one day that she was going to be a lawyer. “Oom (Uncle)” Tony said, “God help us.”
The Book of Michael, Chapter 1
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