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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Mike Waters

Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix

  God Damn a Potato E.C. Kasalivich  

        'His name's "Michael Waters"' said Nathan, holding out a dog-eared social security card. Johnny looked on from the doorway, a little embarrassed, as Hettie Wilbur shone a light in the kid's eye. He and Nathan had stripped him to his shorts and put him to bed, and now Hettie was doing doctor stuff.
        'Hettie!' said Nathan. 'You should take a look at this. It's from a doctor in Portland.' He held out a letter.
        Hettie rose from the bedside drawing up the sheet and tucking it around the young man - tenderly - as if he was one of her own.
        Taking the letter her eyes fell immediately on to one word, and the word was 'narcolepsy'. She smiled. 'Thank you Nathan. Yes, this is what we need to know.'
        'Is he... is he going to die, Medicine Dove?' asked Johnny.
        'Yes Hawk, he is. But probably no sooner than any of the rest of us. The condition he has - well, it's like epilepsy. It can be controlled. Is there any medication in his pockets, Nathan?'
        'No, Mam. Just the papers. No billfold, no cash - not even a cent. And no shoes.'
        'What now?' asked Johnny.
        'Well, I'm a little rusty, but I guess for now we just roll him into the recovery position and let him sleep it off. I'll have to speak with his doctor of course, but all that can come later.'
        It seemed the next move was Nathan's. Both Hettie and Johnny turned to him. Here he was again - on the spot. Luckily, like most cops, he was a passed master at winging it.
        He thought out loud: 'I got his name. I'll give his a 1973 date of birth and run him through N.C.I.C.'
        Hettie raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
        'It's a computer,' said Nathan in answer to the unspoken question. 'It'll show me if he's known. You sure you going to be okay, just him and you in the house? He could be dangerous.'
        Hettie looked at the sleeping boy. 'I feel safe enough thanks, Nathan. And Dan will be home soon.'
        Nathan smiled. He was a big man, but it would take two of him to make up one Dan. He nodded a by-your-leave and descended to the cruiser. Hettie escorted Johnny to the door, thanked him for his public-spirited actions and bid him farewell. He smiled sheepishly and turned for his sedan, treating Hettie to a full view of the painted hawk on his brown leather flying jacket.
        While Nathan sat half in the cruiser tapping keys on the terminal, Hettie closed the screen door and crossed to the bookshelf with a certain medical reference book in mind.
        Aha! Here it is she thought, reaching for the book as a gentle tap-tapping floated across from the screen door. Nathan peered in. 'He's known. No warrants outstanding but...'
        'I don't want to know.'

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