The sun was coming up and the ambulance finally was ready to pull away to the hospital. Much to my surprise, before it left, Janice hopped in the back with me and took my hand.
“I had to ride the back of a fucking motorcycle to get here thanks to that boy of yours,” she said. “Gregg and Billy are in the Lincoln right behind us. Jim’s coming to get the Harley.”
I reached out my arm and we hugged. “It’s good to see you, Janice. I still don’t know how this mess will end up,” I said.
“I have an idea,” she said. “Angel’s father, Jim, will finally come to see what an asshole his son was. He might hate you for a while, and blame you, but that will be grief talking. You’ll have to live through that. Those other kids will go back into the system. The police already called Child Services and they showed up just as we were leaving. They will come and talk to you at the hospital.”
“Were any of them injured?”
“I figured you’d ask that. No, and I’m so sorry about Mama. I know you were close to her.”
“Thank you. It will hit me hard, Penny, too. Penny saw that Angel was attacking me and she jumped in to save me. I don’t want Penny to be forgotten in some poor person’s grave with no one there but the preacher and the grave digger.”
We rode on in silence for a minute or two. I laughed. Janice smiled. “What’s funny?
“This set of boobs that I’ve been so proud of was what kept me from saving myself when I needed it most. I couldn’t squeeze them out that little window!”
We had a good laugh. I raised up and tried to see out the back of that little square ambulance window. I tried to see Billy and Gregg. “What’s to become of me now? The Child Services is going to take me away.” I asked Janice.
“I’m so sorry about Eva, your Mama,” Janice said. “I know you loved her.”
We rode on for a couple minutes. I laid there a stared at the roof of the ambulance. “They already have Charisse, Jazzie, Bart,” I said.
We turned into the Hospital Emergency entrance. They backed up to the doors and stopped. I didn’t realize it but Janice had been holding my hand. The EMT boys opened the back of the ambulance and pulled me out. They started telling the medical people about my cuts and my smoke inhalation.
I stared screaming, “BILLY! BILLY!” I screamed it over and over.
“Ronni! Why are you yelling!” Janice yelled. I grabbed her by the front of her shirt. “I need Billy here, now!” I coughed.
Billy ran around to the back of the ambulance, looked in, saw that I wasn’t there, then saw them wheel me into the emergency room. He ran after me. He knew why I was screaming. He caught up to us and started asking for the doctor. Greg thought we both were going nuts.
They put me in one of those areas that have wrap-around curtains and the nurses came in and started unbuttoning my shirt. The doctor finally came in with Billy.
“Everyone has to leave,” Billy said. “Everyone except the doctor!”
The nurses looked at me. “Please! Everyone has to leave except the doctor!” I said all raspy.
“We need to prep her, son, now you need to go to the waiting room,” the gray-haired nurse said.
“Get her out of here!” I yelled at the doctor. He nodded at the old nurse and she scoffed and left. “I need to tell you something and it is patient to doctor confidential, do you understand?”
“Okay, Miss, Ronni King,” he said looking at the clipboard, “What do you need to tell me confidentially?”