COUNT DOWN TO PUBLICATION

My book, Niagara Fontaine, is due to be published later this month.  Over the next few weeks, I will be gushing about it posting the first few pages.  Many of my friends say I am dramatic, so I’m going with the gushing and the drama.

Here is the first exerpt:

Logan Memorial Hospital

100 Amanda Street

Meredith, Massachusetts

7:45 PM

             Perseverance is my strongest trait.  Deal with it. 

I pushed open the scratched plexiglass door of the emergency department.  Smelled ammonia and dried blood.  I jumped out of the way as a gurney rushed past.  The young woman on the gurney still had pieces of glass in her face and hair.

            Once through the door, I backed against the wall and looked around, a trait I developed when entering a room always brought uncertainty.  I spotted Kara Salem, a social worker, in the crowd.  She was short, heavy, and wore her blond hair in corkscrews.  Ridiculous hairstyle, but she insisted she couldn’t do anything else with it.

            A nurse bustled up and I read her name tag.  Important to call people by name, even if I never see them again. 

            “Hello, Ms. Johansson.  I’m Niagara Fontaine, the attorney for the Department of Children and Families.”  Then I asked the same question I ask every time.  “What can you tell me?” 

            Cecily Johansson, an RN by her name tag, played with her earring.  “Don’t know exactly when the man arrived at the hospital.”  She checked her chart.  “But at about 5:30, he walked up to the emergency registration, first time we saw him, and said he didn’t know what was wrong with the baby.  He put the girl, four months old, on the nursing desk.”   Johansson flipped a page.  “We found a hematoma on the side of her head and multiple other cuts and bruises.  Upon examination, it appeared she had been struck with a blunt object.”

            Nurse Johansson looked up.  “Or she hit a wall or some other fixture that didn’t move.  That’s why I filed the report with DCF.  The man who brought her in wouldn’t or couldn’t give any information about her injuries.”

            Another person spoke to the nurse.  She turned to me and said.  “I’ve got to go now.  Your people are over there.”   She gestured vaguely toward Kara.

            I followed the beacon of blond curls and pushed my way to Kara.  Without a greeting, she started talking.  “The child is being examined now.  We should know something soon.  That’s the man who brought her in.  Unclear if he is the father.”  She gestured toward a man in faded jeans and a Batman tee shirt. 

            The man gestured toward the woman beside him.  She also wore faded clothes, without the blood stains.  Another woman, in scrubs, stepped between them and linked her arm to the woman’s.  The man pulled on the woman’s other arm.

            “Let’s go talk to them.”  I waited for Kara to move first.  If this case went to court, I couldn’t testify since I’m the Department’s lawyer.  So, Kara needed to be present for all information collection.  Kara knew her part: the helpful social worker.  I’m the lawyer threatening court action.

            The man patted his pockets.  We both stopped.  He could be looking for his wallet.  Or his insurance card.  Or a weapon.  His eyes darted from side to side.