A few days passed. Laurence persevered in the dreadful MARCH OF OUR TIMES soap opera. His wife, Leslie, was no wiser to the financial dire straits they had found themselves in. Things could even be considered to have gotten back to normal until a privately couriered letter from the HARBOUR HOUSE rehabilitation clinic arrived with breakfast.
He took it to his study to read privately. He almost spat his tea over it when he read the cost of Gillian’s second amputation. Higher than the first leg.
How could one leg cost so much more than the other?
He was beginning to think it would have been easier to have kept a mistress. Perhaps Scarlett, his talentless co star on TIMES would have obliged. She would wrap her lips around anything if it meant she could boost her career. But no, it wasn’t a mistress. Collette was a victim of his drunk driving stupidity. It would have been easier if he had just called an ambulance at the time and taken the heat from the police but no. He had already been given community service for driving under the influence. He wasn’t even sure if he had a valid licence. So he called his good friend DR WINSLOW. Well he wasn’t really sure they were good friends, they met at a party once. Either way he owned the rehabilitation clinic and he was a skilled surgeon. In exchange for treating her Laurence was being drained of every penny he had.
“I have to take the other leg,” Winslow had said.
“Is it necessary?” Laurence had asked.
“It is if you want the young lady to live.”
How quickly a terrible accident can become a murder. Or was it manslaughter? Leslie would know. Her sister also happened to be the toughest HIGH COURT JUDGE the city of COLDFORD had ever sene. Even though they lived abroad in the coastal town of LUEN the threat of repercussions always loomed like the dusty Shady City clouds.
There was a polite tapping at the door.
“Loo Loo!” Called Leslie in her charming little voice. “I’m going to be leaving soon. Come see me off.”
Laurence stored the invoice away in the locked drawer in his desk.
“Okay pumpkin pie. I’ll be there in just a moment.”
He even surprised himself with how natural and calm he sounded. Damn he was a good actor.
He met his wife downstairs at the door way of their classically built beach house.
Leslie, dressed beautifully in a red, tea length dress and black heels, leaned forward with her painted ruby red lips puckered. She pointed to her cheek. Her skin was porcelain and pale despite the warm weather in LUEN.
I’ll be back around four,” she said. “I’m just going to do a little shopping with Alma and remember we have reservations at LE WORDE tonight.”
Laurence was busy calculating how much more he could push their credit card before it got cut up. It seemed the good people at CITI BANK didn’t care he was a famous actor. Leslie must have noticed the puzzled expression in his face. He never was really great at maths.
“What’s wrong pooky?” She asked in a voice one might use when talking to a baby.
“I’ll just miss you,” he decided. A safe ad-lib.
Leslie beamed. “Silly Loo Loo.” She patted his face gently. He liked the feel of her silk gloves against his skin. “I won’t be long,” she continued.
“I know,” he replied. “Wuv you,” he said in a similar infantile voice.
It charmed her. She giggled and dove into the velvet clutch bag she carried and produced a card carrier.
“Use the BECKINGRIDGE card,” he said.
“What’s wrong with Citi Bank?” She asked.
Laurence had to think fast.
There’s no money on it.
“I’m writing a script. I may get my own production off the ground so I’ll need it.”
“Oh Loo Loo!” She cheered. “That is so exciting.”
“I may have to cancel Le Worde,” he said.
Because we can’t afford it.
“Because I want to get started right away.”
She waved her finger at him. “Now don’t work to hard.”
He raised his eyebrows. “I’ll do my best.”
As the door closed the scene cut. He felt he could have done better but he delivered his lines convincingly enough.
This time the doctor was in his office and his surgical gear had been replaced by an expensive grey suit.
“Laurence my good man! You’ll be pleased to know that our Colette is recovering marvellously. Her latest surgery was a complete success.”
“It’s about the latest invoice,” Laurence interrupted. “It’s expensive.”
Winslow tutted. “You can’t put a price on the quality of care here at Harbour House.”
Laurence frowned. He couldn’t act calm anymore. “You certainly took a stab at it.”
Winslow raised his eyebrows in are you seriously talking to me in that manner? Expression.
“Need I remind you, I am merely trying to cover up your mess.”
“What am I supposed to do?” Laurence put the question out there. It wasn’t necessarily directed at the doctor.
“Since we are such good friends I am willing to make some allowances. There is one way you could clear your debts.”
Winslow seemed to look over the camera then, probably to check his door was closed securely.
“How is your health?”
Winslow folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. “Well, I have a long list of kidney patients, leukaemia patients in desperate need of transplants. The nasty old Organ Donor Registar in this city would have them die on waiting lists so we cut some corners. A donation from you could go a long way to helping clear your debt.”
“You want me to donate organs? Whilst I’m still alive?”
“Non essential ones for course. Just one kidney would suffice or perhaps some bone marrow. A few hours in surgery and a couple of days in recovery and all this dreadful mess will be behind you.”
Laurence thought about it. It would mean he could move on. He could quit MARCH OF OUR TIMES. One good movie and it would be like nothing had happened.
“I would have to think about it.”
Winslow replied, “time is ticking Laurence. People are dying and you could save them.”
Now it felt like something he couldn’t refuse to do.
“I’ll call you back,” Laurence agreed.
“There is one other option,” the surgeon put to him before he hung up. “You could donate Collette.”
check out the story so far:
PART 4 will be available tomorrow from 6pm. Tune in to find out what our A list actor plans on getting out of this bind.
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