Not good enough for Jamie

Ambulance

It was midnight when Kerry Ford was rushed into the emergency room unconscious because of a drug overdose. Doctors and nurses tried to save him, but Kerry was gone, and a doctor went to the waiting room to his mother, father and older brother, Alan, and they stood when they saw the doctor. “Folks, I’m sorry. We couldn’t save him,” the doctor said sadly.  When his mother heard the words, she gasped, had a heart attack and fell to the floor, dead.

After the funeral for Kerry and his mother, Alan and his father went home and sat at the kitchen table. “Alan, what kind of evil monsters took my boy and your mother from us?” he asked with tears in his eyes.

“Girls, Dad.  He told me they never stopped taunting him, calling him names. He said it never stopped. They said he was trailer trash, and made fun of us. They made fun of you because you work in a factory. The evil monsters were girls; Jamie Carr and her friends.”

Two days after the funeral, Jamie sat at her table in the cafeteria, and her friends joined her.  “Did you hear about Kerry and his mother?” Sara asked.

Yeah,” Carla said. “I can’t help feeling that we are responsible. We taunted Kerry to the point where he couldn’t stand it anymore, and that’s why he took drugs and died, and then his mother had a heart attack because she lost her son.  God, what have we done?”

“So what?” Jamie asserted. “Kerry was trash, and his family is trash. There’s enough trash in the world. It would have been better for us, for the world, if they all died.”

Carla stood and glared at Jamie. “There’s something wrong with you, Jamie. I don’t want to know you,” she said and left. Then, the others expressed similar feelings and left.

Jamie watched the girls walk away. “Go. Good riddance.”

Three years later, Alan and his father received a large inheritance that significantly changed their lives. Alan’s father retired, and Alan was able to pursue a dream, to become a physician. After completing his education, he earned his certification and joined a prestigious firm where he practiced plastic surgery.

After college, Jamie married into a wealthy family, and she and her husband spent the next fifteen years living the good life. One day, while driving back from their house in the Hamptons, they got into an accident. Jamie’s husband was killed, and she sustained a broken arm, lacerations, and her face was severely disfigured. While she recuperated, she stayed with her mother. “Mother, I can’t show what’s left of my face in public. I can’t go to the country club. I can’t go anywhere,” she whined. “Mother I…” she started to say but was interrupted by a ringing phone, which she answered. “Hello?”

“Hello, ugly. Have you looked in a mirror lately?” the voice taunted, and Jamie hung up and burst into tears.

“Jamie, what’s wrong,” her mother asked as she comforted her. “Mother, people are so cruel. They don’t stop taunting me. What am I going to do?”

“Jamie, a plastic surgeon can give you back your beautiful face, and the cruel phone calls and emails will stop.”

After Jamie found a reputable practice, she called and made an appointment. Wearing a black dress and a black hat with a black veil, Jaime entered the plastic surgeons’ office, and went to the receptionist’s window. “May I help you?”

“Yes. My name is Jaime Downs. I have a 2:00 o’clock appointment with Dr. Wilson.”

The receptionist checked her computer and then gave Jaime some forms to fill out. “Please fill these out.  Jaime filled out the forms and returned them to the receptionist.  “Thank you, Ms. Downs. Please have a seat, and Dr. Wilson will be with you shortly.”

After a few minutes, a nurse greeted Jamie and took her to Dr. Wilson’s examining room, and he came in. “Ms. Downs, I’m Dr. Wilson,” he said and they shook hands. So, what can I do for you?”

She lifted her veil. “This.”

“How did this happen?”

She told him what happened. “I’m getting taunting phone calls and getting horrible emails. People can be so cruel. Anyway, I’m hoping you’ll be able to save me. Here’s a photo of my face as it should be. Can you give me my face back?”

“Hmm,” he uttered as he looked at the photo and then at Jamie back and forth several times. “Okay, here’s the plan,” he said and explained what he would do.

The day came, and Jamie was prepared for surgery. She met the anesthesiologist and initial sedation was administered. Before she was taken to the operating room, Alan Ford entered her room. “I’m Dr. Ford. I’m filling in for Dr. Wilson. He was called away. Apparently, his son committed suicide. Uh, I hope you don’t object to me taking Dr. Wilson’s place. I’m aware of your situation; I have your photograph and Dr. Wilson’s notes.”

“No, uh, uh, okay, yeah,” she said groggily. “Uh, suicide? Ford? Your name… Ford?” she mumbled and dozed off.

After the operation, she was returned to her room. Still unconscious, she began to dream. She was at her country club and girls filed by. “Hi, ugly, how are you today?” each one said as she walked by Jamie.

“Stop it,” she yelled and ran away to a big room. In the middle of the room was a boy wearing torn, dirty clothes. There was no skin on his hands, and worms crawled out of holes in his rotted face.

Jamie tried to run, but she couldn’t. The boy pointed his boney finger at her. “Do you remember me? I’m Kerry Ford. You made me kill myself. You and your friends picked on me. You called me names, and I couldn’t stand it, so I took drugs and died.”

Then, a woman appeared and stood in front of her. “I was Kerry’s mother. I had a heart attack when Kerry died. “Here,” she said and held her heart in her skeleton hand. “Take it. You were happy that Kerry died, and you were happy when I had a heart attack and died.”

“I’m sorry. What I did was terrible.  I know that now. Forgive me. Forgive me,” Jamie yelled and a nurse rushed into her room.

“Ms. Downs, Ms. Downs, wake up.”

“Huh? What…?”

“You were having a bad dream. Are you okay now?”

“Yes, yes, I’m okay,” she said through the bandages that covered her face, and the nurse left.  “What’s happening? The dream was so real. It was as though Kerry and his mother were in this room.”

Two days later, Alan Ford and a nurse entered Jamie’s room. “Well, Jamie, are you ready to see your face?”

“More than ready. I can’t wait to get back to my old life: the country club, my friends, the Hamptons. Yes, I’m more than ready.”

“May I have the scissors, nurse,” he said and she gave him a pair of scissors. “Here we go, Jamie,” he said, snipped the surgical tape that held the bandage in place, unraveled the bandage, and uncovered her face. Then, the nurse handed him a mirror. “Ready?” he asked and gave her the mirror.

“I’m excited,” she said and looked in the mirror. “No, no,” she screamed. What have you done to me? This is the face of an evil monster.”

“What are you talking about? “You wanted your face as it should be, and you have it. You’re looking at your face as it should be.”

“No. This is not my face. My face was beautiful,” she sobbed.

“What do you think, nurse?” Alan asked.

“I don’t see what’s wrong, Dr. Ford, she looks exactly as she should. You did a beautiful job.”

“Beautiful job? What are you talking about? I look like an evil monster,” she sobbed, and put the mirror down. “Oh, no, she gasped,” as she looked at Kerry and his mother standing behind Alan and the nurse. Though they were skeletons, they appeared to be smiling as they pointed at her. “Please. I said I was sorry. I’m so sorry. Please believe me. I’m not an evil monster. I’m not an evil monster,” she pleaded as she got off the bed and paced in the room. “I’m not an evil monster. I’m not an evil monster,” she said over and over as she paced back and forth.

Alan and the nurse watched for a few moments. “Well, I would guess Jamie didn’t like seeing Jamie, the real Jamie,” Alan Ford said and he and the nurse left the room.

From inside the room, Jamie could be heard raving. “I’m not an evil monster. I’m not an evil monster,” she said over and over as she paced back and forth in the room.

 

By Saul Greenblatt

 

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