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. A doctor went to the waiting room to his mother, father and older brother, Alan, who stood when they saw the doctor. “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 made Kerry kill himself?”
“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.”
“Who was doing this to him?” his father asked.
“Mostly it was a girl named Jamie Carr. Kerry said she was the leader. She’d start, and her friends would follow.”
Word spread that Kerry tried committed suicide and his mother had a heart attack at the hospital and died. Alan decided to confront Jamie and went to the cafeteria at lunch time. He stood in the doorway and looked around. A boy passed. “Excuse me. Do you know Jamie Carr?”
“Yeah, she’s the pretty blond over there. She has long, blond hair,” he said pointing.
“Thanks,” Alan said and the boy went on his way. Alan stared at her for several minutes. “What’s the point? What will I accomplish?” he thought and left.
Jamie’s friends joined her at the table. “Did you hear about Kerry and his mother?” Sara asked. Yeah,” Carla said. “We are responsible, girls. God, what have we done?”
“Jamie,” Celia said, “We’ve done a terrible thing. I’m so ashamed.”
“We didn’t do a terrible thing, Jamie asserted. Kerry was trash, and his family is trash. Would you invite them to your house for dinner? Of course, you wouldn’t. 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’m sorry I ever followed you,” she said and left. Then, the others expressed similar feelings and left.
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 plastic surgeon. Eight years passed, Alan reached his goal, and joined an established firm.
After high school, Jamie went to a prestigious college, graduated, and married into a wealthy family. She and her husband spent the next fifteen years living the good life. 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 and severe wounds to her face leaving her disfigured. While recovering at her parents’ house, she decided to see a plastic surgeon. “Maybe a plastic surgeon can give me my face back,” she said and researched plastic surgeons. After finding a reputable practice, she called for an appointment. “She made the appointment, and a moment after she hung up, the phone rang.. “Hello?”
“Hello, ugly. Have you looked in a mirror lately?” Jamie hung up and burst into tears and she told her mother what the caller said. “Mother, people are so cruel. They love to taunt and jeer at the weak. How can I defend myself? I can’t show what’s left of my face in public. I won’t be able to go to the country club. I won’t be able to go anywhere. People will make fun of me. I wish I had died in the accident.”
“Jamie, a plastic surgeon will give you back your beautiful face, and the cruel phone calls and emails will stop. Be patient,” her mother said and hugged her.
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, Ms. Downs. Jaime filled out the forms and returned them to the receptionist. “Thank you, Ms. Downs. Please have a seat. Dr. Wilson will be with you shortly.”
After a few minutes, Dr. Wilson came out. “Ms. Downs, I’m Dr. Wilson,” he said and they shook hands. Come into my examining room and we’ll chat,” he said and they entered his examining room. “Please sit on the examining table and we’ll get down to business. 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 I’m even getting horrible emails. People can be so cruel. Anyway, I’m hoping you’ll be able to save me. Here’s a photo of the old me. 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. From what I heard, the boy was a victim of bullying. 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, it’s okay,” she said groggily. “Uh, suicide? Ford? Your name is 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 Jaime.
“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. “You and your friends picked on me. You called me names, and I couldn’t stand it, so I took drugs and died. Do you remember me, I’m Kerry Ford. You made me kill myself.”
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.
“Mrs. Downs, Mrs. Downs, wake up.”
“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 old self?”
“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. 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 a monster.”
“What are you talking about? “You wanted your old face, and you have it. You look like the person you were.”
“No. This is not my old face,” she sobbed.
“What do you think, nurse?” Alan asked.
“I don’t see what’s wrong, Dr. Ford, she looks exactly like the person she was. You did a beautiful job.”
“Beautiful job? What are you talking about? I look like an evil monster,” she sobbed, put the mirror down, and looked beyond Ford and the nurse at Kerry and his mother, who, though they were mainly skeletons, pointed at her and appeared to be smiling. “Please. I said I was sorry. I’m so…,” Jamie gasped, fell back, closed her eyes, and died.
While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College. After retiring, he wrote short stories and novellas. Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.