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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Calling Tommy Boone
By Shannon Redmon


“Tommy Boone?”

The boy couldn’t have been more than seven years old who stood up from his wheelchair and followed me into the radiology room. I squatted down to face Tommy inspecting for the first time the bruises on his arms and left eye. His pajamas were worn and thin.

“So Tommy can you tell me how you hurt yourself?”

The gruff voice from behind didn’t give him a chance to answer.

“He fell down.”

My glance at the man towering over the two of us was interrupted by the fear on Tommy’s face.

“Is that true?” I tried to stay calm.

Tommy nodded his head but didn’t speak as he clung to a stuffed bunny that looked as if it had never been washed from its days in the dumpster.

“Okay buddy, I need to take some pictures. My doctor wants me to do several, so do you think you could lie down on my table here?”

Tommy nodded again as he eyed the large machinery hanging from the ceiling.

“That’s my camera. You know how at school you get your picture made…well, this takes pictures the same way, just of the inside. Do you want me to put you on the table?”

A smile crossed Tommy’s face as I lifted him up into a gentle hug. He held tight like it was the only one he had ever received and then began pointing to his bunny’s arm.

“Did he break his arm?”

His answer detailed the history of his life.

“Yes…and his heart too.”

“Oh, his heart too…huh? I guess we will just have to get a picture of that.”

He giggled and I transferred my attention to the requisition. The emergency room doctor had ordered arm x-rays, leg x-rays, c-spine and skull views. With each picture Tommy braved the new position no matter how it hurt. Sometimes he would smile at me when I would tell him to hold his breath and imitate a blow fish with my cheeks. The black spots on the back of his legs helped to conceal old scars from previous mishaps. I glared at the monster standing in the corner observing every move I made.

“How cum’ you’re takin’ so many pictures?”

“Because that’s what the doctor ordered.” My anger raised the tone of my voice. “Actually, I am finished here so our transport tech will escort you back to the emergency room. The doctor will talk to you there.”

I helped Tommy off the table and gave him one last hug.

“Here buddy. I brought you some stickers for being so good.”

Tommy turned and waved at me as they wheeled him and his stuffed bunny down the hall.

The tears threatened to spill as I showed the films to my radiologist.

“Oh man. This kid is being abused.” He had barely looked at the first film. “Look at these leg x-rays. He has several old breaks from before. Do we have previous films?”

“Unfortunately.” I pulled out his folder, thick enough to belong to an eighty year old with cancer from birth.

“So this is my little guy?” One of the hospital social workers had walked up behind me.

“Afraid so.” My doctor inspected the room full of films pointing out the different areas of trouble to her. I stood in the corner wanting to hurt the person who had done this and my first guess would have been the man that had watched me like a detective doing surveillance.

“It looks like I am going to have to call DSS and get this kid into another foster home.”

My thoughts came back to the conversation and I reached out to touch her arm.

“I’ll go with you.”

We walked to the emergency room together to find the police had beaten us there. Tommy’s abuser left in handcuffs.

“Tommy Boone?” His sad blue eyes looked up at me.

“Would you like to come home with me?”
He looked back over his shoulder where his assailant had sat and realized he was gone.

“It’s okay. He will not hurt you again. No more broken bones…or hearts.”

Tommy grabbed his bunny and reached out for another hug from his new foster parent.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/13/06
Such a bitter-sweet story. Good job.
James Clem 02/15/06
Well Done. Glad Tommy's problems will END - oops that's this week topic.
Lynda Lee Schab 02/18/06
Heart touching and wonderfully written. I was completely captivated the whole way through. Great work!