Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: GAMBLE (04/14/16)
- TITLE: The Final Loss
By Cynthia G. Peoples
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“Hey, sis, it's me, Ricardo.”
“Ricardo......do you realize it's 2:00 in the morning!”
“Yeah, I know,” he said. “But I'm in trouble. I'm at the casino and I owe some guys some money. Can you come pick me up?”
“I told you last time that I can't help you anymore, Ricardo. What's it going to take for you to see you have a gambling problem. You've already lost your wife, your kids, and your job. Where do you even get the money to gamble with!”
“Katrina...please,” he begged. “I don't need a lecture, I just need a ride.”
Katrina sighed. “I'll be there in a few, but I mean it this time Ricardo....this is the last time.” She hung up the phone without saying goodbye and hastily threw on some clothes. She grabbed her purse and keys, then left the house.
When she pulled into the parking lot of the casino, total chaos reigned and people were scattered everywhere. There were several police cars with blue lights flashing and an ambulance backed up to the front door. Yellow crime scene tape blocked off the entrance and an officer stood guard. Katrina rushed over to him. “What's happening?” she asked.
“There's been a shooting, miss, ” the officer replied. “You can't go inside.”
“But I need to find my brother. He called just a few minutes ago and ask me to pick him up. He said he was in some kind of trouble.”
The officer snapped to attention. “What does he look like and what's his name?”
“Ricardo.....Ricardo Diaz and he's about 5 foot 8 inches tall....thirty-two years old.......slim........and has black curly hair.”
“Wait right here,” the officer replied. “I'll be right back.”
Katrina waited and prayed. “Please.....Lord, let him be okay.”
A few moments later the officer returned. “Come with me, please.”
Katrina followed him inside.....down a long corridor.....and into the men's rest room. She gasped when she saw Ricardo lying prone on the floor in a pool of blood. She covered her mouth with her hands but couldn't stifle the scream. She rushed over and knelt down beside him. “No.....she cried, “No! Please don't die on me, Ricardo......not here....not like this!”
The medic yelled for someone to get her out of the way and Katrina was led outside the casino by an officer. She stood still and helpless. Her knees trembled....her heart pounded. The medics came rushing through the front doors with Ricardo strapped to the gurney. Katrina ducked underneath the crime tape and rushed to his side. “I'm here,Ricardo,” she said. “I'll see you at the hospital. ”
After the gurney was loaded into the ambulance, Katrina hurried to the parking lot and got into her car. She followed the ambulance to the hospital, then rushed inside the emergency room, and approached the triage attendant.
“My brother was just brought in,” she said. “Can I see him?”
“What's the patient's name.....and how are you related?”
“Ricardo..........Ricardo Diaz and I'm his sister, Katrina.”
“Okay, have a seat in the waiting room and fill out these papers for me. I'll go back and check on him.”
Katrina nodded and accepted the clipboard. She sat down in the nearest chair, wiped the tears from her eyes with the fingertips of both hands, and focused on the paperwork until she heard a voice call out.
Katrina jumped up. A man dressed in green surgical scrubs was headed towards her. “Yes...right here,” she said, as she hurried to meet him. He held out his hand.
“I'm doctor Chaver,” he said, “ the attending physician. I'm sorry, miss......we did everything we could...... but he didn't make it.”
Katrina collapsed and the next thing she knew an elderly gentleman was leading her by the arm inside a little room and helping her to sit down in a high, wing backed chair. The man knelt down in front of her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “I'm so sorry,” he said. “I'm the hospital chaplain. Is there someone I can call for you?”
Katrina shook her head. “No, there's no one,” she said. “He's all the family I had left. And I've tried and tried to help him but nothing worked. And now, he's gone......the games over......and we're both suffering from the final loss.”
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