UNITED STATES—”Hello, this is the son of Betty Bird, and we’d like Dr. O’Leary to prescribe anti-anxiety medication for our Mom, Betty Bird, here at Wastonville Manor.”

Davy hangs up his phone with a sigh.

“They’re out to lunch, I left a message.”

“Yeah, yeah, I could tell,” says Karen. “I can tell when it’s your message voice.”

“The doctor’s are out for lunch now,” croaks the mom. “They take two-hour lunches now.”

“Mom, you’re still sharp in weird ways.”

“I don’t get it,” she shrugs.

“Well, we’re sure getting it,” says Karen.

“This is awful having to be financier and showing love for mom, and what’s right.”

Karen says, “The social worker said there’s still a 30-day period where, if there’s a change, and she wants to do therapy, she can get back on Medicare.”

A handsome stranger enters to the room, wearing a red silk necktie and carrying a clipboard.

“Hello, you’re up from Los Angeles again? How’s everything on Wilcox Avenue. My father is a comedian…”

The stranger goes to bring up some images on his phone, his dad’s headshot and IMDB listing.

“Boy, you sure do know a lot about my life,” Davy exclaims.

“We talked at some length before,” says the stranger.

“Wow, I’m sorry. I must have blanked out.”

“It happens around here. It’s crazy, people dealing with loved ones, people who are with it and those who are delirious.”

“I mean I totally blanked out. I have no recollection!”

“It happens dealing with all the stress,” says the stranger. “It’s too much to handle. And the memory deficit is contagious.”

“Oh,” says Davy, “this is my sister.”

“I’m the business manager, pleased to meet you.”

“I’m Karen Bird…”

“I’ve got the bill for the next month for your mom”—he hands her an unsealed envelope, and strolls off.

“Nice meeting yall.”

“It’s weird somebody young and healthy dealing with all this death and disease,” says Davy.

“He’s kind of good looking,” says Karen. “And that sexy Southern accent.”

Davy pulls the bill out of the envelope and gawks at it. He is aghast and for all his glaring, it will not turn the figures on the pink carbon paper into a dream.

“OH MY GOD – I can’t believe what it is to be in a dump like this. With the stench in the air and buzzing and beeping.”

The pink receipt slips floats to the floor.

“I’d better pick it up before your dog decides to eat it,” says Karen and then looks at the figure. She whistles. “You really could have a lot of good living for that. You know, Davy, that’s just half a month. We’re paying for two weeks, waiting to see what happens with Mom.”

“Maybe the anti-anxiety pills will kick in, who knows.”

Out of her purse Karen brings out a checkbook and starts filling out the numbers.

“Here can you sign this check, Mom.”

Karen turns over a kleenex box and that serves as a writing surface for Betty’s clawed hands.

“I don’t want to sign it. They’re taking away my money. I want to be back in my bed. Put me back in my bed. Now.”

“You’re in bed,” Davy says.

“This is not my bed. I mean my bed at home.”

“Oh gosh,” Davy and Karen retract from the bedside. “This is what happens. She never wanted to turn over the finances to us. She’d have Tatiana write the checks or any other stranger, but not us.”

Davy sits in the solid chair, Karen sits in Betty’s empty wheelchair. They rest their heads in their hands.

“What now?”

The dog, Saville, moseys up and waits to be petted, licks Davy’s hand. “It takes somebody outside to see something clearly,” Karen, the sister, says.

To be continued…