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Dale Thomas Smith

Finally, Floyd Davis experienced a little luck. Well, good luck, that is. He'd been experiencing bad luck all day. All week. For a few years now. The good luck he just sampled was that a doctor would see him today. Thank God for that. The pain in his ass was damn near unbearable. His day started with this particular problem flaring up.

"Jesus, you wuss. Get up. If it hurts so bad, why don't you call a doctor? That crap you're using ain't doing the job."

Floyd couldn't argue with that. He had tried all the hemorrhoid medicines, all the lotions, salves, herbs, antacids, anti-gas, and anything else he could find. Most of these treatments were actually stolen from the drugstore because he didn't have the nerve to plop Preparation H on the counter in front of the cute cashier. He resorted to the five finger discount, something he was quite adept at in his teenage years. Save a little face, save a little money.

But, nothing was alleviating the pain he felt in his ass. He explained it as diarrhea that had been set ablaze in his large intestine and then blasted through his colon with a bazooka. The firey mass left burning residue, like a wake of smoldering shrapnel, all along the tract, the pain lingering indefinitely. Ouch. Betty London was tired of hearing about it, so she offered up the services of her doctor. She did not really care about Floyd's pain all that much, it was more the ride to work she needed. The idea of yet another day going cross town to the beauty parlor on a city bus infuriated her.

"Just let me use your car," Betty suggested, her voice laced with blame. If not for his ass, he would be giving her a ride to work. "It's not like you have to work today."

Floyd almost gave in right away. He didn't have to work. As Assistant Manager at Taco Bell, you got at least one day per week off, and today was his day off. Of course, he would have to work Saturday and Sunday. And, it wasn't like his '88 Celica was his pride and joy. Hell, it was the most unreliable piece of crap on the road. But, he didn't like taking the bus either and he would have to go see the doctor if at all possible.

"You better just take the bus, Betty," Floyd said. With that, Betty began to beg, but quit when she realized it was pointless. Floyd was too miserable to be cajoled. She gave Floyd the name and number of her doctor and turned to leave.

Just before she hit the front door of the apartment, she turned to Floyd. "Oh, Floyd, honey. I borrowed $500 out of your savings account. I'll pay you back, I promise," Betty said with a smirk on her face. It was almost as if she considered this last little bit a victory. "Ha", she thought, "your ass isn't going to ruin my day entirely."

The $500 was another piece of bad luck for Floyd. To be honest, he did not even know he had that kind of money in the bank. That quick jolt of pride was quickly shot to hell because he knew he would never get to spend it. It was all Betty's. She was always taking his stuff. He was tired of it. For the last two years, in fact, since the day Betty moved into Floyd's apartment, he had been planning to break up with her. He was afraid to pull the trigger. He knew the relationship wasn't going anywhere, but he often felt that he would die before he got the nerve to dump her. And, he seriously doubted she was ever going to leave him. She seemed to have gotten used to him. At times, Floyd even fantasized about doing something that would make her zap the relationship to hell; where it belonged. These fantasies included telling her he slept with her sister, telling her he slept with the dog, actually sleeping with her sister, actually sleeping with the dog, or maybe doing both her sister and the dog at the same time. But, alas, he had neither the courage nor the energy to break up with her. Nor did have the desire to sleep with the dog. Her sister, on the other hand, was kind of hot . . . .

Floyd figured he knew less about women than anyone else, and therefore, wasn't sure how to break it off. And, to be honest, he didn't really want to be alone. She was better than nothing. It wasn't like there was a long line of women waiting to date a 28 year old Assistant Manager at Taco Bell.

Floyd picked up the receiver to the phone only to hear dead air. There was nothing. No dial tone. Nothing. Immediately, Floyd decided to call the phone company. It wasn't until he had the phone to his ear again when he realized this plan was not going to work. And, his ass was still on fire with pain. He had to call the doctor before he did anything. Floyd walked to the corner drugstore payphone, the same drugstore of his recent ass-medicine heists, dug a quarter out of his torn jeans, placed it into the phone, and dialed the number.

"Hello, Doctor Hand's office, may I help you?" the happy voice of a young woman said on the other end. Floyd imagined she was quite attractive. Floyd did that with most voices on the phone.

"Uh, yes, I need to see a doctor today," Floyd said.

"What's your name?"

"Floyd Davis."

"Floyd, what seems to be the problem?"

"Uh, I have a problem. Uh, let's see, my bottom, er . . ." Floyd rapidly tried to think of the medical term for asshole, "uh, yes, my derriere . . . no wait! My rectum! My rectum!" Floyd practically shouted into the phone, startling an elderly couple just exiting the drug store. "My rectum has pain . . . I mean, it hurts all the time and . . . hurts when I poo . . . uh, have a bowel movement," Floyd said, relieved to have thought of "bowel movement" but mortified he said "poo" to the potentially pretty girl.

"Oh, OK, the doctor can see you this afternoon, if that's okay. Can you be here at 3?"

And, that was the first good piece of luck Floyd had had in a very long time. Finally, he could see the end of the painful tunnel. The tunnel, this time, being his colon.

* * *

The doctor's office had a Miami Vice feel to it. All chrome and black plastic furniture. Pastel walls. Very art deco. Floyd didn't see Crockett and Tubbs anywhere, though. Floyd walked to the plain black desk with chrome trimming. The sign read "Ring Bell For Service." Floyd hated ringing a bell for service. Hated the noise it made. Hated knowing he was soon to be the center of attention for ringing a bell. He always imagined that upon ringing the bell for service, teams of people would come streaming out from behind the wall to see what the emergency was. He felt this way at doctor's offices, business offices, at the DMV, basically anywhere. Still, Floyd dutifully rang the bell, quickly putting his hand over it to muffle the residual ringing.

"One second."

Floyd heard the voice but didn't see the person to whom it belonged. He recognized it as being the potentially pretty girl. Just then a pretty girl emerged from behind the black partition separating the desk from the rest of the office. He had been right.

"What's your name?" Pretty Girl asked bluntly but not rudely.

"Floyd Davis."

"Ah yes, you're early. You have the 'poo' problem."

Floyd's face went red and his legs got weak. This level of mortification was rare. This was worse than buying Preparation H, had he actually bought it.

"Don't worry, we all have problems with that eventually. Shoot, this office is often swarming with people with GI problems. No need to be embarrassed." Pretty Girl said in the most compassionate, empathetic voice Floyd had ever heard. He was immediately ingratiated to her.

"Thanks, yeah, I'm just having a little discomfort," Floyd said, his face and posture gave away the "little"part of his statement right away. A lot of discomfort, to be certain.

"Well, Doc Hand will be with you soon. Grab a seat if you'd like." Pretty Girl said.

"I believe I'll stand, thanks." Floyd said and laughed a little. Pretty Girl, getting the joke, laughed too and they shared a smile that made Floyd's legs go weak, again. Only this time, he liked it.

Floyd and Pretty Girl spoke for ten minutes before the doctor was ready to examine him. They made fun of the decor, they talked about the Mizzou Tiger basketball team, they talked about what restaurant had the best chicken wings in town (a food Floyd was not at all interested in at this time) and most importantly, they did not discuss his ass. He was still in great discomfort physically, but was enjoying himself immensely. To top it off, she had a name. And, to top it off with a cherry, it was possibly the most beautiful name he'd ever heard: Clarice La Jolla. Floyd had it bad for Clarice La Jolla.

A buzzer buzzed and Clarice told Floyd the doctor would see him and she wished him good luck. She was very sincere, and Floyd noticed it. "Do I really need good luck", Floyd thought. An orderly type guy escorted Floyd back into the examination room. The room was dim, he thought. Every examination room Floyd had ever been in has had bare flourescent bulbs that made it brighter than the Fourth of July. But, not this one. He considered it more like "mood" lighting. Floyd assumed it was to keep the patients relaxed, and that was not a bad idea in his case. He was very nervous about having a doctor see his ass. The comfort and ease from his conversation with Pretty Girl, or Clarice, had worn off and was replaced by fright.

"Mr. Davis, I'm Dr. Hand." The doctor spoke as she walked into the room. Floyd was expecting a man. Betty had never mentioned her doctor was a woman. Floyd thought he was going to be sick. Well, sicker. Plus, Dr. Hand did not look like a doctor. She was probably around forty years old and had long black hair, with a gray stripe right down the middle. The stripe started at her forehead and went the distance, about two inches above her waist. In addition, she wore a lot of jewelry. She had big dangly earrings that threatened to snap her earlobes off her head. She had several big thick necklaces, some silver, some gold, and some almost like mardi gras beads. Doctor Hand had dangly bracelets that she was constantly adjusting and readjusting. She also wore two rings on each hand. These rings were huge. The gems were enormous. "What kind of doctor was this?" Floyd thought as panic threatened to overcome him.

"I see you are having some discomfort with your bowels?" Dr. Hand asked and accused all at the same time. She adjusted a bracelet on her left wrist and glared expectantly at Floyd.

"Yes, that's right."

"How long have you been experiencing this?"

"About a month and a half." Floyd said, immediately wishing he had lied because that seemed like an awful long time to suffer without seeing a doctor. She was sure to lecture him. But, then again, part of him was wishing he had kept suffering and not come to see a doctor. This doctor was freaking him out.

"OK," seemingly not surprised by the duration of Floyd's pain, thereby relieving him a little. He felt guilty enough as it was. "Now, take off your clothes and put on this gown. Because this is your first visit with me, I will do a complete physical."

"OK." He took the gown and waited for Dr. Hand to leave the room. She just stood there looking over her chart. He waited and waited.

"Um, should I change in here?"

"Sure, go ahead. Don't worry about me, I'm a doctor."

Obviously, Floyd was a little unsure, so she finally left the room. Floyd changed as quickly as possible. He tossed his jeans and t-shirt in a heap on a chair in the corner and slipped on the gown. The gown fit nicely over his too-skinny body, but he hated the opening in the back. He just hoped Clarice would not enter the examination room.

"Are you decent?" Doctor Hand's voice asked from the other side of the door.

"Yes," Floyd said.

The doctor entered the room and looked Floyd over. She began the physical with all the normal tests, constantly inquiring about Floyd's diet, medication, work, and other doctor type things to ask. After about fifteen minutes, the doctor went to a cabinet in the room and prepared a beverage for Floyd.

Floyd didn't know what the beverage was for. He had a vague recollection of hearing about a drink you had before getting an x-ray to see how your digestive system works, but could not remember the specifics. Doctor Hand brought him the drink. It looked like cloudy water and smelled a little like lemon.

"Are you going to give me an x-ray?"

"No. Why?" Dr. Hand asked.

"Uh, I don't know." Floyd said. He almost mentioned his thoughts on the x-ray and digestive system, but he knew nothing about medicine. He probably knew less about medicine than he did about women. Floyd drank the drink. Once he was finished, the doctor left the room promising to be right back.

It didn't take long before Floyd started feeling tired. The doctor returned and asked him how he was doing. The cobwebs in his brain cleared enough for him to say he was fine.

The doctor walked up to him and asked him to stand. He was more than happy to get off his ass, but he felt unsure on his feet. As he stood, she calmly cupped his genitals.

"Turn your head and cough," Dr. Hand instructed.

Floyd did as he was told. He could feel the metal of her rings on his scrotum. A shiver went up his spine.

"Again." Floyd did it. "Again." Floyd did it. "Again." Floyd did it.

Floyd didn't know much about medicine, but he thought this was a little excessive. And at this point, Floyd had to steady himself on the table because he was really getting woozy.

"OK, that's fine." Floyd had no idea how many times she did it. He did realize that, despite his clouded brain, something definitely was not normal. "Please lie down on the table."

Floyd was happy to accommodate. He was going to collapse if he didn't. As Floyd struggled with consciousness, he saw the doctor fiddling with something at the same cabinet where she made him that drink. It looked like she was lighting candles. Floyd passed out.

* * *

"You can leave now," the orderly type guy said.

At first, Floyd wasn't sure where he was. "Leave where?"

"Hey you, the doctor says you can leave now. She left you this prescription. And here are some tissues."

At this, Floyd began to recall the events leading up to his laying prone in a hospital gown. He remembered he had come here because his ass hurt. He remembered Clarice La Jolla. He remembered Dr. Hand.

"Oh, OK," Floyd said, trying to remember what the doctor had done that was going to cure him of his pain, which actually seemed worse now than before. He got up to put on his clothes, and it felt swooshy to walk. His ass, full of pain, but felt sort of swooshy. He didn't know why he felt this way, but he suddenly knew why he needed the tissues. Floyd got his clothes back on and grabbed the prescription the orderly type guy had left on the table next to the door. He'd have to go to the drugstore on his way home. He didn't think there would be any stealing this time around.

Floyd left the examination room walking hunched over. The pain was worse. What's the point of going to the doctor if you end up in more pain?" Floyd wondered. As he passed the receptionist's desk, he saw Clarice La Jolla. Man, what a name!

"Good bye."

"Good bye," Clarice said. There was hint of shame and sadness in her eyes. Floyd wondered if she pitied him. "There is no future in this if she's pitying me", he thought. Of course, he should not be too hasty to dismiss pity. He had little else going for him.

"Well, it was nice talking to you," Floyd said hoping to rekindle the ease with which their first conversation came.

"You too." Again with the shame and sadness. "Hope you feel better," Clarice added.

"Thanks," Floyd said, and left.

* * *

That night the pain got even worse. Floyd was laying in the bathroom in the fetal position when Betty got home from work.

"Dammit! I hate that fucking bus." Betty screamed as she threw her jacket and purse on the floor. "Where are you?!"

Floyd could not gather the strength to respond.

"Ah, there you are. I see you are feeling better." She could be mean. "Did you see my doctor or did you just lay around while your car sat on the street unused and I had to battle with the dregs of society to travel across town? To and from. Public transportation sucks!" Betty finished her soliloquy, not waiting for an answer. She went outside to smoke a cigarette. Floyd shut the door with his foot.

At this point, Floyd's pain was intense. He felt he was about to explode. "Shit, another bazooka shot," he thought. He crawled to the toilet and hoisted himself up. Tears were now streaming from his eyes. He thought he might be dying. The bazooka blasted and the pain was agonizing. The searing jolt he felt quivered throughout his body and he silently sobbed in his hands. When it was over, he started to clean up. He glanced in the bowl to assess how much blood he lost. That's how much it hurt. He did a double take. There seemed to be something glistening at the bottom of the bowl. Was this the cause of his pain for so long? Had he swallowed a half dollar or, maybe a Jeep Cherokee?

Floyd looked through his tears at the item that glistened through the muck. He had to know what it was. He reached into the bowl and extracted a ring. A giant diamond ring.

* * *

Floyd's daze was broken by Betty screaming through the bathroom door.

"Phone's for you, it's the doctor." Floyd seemed to remember the phone not working. Sometimes things fixed themselves.

"Uh . . . take a message," Floyd said. His pants were still tangled around his ankles and he needed some time to think. When had he swallowed a ring? he thought. The food at Taco Bell, where he ate 90% of his meals, was known to contain all sorts of foreign objects from rats' feet, cockroaches, change, and bandages, but not usually jewelry. Plus, this diamond was so big, he would have noticed eating it. He thought.

"She really wants to talk to you now." Betty called through the door.

"Tell her I'm fine," Floyd called back. Obviously, the doctor could only be calling about his health, right?

"She says it's an emergency. She says you might have something of hers."

Then it struck Floyd like a ton of bricks. Holy shit. This ring belonged to Dr. Hand! He recognized it as one of the rings she wore in the examination room. This realization brought up all kinds of awful images. He certainly didn't eat the ring, so there was only one other way it could have ended up in his ass. The candles. The drink that made him sleepy. The turning his head and coughing again and again. The fact that the doctor didn't talk to him after he awoke. The only thing that made Floyd thankful was that he was asleep throughout the experience.

"You still alive in there?" Betty's impatience was growing.

"I can't talk right now. I will call the doctor back!"

An idea suddenly flooded Floyd's mind. He would call in sick tomorrow and check some things out.

* * *

"Aside from the smell, this is an exquisite piece of jewelry," the gemologist, if that's what they're called, said as he handled the diamond ring Floyd had defecated. "Oh my, this is really beautiful. How did you come about this ring?"

Floyd, having anticipated these questions on the drive to the jewelry store, said "It's a family heirloom. It's been sitting in a box in our musty basement for years." Floyd said these words confidently. He was proud of his plan and wasn't going to screw it up..

The gemologist seemed to accept this to explain the odor. He retrieved a magnifying glass from beneath the counter and began a thorough examination of the ring.

"Beautiful setting . . . . perfect wide gold band . . . oh my . . . surrounding gems at least a carat apiece . . . . main gem, at least thirty carats . . . clear . . . maybe 'FL' . . . definitely 'FL,'" looking up at Floyd, "that's flawless." The gemologist looked back to his patient. "Now, the color . . . wow, I mean, I am not worthy of this . . . this is making my mouth water, aside from the smell, of course, . . . this is a 'D', not an 'E,' you'd think a diamond this big could not be a 'D', that's what you'd think. But, this one has perfect color. Let's get out the light." The gemologist pulled a light out from under the counter and shone it through the diamond. The gemologist gasped. "Oh yes. Oh yes. I'll tell you what. I can't believe what I'm seeing. Carl! Come over here right now. Oh my. I am absolutely not worthy of such a divine treat . .. . Carl, it's an ideal cut. No question about it. This diamond is the greatest gift nature has ever bestowed on us." The gemologist went on and on and explained everything to Floyd, as Carl, presumably a colleague, looked on. Floyd knew nothing about jewelry. In fact, it would be a close race between women, medicine, and jewelry for which he knew least about. But, he was learning something. This diamond was valuable. He felt that luck was turning his way..

"What do you plan on doing with this ring?" The gemologist asked after finally calming down.

"I don't know. Maybe just put it back in the box in the basement. I mean, this was more of a curiosity trip."

"No! You can't!! Something this beautiful must be on display in a museum or on a woman's finger or be kept here at this store."

"Well, I don't know much about rings." Floyd said, hoping to get the gemologist to give him a dollar amount then and there.

"I'll tell you that you can't hide this ring from society. We'll buy it from you. I can give you $250,000 for it. Just give me a day to arrange it." The gemologist was actually drooling.

Floyd did not know if that was a fair price. But, to be honest, he didn't care. That was the kind of money that could pull him out of his rut. He felt a confidence swell inside him.

"I'll be back tomorrow. I'll sell it to you then for $250,000."

* * *

After securing the ring in his sock drawer, and listening to his messages, Floyd went to the pay phone to call the doctor. Well, the doctor's office, to speak to Clarice La Jolla. He could have used the phone in his house, it mysteriously worked again, but he thought maybe the doctor's office had Caller ID. And, after the dozen messages Dr. Hand had left on his machine, he knew he did not want to talk to her. The messages varied from "Floyd, we need to get you in right away, I think you might be very sick," to "Mr. Davis, call me immediately, there's something we need to discuss," to "Call me now. If you think you can get away with anything, think again." All this because she had to wear her rings while violating him. "Isn't that a shame," Floyd thought. "Bitch." Floyd planned on hanging up immediately if anyone other than Clarice answered the phone.

"Clarice? It's Floyd Davis." Floyd said when he heard the Pretty Girl's voice come over the line.

"Floyd," Clarice sounded relieved to hear from him. "Doctor Hand is going to crazy to get a hold of you. Are you okay? Are you still sick?"

He hadn't thought of whether he was sick for hours now. Now that he thought of it, he realized that the pain was actually subsiding. Maybe the prescription medication is helping. Maybe Dr. Hand isn't all bad. OK, she is all bad.

"I need to meet with you as soon as possible. Away from the office." Floyd said hurriedly.

"Why? What's wrong? Are you okay?" Clarice actually sounded as if she cared. "Did the doctor do something to you?" She was whispering now.

"Just meet me at Louie's Coffee Emporium at 5, okay? We have to talk," Floyd said, not sure if she'd do it. Not sure if she'd do anything. But, there was no question that she sounded concerned. And earlier, she looked at him as if she knew he might have been put through something awful.

"I'll be there. Gotta go," Clarice said. Doctor Hand must have been nearby.

* * *

Clarice was sitting in the back of the coffee shop when Floyd arrived. He was immediately struck by how pretty she was. She was short and thin and had sandy blond hair. She was fidgeting with her hair before she saw him coming. The fidgeting made her look very innocent and vulnerable. She was afraid of something. She must have known something.

"Floyd, what's the matter?" "Clarice, what's the matter?" they said in unison. Although they barely knew each other, there was a connection between them. They could both feel it. Floyd thought that his plan might just work. Floyd felt his courage grow as he looked into her eyes and knew he'd be able to go through with it. He'd be able to put his own embarrassment of being violated aside. It didn't hurt that the payoff could be a quarter million dollars, either.

"Have you ever heard of Dr. Hand doing something wrong with her patients?" Floyd asked as he sat down across from her at the back booth.

"Well . . . what are you talking about? I mean, there have been rumors."


"Yeah. I mean, she has strict rules about when others can go into the examination rooms and she refuses to have nurses or anyone else in the room when she's with a patient. She's been doing that ever since I've been there and I've been there for two years. Some people at the office talk about something going on in there. And sometimes the patients leave looking bewildered, kind of like you yesterday." Clarice said this in one breath, then the reality of what she was saying set in. "What did she do to you? Did she hurt you? I feel so guilty."

"Don't feel like that, it's not your fault. I need your help.. Can you go to work tomorrow and get a list of all Dr. Hand's male patients for the last several years? If she violated me, she must have done the same thing to someone else. And, there's no question she has a system all worked out."

Clarice said she would do it, or at least try. Floyd told her everything he remembered from being in the doctor's examination room to finding the diamond ring to going to the gemologist. Clarice listened without saying a word, her guilt growing. Floyd reassured her that she was not to blame and could now help set things right. Floyd knew that he was going to exact his revenge. Floyd also knew he was falling in love with Clarice. Clarice felt the same way. They arranged to meet tomorrow, Clarice with the list. Floyd was going to write an anonymous letter to the police and to the state medical board. He'd send it with the list. Dr. Hand would be through.

* * *

After an exhausting day, Floyd entered his apartment.

"Aside from the smell, it's the most beautiful ring I've ever seen. The answer's yes! I'll marry you."

"Shit," Floyd thought.

"I've already called my parents. They are very excited. My dad said you'd never marry me. Said you were a 'good for nothing,' said you'd never ask." Betty was beaming. It was the prettiest she'd looked since they started dating and Floyd was taken aback. After all, he was planning on breaking up with her, selling the ring, and driving south to start a new life.

"Betty, we need to talk."

"Whatever you say, darling. I know you're mad that I ruined the surprise. I was just getting some socks and there it was. I was too excited to wait."

"Why didn't you get some socks from your drawer?" Floyd knew she was looking for money, and this reminded him why he hated her. Yes, that's right, he did hate her. This relationship was extremely unhealthy and needed to be over. Relief enveloped him and courage well up in him. It was going to be over very soon.

"Listen, Betty, I think we should, you know, maybe we should stop . . . ."

BANG! BANG! BANG! Someone was pounding on the front door. Someone very determined.

"Who is that?!" Betty yelled.

"Fuck, I bet it's your doctor."

"What does she want?" Betty said and she went for the door. Betty was obviously more than a little perturbed that her moment with this ring and Floyd was being interrupted. She was carrying her new ring in one hand admiring its beauty.

"Betty. Wait!" But he was too late.

Betty opened the door and let in Dr. Hand, who at once noticed the ring and went for it. Betty was certainly not going to give it up without a fight. Aside from the smell, she thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. Dr. Hand grabbed Betty's hand as it clutched her prize. They fell in a heap on the floor. Dr. Hand got the advantage and was now laying on top of Betty slamming Betty's closed fist into the carpet.

"Give me that ring!!" Dr. Hand cried.

"No fucking way!" Betty responded.

Floyd watched in disbelief. A more surreal moment he had never experienced. Suddenly, Betty's hand burst open and the ring went sailing in the air toward Floyd. Both the doctor and the live-in girlfriend watched as the ring landed in Floyd's outstretched hand. Floyd calmly put the ring in his pocket, grabbed his car keys, and headed toward the door. Betty and Dr. Hand, still laying in a heap on the living room floor, watched him leave before they could react.

* * *

Floyd drove considering his next move. He decided to stop and call Clarice at her house. Clarice answered and once again listened to his whole story. She was amazed Dr. Hand would do that. She was amazed Betty had found the ring and thought they were getting married. She was amazed that Floyd had just up and left. Clarice surprised Floyd with some information of her own. Clarice had gone back to the office after coffee at Louie's and had done some research. She got a list of all Dr. Hand's patients. She thought there was an alarming number of one-time- only male patients. She also wondered about the handful of male patients that had monthly appointments but did not have much wrong with them.

Floyd went to Clarice's apartment.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you." Clarice said as he entered.

"I'm not. I met you and now I'm going to get $250,000 and I'm free to leave this town."

"Where you gonna go?"

"I don't know," Floyd said and as the confidence came forth yet again, he said "Do you want to come?"

Clarice said yes, and it didn't take much prodding. She reasoned that she didn't have a job with Dr. Hand anymore, and she didn't have anything really keeping her in town. She could get a nowhere job anywhere.

"Well, I'm not going to work for her anymore. I'll go with you." Clarice and Floyd embraced and, as they say, lived happily ever after. Floyd's ass stopped hurting. He wrote a letter to Betty saying "I'm breaking up with you. Take care of the dog.." Not exactly brave, but Betty's a hard one to face. He wrote a letter to the proper authorities explaining Dr. Hand's transgressions. The authorities investigated and learned that over one hundred patients had similar experiences with the good doctor. Her license was taken away and she was incarcerated. Word had it that she did not enjoy the full body cavity search one bit. Floyd sold the ring for a quarter million. The gemologist was very excited, presumably Floyd had been taken on the deal. But, he didn't care. He got some cash and a girl. He called Taco Bell and told them where they could stick their job. That phrase holding more meaning to Floyd than ever before. He bought a newer Celica and he and Clarice La Jolla drove south.


Dale Thomas Smith, 29 and a lawyer, lives in Columbia, Missouri with Catie, his wife. Dale only recently took up writing short fiction and, until now, had never been published. He has, however, recently starred in a movie short produced by Spaceman X Media Productions.


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