The Truant Risk

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 15 (v.1) - A DEADLY CLOSE CALL

Submitted: August 13, 2019

Reads: 32

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Submitted: August 13, 2019



Although KariAnn couldn’t put her finger on it, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.  She felt the telltale thump of her heart, the flush feeling that started in her chest and spread to her fingertips, the tightening of her muscles and the quickening of her breath all confirming her feelings of anxiety over having to wait to find out what Tony so mysteriously wanted to tell her that couldn’t be said over the phone.  She kept repeating over and over in her mind ‘I have something I need to talk to you about’, and a rash of scenarios began playing out in her head.  Finally she realized how ridiculous she was being, and decided to put it out of her mind knowing there was likely little plausibility to her invented scenarios.  She would talk to Tony soon enough and there was no use in getting worked up about something that likely she was blowing out of proportion.

The high temp for today was 30 degrees with a chance of light snow, and was a reminder that winter was just around the corner.  Her light jacket was already becoming inadequate to keep her warm, and she knew she couldn’t put off getting a winter coat much longer.  Having hours to fill with nothing to do before seeing Tony in the afternoon, KariAnn grabbed the thick Detroit phone book and searched through the Yellow Pages for a thrift store.  Finding a Salvation Army store on Woodward, she decided to catch the bus downtown to see if she could grab a good deal on one.  Paying the 25 cent bus fare, she took a seat by the window taking in the sights and sounds as they drove through the bustling big city full of activity, tall buildings and mammoth department stores like Crowley’s, J.L. Hudson and Federal.

KariAnn pulled the cord to signal she wanted to get off at the next stop, and felt small when she stepped off the bus and looked up at the towering buildings all around her.  Walking past the big name stores, she finally spotted the Salvation Army next to the F.W. Woolworth store, and went inside.  There were lots of coats and clothing items, and she was delighted to find an oversized, fully lined dark brown faux fur coat with large buttons and deep pockets that not only was warm but looked great as well for only a few bucks.  It had a small 3 inch tear on the lining, but KariAnn was no stranger to a needle and thread.  What a lucky day she thought as she took her great find to the counter, and putting her light jacket into the bag, walked out wearing her new coat to test it out in the cold weather.

Tony came by early at 1 o’clock having no classes due to the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and she grabbed her new coat to show him the great deal she found earlier this morning.  “It’s nice, KariAnn.  You needed something warmer than that jacket you were wearing.” Tony said flatly.

Once again that foreboding feeling that something was wrong gripped hold of her.  “So what is it you wanted to talk to me about?” KariAnn asked with apprehension.

“Not here.  Let’s go for a walk.” said Tony solemnly.

“Okay, let me put my coat on and grab my cigarettes.” replied KariAnn feeling leery of the seriousness of his tone.  Lighting up a cigarette as they walked down the street, she nervously asked him again what he wanted to talk to her about.

“This is very hard for me to tell you this, because you are very special to me and the last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you.” Tony began.

“This sounds serious.  What is it, Tony?” said KariAnn bracing herself for the worst. 

“I hope you’ll be able to understand and not hate me after I tell you.”

“I could never hate you; just tell me.” said KariAnn fearing what was coming next.

“Remember I told you I thought I’d never see you again?  I honestly thought I lost you forever.” Tony told her; his voice tender and sincere as he looked deep into her eyes like when they first met.  “I met this girl at school and had been going out with her about a week before you came back.”

“I can understand that, but did you stop seeing her after I came back?”

“I did at first, but kept running into her on campus.  She’s a free spirit like you, only she’s 18 and studying to become a Registered Nurse.  Her name is Rachel.”

“I don’t care what her name is.” KariAnn said tearing up.  “Are you trying to tell me you’re breaking up with me because you found someone better?”

“That’s not why I’m breaking up with you, KariAnn.”

“So you are breaking up with me?” KariAnn asked as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Look, KariAnn, I’ve never met anyone like you, and you touched my soul in a way that no one has.  I honestly thought I could rescue you from your unfortunate situation and turn you into a presentable lady, but….” Tony stammered for words.

“But what, Tony?” she painfully asked.  “I’m not good enough to take home to meet your mother whereas she is?”

“In a sense, yes.” Tony admitted.  “What did you reasonably expect?  Hey mom I’d like you to meet my fourteen year old hippie girlfriend that ran away from home and dropped out of school?”

“You know I plan to go to night school to get my G.E.D. as soon as I’m of age, and then I can move on to college.  I’ve been an honor student my entire life and I bet I could get a scholarship.  I WILL make something of myself.” said KariAnn defensively.

“I’m not saying that you won’t, but the girl I settle down and start a family with isn’t going to be a drug taking hippie.  I tried to take you away from the hippie commune, but I couldn’t take the hippie out of you.”

“So this is it?” she asked knowing the answer.

“I think it is best, don’t you?” said Tony kissing her forehead.  “It would only hurt even more down the road to postpone the inevitable.”

Tony and KariAnn walked back toward the commune in silence.  Tony then drove off once he reached his car parked out front while KariAnn walked in alone with a tear streaked face and reeling from a broken heart. All her friends tried their best to comfort her, and naturally took her side over ‘that son of a bitch’ Tony, but KariAnn felt devastated and confused with too many things to think about.  “What is so wrong with being a hippie?  So what if we like to dress unconventionally, wear our hair long, oppose war and chose our own distinctive lifestyle that is not dominated by materialism?” KariAnn demanded to know.

“Not a damn thing, KariAnn.” said Glen from his arm chair.

“Where does Tony get off thinking he’s better than me because he only smokes pot, and I like to also dabble with acid to expand my consciousness?”

“It’s going to be alright, KariAnn.” said Debbie holding her friend tightly.  “Guys come and go, but sisters are forever.  You’re not alone.”

“That’s right, KariAnn.  We are more than friends; we’re family and are here for you.” Pam joined in hugging her too.

“I know you both mean well, but nothing really matters much anymore.” KariAnn said drying her eyes.

“Don’t say that, KariAnn.  You’ll get over Tony just like you did Ken.” assured Debbie.  “You just have to give it some time.”

“Right now all I want to do is get high and blot Tony out of my mind.” KariAnn said trying to pull herself together.

“Here, start with this.” said Glen handing her an already lit joint he just rolled.

“Thanks, Glen.” said Kariann taking a toke.  “Do you have any more of that Strawberry Mescaline for sale?”

“Sure, I still have some left?  I also have some Purple Microdot.” he informed her.

“No, I don’t want to get totally wasted on acid.  I just want to drift into a place of utopia and start feeling better again.  I think I’d much rather have a hit of the Strawberry Mescaline.” replied KariAnn fishing a dollar bill from her wallet.

“That’s probably a better choice with the way you’re feeling down since Mesc isn’t as potent as LSD.” Glen agreed.  “I’ve heard of some people having a bad acid trip if they’re depressed when they take it.”

“Yeah, I want to feel better not worse.” KariAnn said popping one of the baby aspirin-size pink tablets of Mescaline into her mouth.

“Well you don’t want to trip alone,” said Pam, “Why don’t we all do a hit with you.  Besides, it’s Friday and time to party.”

About thirty minutes later she started feeling the drug take effect and beginning to alter her state of consciousness a little, but it would be about two more hours before the effects fully kicked in at its maximum peak.  Her friends were also starting to get off, and Debbie put on Pink Floyd’s just released Psychedelic rock album Ummagumma as trippy background music.  Taking the joint that was handed to her, Debbie asked, “Did you know the Native American Indians had a long history of using Peyote which contains Mescaline in their rituals and even used it for medicinal purposes?”

“Yes, I did.” said Glen.  “Their sacramental rituals usually took place over a couple days, and people experienced altered thinking and perception.”

“I saw in a movie it put them into a dream-like state and they had visions that gave them spiritual strength and enlightenment?” KariAnn chipped in.

“Yes, it’s been known to help individuals recognize and resolve personal problems that might even lead to greater spiritual awareness and meaning in their lives.” added Glen.

“So does Peyote come from mushrooms that grow in cow dung?” asked Pam.

“No,” Glen laughed, “You’re thinking of Psilocybin mushrooms.  Peyote is a small, spineless cactus that grows in the southern parts of North America and Mexico.”

“So how was it used as medicine?” asked KariAnn.

“I heard it has been used for a toothache.” said Debbie.

“Yeah, anything related to pain.” Glen agreed.  “It not only is a great painkiller, but was also thought to have antibiotic properties beneficial to healing the body.”

“Good, sounds like just what I needed.” KariAnn thought to herself, or did she just say that out loud?  KariAnn had taken Mescaline in tablet form many times, sometimes pink, sometimes brown or white, and it always seemed to put her in a happy place state of mind, but this time she would find the results to be much different having taken it on an empty stomach causing faster, better absorption and while feeling depressed.

As the hours went by more partiers arrived, some that KariAn didn’t know, and the volume of the party had gone up a few decibels.  She was starting to mildly hallucinate and voices and people’s faces seemed somewhat distorted but she was fully aware it was a hallucination and wasn’t real.  Randy, an old friend of Glen’s stopped by with a special treat he called ‘Thai Sticks’ which was pure Thai bud twisted around a stick stuck on with hash oil after they were dried.  Randy explained this primo weed had a much higher content of THC and gave you a more energizing experience than other weed that gave you a deep body relaxation.  “In other words,” said Randy, “this weed will give you a nice head stone rather than a body buzz that makes you feel sleepy and lethargic.”

Everything seemed fine at first until KariAnn started to experience one of the negative side effects of Thai weed which was paranoia, and she wandered around looking for Debbie or Pam feeling uncomfortable with so many strangers partying down around her.  Instead she found Kevin in one of the back bedrooms and saw he had just shot up some drugs with a needle.  When she asked the guy who gave him the fix if he was shooting Heroin, was told it was only a couple Reds to calm him down.  KariAnn was regretting that she may have gotten too high, and was thinking she could use something to help calm her down some too.  Although she had sworn she would never shoot drugs with a needle, her head and attitude wasn’t right, and she just wanted to crash out and call it a night. 

Sucking up the two Reds into the needle from the spoon, KariAnn let him shoot it into her right arm.  She was unprepared for the instant rush as the barbiturates hit her system, and her heart rate was beating much faster than normal causing extreme panic and alarm as KariAnn ran screaming through the house.  This time her friends found her as they came running up from downstairs.  Pam reached her first, and when she noticed KariAnn was in hysterics, tried slapping her face to see if she could bring her out of it.  Debbie, Ray and Glen showed up right behind Pam, and Glen grabbed Pam’s arm before she slapped KariAnn again.  “Stop, that’s not helping!”

Debbie checked KariAnn’s pulse and found it was beating rapidly.  “What the hell do we do?  I think she overdosed.”

“What exactly did she take?”  Does anyone know?” asked Glen.

“She took a hit of Mescaline and smoked some Thai Stick is all I know of.” answered Debbie.

“KariAnn, did you take anything else beside the Mesc and weed?” asked Ray.

“Some Reds.” managed KariAnn.  “I shot up two Reds.”

“You did what?” Debbie sounded shocked to hear.  “I’m calling 9-1-1.”

“It’s time to leave everyone!  The party is over!” Glen yelled out, and turned the music off. 

“An ambulance and the paramedics are on their way.” reported Debbie after hanging up the phone.  “They said to keep her moving and walking around, and don’t let her pass out.”

Debbie held KariAnn up on one side and Glen on the other while they walked her around the living room.  “Don’t you know you don’t mix uppers with downers?” asked Glen in a worried tone.

It took about 10 minutes for the ambulance to pull out front, and two paramedics to come rushing inside.  “We were told someone overdosed at this address.  Where is she? ” asked the first paramedic.

“Over here!” yelled Debbie.  “Please help her!”

“Who can tell me what she took and when?” asked the second while taking her pulse.  “Look, we’re not cops or looking to bust anyone, but if we are going to help her, we need to know now what she took.” 

“She took some Mescaline around 2 o’clock this afternoon and smoked some Thai Stick about a half hour ago, and shot up a couple Reds about 15 – 20 minutes ago.” answered Debbie.  “She was fine until she shot up the Reds.”

“Looks like we have a teenage girl overdosed on Mescaline, Thai Stick and Reds.” the first paramedic told dispatch over the radio.  “We’re bringing her in now.”

“What’s her name?” asked the other paramedic strapping her down on the gurney.

“It’s KariAnn.” said Pam.  “KariAnn Randall.  Where are you taking her?”

“Henry Ford Hospital on W. Grand Blvd.” the paramedic answered.

“You want me to grab her coat?” asked Debbie.

“No time!” he yelled as they rushed her into the back of the ambulance and sped off with sirens screaming and lights flashing into the night.

When KariAnn awoke, the last thing she remembered was being put into the ambulance.  Looking around the room she realized she was in the hospital, and noticed her right arm was handcuffed to the bed.  There was also a tube going down her nose, and she could see tiny partials floating around in the fluid that was being removed from her body.  Her mouth was also dry and she longed for something to drink.

“I see you’re awake now.” said the nurse coming in to check on her.  “Do you know where you are?”

“The hospital it looks like.” answered KariAnn wanting to know everything that happened and why she was handcuffed.

“Yes, and we had to perform a gastric lavage on you which means we had to pump your stomach.” said the nurse.  “Do you have any idea how close you came to dying tonight?  Another fifteen minutes or so and we wouldn’t be talking right now.”

“I know I really messed up,” KariAnn admitted, “but it was an accident.  I wasn’t trying to kill myself.”

“That’s good anyway, but you should know that bad choices are bad choices.  It doesn’t matter why you made them.” the nurse lectured her.

“Can I please have some water?” asked KariAnn.  “My mouth is really dry.”

“Not right now, but maybe later I can let you suck on some ice chips.” promised the nurse.

“How much longer will this tube be down my nose?” she asked.

“Until all the partials you see floating around in the fluid are gone.” the nurse said.  “The goal is to remove the substance before your body absorbs it.”

Now for the question KariAnn wanted to know most, but was afraid to ask.  “Can you tell me why I’m handcuffed to the bed?”

“Well young lady, it appears your name came up on a list of teenage runaways, and we have to make sure you don’t try running from the hospital.” the nurse explained before turning to leave.  “I’ll be back to check on you soon.”  As the nurse walked out, that’s when KariAnn noticed the police officer standing outside her door.  She instantly knew she wasn’t going anywhere except maybe back to juvie.

It was less than 10 minutes when the door to her hospital room opened again, only to KariAnn’s shocking surprise it was her mother!  “Mom!” she yelled out, but Mrs. Randall took one look at her daughter laying cuffed to the bed with a tube down her nose, and walked back out without saying a word.  She did hear her mother tell someone that yes it was her before she heard her walk away.

When the nurse returned, the doctor was with her this time.  “It looks all clear now.” said the doctor.  “Let me get this tube removed for you.”

“I brought you a small cup of ice chips, KariAnn.  The doctor said you can have it now.” said the nurse putting a couple chips in her mouth and setting the cup down where she could reach it.

“Is my mom still here?” asked KariAnn.

“No, she left in tears after identifying you.  That had to be really hard for her to see you like that and hear how close she came to losing you forever.” replied the nurse.

“What happens now?” asked KariAnn.

“Well it looks like we are keeping you overnight, and you will be released to the authorities in the morning.  You’ll have to wait to talk to the officers when you see them tomorrow if you have any more questions.” replied the nurse before leaving again to continue with her rounds.

© Copyright 2019 Katie McDougal. All rights reserved.


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