Passing Through Midnight

Free Passing Through Midnight by Mary Kay McComas

Book: Passing Through Midnight by Mary Kay McComas Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Kay McComas
quickly and
clearly into the receiver, hung up, and dialed a new number saying, "One of those stupid gang things. One of them stabbed
another, then that guy's buddies shot him. And the families from both
sides are here. Kids in colors. Hello? No! Don't put me on hold! This
is West Side General. There's been a gang-related incident…"
    Dorie looked back at the door. The soundless sights of
tension and hatred had escalated.
    "Those kids'll bleed to death in the ambulances if they
don't let them out," she said, thinking aloud.
    "Tell them that," the nurse said, waiting for something on
the phone, her eyes darting fearfully back to the wide glass doors.
    "I will," she said, marching toward the doors.
    There were police officers everywhere, and medical
personnel. It didn't occur to her to be frightened for herself. After
all, she was a doctor. She hadn't stabbed or shot anyone. She saved
people's lives. The crowd wasn't after her. And there was no reason she
could see, why they couldn't get the two boys out of the ambulances and
into the emergency room for treatment, while everyone else fought among
themselves outside. It seemed so elementary.
    "Let me through here, please," she said, pushing and
shoving her way to the first ambulance. "Someone come help me here.
We're getting these boys inside. Now."
    "Leave him. He's gonna die," said a very tall, very thin
man with long, dark hair and eyes so full of hate that Dorie averted
hers and kept pushing her way through the mob.
    "Form a blockade or something," she shouted as she caught
one officer's attention. "Some of you get to the other one. See how bad
he is…"
    When she was face-to-face with two ambulance attendants
who had themselves glued to the back of the van, protecting it, she
reached for the handle.
    "Forget it," she heard the words as she felt the hands
pushing her sideways away from the door. She staggered, righted
herself, and turned to face a young man whose expression was so
distorted with anger, he looked almost demonic.
    "He killed my cousin. He's gonna die. Right here. Tonight."
    "Not if I can help it," she said, more angry at being
challenged than at being shoved by him. "Move aside."
    "No way." He pushed his chest and neck up against her
face. She pushed back with her hands. "His homies shot my brother." He
pointed to the other ambulance. "Help him. This one's gonna die."
    "Get out of my way. We're going to save them both. Move
it!" she shouted over the din of other hateful voices, shoving him away
with her shoulder like a one-hundred-and-thirty-two-pound tackle for
the Bears.
    "You touch him, you die, bitch."
    She could remember thinking that his statement was so
absurd, she wanted to laugh. She was too mad to laugh, of course, but
it was so much like you-spit-across-this-line-and-I'll-pound-you; so
much like some childish threat that he couldn't possibly carry out. It
was too ridiculous to consider. People didn't kill doctors. People sued
doctors. Doctors were liable for malpractice and neglect, not for
saving lives. It didn't make sense.
    The crowd made sense to her. She was no innocent. She was
familiar with bigotry. She knew about an eye for an eye. She was
convinced that ignorance and hatred worked hand in hand with fear and
destruction. She felt sorry for the youths in the crowd who knew only
what they'd been taught; who were so hopeless, they had only death to
live for. She felt pity for the adults who knew only what
been taught; who were caught in an endless cycle of fear, hatred, and
death, the vortex of which was pulling them and their children and
their children's children into oblivion.
    But killing doctors for doing their job? No way.
    "Get this guy out of here," she shouted to a police
officer, pushing her attacker away once more. "Take your big talk
somewhere else. I've got work to do."
    "This ain't talk. This is war," he screamed at her as two
policemen grabbed him from behind. "Choose the wrong side, and you
die!" The emotion in his eyes

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