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The phone rang, and Jackie Parker grumbled a low frustrated curse. Of course, she mused sarcastically. She’d just gotten into the shower, her hair was covered with shampoo and now the phone rings. If she wasn’t waiting for the doctor to call about Gran’s prescription she’d ignore it, but coated in suds she had no time to rinse away, she lunged from the stall. Raymond, her step-grandfather, was, as usual, in the garden and apparently, Gran was sleeping. That or she’d forgotten again what the phone was, or why that black little thing on the living room end table occasionally made that strange shrilling sound.
Jackie almost killed herself as her foot slipped on the tiled floor, causing her to slide into the sink. She banged her ankle against the cabinet. “Ow! Damn it!”
Grabbing a towel, she ran for the living room. Naked, wet and slipping on the highly polished wooden floor, she staggered, hitting twice into the hallway wall. Finally, while wobbling almost drunkenly and displaying not a shred of her usual balance, she nearly fell into the large sitting room. Shampoo seeped slowly from her hair down her face, burning her eyes. She tried to both wipe it away with the edge of the towel that was wrapped around her and secured at her breasts but wasn’t having an easy time of it.
She couldn’t see. Her feet slipped every which way. Off balanced, she skidded into the back of the couch, almost fell over it and stubbed her big toe. Again, she cursed as she reached the black, heavy, old fashioned phone that rang insistently.
“Hello,” she managed with one hand holding the receiver and the other her towel while trying to catch what she could of the soapy water running from her hair and body.
She squinted and moaned against the suds burning her eyes. She wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand, even as she asked with more than a thread of annoyance, “Who is this?”
“Mrs. Grayson, my name is Wayne. I’m calling from the Glendale Health Department. We are asking you once again to consider complying with our policy to disclose your sexual partners. After all, Mrs. Grayson, it’s hardly fair to keep those men in the dark. If they don’t know they’re carrying a transmittable disease, there’s no telling whom they might infect. Wouldn’t you agree?”