This One’s For Cosmo
Note from Admin: Please don’t read if you don’t want to know ahead of time. This is the biopsy scene (actually two scenes, the end of Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2 of book 3, called To Bark Perchance To Bite until someone says different).
Note from Spence: Boy, is he in a bad mood today.
The phone buzzed just as Bernie started up the car. Bernie had the phone rigged so the voice came through the speakers. “Bernie? Amy here.” I knew Amy. She was the vet. A nice woman, big and round, with soft hands, but I never liked going to the vet. “I’ve got the lab report on that lump.” Bernie leaned forward.
Lump? There was Lumpy Clumpinello, of course, a truck-hijacker from South Pedroia, now breaking rocks in the hot sun – I could still remember how he’d squealed when I grabbed him by the pant leg, which is usually how we closed our cases at the Little Detective Agency – but other than that no lumps came to mind. Meanwhile, out on the street, I saw one of my guys, on a leash – I’d hardly ever been on a leash, the last time being in court, when I’d been Exhibit A and Exhibit B was a .44 Magnum I’d dug up out of some perp’s flower bed – lifting his leg against a fire hydrant. I wanted to do that, too, lay my mark on top of his, and right now. Was there any way I could somehow jump –
“And?” Bernie said, at the same time putting his hand on me, in fact around my collar.
Amy’s voice came through the speakers. “And – the results were negative.”
The blood drained from Bernie’s face. All at once he went from looking great to looking terrible, like this sick old guy who sometimes goes past our house in a wheelchair. “Oh, God,” he said. “Negative?”
“That’s good news, Bernie,” Amy said. “The best. Negative is good.”
“Negative is good?”
“It means no malignancy,” Amy said. “It’s just a benign growth, may shrink and vanish on its own, and easily removable if not.”
The blood came rushing back to Bernie’s face. It turned bright red – I had no doubt about that, no matter what anyone says about me and color – and he smiled a smile so big his eyes practically disappeared. What the hell was going on? “Thank you,” Bernie said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Amy laughed and said goodbye. Bernie patted my head, kind of hard, actually. “Good boy,” he said. “Way to go.”
Nice, but what had I done? Was this about taking down Lumpy Clumpinello, or something else? The Lumpy Clumpinello case seemed like a long time ago, but maybe it wasn’t – time plays tricks on you, Bernie says. I didn’t know, didn’t really care, but Bernie was excited about something so I started getting excited, too. At that moment we came to a stop sign. Looking back, I could still see the fire hydrant, part way down the block. Have I mentioned that the Porsche is a convertible, in fact has no top at all? The next thing I knew I was lifting my leg against that hydrant, marking it from top to bottom and then back up again, doing a proper job. The air filled with soft splashing sounds, kind of like a fountain. I love fountains. One of my favorites is in the lobby of the Ritz, this fancy hotel in Beaumont Hills, the nicest part of the Valley, where Bernie and I once worked a case, although that particular fountain had actually led to problems with the management, too complicated to go into now. A woman in a passing car gave me a look, maybe not friendly. I gave her a look back, not friendly or unfriendly, just this polite look I have for when my mind is elsewhere.
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