The Free Clinic
The hospital was a sprawling brick complex made all the more noticeable by the helicopter landing on the roof. Cal parked in the visitor lot and JoAnn hesitantly stepped out of the truck.
There was a free clinic in a ground-level wing which was full of coughing, solemn adults and anxious children. JoAnn filled out paperwork and sat staring at a woman absently rocking a car seat with her foot while yelling at two rambunctious boys climbing the seats.
“JoAnn?” called a friendly nurse. She stood and gave one last glance back at Cal. He thought she looked terrified. He thumbed through a worn magazine, watching people come and go, and listening to a soap opera he didn’t know.
JoAnn came back a little teary. When they were safely inside the truck cab, he asked, “What happened?”
“I just couldn’t do it!” she bawled. “This is a real live person! It’d be like murder!”
Cal held his breath and his words. He wanted to argue with her, to make her see reason again, but he didn’t know how to say it without insulting her