WHAT DO I SAY TO THEM / Thomas McCaIl WE ENTER A CRAMPED LOBBY, Lucy Banks, a nurse, ahead of me. The lobby's floor is a jigsaw of small, black and white ceramic tiles, some broken, others missing altogether. In a row of mailboxes on one wall the name "Ramirez" is crudely scratched into the metal of the box labeled 3B. "It's cold in here," I say. The snow that drops from our shoes isn't melting. "They don't heat lobbies in this part of town, John," Lucy says. "They save it for upstairs. It's 3B, let's go." I'm glad Lucy's with me. She's in her forties, twice my age, and I trust her experience. She may be forthright in what she says, but I know she'll never embarrass me in front of a mother. A wooden staircase, its carpet worn and stinking, grumbles under our feet. "What do we know about this woman?" I ask. "Nothing. She called in an hour ago. She's never been seen at the Maternity Center." "No care before now? She just calls us - bang! - and says, 'Come now, this is it, I'm ready to dump this baby/ " "That's right." A
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1988
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