Love Death Circus – Chapter 45

Willa’s Remains   Frank Singer sits at the wheel of his Datsun reading a map. The road lines swirl from the jet lag closing in behind his eyes. A tightly sealed cardboard box sits in the passenger seat. Inside it, neatly packed in a cocoon of dry ice, is Willa Woods’ brain. This morning, after Jackie Amarillo finally called the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center, they tried to contact their West Coast pathologist to tell … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 44

Dead or Alive?  Frank Singer walks out of the jet-bridge with his backpack over his shoulder and his carry-on rolling behind him. He’s home to visit Willa before Corteo opens in Brussels next week. By the time he lines up at U.S. Customs, his phone is ringing. As he frantically digs through his backpack, his passport and immigration form fall at the feet of the woman in front of him. He stoops to grab … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 42 & 43

Chapter 42  Paid in Poultry  Monday morning, Frank is calling in from his Amsterdam hotel room. Jackie is telling him how the hospice care rotation is working out, how Willa’s brother Brian is taking care of the finances long distance from Tennessee and how quiet Willa has gotten since she’s been home. The doorbell rings. “That must be the rabbi. Frank, I’ll talk with you tomorrow.” Jackie leads Rabbi Deborah Matz back into Willa’s … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 40 & 41

Monologue When Frank slips back into the room, Willa is fast sleep. He collapses into the bedside chair. “Willa. Willa!” Her breathing is rhythmic and her eyes are closed. “Willa, you really didn’t recognize Dr. Weinberg? I thought you were completely cogent when we talked with him last time, more cogent than Jackie or me. Were you faking it the whole time? Damn, Willa, I’m trying to take care of you but…” Frank sits … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 39

Dying in a Crowd Dr. Weinberg sits down in the chair that Jackie has abandoned; Virginia and Frank stand awkwardly near the door. The doctor asks Willa, “What do you want to do with the time you have remaining?” Willa thinks for a few moments. “We had a good Christmas. With a tree and everything.” She looks at Frank, who tries to smile. “What do I want to do now? Well, I hope that … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 38

Chapter 38 Palliation II By the time Frank Singer clears customs it is nearly midnight. His eyes itch and his skull pinches. He flips his backpack over a shoulder and speed walks through baggage claim with his carry-on rolling behind him. Tired as he is, Frank still smirks at the poor souls waiting to pick up their checked luggage on carousel five. At the booth, he hands his “nothing to declare” form to the … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 36 & 37

Flying Home A backpack with his employer’s yellow sun logo hangs over Frank Singer’s right shoulder and a small rolling suitcase with his Corteo road jacket draped over the handle bounces behind him. His hair is wild with gel and dried sweat and his eyes are black with the mascara he missed as he raced to leave after the matinee. Jackie had called late last night to say that Willa is back in the … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 35

Losing Marbles January rolls into February and Corteo rolls into Amsterdam. The performers get a week off as the tent crew sets up the grand chapiteau in the parking lot of the Johan Cruijff football stadium. Too snowy to bicycle through the Dutch city, Frank Singer spends his time in history museums, Indonesian restaurants and jazz clubs. On Friday night he goes to services at the first temple to re-open after the war and, … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 34

Dead Wood Frank’s face fills the screen of Willa’s laptop, looking tired but glamorous with mascara left over from the show. Willa says, “Were you asleep?” “No such luck. I was catching up on email. How are you…hey, what’s that behind you?” Willa looks over her shoulder. “A Christmas tree.” “Oh, I see how it is – your Jewish roommate leaves town and you go all ‘White Christmas’ on me.” “It’s homey. And Jackie … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 33

Fist City With the new year comes new worries for Willa Woods. Her week-nine chemo checkup shows the tumors starting to grow again and some of her markers heading in the wrong direction. Dr. Sands says they will stay the course, finish the last three weeks of the treatment and then re-evaluate. “We have another option, a new chemo that I’ve heard about. I’ll start researching it. For now, Willa, don’t read too much … Read More

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