Love Death Circus – Chapter 53

Body & Mind“Frontal Lobe Dementia and Lou Gehrig’s Disease! She’s got both!”Ellie Abrams is sitting in a Mission District cafe with Frank Singer and Virginia Barre. They’ve been exchanging pleasantries for a long time, carefully sipping their fancy cappuccinos and avoiding the subject at hand. Now Ellie has finally blurted it out. Frank and Virginia say, “Oh my god” and “Ellie, I’m so sorry” but once the horrible, unthinkable truth’s been told, Ellie can’t … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapters 51 & 52

Chapter 51 Dancing in the Aisles Ellie Abrams has got her hands full – groceries, her baby Haviva and her mom somewhere in the aisles of Whole Foods. Zipporah Abrams has been wandering off a lot lately and this is a particularly bad time – the baby needs her diaper changed and the doctor’s appointment is in ten minutes. “Mom! Mom.” Nothing. “Come on Havvy. Grandma will be fine. Let’s get you cleaned up.” … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 50 & Interlude

An Empty House It’s after midnight when Frank dumps his duffel bag full of juggling clubs on the floor. The sound echoes off the empty walls of Magda’s living room. He takes his costume and clown shoes into the bedroom, which is bare except for a mattress on the floor under the window. An old lamp, a couple of books and an empty wine glass full of earplugs are nestled near the pillow. Frank … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 49

The Red WigThe audience answers, “L’chiam,” the rabbi takes her chicken back to their seat and the band starts into a slow blues. A trapeze is lowered and a young woman pulls herself up on the bar. She does Willa’s very first aerial routine, learned from a grainy VHS tape, featuring a thousand-watt smile after every trick. Willa’s niece follows with a solo dance that starts light, gets darker and ends with a series … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 47 & 48

Chapter 47 Last Good-bye Brisbane is a little hillside town just north of the airport, so small that Frank can find the police station without a map. He brings the half-filled box into the empty station, finds the DIY drug drop and pours the contents into the one-way shoot; drugs go in, drugs can’t come out. As he heads for the door to get the second box, he sees a sign, “Absolutely No Controlled … Read More

Love Death Circus – Chapter 46

TSA Pre-Check “We’ll make your flight, don’t worry. You don’t have to go through TSA or anything, cause you’re just a brain, not a whole person. What could they search?” Frank Singer giggles at his own joke. “You’ll get your shipping tag and they’ll toss you right into the cargo hold.”Frank is driving south on 101, waiting for a reply from the brain, when he sees the exit, “Viola! North Access. OK. Now help me … Read More

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

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