Mike Boudreaux, as a trauma surgeon Chief of Service, must discipline an impaired surgeon performing unnecessary and dangerous surgery for the obese. He is Boudreaux’s former teacher and mentor, and Boudreaux falls in love with his young, beautiful, New-Orleans-socially-prominent wife. Boudreaux cannot hide the adulterous affair that erodes his career authority and reputation. Family and society reject the woman he loves unconditionally; when she moves in with Boudreaux, her rebellious daughter disappears. As Boudreaux tries to retrieve and convince the daughter to support her mother, the jealous husband's surgical career declines; a young patient dies; the public is outraged. The crazed husband blames his wife and Boudreaux for his decline and threatens violent revenge. The couple plans marriage and strains to regain pride and confidence amidst the hostility of accusatory taunts of friends, family and society.
They worked with controlled immediacy. Forty-five minutes later, they placed the last staple in closure. Mike went with Rich to the family waiting room. Helen’s father, Marcel Rappaport, leaned against the small waiting room wall, his arms outstretched, his palms flat on the beige painted surface. His face was flushed. He was alone. “Jesus, Boudreaux. It took you long enough,” Rappaport said. “She’s going to be okay,” he said, uncomfortable with Marcel’s belligerence. Rappaport shrugged. "She was assaulted,” he added. “She’s a whore, Boudreaux. A drug addict. A screwed up kid.” Marcel Rappaport kept his eyes diverted. “I haven’t seen her for months. She lives with her mother when she’s not on the streets. The bitch has a restraining order on me.” “She’ll be out of recovery in a couple hours.” She would survive these wounds, although he was not sure she could survive in life much longer. “I’m not going to wait around.” Rappaport threw his hands up in the air. “Why show up?” Mike asked. He never remembered Marcel being so exasperating. “Some nut in the admissions office told me she might die. I got in the car like some diseased homing pigeon. I expected to bury her. Then I got to thinking. Sometimes I think it would be a relief. But she’ll live. And we don’t get along. And I don’t want to relive what we’ve gone through every time we’ve talked over the last few years.” “She’ll need you,” Mike said. “She’s had too many chances, Boudreaux. I’m telling you. I’m not doing anything more.” “Could you give me your cell in case there are complications?” Rich said. “Pester her mother.” Rappaport yanked the door open. “She’ll need rehab,” Mike said. “She needs a brain transplant,” Rapport said without looking back. “Great guy,” Rich said. “Word gets out, everyone will want him for a father.” They walked to the hall toward the doctor’s dressing room. “It’s sad,” Rich said. “Cases like this. We save her life and her parents don't care. She doesn’t even care.” “Call Angie Picard,” Mike said. “She’s the best with these cases. Maybe she can help.”
William H. Coles is an award-winning author of Facing Grace with Gloria and Other Stories, Story in Literary Fiction; A Manual for Writers, and Literary Story as an Art Form: A Text for Writers. His books and stories have won or been finalists in The Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, The William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, The SEAK Competition, and the Sandhill Writers Competition. He created a website for writers that features essays, interviews, stories, and recommendations for reading and study. He is a former ophthalmic trauma surgeon, Department Chairman, and Regent for the American College of Surgeons. Presently he lives and writes in Salt Lake City, Utah.