Accidents Will Happen
Frances Taira
T oday David Tomaneski got greedy. Usually he entertained his grandmother by acting a scene. Then Alice wrote a check for Northwestern's tuition or expenses. Both enjoyed the visit. Not this time.

Alice was raking the fallen red and orange leaves in the back yard, when a car door slammed. A body builder in sweats and flight attendant in uniform make a glamorous couple.

"She could live for years, unless she has an accident," Sarah Jones said. "Demand your inheritance now, or watch our dreams die."

"I'll need a stake to pursue my career in New York," David agreed. The visitors located Alice, puffing on a medication inhaler.

"You're overweight, Alice." Sarah put glasses of fresh carrot juice on the kitchen table.

"I want my money now," David said. "I have insider information about an emerging markets fund, that's going to double its stock price."

"No. Work hard at Northwestern to develop your skills. Acting demands focus."

Sarah suggested, "Let me help with expenses for a year, until your career takes off." She lit a cigarette.

"No way. You think that after 1 year of failure, I will give up acting and settle down."

Powder residue coated Alice's glass. "What is that?"

"I use Ma Huang for weight control."

Alice felt palpitations. "I'll check the mail." She vomited the juice and it pooled under the mailboxes. Ripping her button off the blouse, she grabbed the chain holding the emergency beeper and pressed it.

"Okay. I'll stay in school."

First published: October 1997 comments: