Scene 16: An Evil Plot Revealed
The door from the hallway opened. Karen took a deep breath. She did not want to be discovered in the grown-up restroom. The hard click of high heels sounded on the floor. She peeked through the gap between the stall’s door and frame. Mrs. Pinzetti and Mrs. DeLuca stood in front of the mirror over the wash basins, deep frowns on their faces.
Both women took compacts out of their purses and powdered their noses, as they talked.
Mrs. Pinzetti hissed, “We can’t let Little Sugar and her fat mother take control. Lambert is going to blame me, even though he’s the one who let them get away with throwing that tantrum in clinic. Sugar is already slated for surgery. That’s what Lambert cares about. He just wants his fee, and he’s going to make life hell for me if he doesn’t get it. Besides, you and I need our cuts. I wish Karen really were retarded. Are you sure you changed the scores on her tests, so we have paperwork to back us up?”
“Yes,” Mrs. DeLuca whispered. “They were all way above average, but I moved them down to be in line with her paralysis. The only problem with her learning is transposing, and she compensates for that. I can’t believe Muñoz scored her as high as he did! We need to get Lambert to straighten him out. If he thinks he’s going to get his cut, then he’d better get more creative with his testing.”
They closed their compacts and put them away in their purses before taking out shiny, gold tubes of lipstick. Mrs. Pinzetti added, “And I exaggerated her physical problems in my report. She does pretty well for a kid with a weak left side, but I make her sound like that arm and leg are useless and might as well be removed.”
For a moment, the room was silent as they colored their mouths bright red. Then Mrs. Pinzetti said, “I’m going to take a hard line during the eval and break little Sugar right in front of her mother. I’m going to make her look like the idiot we need her to be. And, if the mother won’t approve surgery, now, then maybe she will after I give her daughter a nervous breakdown.”
“A breakdown!” Mrs. DeLuca laughed. “But how?”
“Watch and learn. The kid thinks I care about her, so I’ll just lay on the smiles while I make her therapy hell. Eventually, she’ll crack. Once she cracks, Lambert can order shock therapy to cook any remaining charm out of that little brain. The mother will agree to anything to help her child. They always do. After that, Karen’ll be a slobbering vegetable. Seeing the effect of the shock treatment on her daughter will destroy the mother. It always does. She won’t object to surgery after that. Right now, we need to get back into that room and drop some hints, so Lambert doesn’t object when I browbeat Karen this afternoon. I’m really going to enjoy making her squirm, and I can’t wait to start twisting that left arm and leg in our next therapy session. I heard about the Nazi the school used to have for PT. I’ll be more subtle, but I’ll destroy that child one way or the other.”
Both women finished coloring their lips the red of fresh blood. They put the lipsticks back into their bags, then puckered their mouths and leaned forward to inspect them, looking as if they were going to kiss themselves in the mirror, or suck blood from a victim. Their heels clicked across the room’s hard floor. The door opened and closed with a sigh. Karen’s eyes filled with tears of silent rage.
Shush, Kitten, steady! So that’s what Mrs. Pinzetti meant when she said they were running out of children who needed surgery from Dr. Lambert. She meant they were coming after me.
Original text ©2022 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.