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Some Other Child: Excerpt 3

SomeOtherChild_w7615_300_MediumSome Other Child by Sharon Buchbinder
Published by The Wild Rose Press
ISBN Print: 978-1-62830-411-4
ISBN Digital: 978-1-62830-412-1

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Excerpt 3: Sarah’s admission to the detective that her mother is an alcoholic forces her to expose a family secret. If it weren’t for her beloved Aunt Ida, Sarah would feel completely alone…

Winston burst into the kitchen. She bent to put her arms around the dog and buried her face in his velvety ears. “You saved Mom’s life.”

As he licked her face, she realized she was crying. She turned to the detective. So what if he was made of granite. She wasn’t going to apologize for her tears. “If you don’t mind, I’m going give him a warm meal. He’s freezing and hungry.”

He shrugged. “I’ll take a look around while you’re doing that.”

With a brief knock on the door, Aunt Ida, a seventy-five-year-old Jewish Aunt Bea, let herself into the kitchen. “Sarahlei,” she puffed, short of breath. “I just got home from my senior citizen self defense class and saw the police cars. Oy! You look terrible!”

“Mom’s had a bad accident. It looks like she took Winston outside and fell on the ice.” Or to hide her empties where I wouldn’t see them.

Aunt Ida sat down hard in a kitchen chair, unbuttoned her coat, and fanned her face with her hand. “Oy vey iz mir! Where is she now?”

“On the way to the hospital. I was just getting Neferkitty and Winston fed. He’s a hero. He kept Mom from freezing to death.”

Winston leaned against her leg. “I would have been home sooner if I’d skipped the grocery store.”

Sarah sat in a chair next to Aunt Ida and held the older woman’s tiny hand. Because the poor dear looked so fragile, Sarah forced optimism into her voice.

“Remember when she totaled her car last year? If she survived that, she can survive this adventure. Mom’s hard-headed.”

Aunt Ida gave Sarah a weak smile. “Ethel’s always done everything on her own terms.”

Once again, Sarah wondered how Aunt Ida and her mother could be friends. Such an odd couple. Aunt Ida was a kind, generous woman. Her mother was mean and tightfisted. Aunt Ida was a Reform Jew and a political moderate. Ethel had a near-fanatical devotion to one Reverend Bobby Moore, a Harry Potter-hating televangelist. Sarah felt a rush of affection for the old woman. “Why don’t you come with me to the hospital?”

Aunt Ida dabbed her red eyes with a handkerchief.

“When can we go?”

As if on cue, Detective Engelman entered the kitchen, wearing latex gloves and carrying an empty bottle of Jack Daniels. “I’ll be asking for a blood alcohol level when we get to the ER.”

Now that’s a no-brainer, Sarah thought. “Of course you will.”

He held out a tiny brown bottle with a stopper top. “I found this on your mother’s nightstand, Ms. Wright. Any idea what this is? It looks like water, but we’ll have to have it analyzed it at the crime lab.”

Sarah shook her head. “No clue.”

“If we examine this for fingerprints, will we find yours on it?”

Again with the accusations. The man had a one track mind. She was just about ask if she needed to call a lawyer when Aunt Ida spoke. “You’ll find mine.”

Detective Engelman stared at the elderly woman as if she’d just materialized out of thin air. “And you are?”

“Ida Mae Katz.”
“You know what this is?”

“An anti-aging compound, great for insomnia. Ethel told me she had trouble sleeping. I had an extra bottle, so I gave it to her.” She squinted at the label and frowned. “I wonder if she spilled it. It was full last Friday so it shouldn’t be near to empty if she’s only taking two to three drops at night. I don’t mind spending money, but it shouldn’t go to waste. That little bottle cost fifty bucks.”

Detective Engelmann’s voice took on a razor sharp edge. “Mind telling me where you got this?”

“From Shirley Rubenstein,” Ida chirped. “We play Mah-Jongg together.”

“Anyone ever tell you what this ‘anti-aging compound’ contains?”

“G-something.” She tapped a red, heart-shaped birthmark on her left cheekbone, as she always did when she was trying to recall something. “Oh. Now I remember.” Her neck and face flushed. “I think Shirley called it ‘Great Hormones at Bedtime.’ Yes, that’s it. Everyone at Mah-Jongg laughed when she said it.”

Detective Engelman wasn’t laughing. “GHB. I’ll be asking for a blood level on that, too.”

Sarah’s stomach cramped and knotted. Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid? As if alcohol wasn’t bad enough, her mother had ingested an illicit, potentially deadly drug, too. Could it get any worse?”

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