“Keep it down,” Marcy’s hoarse voice came from inside.
“Push hard.”

Celia looked at Deb. “Let’s do it.”

“Are you kidding?”
It seemed impossible to force the door open but Celia would
never desert her dear friend. “Push as hard as you can.”

Deb raised a tired, white eyebrow that blended with the pale
skin of her creased forehead. She placed two palms against the door.

Celia braced her shoulder and thrust against the door. It moved
a couple of inches. Then she used her foot and pressed with all her
might as Deb flattened her back on the door and shoved. “On the
count of three, give it all you have. One, two …”

The door opened enough for them to squeeze through. From
the corner of her eye Celia saw that an overstuffed, worn-out chair
had blocked the door. The air conditioning was turned down for
the night, and the hot humid air in the small office smelled of

Melvin’s stale cherry pipe tobacco, the scent more like overripe,
decaying fruit.

Befuddled, Celia saw Marcy prone on the desktop buried up
to her neck under a huge white mound.

“Thank God you’re here,” Marcy rasped and raised her head
an inch off the desk.

“Is that Melvin’s bare butt? You guys look like a porno cartoon
in a retirement magazine,” Deb croaked.

Celia blinked hard. Marcy’s body was obliterated by Melvin’s
overweight, blubbery frame. No surprise that they were
stark naked.

Marcy’s arms flailed. In one hand, she held a cell phone.

Melvin’s unmoving body drooped over the edge of the desktop,
his legs dangling. “I managed to reach my handbag on the chair
to get my cell, thankfully.” She grunted. “My Melvy collapsed on
top of me during … oh, you know why. I can’t move.” Her breath
came in sluggish pulls. “We’ve got to help him.”

“Do you think he’s okay?” Celia didn’t go any closer. “This is

“Poor Melvin fainted. Get him off … move him, so I can
breathe,” Marcy barked.

“How bad is he? Sorry I made a joke. Didn’t know …” Deb’s
face morphed into alarm.

While Marcy pushed Melvin’s shoulders, Celia tugged his
calves, trying not to look at his nakedness. She avoided touching
his wide, flat butt. The effort sent the lower half of his body
hanging further over the desk. Marcy’s arms freed up,
but her body remained imprisoned.

“I’m so sorry, Melvy honey,” she crooned, tears streaking her
cheeks. “You’ll be okay.”

“Stop,” Celia said. Melvin’s feet hung about a foot off the
ground, and his head rested on Marcy’s abdomen. ”If we force him
off he’ll crash on the floor and maybe bash his head or something.
They say never move an unconscious person.” Celia had never
been fond of the man, and tried to erase the vivid images of his
nude body. “How are you now, sweetie?”

Marcy managed to choke out, “I can … breathe a little better.
Melvy, honey we’ll get you to the doctor ASAP, and you’ll be
eating my brisket before you know it.”

Deb clucked her tongue. “It’s bad,” she mumbled. “He’s dead.
Maybe a heart attack?”

Celia felt her stomach tighten hearing her thoughts voiced

“Melvin had diabetes but no heart problems,” Marcy said,
taking a deep breath.

Celia knew Deb was right but didn’t want to give up hope. “Deb,
call 911.”

Celia noticed a small refrigerator in the corner. Something sugary
for a diabetic in shock would help. She stepped over books, manila
envelopes, metal file holders, paper clips, and a smattering of pens on
the floor and pictured Melvin and Marcy sweeping everything off the
desk in a fit of passion. Inside the refrigerator she saw a jar of honey
and some orange juice. “Maybe orange juice to get his sugar level up?”

She held up the carton, forcing her voice to sound calm. Celia found a paper cup and
poured juice into it.

“There’s no point,” Deb said. “I checked his breathing and pulse.

Celia watched for the slightest movement. Nothing. “Where are
the paramedics?”

Deb shrugged and her white eyebrows met over the bridge of her
nose. “This is Florida. They’re busy all night long.”

Celia rubbed Melvin’s cold, taut cheek with her hand. Nothing.

“Oh God.” She tried to find a pulse because Deb’s fingers were often
numb. But she found nothing.

Marcy gulped air. “Help him, please.”

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