Enemy of the State

He was leaving when I came in, the Enemy of the State. I didn’t see his face, just his glossy black hair. And he wore a camel-colored sports coat. If I had to guess, he was Italian and about forty. He was on the bulky side like he played football once. I noticed Crissie’s hands were shaking. Her phony welcome smile didn’t hide her anxiety about what just happened when the Enemy of the State visited her clinic. I took my position on the bench, face down, like I do every week. Crissie’s breathing was heavy above me. She put the heel of her palm flat against my lower back and I guess put her other one on top of it and then her weight came next, all five-eight of her. She pushed violently. I heard the grunting noise she always made with the effort, and this one was a little louder. My back popped back into place and I got up and smiled at her with relief. I gave her my usual thirty-dollars. For a second I thought she wasn’t going to take it. There was no time to talk to her. She led me to the door, like she was anxious to have the place empty again. Her tied-up hair had come loose and strands hung in her face in distress. Even so, I remember thinking how pretty she looked as I left. The place closed, and I never went back. A few months later I read in the paper that the clinic was busted. The Enemy of the State was identified and convicted of health insurance fraud. Crissie was found to be complicit and got a sentence as well. They sent her to the Federal Pen in Miami for two years.

Sometime over the holidays in the mid 2000s – I can’t recall exactly, an anonymous phone call came in. A male voice with a thick Long Guyland accent said, “Stay clear of her.”

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