Huxley stared at the two of them as they walked to the elevator. I bet they screw their brains out every chance they get. He phoned the info desk to ask for the media representative.
“This is Respiratory Therapy–Huxley. I was told to call the newswoman for an interview.” He hung up the phone and within 4-minutes a slightly disheveled red-headed woman in civilian clothes ran up to the ICU entryway.
“Miss Thornbush?” Huxley gestured the lady over with his right hand. Thule Thornbush walked over to him. “I’m the one who called you. We just had an incident. A patient died. A former fighter pilot.”
“How sad. And on Christmas day.” Thornbush began searching through her briefcase-size handbag. “It will be a touching human interest story and I thank you for calling me.”
“It’ll be more than human interest Miss Thornbush.”
“I know. It’s a downright tragedy. What kind of soldier was he? A Marine? Special Forces?” Thornbush began writing on a steno pad.
“An F-4 jet pilot who was shot in the neck.” Huxley eased into his prepared monologue. “He was paralyzed from the waist down.”
“Oh my God.” Thornbush was writing rapidly. “A poor American makes it all the way back from Vietnam and on Christmas day he dies.” Her statement sounded like a news-bulletin. Her overzealous journalistic excitement caused Thornbush to drop her bag. She stuffed some fallen items back in quickly and opened her wire-bound notepad. Thornbush poised for more questions.
“Not an American pilot Miss Thornbush. An Egyptian pilot.” Huxley was practically drooling. He could envision the media explosion now. His outside operative would give him a commendation for this one. “An Egyptian pilot fighting for the United States in Vietnam as training to fight against Israel if he survived.” Huxley was somber and added. “Which he didn’t.”
Thule Thornbush, 8-year veteran of the Manhattan Record human-interest division and known internally as “Thorny Bush”, gaped open-mouthed at Corpsman Clement Huxley and uttered one word. “What?”
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