KIM

by rn8229

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This story is copyrighted. (c) rn8229@juno.com

How many times in your life have you planned out where you would like your life to go, only to find that the holes in the road and other detours would lead you into unexpected places and events. This is the story of what happened to a young girl that planned to get a job in a city known for its exciting times, and found that life in the city would turn out to be very different from what she had planned for herself.

Table of contents:

PART ONE

PART TWO

PART THREE

PART FOUR

PART FIVE

PART SIX

PART SEVEN

PART EIGHT

PART NINE

PART TEN

PART ELEVEN

PART TWELVE

PART THIRTEEN

PART FOURTEEN

PART FIFTEEN

 

PART ONE

Kim sat at her desk wondering where life would take her from here. As a mid-western town girl, she had often wondered what life would be like in a big city. She had studied hard in school and took every class possible that would make her a valuable secretary. There were Math, Accounting, Business Law, Typing, Short Hand and Computer Science as well as all the required subjects such as History and English, etc. She had graduated near the top of her class, but there was no way that her family could afford to send her to college. To be able to have some of the nicer clothes she wanted, she worked at the local department store during the summer and baby sat evenings through the winter.

She had, over the years managed to bring her savings account up to fifteen hundred dollars by the time she graduated, even after buying the clothes she wanted. She talked things over with her mother and father as to what she wanted to do. Her father brought out the fact that to live in a hotel or motel would eat up her nest egg rather rapidly, so the best thing would be to look for a room in a private home. Many senior citizens did this when all their kids left home and they had the empty rooms available to generate a little income and also to have young people around the house. Kim could see the wisdom in this. It was also brought out that jobs would be easier to find once school started in the fall and the part timers went back to school leaving openings to be filled. She decided to work the summer at the department store and go to Los Angeles just after the Labor Day holidays. Towards the end of summer she was surprised to be assigned to the accounting department three mornings a week to help out with all that extra paper work related to the preschool sales and restocking. Now she could say that she had some actual experience beside what she had in school.

Near the end of summer she called the L. A. TIMES and found that they did in deed have a web site that had housing adds and she was given the site address. During the last week before the holiday she started to study the listings very closely, writing down addresses and phone numbers of likely looking places. She had found that she could get her mapmaker to show the different bus routes in town and that influenced several likely locations. She decided to just take a suit case and have her parents ship the other boxes when she found a place.

The family had a big dinner Tuesday evening and Kim left on the bus Wednesday morning. Thinking back, that seemed such a long time ago.

She arrived in L. A. late Thursday evening and located the local YWCA and arranged for a room there. She had her membership card from the one back home. After freshening up in her room she went to the restaurant just down the street to relax and get a bite to eat. While waiting for her order to come, she went and called home collect to let them know that she had arrived OK and where she was staying until further notice. After eating she went to her room and got ready for bed. It was only a couple of minutes and she was out like a light.

Due to the time difference, she was awake early the next morning, had breakfast and was ready to start making phone calls by eight thirty. Thinking this was a little early to start calling retired people, she sat and went through the note book she had put all her information in. It had a map for each place she intended to call as well as the main transit map for the city. She had unconsciously tended toward the north end of the city. It seemed to be more open there with the parks that were shown on the overall city and surrounding area map. She had listed her calling order and numbered each one, and all related information had the same number, and each group was in sequential order. At ten she started calling.

The first three places she called fizzled out for one reason or another. The fourth call held a lot of promise. The phone was answered by a very cheerful lady that seemed delighted to get a call from a young girl. Her daughter worked for a large company and had recently been given a promotion, but to get it, she had been required to move to Chicago. They talked for a while and Kim became more relaxed with Mrs. Thomas. She decided to go on out and see the place. She was given the directions and was told the house was the third from the outbound bus stop. She checked her bus route map and found she only had five blocks to walk to catch the bus. Checking her watch as she boarded the bus, she sat in the front seat behind the driver. She got off where she was told and found that the trip only took fifteen minutes from downtown. Sure enough, the Thomas residence was the third house on her side of the street.

She knocked and the door was opened by a tall well built blond that looked to be about thirty or thirty five. Kim had to look way up to look into her eyes. She had to be at least five foot ten in her bare feet and she was wearing high heel platform pumps. "Yes." "Is Mrs. Thomas home? I'm Kim Butler." "Come in Kim. I'm Marion Thomas." "You can't be. You said you had a daughter that was an executive in her company. You can't be old enough for that unless she's a step daughter." "What a lovely compliment. I assure you, I am that old. This town has some wonderful salon's to help us oldies hold our shape and age at a younger level." "I still find it hard to believe." "My husband will be here in a few minutes for lunch and the three of us can talk, but first let me show you your rooms." Kim was puzzled at the plurality but followed Marion down the hall way almost to the front door. There she opened the door on her right and went in. It was a fully equipped study and even had a computer sitting on the large desk. there were two doors, one to the side entrance and one to another room where Marion proceeded to go. It was a very large bedroom with a queen size canopy bed, dresser, vanity and a closet that ran the length of the far wall with a full length mirror on one of the sliding doors. There was no way she was going to find anything better than this. It was perfect with the private entrance.

Bob Thomas came thru the front door as they returned to the hallway. Introductions were made and they proceeded to the dining room. "I see you're expecting someone else for lunch. I can come back later if that would be better." "The third place is for you Kim. I called Bob when I saw you coming down the street." They talked quite a bit thru a very delicious lunch and Kim couldn't believe what they wanted for rent on the rooms. There was even a private bath and a refrigerator and they were practically giving her the place for free. To top it off, she was expected to have lunch and dinner with them if it was convenient with her working hours once she found employment. This was heaven sent.

After all that was settled, Bob asked what type employment she was looking for. "I guess you would call it general office work. I took all the courses I could think of in high school that would qualify me for a one or two girl office." "Please tell me what the courses were, so I have an idea of what you can do." said Bob. Kim listed off all the courses she had taken and reached into her purse and handed him her grade record from school. Bob studied it for a couple of minutes, gave a low whistle and handed the sheet over to Marion. She studied it and got up from her chair. "I need to make a phone call." She went to the living room to make the call while Kim and Bob continued to talk about different types of work. He rented studio's to TV producers as they needed them. He had gotten good buy's on several empty warehouses, renovated them and now rented them out on short term leases. It was a good deal for both him and the TV producers. Marion stuck her head in thru the doorway, "Kim, are you in a hurry to go anywhere?" "No. Why?" "I have someone who would like to talk to you. She can be here in ten minutes." "Now that I have a place to stay, I have all the time you need."

Marion returned and sat down. They talked for a while more, the front door opened and Kim could hear a pair of high heels approaching. The person came through the door and Kim almost let out a gasp. She seemed to be looking at Marion again, except that this one was a brunett. Then again, in California, who knows what the natural color was. "Kim, this is my sister Pam, She has a business of her own and I think you might fit in. Coffee Pam?" "Yes please. Can we go to your study Kim and let sis have time with Bob?" Pam got her coffee and Kim picked up the remains of hers and they left for the study after Kim thanked Marion for the lunch.

Pam asked for Kims school record, studied it a few minutes and looked directly at Kim. "Bob and I are basically in the same business, but slightly different. He rents studios and all the props to make a home environment for the TV producer. I rent and lease specialized things to make an office environment of desks, chairs, trophies, conference tables and things like that and equipment enough to make a believable hospital environment from reception to hospital room and equipment for the mock patient, from wheelchairs, beds, IV stands, monitors and whatever it takes to make the shots. I even have a doctor and Plaster technician on call if casts are needed. I am very impressed by your marks in school. That class load must have been murder. What I need is someone who can straighten out this mess that I have so I can see at a glance what is on hand, who has what out on rent, what the rent is for each item and where in the warehouse things are located. Would you be interested in a job like that and do you think you could do it?" "Do you have a computer set-up in your office?" "I do, and they tell me that it's state of the art." "Is any of this on the computer?" "No, it's all in a note book and I'm tired of working until eight or nine every night to keep up with things. That's why I bought the computer, but I don't know how to do what's needed." "Can I have a free hand at setting up whatever I think is the best way to handle it?" "My dear, You can do whatever you want, just so the end result has me walking out of there at five o'clock when the office officially closes." "It could take a couple of weeks if things are as bad as you say they are." "That's nothing compared to the last couple of years." "I'll take the job. I like a challenge. If I can't deliver, I'll tell you and then leave, No hard feelings."

They returned to the dining room and informed Bob and Marion that Kim had a job and would start Monday. Kim asked if she could drop by that afternoon and see what was on the computer, so she could think over the weekend, about how she would set up the programming. Pam said to come along and they left. They first went to the "Y" so Kim could get checked out before they charged her another night and then went to Pam's place of business. Again it was a warehouse. They went to the office and Kim fired up the computer system. It was state of the art, and on checking file manager, found it had exactly what she needed in programming. They went into the warehouse section and Kim was astounded by the amount of equipment stored there, but it seemed to be in a sort of random placement. Beds, desks, chairs, tables all mixed up on the large expanse of floor. They went back to the office to talk.

"Ms. Martin, we need to talk." "Call me Pam, Please." "Yes Pam. You will need to spend some money to get that mess organized." "I know that." "Does Bob have any industrial shelving that he isn't using or does he have a supplier he can buy some used ones from?" "I can find out." "That's item one. Next, we organize the floor for the larger items, painting lines on the floor and give them alpha numeric locations. Every item out there will get it's home address put on it when all is finally established, so it gets put back where it belongs, when it returns home. We design a two page tag for when the item is ordered. Top page green, second page red. When an order comes in, the computer spits out a tag that goes to the people out back. They put the order together and the pickup driver signs each tag. The red copy comes to the office to show the pick up completed, we enter it and the green copy stays at the back door until the unit returns. We record the return when the green tag comes in, and the computer calculates the charge to the customer." "You make it sound so simple. If you can make that work, you'll be a god sent angel." "Pam, your computer has all the programming needed so that after you have entered the necessary information and press enter, the computer takes over and keeps track until you enter the final date and again press enter. If it is an account customer, it will add it to his bill and spit out a bill on the first of the month automatically when we sign in, so we are here in case the printer gets jammed." "For an eighteen year old high school girl, you amaze me. Let's have an early dinner and go celebrate. My Treat." and they left, locking up as they went out.

They had a wonderful dinner and finding out that Kim had never been west of the mountains, took her to see as many of the sights as she could before dark. They returned to the Thomas' house just after nine. While they were driving around they talked about the different items that were in the inventory at work. When Pam mentioned that there were wheelchairs of different sizes, a couple sets of leg braces and an Iron Lung in there, Kimís heart almost stopped. It brought back memories of the little five year old that she had baby sat back home. She had come down with polio during a trip her parents had taken to South America when she was only two and just starting to get her balance so she could walk with out holding on to anything. Now she was in braces and had to use crutches. Pam caught the catch in Kimís voice after she had mentioned the braces, but didn't say anything at the time.

PART TWO

Pam went in with Kim to talk with the Thomas's for a while and during the conversation worked things around to talking about clothing sizes and she managed to get Kim's shoe and dress sizes. When the last of the coffee was gone Pam said good night and left. Kim did likewise and went to her rooms. She powered up the computer and checked file manager and found several word processing programs and a juno account. She brought up juno and opened an account for herself. Knowing her parents habits for Friday night she called home. They were happy to hear that she had found a place to stay and were even more than astounded that she already had a job starting Monday. When they asked how much she would be making, she had to admit that they hadn't discussed money, but as enthused as Pam was, she felt it would be satisfactory. She had her mother write down her E-mail address and told her to have her past boy friend come over and take her computer out of the shipping boxes and set it back up for her and dad and to set up an E-mail account for them shipping the rest of the boxes to her and she gave her the address. When that was done he was to send her a message so she would have their E-mail address. They could stay in touch with out ending up owning the phone company. With that all done she shut down the computer, got ready and went to bed.

Kim was up early and was looking around on the web when Marion knocked on her door and said breakfast was ready. She put the computer on stand-by and went to join her and Bob. She admitted feeling guilty eating there and wanted to at least contribute to the grocery bill. She was immediately rebuffed by both Marion and Bob. "Nonsense. You are our daughter back home again. We may even make you toe the line and set down some rules like you were ours if you keep acting like that." "Thanks mom. I'll behave." Marion's eyes went wide open at that comment. "Oh how I love the sound of that. You can call me mom any time you want." It was around ten thirty when the phone rang. Marion answered it. "Kim, it's Pam and she would like to talk to you." Kim went to the phone. "Yes Pam, what can I do for you?" "Would you like to spend the day with me as friends and NOT as an employee?" "I would love to. Where do you want to meet?" "I'll pick you up in half an hour." "I'll be ready. Bye." She hurriedly explained to the Thomas's and went to her room and made the bed and generally straightened things up and put on a calf length skirt in place of her jeans. She had just finished as a knock sounded on her outside door. She opened the door and Pam was standing there. "Why the side door?" "I came to get you, not to talk to my sister. Ready to go?" She grabbed her jacket, locked the door and they were off.

Pam drove a short ways to a park that looked out on the Long Beach harbor. They walked to a bench in the shade of one of the trees and sat down. "Kim, I picked up on something last night that I didn't want to mention until I thought about it a little." "Did I do something wrong? I know I can get that computer program to work as I said it would." "This has absolutely nothing to do with anything you said. It was a reaction to something I had said." "What did I do?" "When I mentioned the leg braces and the Iron Lung your voice cracked and changed pitch the next time you spoke. Care to tell me about it?" She reached out and took Kim's hand in her's as she said this. Kim looked down at her hand between both of Pam's and she started to tell about the little girl she used to baby sit and how she often wondered what life was like for her in her braces. She had tears in her eyes by the time she was finished. Very slowly Pam stood up and pulled Kim to her feet and started for the car. On the way she gave Kim a hug and said, "You poor dear. You really want to find out don't you?" Between sniffs Kim admitted she did.

Pam drove back to the shop and they went in. Kim was surprised when they went to Pam's office and there was a set of braces resting against an easy chair. "I was a little suspicious after thinking about your reaction last night and came here this morning and checked the shoe size on these. It's the same as yours. Go ahead and put them on." Kim slipped her shoes off and put the braces on while Pam sat at her desk and watched. When Kim was done Pam came over and checked how the braces lined up with Kim's knees. They seemed just a little long but not enough to require readjusting. She reached behind her desk and brought out a pair of under arm crutches and handed them to Kim. "Do you know how to get up with out using any leg muscles?" "No." "Then let me show you." Kim was instructed how to lock one leg, rotate her body to where she could push herself to standing on the braced leg while locking the second one. She was also shown how to get to a sitting position with the reversal of getting up. Unlocking one leg, sitting and then unlocking the second and pulling it back to the seat with her hands. She practiced this several times before Pam handed her the crutches and said to go out into the storage area and practice walking in the braces.

After a while Kim got pretty good at stiff legging it and swinging through. Kim didn't realize that they had exited the building through the large loading dock door until she heard it slide closed behind her. She was out in public in braces. The only thing she could do was keep on going. When they reached the car, Pam opened the passenger door and indicated for her to get in. "Get yourself seated with both legs still locked. Then unlock them and pull them in with your hands." Kim did and they were off. After a few minutes Pam spoke again. "Let's have some fun. My fifteen year old daughter does not wear make up. Remove it please and arrange your hair more appropriately" Kim thought for a second before moving to comply and this brought a reproof. "Kimberly Martin, I said my daughter is not old enough for that much make- up." That got her attention and she immediately cleaned her face of all make-up. She thought this could be fun. "Yes mother. Is it all off or should I use the rest room where ever we're going?" "That might be a good idea, but right now, why don't you put your hair in a pony tail."

A short while later they arrived at a shopping mall. "Thought the air conditioning would make it a little easier on you while you practice your crutching. I would bet that you have been on crutches before." "I have. I broke my ankle in my sophomore year." "I thought there might have been something like that in your back ground." When they went inside Kim immediately headed for the restroom and Pam went with her. Business was done and Pam helped Kim get rid of the rest of the make-up. She admitted she did look and FEEL like fifteen again. She was getting the hang of crutching in braces and started to look around a little instead of concentrating on what she was doing. The time she had spent on crutches because of her ankle was paying off now. She saw several teen-age boys giving her the eye and that made her feel real good. She mentioned this to Pam and got a big smile in return. "I now have the handicapped daughter I always wanted. Let me know if your arms get tired and we'll get a chair." "I'm doing fine. In fact, in a way I'm enjoying being your handicapped daughter." They had reached one of the finer clothing stores and Pam turned in and went directly to the teen section with Kim following. Pam picked out a skirted suit that would make a good business suit and a calf length royal blue dinner dress. A sales girl was standing by and offered to carry the items to the changing rooms. Kim tried on both items and Pam approved of both saying that they would have to get different shoes to go with them.

The dress and suit were brought out and wrapped before Kim could say anything. "Young lady, where is the credit department? I need to make a change on my account." "It's on the second floor. The elevator is just behind that post." "Thank you." and they went to the credit department. Kim was asked to sit down while Pam did her business. Pam was back shortly with a smile on her face indicating that everything had gone her way. "Let's go young lady. There's more shopping to do." They went back to the main level and the shoe department. They took seats away from the main stream of shoppers and sat down. Pam asked Kim to remove her right brace and shoe. A sales girl came over to help them just as Kim pulled the brace from under her skirt. The name tag said "Tracy" "Can I help you ladies?" "She needs two pair of shoes with two inch heels. A pair of blue pumps to match this dress and a pair of Mary Janes in black." "I'll be just a minute. What size?" "Five, please." "Thank you."

The shoes were brought and the color of the blue pair was checked against the dress and they were a perfect match. "Try it on honey and see how it feels. Don't want it too tight.." Looking at the sales girl Pam said, It's her leg muscles that are weak. She has full feeling all the way down." Pam moved beside Kim and put a lot of weight on her knee. "How does it feel with the weight on it?" "Feels great." "We'll take that pair. Try the other one now. - - - - - How does that one feel?" "The same. It's a good fit." "And with weight on it?" "Feels wonderful." "We'll take both pair." The sales girl took them to the register to ring them up while Kim put the brace back on. Handing Kim a charge card Pam said, "You can pay for them with your own card. It's a debit card for this store, in your name, and there's money in your account for anything my fifteen year old daughter might need." Kim was flabergasted. Two days in town and all this has happened to her already. They got up and went to the counter. While Kim paid for the shoes, Pam moved off and made a call on her cell phone. As Kim approached, she finished her conversation and reached for the bag with the shoes.

"We have another stop to make, and then we'll have lunch." Soon they pulled into a parking lot in what looked very much like a hospital and clinic area. "We're here. Let's go." She got out and waited for Kim to join her, they went down the block a little ways and turned into what ended up being an orthotics shop. "Tell Charlie that Pam is here to see him." she said to the receptionist. A call was made and a few moments later a middle aged man appeared through the inner doorway. "Please come back to my office." and he led the way past a couple of closed doors and turned into the next one. "Charlie, I want you to meet Kim. She is at all times to be considered my daughter." "Pleased to meet you Kim and I presume you go by the last name of Martin." "Yes sir." "Charlie, I would like you to check Kim's braces and see if they fit her properly or if she should have a new set." "Come this way, please.' He led them through a different door into an examination room. "Please get up on the table and lie down." He pulled her skirt up a little and tucked it into her crotch for modesty but yet showing the full length of the braces. He looked them over, pressing here, slipping a finger or two under a strap here and there and squeezing the side bars together just above the ankles. "Please stand up." She did as requested and he went down on his knees to check them again, having Kim first stand on one leg while he unlocked and flexed the unweighted one and then reversing the process. He finally stood and looked at Pam.

"Would you come to my office please?" "We can talk here. I want Kim to know everything." "These are some of the braces you rent out, aren't they?" "They are. So what do you suggest?" "How handicapped do you want her?" "Kim, was that little girl's braces connected together or separate like these?" "They were separate just like these." "There you have it Charlie." "Well then, I would recommend two full length braces with a four inch, two strap upper thigh cuff, a two inch one strap cuff above the knee and a two inch one strap calf cuff. Do you want the shoes changeable?" "Yes." "Ankle pivots?" "Kim, could she move her ankles?" "Yes." Pam thought for a few minutes. "What difference would it make if her ankles were fixed in place?" "She wouldn't be able to use her feet to help launch herself for the next swing through. It would all have to be done with her arms." "It would handicap her more?" "Yes." Pam thought some more. "Make the ankles like these, but able to be locked." "OK, same ankles, but lockable and non adjustable bars." "Right, and while we have some lunch, make these shoes fit these braces and the new braces fit the shoes. How long for the new braces?" "Week after I get molds of her legs." "Molds, this afternoon when we get back." "I'll be ready."

They went to a local cafe for lunch and were back in less than an hour and the casts were made to make the molds. Kim was in heaven with what was happening. She was put into a wheelchair after about an hour, so the plaster could finish setting, and she rolled around where she could, looking at the various items being made. While the casts were being put on Kim, Pam called Marion and told her what she had done and was doing to Kim. "You stole my new daughter?" "I guess I did at that." and they both laughed. "I guess I'll have to settle for being called AUNT MARION. Actually that's not too bad sounding. How long will you be keeping her this way?" "That's is probably up to her, Why?" "I was just wondering if we should put a ramp and porch at her side door to make getting in easier for her." "A moveable ramp to the porch that's there should be enough, if you raise the deck to the level of the inside floor it would make it easier for her, if she wanted to use a wheelchair." "We can talk to Bob about it later. Both of you come here for dinner. I want to see how she looks." "I'll call you when they say she can leave. See you later." Finally the casts came off and the girls left, with Kim back in her braces and Pam carrying the shoe bag. They had put the Mary Jane's on the braces and the oxfords were in the bag.

Arriving home, Kim automatically went to her private entrance. She checked the railing and found it solid enough to take half her weight. With both crutches under one arm she swung herself up to the door, unlocked it and swung in to her study with Pam following. "Your time with the broken ankle is showing, my dear." "I'm beginning to think that all the pain I went through was worth it with the way it's helping me now. I wouldn't be able to get around like this if it weren't for that." "You're probably right there." "Let me change before we go in." She changed out of the straight gray skirt and white blouse into a black "T" shirt with an embroidered flower in dark gray on it and a black pleated skirt that came just below the knees. She went back to her study to show Pam. "Honey, that is absolutely perfect. You don't look a day over fifteen. Do you have any pink nail polish?" "Let me look. - - - Would this be light enough?" "A little dark but OK. Do a quick job so we can go in. I'm sure Marion knows we're here." In less than ten minutes the job was done and they went in.

Marion and Bob were both quick to compliment Kim on her appearance, and then, "Sure was nice of that roomer to move out so our handicapped niece could have those rooms, wasn't it Bob." "It sure was. Now we can have her near us and she'll be close to her work." The four had a quiet dinner and evening. Pam left about ten, saying she would pick Kim up at ten to eight Monday morning and for her to be wearing the business suit with braces, and looking like a teen. Shortly after, all went to bed. Kim did all that was needed before taking the braces off as she sat on the bed. The covers were turned back and without thinking about it she pulled her legs into bed with her hands and pulled the covers up. She lay there thinking for a long time. *No-one knows me here, the neighbors haven't seen me, that I know of, so I could live this life if I wanted. Interesting thought. I'm sure Pam would let me use a chair now and then. That would be easier at work. I could leave the braces on while I worked.* She finally fell asleep dreaming about her last thoughts.

PART THREE

She woke Sunday morning, and seeing the braces next to her bed, put them on and got ready to face the day. She put on a knee length floral print dress and crutched to the kitchen to get herself some cold cereal. Marion was already there with a fresh pot of coffee. "Coffee, my dear?" "Yes please, Aunt Marion." Kim sat down and started on her coffee. They talked for a good half hour when Marion asked what she would like for breakfast. They ate together and during the meal Kim asked where Bob might be at. "He had to get one of the studio's ready for a live show this afternoon, so he left several hours ago. He said he would try to make it home for lunch." The day went by rather rapidly and Bob wasn't able to make it for lunch.

About mid afternoon Kim asked, "Do you know how long Pam wants me to pretend to be a teen?" "I have no idea, my dear. Remember, she and Bob know a lot of people in show business, and Pam has all that Hospital equipment that she rents out to them. She or Bob may know of something that might possibly be coming up and are grooming you for a walk-on or possibly a short part as a teen for an actress that plays the adult handicapped part. You never know in this business, but whatever Pam asks you to try, it will be to your benefit to do so." "If it's braces, crutches or wheelchairs, I'll do anything she asks." "Did she tell you that she also has a doctor and cast technician on call, besides the man that makes the braces, if she needs them?" "She mentioned them in passing when she was telling me about all the equipment she had to rent out."

"Doesn't that tell you something?" "She can also supply people that are willing to do something that most of the medical professionals will not do, and that is to cast a healthy person." "Do you know what an understudy is in show business?" "That's an actress or actor that is ready to take a part if the main one gets sick or hurt." "That's Broadway. Around here, they are the stunt men and women that do the dangerous or nasty sections of the actors parts. Have you taken notice of how much violence and gang wars are on TV and in the movies in the last years?" "Sure is plenty." "How may hospital scenes have you seen where the actor or actress is cast or bandaged?" "More than I can count." "How about teens in the same situation?" "Not all that many." "Honey, Most of the teen show people are primadonna's and won't do anything more than wear some black and blue make up and lay in bed for the shot. You and I both know that if a car leaves the road at seventy or eighty miles an hour and rolls three times, there, sure as you're alive, are going to be broken bones, and they require casts, traction and/or braces." "I Think I see what you're getting at." "Honey, it's a gold mine out there waiting to be discovered. It's a supply and demand industry and right now the demand is high and the supply is low. You could get some fantastic fees." "I need to think on it. Would you like to go for a walk in the park with me? It's a nice day out and I need to practice." "Let's go."

They were gone almost two hours all told, having taken a couple of rest breaks to rest Kim's arms. Nothing more was said about the conversation at the house, but it was in the back of Kim's mind the whole time. They had just general light conversation during the walk. All too soon, Marion looked at her watch and said it was time to get home and start some supper. Bob made it home just before supper was ready. It was a great meal with light conversation, and when they were done, Kim went to the computer and started looking up cast related sights. She couldn't believe how many there were and started reading the stories. By bed time at ten she hadn't even started to scratch the surface of the list of them.

Again, she did everything needed before sitting down on the bed and removing the braces. She pulled her legs up and got under the covers. Thinking over the different stories she had read, the people slid themselves across the floor to the bath room and back to toilet and bathe. She had put a pair of jeans and socks by the bed to stay clean after her bath while doing this. A chair would be much easier. Must talk to Pam in the morning and she fell asleep.

She was up at six thirty, bathed, dressed and had breakfast by a quarter to eight. At ten to eight she saw Pam pull up out front and immediately went out before Pam could even open her door. Kim got in and they were off to the office. Kim went straight to her desk and pulled out a pad, pencil and ruller. Pam went to her office to check on any messages. While she was gone, Kim sketched out what she thought, from memory, the type of page layout that would give the information Pam wanted as far as keeping track of where each item was at the time the page was looked at. She then sketched out the master inventory page that would describe and identify each item Pam owned and its identifier. She then sketched out the two part tag she had described. This took most of the morning. Pam aproved them with not even one negative comment, and told her to get them into the computer as soon as she could. Pam said again that she was tired of these twelve hour days just to keep up.

Kim got to work and by four o'clock had all three items in the computer. She went to Pam and asked for a page from the note book to get a sample listing to try on the Master Inventory List to see how the spacing would work out and so she could adjust it accordingly. Column one was name / description, column two was location / identifier, column three, Value, column four, Rental / Day. She then went to the HOME / OUT page The columns there in sequence were: Identifier, Here, Out, If Out Who Has, and Expect Return.

She had the shipping tag laid out with it's couple dozen boxes, But wasn't truly happy with it. The original idea sounded good, but she wasn't sure if the computer printer could handle the thickness of the pages needed. This would need some checking into. She printed out a copy of each and went to Pam. Neither had realized that it was coming up on seven o'clock, they each were so engrossed in their individual projects. "My God Kim, it's almost seven. I should have had you home a couple of hours ago." "Don't go getting upset Mother. This is a joint project to start getting you out of here at five. Before you look at those, I have a request." "What is it?" "Can I have a light weight wheelchair for home and a wheelchair for here?" "Sure you can Sweetheart. Go out back and pick out which ever ones you want." "While I'm doing that, I would like you to look these over and tell me what changes you would like when I get back. It's a lot easier to do now before we get a bunch of data in there." "OK, see you when you get back."

While Kim was out back looking for her chairs, Pam put in a fast call to Marion. "Hi Marion, I only have a few minutes before Kim gets back. I'm sorry she missed supper, but we were both so involved we missed the passing of time. I'll take her out to eat. The reason I called, is to tell you that we are going to need that wheelchair ramp as soon as Bob can put it in. She's out back right now picking out one for home and one for here. She asked for a light weight one for home, so I figure she'll be using it to go out also." "I asked her if you had mentioned the doctor and plaster tech and she said yes. I then told her about the possibility of scenes with her in different casts, but she said she'd think about it. Wheelchairs, braces and crutches are go." "That's a good start. I gotta go. Bye" Pam looked at what Kim had brought to her and was amazed at what she held in her hands. This kid is incredible. I wouldn't have expected this so soon from a more experienced person. Kim was back a couple of minutes later in a medium weight chair with a tray attached. "This one would be perfect for here. I can carry things on the tray and get around faster than on crutches." "OK by me. What about your other one?" "It's waiting out back. Be back in a minute."

True to her word, it was just over a minute when she almost flew into the office in an ultra light weight chair that had crutch holders on it. The crutches looked like sail boat masts on it. "We'll, what do you think of the day's work?" "I'm surprised you got them done so quickly. Looks like they cover everything we talked about." "No changes needed? Now is the time to speak up." "No changes Honey, so let's go eat and get home." "I have a problem with the tag, but we can discuss that over dinner." Kim shut down the computer while Pam checked that the building was secure and pre set the alarm system. When Kim was done, they left, with Pam setting the trigger on the alarm with her key. Kim rolled so easily to the car that Pam had to almost run to keep up. When the door was opened, Kim slid effortlessly to the front seat, put her crutches on the back seat and folded the chair, slideing it in so effortlessly to the space between her seat and the back seat that you would have thought that she had been doing it all her life.

Pam decided that as late as it was that they would eat at one of the better hotels dining rooms. They went downtown and was able to park a half block from the entrance. Kim started to reach for her crutches when Pam asked her to use the chair. Kim got the chair out just as easily as it went in and transferred to it. "Don't you dare take off and make me try to run after you like you did at the office." "Yes Mother, I'm sorry." Pam set the pace and Kim, very dutifully rolled right beside her. "You look beautiful in the chair Sweetheart." "Thank you Mother." They had a good dinner and Kim explained what her problem was with the tag. "No problem. We'll get a second printer if need be." "I can set the computer to automatically select that printer when you select the order tag. Don't have to worry about forgetting that way." They finished up and went home. Pam carried the chair up to Kim's study as Kim crutched up. As soon as they were inside, Kim got into the chair and put her crutches by the back door. They then went and showed Bob and Marion the new chair. After a quick conversation, Pam left saying she would pick Kim up same time in the morning. The next morning Kim was outside waiting when Pam drove up. By the end of the week Kim had everything listed in the computer. Pam had cleared the problems with the tag and the computer company had installed the second printer on Kim's computer. Things were going along real well. Next week, we start to rearrange the warehouse. A space had been cleared and the shelving would be delivered on Monday.

When Kim got out of the car Friday after work, she saw the new ramp up to her back door. Bob had some of his people come over that day and they raised the deck to match the level of the inside floor, removed the threshold and installed the ramp with the hand rails so she couldn't go off the edge of it by accident. "I'll see you tomorrow morning at ten. Bring both crutches and wheelchair. We'll have a lot of ground to cover."

Kim didn't know that Pam had gotten a call saying Kim's new braces were ready. Friday evening Kim had tried out the ramp and found that there was plenty of room to turn her chair at the top to go through her door and the angle was shallow enough, that she didn't have any trouble going up it. Pam was right on time and Kim was waiting in anticipation at the top of her ramp when she drove up. She rolled effortlessly to the car stowed her crutches and the chair and they were off. First stop, brace shop. The new braces were beautifully made. All metal parts were chrome plated steel and the leather work was done in black and polished like patent leather with chrome buckles. They were heavier than what she had been wearing, but not really that much. The biggest difference was their length. There was no way they could have been any longer, but the extra length held her legs that much firmer. She also noticed they held the tendons at the top of her legs close to the bone so she didn't have as much strength to lift her legs when she was sitting. The other big difference was the orthopedic hi-top boots with rocker soles and the ankles were locked.

"I'm sorry about the locked ankles and the hi-top boots, but will you do that for me? For some strange reason I need to see you really handicapped." "That's OK. It makes it more interesting for me to be this way." They left and went on a sightseeing trip around the city and surrounding area. Several times she used the wheelchair when they were going to have to cover some long distances from the car. The previously worn braces in the trunk of the car. Late in the afternoon Pam asked, "Would you like to spend the night at my place?" "I'll would love to. I've never even seen it." "Let's stop for a snack and I call and tell Marion." They did get a snack and Pam did make the call. They went sight seeing until about an hour before sunset and, using the wheelchair, went into a restaurant in the Long Beach Marina that faced west, and looked out over the main chanel into the marina. Kim had never seen so many boats in one place in all her life.

They finished their dinner with the light of a golden sunset and set out for Pam's place up in the hills north of L. A. Kim couldn't see too much in the dark when they drove up, but it looked to be a rather large one story structure, with an attached garage large enough for three cars. Pam parked at the front door and they got out. Kim started crutching to the front door and Pam got the chair from the car. They entered and Kim was told to grab a seat while Pam went to change out of her office clothes. Kim was looking around while Pam was changing. The house must be large from what she could see from the sofa and it was as clean as a show place. *How does she do it with the hours she puts in at the office?* Kim got up and went to her chair and sat, putting the crutches in the holder on it. The lighting was low and when she wheeled up to the side picture window she realized she was looking at the city below the hill.

She was so engrossed in the view, she failed to hear Pam come back into the room. "Quite a view at night, isn't it Kim?" Without turning around, Kim answered, "It sure is impressive. I've never seen a city from this angle before. Everything back home is on the same level." "If you want a better view, we can go out the door on your left onto the deck outside. It's warm out tonight.." Kim glanced over and seeing the door, started for it. She unlocked, opened it and went out. Pam followed her. Kim didn't hear any foot steps following her, but assumed that Pam had put on slippers to relax. A few moments after she stopped at the railing she felt Pam's hand on her shoulder and assumed Pam was standing behind her. They talked about the view for quite a while before Pam removed her hand. "Turn around Kim."

Kim did turn her chair around and when her eyes adjusted to facing the light from the house she gasped. "MOTHER, Your Leg?" "Shall we go inside now?" and they went. In the light of the living room Kim could see that both of Pam's thighs were at the same level, but there was no left leg or foot. Kim couldn't understand this. "Did Marion tell you why I have all the hospital stuff at the office?" "Not really why, but she did tell me what you do with it. She did talk about some other possibilities though." "Well, I'll say this much for right now. You are going to be groomed to take over from Marion and myself as a bit player in movies and on TV for the *just after the violence* scenes. This chair is just one of the things I have used in those instances. We have done it for years, but now they are wanting teens, due to the trend toward younger violence, and they usually refuse to wear what the script calls for. They already have used my equipment and now I would like to supply the people also, but you will always be special to me, no matter what you decide. Marion and I still do a few for accident plots now and then. The big question is, Do You Want That Type of Job? I can get you some great fee's and you are almost completely trained to those braces and crutches." "I'd love to try it." "You're on."

PART FOUR

Pam went and brought out a bottle wine and mixer and they had wine flips as they talked of the many possible scenes Kim might have to do. They talked until way past midnight before Pam said they ought to get some sleep. She showed Kim to her room. It was LARGE and lavishly furnished. Kim noticed that all the doors in the house were plenty wide enough for wheelchairs. What bothered her was the large area to one side of the room that had nothing in it. She wheeled to the closet and looked in. There were a couple of outfits and a dress in there. She took down the dress and saw it was her size and put it back thinking, *I'll wear that in the morning*. She proceeded to get ready for bed and found a night gown in the dresser and got into it.

She had no more than gotten her braces off and gotten under the covers, than Pam called for her to come to her room and to use the chair. "Remember, Your legs are paralyzed." She slid into her chair and put her feet on the foot rests and went as directed. Pam met her at the door and told her to close her eyes and keep them that way. She pulled a lycra sleeve over her head and down onto her neck. "That's not choking you is it?" "No. in fact I Don't feel any pressure at all." "That's good. Now keep the eyes closed, I'm going to put you on your bed." and so saying picked Kim up and lay her on one of the softest mattresses she had ever felt, but her back stayed straight. She wondered what type of bed this was. She could feel Pam putting straps at her shoulders, wrists, knees and ankles. She then felt a wide strap come over her middle. This is some strange bed. As she thought that, she felt a light pressure on her throat. "Keep your eyes closed and relax your chest muscles so you're not even breathing." Pam checked and turned the lung on.

Before Kim could react, Pam said, "Relax Honey. You're in an Iron Lung and there's nothing you can do to get out. It's part of your training. Just relax and let it breathe for you. You can talk, but you'll find that you have to time it with the machine. Now if somebody asks you about your polio, you will be able to tell them that you got sick and passed out. When you woke up you were shocked to find yourself in an Iron Lung, and now you know that shock and can describe it." They talked for an hour before Kim started to fall asleep with the lung doing the work. Pam wasn't long after her.

Sunday morning Kim woke with a start to the smell of breakfast and at first wondered where she was. Finally the memory of last night came back to her and she settled down. She thought about calling out but decided to be quiet and see what happened. It wasn't but a few minutes before Pam came into the room. "Looks like you had a good nights sleep. Feel rested?" "Actually, yes. - - - - I need the toilet bad - - - Please." With that Pam shut the lung off and opened it. It was the largest child size available and opened like a suit case. "Remember, you are totally paralyzed, so totally relax every muscle in your body including your neck." Pam picked her up and carried her to the toilet and set her upon it. She had gotten the night gown above her arm as she picked Kim up, so there was no problem when she set her down. When she was done, Pam wiped her and picked her up again and carried her back to the bed room. Kim expected to be put into her own chair but suddenly realized this one was different.

It was as if the whole chair had been tilted back, like going up a steep hill, only this chair had a head rest too. Once she was situated, Pam strapped her arms to the form fitted arm rests, fastened a belt around her waist, a strap over each ankle to hold her feet on the foot rests and her lower leg against the softly padded leg rests, and lastly a band around her forehead. She was then covered with a blanket. She suddenly realized that she was as helpless as a real quadriplegic. Strapped down as she was, she actually was one. Once she was covered with the blanket, Pam started for the kitchen. "We have about fifteen minutes to get you fed and back into the lung. Don't talk. If you were actually paralyzed, the doctor would tell you to conserve your breath and not talk until you were back in the lung. We'll play it that way." They had a good breakfast and Kim was back in the lung within the allotted time with Pam having put an adult size diaper on her.

Kim had slept so late that it was well past ten before she was back in the lung. They talked the rest of the morning away and around twelve thirty Pam said, "It's gotten up to seventy degrees outside. Would you like to go out on the deck and get some fresh air?" "Yes I would please, - - - but how are you going - - - to be able to get me - - - - out there?" "Just a second and you'll see." Pam stretched a long electric cord to the porch door and back. She then unplugged the lung from the wall and plugged it into the end of the long cord. With that done she took hold of the handles on the end and pulled the lung on its rollers out the porch door. "See, no problem at all." They both enjoyed the time out doors and around two in the afternoon Pam went in and brought back a couple of diet drinks for lunch. Pam opened both drinks and put a long straw into Kim's and a standard one in hers. The lung was then shut off. She held Kim's drink in one hand and her's in the other. "You have five minutes to finish and I have to turn the lung back on." "Yes, Mother." "I love the sound of that, but no talking when the lung is off, remember?" Kim finished and the lung was turned back on.

Shortly after their quick lunch, Pam went back into the house after positioning Kim so she could see the door in the mirror over her head. Pam soon appeared in the doorway in her wheelchair and again there was only one leg showing. "I thought you might like to see how I looked in day light. Looks pretty real, doesn't it?" "It sure does. - - - How long can - - - you stay like - - - that? - - - I get cramps in - - - my legs if I sit - - - on them - - - for very long." "The way the seat is made, I'm not actually sitting on my leg. I just can't straighten it out because of the way the cushion is made." They spent a few more hours out there talking and Kim was getting well accustomed to timing her words with the machine. Looking at her watch, Pam said, "I guess I had better get some dinner started. Will You be OK out here by yourself Honey?" "No problem. - - - Are you able to - - - turn me so I - - - can look over - - - the city?" "That's easy." and she moved to the foot end of the lung and pulled it around, propelling herself with backwards with the one foot she had available. Is that where you want to be?" "That's great."

Pam went into the house for a while, coming out now and then to check on Kim. Finally she came out and pulled Kim and the lung back into the house using the same method she had used to turn her to face the city. She was positioned by the corner of the dining room table. There were two meals setting there. The lung was turned off and opened. Pam did something and the upper half of the mattress started to raise to about reclining position when it stopped. Kim remained fully strapped down and Pam fed her a delicious light meal. There was no talking and in about fifteen minutes they were finished, the mattress reclined and the lung closed and restarted.

They spent a quiet evening watching TV and talking. Kim hadn't once asked how long she would be in the lung. This amazed Pam. When the program ended at ten, Pam excused herself and went to her room. She returned on two feet and took Kim to the bed room. The lung was shut off and she carried Kim to the toilet as she had that morning. Kim remained totally relaxed to the point that her legs were swinging freely as Pam moved. While she was on the toilet, Pam replaced her night gown and then returned her to the lung, fastening her legs, and while holding her upright, had her drink a glass of juice. She then lay her down and did up the rest of the straps, closed and started the lung. "What was in the - - - juice mother?" "Just something to help you get to sleep. We need to be up early and get to work." "OK." Kim saw Pam also drink a glass of juice and they were both out for the count shortly after.

Kim was just about awake when Pam's alarm went off. "Time to get up sleepy head." and she turned the lung off and opened it Kim was unstrapped and Pam picked her up and transferred her to her own wheelchair. Paralysis is gone except for your legs. Go to your room and have a bath and wear the denim skirt with a blouse today. We will be working in the storage area getting things on the shelves. They were both ready on time and went to the office. The week was busy every day with filling orders and arranging the storage area. After the two men in back went home at five, Kim and Pam would go and write down all the new locations and Kim would enter them in the computer. They tried to get out by eight, but usually it was much later. Thursday evening, just before they went home, the orthopedic boots were removed from the braces and replaced with the two inch heel Mary Jane's. Even Friday it was seven before they felt they could leave. After they had dinner out, Pam took Kim back to the Thomas' house. As Kim got out of the car Pam said, "I'll pick you up at ten to eight Monday. I need to go check on some things over the weekend." "Fine. I have a question though. If I was to go shopping with my card, How would I prove that I'm me?" "No problem. I meant to give this to you last Monday, in case you needed it. Should cover you any time you need identification." Kim took the offered envelope and put it in her purse, said good night and crutched to her door as Pam drove away.

Kim went to her bed room and got out of her business suit and put on a light weight cotton dress and sat down in her wheelchair. She pulled the envelope from her purse and opened it. Inside she found a student ID card from some high school as a freshman and a copy of a birth certificate that would show her as fifteen years old. Both were in the name of KIMBERLY MARTIN. How in the world had Pam arranged this? This is something that Pam is going to have to explain to me. I wonder if I should ask Marion. No, that might cause problems. Guess I'll have to wait until Monday. She went out and visited with the Thomas's for a while after checking that they indeed did not have company, and then went to bed, parking her chair next to the bed.

Saturday she got up and got ready and went out to fix herself some breakfast. While she was having her coffee, Marion came into the kitchen and was surprised to see her in the chair without her braces. They talked for a while and Kim asked her what buses to take to the mall where her charge card would work. She wanted to get a couple more outfits for the office. Marion made a list of different buses for the trip to and from the mall. "Any one of these will get you there and any one of these will bring you back here to the corner." She thanked Marion and finished her coffee. Returning to her room, she put her braces on, found a purse and transferred her things to it. She put her other identification in the bureau draw and pulled the student ID from the envelope and was putting it in her wallet when something caught her eye. * DISABLED- Faculty Elevator Authorized. * Looks like I'll be wearing braces for a long time. She finished putting it in her wallet, and getting her crutches, stopped to say good bye to Marion and left to go shopping.

She had herself an enjoyable time. She found the same sales girl that had helped her and Pam two weeks earlier and the struck up quite a conversation. The girl wasn't the least but bothered by the fact that she was in braces. She could have been wearing glasses for all the difference it made. She bought two skirt suits and complementing blouses for office work and a nice dress to wear for going out to dinners that were not quite as fancy as would require her to wear the blue dress that Pam had gotten for her. Also, this one was more in keeping with the fifteen year old image. It was just past twelve, so Kim asked where the food court was located and Carol ( that's what her name tag said ) asked, " If you can wait a minute while I check out, I'll show you." " I'm in no rush. I'll wait right here. "

Carol returned and they were off to the food court. They had a very enjoyable lunch together and exchanged phone numbers. Kim explained that she was going to high school in the mid-west while living with her grand parents and right now she was staying between her mothers and her aunt's places, since her aunt was closer to where she worked and spent weekends at her mothers. Carol bought this with no problems. They said their Good Bye's and parted. Kim wandered the mall for another couple of hours and then decided to have a cup of coffee and head home. This she did and returned home with no problems. She put her things away and went to help Marion get dinner ready for when Bob came home. They had a fine time talking the rest of the afternoon away.

Bob came home and they had dinner and were just sitting around watching the TV. About eight thirty Kim's phone rang and it turned out to be Carol. "Doing anything special tomorrow?" "Not that I know of, but I should check with my Aunt and see if she has anything in mind that I haven't been told." "Go do that, I'll hang on." Kim returned in a couple of minutes. "Nothing going on. You have something in mind?" "I would like to get together and talk. I like you and want to get to know you better, if you don't mind?" "I would like that. I don't know anybody around my age around here." "Great. Why don't we meet at the food court in the mall and spend the afternoon together?" "I would love to. How about straight up noon?" "Perfect, See you then. Bye." "Bye."

When she had finished, she went out and told Marion and Bob about their plans to meet and both were very happy for her. She met Carol the next day as planned and they had an enjoyable lunch together. She could sense that something was bothering Carol, but could not put a finger on it. Her biggest worries were that Carol had figured out that she was not fifteen or that she was not really handicapped. During their conversation, it turned out that Carol had just turned nineteen and was working to save up enough money to start college next fall. Carol seemed more nervous as time went on. Finally, "Kim, can we go to the park area to talk? It's a little more private out there." "Sure, no problem. It is a bit noisy in here with all the conversations and the dishes clattering." They got up and Carol disposed of the dishes and things. A few minutes later they were in the indoor park area of the mall. The only other people there were a couple of store employee's having a break at one of the tables. They took a table at the other end from them and now Kim was really getting worried.

"I can't help but admire you Kim. The way it doesn't bother you when people stare amazes me." "It's no different than wearing a pair of bold looking glasses like the ones that girl was wearing in the store yesterday. I stared at her. I couldn't help it." "I guess I did too, come to think of it. Those real thick lenses with the circles in them and the way the ends turned up on the rims, like feathers." "That's exactly what I mean. They helped her to see, so it didn't matter to her. My braces help me to walk, so if they bother someone, it's their problem, not mine." "I see what you mean. What's it like to have to wear them?" "At first it was a pain, but after a while I guess you would compare it to someone who wore high heels so much they had to have slippers with high heels because they couldn't walk bare foot without their calves hurting them." "Kind of like putting on shoes to go out because the pavement would hurt your feet." "You got it. Just something you put on because you need to. Like a coat on a winter day."

"This is only the third time we've met, but every time you have seemed so relaxed with your condition and you seem, I don't know, somehow more educated than most fifteen year olds. More mature." "Well, I couldn't do all of the normal teen things or sports, so I kept my nose in the books and tried my best so I would be able to get a decent job when I got out of school." "That's it of course. You got yourself an education instead of running around chasing boys." "I guess that's about right." Carol was quiet for a while looking down at the table and Kim just sat looking at her, not saying anything. "I wish we were the same size Kim." "Why is that Carol?" "I would ask to try on your braces some time to see what it would be like." "YOU WOULD? Why would you want to do that for God sakes?" "They're so beautiful on you. For a comparison, I would say it's like looking at a sparkling diamond necklace and ear ring set on a beautiful woman." "Thank You Carol. That is a compliment if I ever heard one. What size shoe do you wear?" "Seven and a half, Why?" "I wear a five. See the problem?" "I know. That's why I said I wished we were the same size." The afternoon wore on and they finally decided it was time to go home.

PART FIVE

The dinner and evening went by fast and before she knew it, Monday morning had arrived. She was ready and outside when Pam drove up. They went to the office with very little conversation. Typically, Pam started with the answer machine and Kim went to the fax in basket. Kim had a bunch of tickets made out for the boys in back and took them back there using her chair, as she could get some speed up with it. She picked up the green tickets and returned to the office and started entering the returns. Every now and then printer number one would spit out a bill. I guess I'll have some mailing to do today when we close. At the same time, printer number two was spitting out shipping tickets from Pam's input. She reached over and got the bills from number one and put them on her desk. Seeing a stack of shipping tickets in the other printer, she grabbed her clip board, fastened them down and with it in her lap headed out back. She was back in a couple of minutes and started stuffing envelopes in such a way that the customer number was visible. Inputting these numbers gave her the address labels from the label unit. In a few minutes they were attached, the envelopes sealed and stamped and in the mail out box. It was just barely past ten and the printers were quiet.

Kim went and made coffee and after installing the tray on her chair, took a cup to Pam. "How's it going in here Mom?" "Very well, thank you." "The printers went quiet, so I thought you might like a cup before you started in again." "I'm caught up. Those forms you thought up look like they're going to be a dream come true." "From what I've seen so far I feel pretty proud of myself. What would you like me to do after we finish coffee?" "I think you should get the shipping tickets out back and then start on getting the bills made up for the non accounts and get them ready to mail." "The bills are done and in the out box. The first run of tickets is ready for pick-up and they're pulling the second run as we speak." "Just what do you mean by first run and second run?" "I've made two trips out back and I picked up the green tickets from the late Friday and this mornings early returns and they've been checked back in." "Are you telling me that as of this minute there is nothing left to do?" "That could very well be. My only thought is what ever might still be out that doesn't have location codes on them. We'll have to pick those up as they return and assign codes to them."

They finished their coffee and relaxed a little while when Kim asked for the list of things that were out on loan when they started to number the items. Pam gave it to her and she went to her desk and brought up the alphabetic listing of equipment, checking which had not been assigned code numbers. She found a number of them. She printed out the sheets and hi-lited the ones without codes. She went to Pam with this and suggested they go to the ware house and find locations for these items and hand write them in. She would check the sheet each day and add the numbers to the computer if the item would fit the location assigned. If not, the boys in back could change the numbers to where the item would fit, and that would be the assigned number. Pam approved the idea and they went to the storage area. They were done by noon.

"I'm buying lunch today so let's get out of here." "OK." and they walked to the restaurant down the street. It was just before noon, so they had their pick of seating. They picked a table in a back corner. After ordering, Kim looked at Pam, "Mother, I have a problem or two." "What is it Honey?" "Do you remember the girl that sold us the suits and blue dress at the mall?" "Yes, Why?" "I've seen her twice since. She sold me this suit and some other things and we met again yesterday." "That's wonderful. So what's the problem?" "We had lunch together yesterday and then went to that park setting in the mall and talked. I could feel something was bothering her, but I couldn't figure it out. I thought maybe she figured out that I wasn't really handicapped, but it turned out I was dead wrong. It was just the opposite."

"What happened?" "She had her face down to the table and said she wished we were the same size so she could try on my braces and see how they felt and what it was like to walk in them." "Oh my. What did you do?" "I asked her shoe size and when she said seven and a half, I said mine were a size five so we couldn't possibly do it. At least it sounded like I would have been willing if they had fit." "You did well, but I sense this is leading somewhere." "Those first braces you put on me were adjustable I believe." "They are." "Could we possibly invite her for a weekend at your house, and surprise her with them and a pair of crutches on Friday evening and have her wear them for the entire weekend?" "You can, but she may not want to wear them for the entire weekend after she tries to get around in them."

"I'm sure she will, just from the way she acted. She still thinks I'm only fifteen, so let's leave it that way. I'll tell her I asked my mom if it was OK. Which I have done." "That you have. Would you like me to invite her?" "It might be wise to have you close by in case she wanted to confirm it with you. How many fifteen year olds have invited someone and 'then' told their parents they had company coming for the weekend?" "I see what you mean. Call when we get to the office." "I don't know her hours, but we can try." They finished up and went back to the office and Kim made the call.

To their surprise, Carol answered. "Carol, It's Kim.." "Wonderful to hear from you so soon." "I was wondering if you have this weekend off." "I do and have nothing planned. Want to get together and go shopping?" "I was thinking something a little different. How would you like to spend the weekend with me up in the hills north of town at my mothers place? I have asked her and she said it would be nice for me to have the company." "Are you sure it's OK with her?" "She's right here, hang on." "Yes Carol?" "Kim has invited me to spend the weekend with you. Just wanted to be sure it was approved." "Oh yes my dear. It has my full approval. Where and when can we pick you up Friday evening?" "I can meet you at the front entrance to the mall at a little after five thirty. I'll have my clothes with me." "OK. Here's Kim." "Bring some light clothes. Skirts or dresses would be best for what I have planned. Nothing dressy." "What are we going to be doing?" "Mostly sitting around and going for walks. There's not much breeze up there among the trees." "OK, see you Friday if not before. Bye."

When the call was completed Kim remembered the birth certificate and student ID. "Mother, we need to talk." "About what?" "The ID that you gave me on Friday. How did you get them and made out in my name yet?" Pam started to get tears in her eyes and Kim felt she had hit a bad nerve. Kim said no more and the tears went to full blown crying. Sensing that something was terribly wrong, she went and got a cup of coffee and using one crutch, brought it to Pam. She went back and got one for herself and sat down to wait. It was a good ten minutes before Pam settled down and reached for the coffee. Looking at Kim she said, "The student ID is a fake. The birth certificate is real. The parents are real. That was my baby's birth certificate. She died of pneumonia when she was nine years old. We were on the east coast when she died. I asked for a replacement certificate two weeks ago and they issued that one, so they have never been notified of her death. If anyone wanted to check, they would find it genuine." "I'm so sorry I asked, but I had to know if I could get in trouble." "That's all right Honey. I should have told you so you wouldn't have had to worry."

Kim thought a while. "What happened to my father, should anyone ask why he's not around?" "He was a merchant seaman and was killed at sea when they were fighting a load of shifting cargo. Charlie's buried in the cemetery you see going up to the house. That happened when Kimberly was five. She never really got to know him with his being at sea so much." "I'm so sorry for you. Lose your husband and then your daughter." Kim got up and went and put her arm around her and gave her a loving hug. "Now do you see why I said you will always be special to me?" "I think I do."

They talked for a little while more and Pam got up and went out to her car and returned with the first braces Kim had worn. She sat back down to the computer and brought up a couple of screens, handed Kim some code numbers and said to get the items. "I love the way you have this set up." Kim went to the back and returned with a pair of size seven and one half lace up oxfords with two inch heels. They had the channels for the braces. She also had a pair of full length crutches. "If I remember right, she's about an inch or so shorter than I am." "I think you're right." Pam put the shoes on the braces and adjusted them to fit her and then adjusted the crutches. When she was done she took a couple of turns around the office and sat down to her desk to get back to work with the braces still on. Kim left and went to her desk. A few items had come in while they were out to lunch and they were taken care of quickly. "Kim, mark the shoes, braces and crutches as checked out to the office, no charge." called Pam. "Will do." A shipping card printed out and Kim put it in her desk.

The boys out back had their hours changed so they could go home at four thirty instead of five. They were happy and left at that time. Kim had done the final return cards and was also ready. Pam came out of her office and said she was going out back to get some practice on the crutches. It was about five before five when Kim went to the storage area to get Pam. She found her on her way back to the office in a light weight chair. "Thought we might have this at the house for Carol this weekend. Check it out to the office like the others and let's get out of here." Kim did and shut the computer down. The back end had been checked so Pam just armed the alarm system as they left. She wheeled up to the car, put the crutches and chair in and got in herself, still wearing the braces.

They started for home. "This has got to be the first time in I don't know how many years that I have gotten out of there at quitting time. All thanks to you." "No thanks needed. It was done out of love for you and love of the challenge." "I still appreciate it." The rest of the week went by very quickly. Pam wore the braces to work and all day Tuesday and Wednesday. She showed up in her own shoes Thursday and Friday. Carol was picked up Friday after work. Kim had her chair in the trunk of the car, so she would have it for the weekend." As Pam pulled away from the front of the mall she said, "Why don't we go up to the house and freshen up and then decide what we would like to do about dinner?" Both girls agreed and they were there twenty minutes later.

Kim went to her room as Pam was showing Carol to the guest room. "This is your room for the weekend. There is a note on the bed for you. I'll see you in a little while." "OK, Mrs. Martin and thank you for having me." Pam then went to her room to freshen up.

Carol went in and put her things down and looked at the bed. There was a note there and she opened it. It read; "Welcome to our home Carol. Kim said she had a special surprise weekend planned for you. If you are still interested, go to the closet and get the package with your name on it and open it. Follow the instructions inside the package to the letter. Your Friend, Pam Martin"

Carol was definitely still interested. She went to the closet and just inside the door was an almost waist high package standing there with her name on it. Putting it on the bed, she sat and looked at it wondering what could be in it. Whatever it was, it had something to do with the surprise weekend. She finally decided she had to open it to end the suspense. When she did get it open, she sat back in surprise and then saw the note. It read;

"The fact that you are reading this note tells me that you are still interested in Kim's surprise weekend. Follow these instructions EXACTLY. Go to the closet and get the crutches that are to the right of the door on the inside and put them near you. If you are wearing slacks you must remove them, if you are wearing a dress or skirt and want to keep that on this evening, just pull it up and put the braces on. Pull all the straps real tight for the best fit. When you are done and dressed, take the crutches and practice in your room until you hear us talking in the front room and come out any time after that. I'll adjust the braces after you come out, if needed. Love, Pam"

It took Carol a little while to get the braces on even though she was wearing a skirt to start with. She took the crutches and went to the bathroom and rinsed her face and redid her make-up. She then started to try doing a swing through, but there wasn't enough room so she practiced her stiff leg walk. She soon heard them talking in the front room and debated whether to go out right away. Her heart had finally stopped pounding in her ears. It had started when she first opened the box and had increased when she had stood up and realized the braces had locked her legs straight so they were almost useless to her. She felt that her blood pressure must have hit the roof to pound in her ears like that. Finally working up enough courage, she walked out to the front room.

"They look beautiful on you Carol." "That they do." added Pam. "Shall we go outside and practice a while before we go to dinner?" "You mean go to dinner like this?" "Sure. Why not? I do it all the time." "Yes, but you need yours to get around." "So who needs to know that you don't?" "What if somebody asks about them?" "You had two broken legs. You took the braces rather than casts again for another eight weeks and probably braces any way for six months more. That should satisfy most anybody." "I guess it would, but I'm still nervous about going out in them so soon." "I can agree with that. Mom, Can we have supper here a little later? I'll fix it. I'd like to take Carol outside and let her get some practice." "Sure Honey. You two go right ahead. I'll have something ready in an hour. Don't be any longer. You don't want to tire her out or get her arms so sore she can't crutch tomorrow." "We'll be back in under an hour." and they left.

Kim taught her to crutch properly and how to measure her stride for doing swing through. By the end of the hour Carol was looking like she had been on crutches for a long time. They had a light supper and went out again for a little while and returned just before dark. Carol admitted to being a bit tired. "There's a wheelchair in your room. Why don't you use it for the rest of the evening? I don't want you walking unaided this weekend." "OK, I'll get it." "And leave the braces on. I love the look of them on you."

Saturday morning Carol practiced a while and then they drove to a town about forty miles away and had lunch, went shopping for the afternoon, and had dinner out. While they were shopping, the girls were crutching side by side with Pam walking beside Kim. Now and then Kim would correct Carol on something, but otherwise they looked like sisters with the same problem.

Sunday they walked around the neighborhood by the house. There were very few homes nearby and very little traffic. They took several walks at Carol's request because it would be her last day in braces. Late Sunday, Carol was asked to remove the braces and see if she could walk on her own. She tried it and she could. "It feels so strange to not have the crutches in my hands or the braces holding my legs stiff.. I guess I was starting to get used to it." "Now you see what I meant. Like wearing glasses. After a while it seems normal to have them." Carol was dropped off at her apartment on the way to work Monday morning.

PART SIX

It was a normal Monday as far as they had been since the computer set up was completed. Kim was handling the fax requests and Pam was handling the phone recorder requests. Kim had made a couple trips out back by ten and had logged all the returns, made out all the bills and had coffee ready for Pam. Both printers had been quiet for some time so she took the last few tickets out back and took coffee for both of them to Pam's office. They sat and talked business for a while and then switched to discussing Carol and the way she reacted when she saw the braces and how she took to them so readily. "Did you notice how she was in them from dawn to dusk without us even mentioning them?" "That I did, Kim. It was almost like she had been wanting that experience for a long time, more than the few weeks that she has known you." "That's what I have been thinking."

They finished their coffee and Kim went out back and retrieved the up-dating sheet. She had a couple of entries to make from it and one of them was a change from what she and Pam had suggested. This was completed in short order. The rest of the day went rather slowly since the set-up she put into the computer had simplified things so much. She was starting to feel that she wasn't earning her pay with the little she was doing. She mentioned this to Pam saying that she was getting bored with so little to do. "Honey, If you hadn't gotten that computer set up so efficiently you would be going crazy out there trying to keep up. Just wait until tax time rolls around. You'll be up to your ears in work." "What do you need for the tax reports?" "Quarterly, we have to report gross sales broken down into taxable and non taxable income for the state and gross income for federal income tax from which we can deduct the lease on the building, wages paid, lights and other expenses for the office and sales tax paid to the state." "That's not too bad if we set things up right."

She went back to her desk and wrote herself a post-em note and put on the inside of her desk drawer. She thought for a short while and went to Pam's office. "Pam, from now on I'm going to pick up all calls. If it's something I can't handle, I'll pass it on to you. Give you a little more free time." "That's sweet Honey." "I'll just tell them you're with a client if I have to put them on hold for a minute." The phone had a speaker inter comm on it so there would be no problems of communications. The afternoon started to go by a bit faster now that she had something to occupy her mind. They left on the dot of five. "I do love you and that computer. For years I have dreamed of days like this. Whole evenings to relax instead of working half the night." "I'm just glad I could help."

That evening Carol called just after nine PM. to thank Kim and Pam for a wonderful weekend. They talked for a little while and Kim gave her Pam's home phone number so she could thank her first hand. Tuesday was quiet and a standard day with Kim handling the calls and paper work. She did notice by the light on her phone that Pam had made a number of out going calls. Wednesday seemed to slack off a bit, so she asked Pam if she could see what type record she kept for the tax reports. Pam handed her a note book. Kim took it and returned to her desk. After looking thru it a while, she started making a sketch on her pad. It seemed to cover everything that was on Pam's pages. She set up a spread sheet program and linked all totals to it so they went into the proper column. She managed to do this between phone calls and entering orders, without saying anything to Pam.

At four thirty she went back and dropped off the pick tickets for the morning and on returning entered the return tickets she had picked up. A couple bills spit out but they'll be taken care of in the morning. She returned the note book to Pam and got ready to go home. Again they were out on time. Thursday went well and late in the day Kim checked on the new tax sheets. They looked to be working well. She made a few minor corrections to the program and closed it before Pam would have a chance to see it. Kim was the only one with the access code to it. Final tickets were delivered, returns entered and they went to go home.

"I called Marion earlier today and you have been excused from dinner. We are going shopping. That please you?" "You know it does, Mom. What are we shopping for?" "Some clothes for you for this weekend.." "Now I AM curious." Not much more was said until they entered the mall. "Try to get Carol to take care of you. They keep track of each girls totals for the month and you might help her to be top girl for this month." "I'll do what I can." Carol spotted them as soon as they came through the front of the store. "Kim, Mrs. Martin, I want to thank you for having me out last weekend. It was a dream come true." "No problem Carol. We both enjoyed having you with us." "Now, What can I do for you ladies?" "Kim needs two pair of jeans. One loose enough to go over her braces and the other as tight as possible to her legs so the braces can be worn over them."

"Right this way. I think I have exactly what you want." They were led to the western wear section of the store. Carol brought out a tape measure and checked Kim's waist and pulled a pair from the rack. "Try these on for size while I locate the other pair." Kim did and came back to say they were a perfect fit. Carol held up another pair. "These are the same size but they're made of lycra stretch denim. They should fit like a pair of panty hose. You need your braces off to try them. Take them home and if they don't fit right, bring them back to me and we'll get a pair that do fit right." "I'm sure they'll be fine. Now for a couple of shirts to go with these." Kim found a couple in her size that she liked and they were added to the pile. "Now a tan hat, Western of course."

"Not my department, but the store wants happy customers and you are my customer. Let's go over there." They looked at the hats and the salesmen in that area did not complain, but they were sure studying Kim for all they were worth. Everything was taken to Carol's register and tallied up. Kim paid with her charge card. As they were about to leave Pam asked Carol, "When do you get off for dinner?" "In twenty minutes or so." "See you in the food court then." "I'll be there." They then went to the shoe department. Tracy was on duty and they went to the seats they had the last time they were here. Tracy came right over. Kim was wearing her western hat rather than damage it by carrying it.

"What can I do for you Ladies?" "Kim needs a pair of boots to go with her new outfits. The problem is that she can't wear regular boots because of the paralysis. She needs some thing that zips down to the arch so she can get her toes into the proper position." I know what you want and I have just the thing. Size five, wasn't it?" "That's right." "Be right back." Kim and Pam looked at each other and Kim started to take her right brace off. She had just pulled it from under her skirt as Tracy returned. Tracy opened the box to show a beautiful pair of boots with all kinds of metal trim. They looked so dainty in the box. Pam was just about to say that Kim couldn't possibly get into them when Tracy removed the right one from the box and zipped the inner face clear to the sole. Pam gasped. "I was just about to complain that Kim couldn't possibly get into them when you did that. I never saw the zipper. Try it on Kim." She did and it was a perfect fit and comfortable. "I'll take them."

"Tracy, do you think you might have a pair that would fit me?" "I'm sure I do. What size?" "Seven and a half, please." "Back in a minute." Kim proceeded to remove the boot and put her brace back on while Tracy was gone. Tracy returned with the boots. Pam put them on and walked around a bit and said she would take them. "Leave them on Mom. They go well with that outfit." "OK, I'll wear them out. We better get a move on if we are going to be able to eat with Carol." The boots were paid for and they headed for the food court. Carol fell in beside Kim as they went out through the entrance area. "Now that's what I call precise timing." Not much more was said until they were in the food court and had their food in front of them.

"So, how did the two of you manage to kill twenty minutes in the store?" "We bought matching boots. Mom's wearing hers." "They are gorgeous. Just perfect with that outfit." "Why, Thank You. That's just what Kim said too." They finished their meal and were having coffee when Pam looked at Carol and said, "You said you enjoyed the past weekend. You didn't do it just to please us?" "Oh no. It was something I have dreamed of since Junior High when we were studying the effects of different illnesses in health class. The teacher showed us pictures of kids in braces, wheelchairs and Iron Lungs. Some how, I have never gotten those images out of my mind. Meeting and getting to know Kim affected me somehow. I have never before said to anyone what I said to you in the park area Kim. I even surprised myself as I said it." "The question is, are you glad you said it, or sorry?"

"In NO way am I sorry I said it. Last weekend was a dream come true that I never expected would ever happen in MY life. Dreams like that only happen to other people." "Would you do it again if you had the chance?" "Definitely." "With some variations maybe?" "What kind of variations?" "That would remain to be seen. Nothing that would harm you in any way." "Could be interesting. Would I know before hand what the variations would be?" "Yes and no. They say surprise is the spice of life, and speaking of surprises, you better get back to work before they surprise you with a pink slip. See you again." "Bye to both of you." and she left on the run.

They left the mall and Pam drove to the park by the water front where she first sensed Kim's want to be in braces. They found the same seat that they had the last time and sat down. "A perfect place to watch a sunset over the bay." They sat quiet for a while, each deep in their own thoughts when Pam asked, "Have you ever ridden a horse Kim?" "Oh yes, many many times. I used to borrow the neighbors horse any time I had a chance. I love them." "Would you like to ride again?" "I don't know if I could in braces." "Don't bother about that. The question is, DO you want to ride again?" "Yes, very much." The conversation went a different way after that until after sunset when they went home. Kim's new clothes were left in the car to go to Pam's place.

Friday was typical of the rest of the week and they went home on time to Pam's place. Pam and Kim worked together and had a light supper and went out on the sun deck to relax over coffee. Pam was reading and didn't notice Kim leave. She had a quick shower and returned in the chair wrapped in a blanket. "Mother, can I sleep in your room tonight?" "You know I have only one bed in there." "I mean the other one." "You mean that- - - -" "Yes that one. Put me in it please and bring me out here to be with you?" "Why sure sweetheart." Pam took hold of the chair and took Kim to her room and got her strapped in and started the lung. It was still hooked up to the long cord, so Pam moved it to the sun deck and positioned it so Kim could watch the sun set over the water. As the last of the sun dropped below the horizon, Kim dropped off to sleep. She looked so serene lying there with the last golden rays of light that were reflected by the clouds shining on her face. Pam thought to herself, * She is beautiful like that. I wonder how long would she let me keep her that way? *

Kim was totally relaxed and sound asleep as Pam very carefully worked the lung back into the bedroom and positioned it. She then got herself ready for bed. Seven thirty came too early for Pam but they needed to get up. Kim was still sound asleep and she hated to wake her. She sat a long time just looking at Kim in the lung. Finally when there just wasn't any time left she had to wake Kim. "OK sleepy head, time to get up." "Is it morning already?" "It is and we have a lot to do today." Kim was lifted into her chair and told to do as necessary, get dressed in something with a skirt and to leave her braces off. This seemed strange to her, but she did as told, coming out in a denim skirt, western shirt and her new boots. When she arrived in the kitchen, Pam complimented her on her appearance. "I do like that look. It's perfect for you. Breakfast will be sometime after nine. Want a coffee." "Yes, please. Why the later breakfast?" "We have company coming." Kim sat back and enjoyed her coffee while Pam was busy. "Anything I can do to help?" "Nothing my dear. Just answer the door when he comes." "A gentleman, no less." "A doctor, smarty."

Right at nine the front door bell rang. Kim answered it. "Dr. Duncan to see Mrs. Martin." "Come right in Doctor. Mom's in the kitchen. Go right on through." The doctor went to the kitchen and Kim could hear them talking. A few minutes later Pam stuck her head around the corner and said, "Kim, the Doctor is going to give you a couple of shots. Do whatever he requests." "Yes Mom." The doctor came into the room and said, "I need access to the inside of both thighs fairly high up. Please get onto the sofa and put your skirt between your legs for modesty while I go to my car and get my bag." Kim did as requested and he gave her a shot in each thigh about midway between the knee and the hip joint. When he was done he went to the kitchen saying as he left, "You can get back into your chair now."

He returned a few minutes later. "What were the shots for?" "Your legs will be paralyzed from that point on down. Since you already wear braces, it won't make much difference." "How long will it last?" "Tomorrow or possibly longer. Depends on how long it takes your body to absorb the solution. Should be pretty well gone by Monday." "Do you have a card with your phone on it? I may want to do this again." He handed her a card just as Pam called that breakfast was ready. She put the card in her shirt pocket and they went to eat. The doctor left shortly after they had finished.

"Kim, put your crutches and braces in the car and get your hat and purse. We're leaving as soon as I finish here. And go to the toilet too. It's a long drive." Kim did as she was told and found that it really was different when you had no feeling in your feet and no power in your knees. She was seated in the car when Pam came out. She had put the doctors card in her purse. Pam was right about it being a long drive, but it still went fast talking about all the new things Kim was seeing. Before she realized it, they were pulling into a picturesque ranch with red buildings and white fences, set in a small valley with trees all around.

They were directed to a paved parking area with paved walkways. They had no more than stopped the engine when the receptionist stepped up to the car. "Mrs. Martin and Kim?" "That's right." "Welcome to Valley Ranch for the Differently Abled. I'm Donna." "Pleased to meet you Donna. This is Kim." "Good morning Miss Donna." "Forget the Miss Kim. It sounds so stuffy. Welcome to the ranch. If you'll come to the office, we'll get you started." Kim got into her chair as they started for the office and easily caught up with them. They went in and the paper work was completed rapidly. Donna did ask if Kim had ridden before and Pam answered, "Lots before but not in the last four years since." "I do wish you had come here sooner, but it will come back to you real fast." She made a quick call and they went outside.

Soon two horses were led up. The larger of the two was tied to the hitch rail while the smaller was led into a depression beside the walkway. The saddle was just about the level of the seat on Kim's chair. The one ranch hand at the horses head, the other stood astride the depression, over the horses rump. As Donna moved Kim up to the horse he reached down and took her right foot and slid it across the seat of the saddle as she got closer. He then took her under the armpits and set her in the saddle. He went to the far side as Donna moved to the near side. They put her feet into the stirrups, fastened wide padded straps around her calves and a very wide strap over each thigh. The straps were lined with sheep skin to make them soft but yet firm. The stirrups had springs holding on to the sole of the boots so her feet couldn't slip out. The reins were handed to Kim and the horse was led out of the depression. Donna had tagged the chair and put it with others while Pam had gotten mounted on the other horse.

Kim's handler was a very good looking about twenty year old blond. ( name tag said Jerry ) For the first time, Kim noticed a bunch of people inside what looked to be a race track with well kept grass on the infield. Some were on the grass with handlers like Kim had and others were by themselves going around the track. They went through a gate into the track area and on to the grass. Pam came up beside them. "I'm going to take a couple of turns around the track while you two do your thing." and she left. Jerry snapped a long line to the bit and started paying it out. "Ride around me in an ever widening circle until I hold up the end of the line. I understand you did a lot of riding before your problems. Do as you wish and I'm only here as a safety. The horse will not pull on this line, any time it gets too slack I'll take it in. You're doing great right now. Keep it up."

Kim stopped the horse and Jerry wondered if she had gotten scared, when she leaned over to the horses ears and started the horse to back up. Jerry listened close and could hear her talking to the animal in a soft voice. She stopped her ( it was a small mare ) and started forward again calling out to Jerry to be ready to give and take. With that said, she started to weave the mare like she was zig zaging through a row of fence posts. When she straightened her out, Jerry called for her to come to him. When she got there, he unsnapped the line and said, "Anybody that can do that the first time on a strange horse doesn't need me. You're on your own young lady." She thanked him and looked for Pam.

She spotted her talking to a couple of men by the side rail and went to her. Pam looked at her and smiled. "You have no idea how many people were commenting and complimenting on your handling of that horse. You were sensational. You made me real proud." "Thank you Mom. She's a real sweetheart to handle." Ready to try the trails?" "What are we waiting around here for? Let's go." They started toward the gate and the older ranch hand went to open it. He had something like a package in his hand and as they passed through he handed it up to Pam. They started up the valley with Kim leading to set the pace. "Take any trail you want Honey. They're all beautiful up in the trees and it is getting hot out here. They were coming up on a side trail that headed for the trees and Kim decided she would take it. They turned and soon were into the trees and the temperature did drop considerably.

They were on the trail for about a half hour when they came to a cleared area and a picnic table and a hitch rail. They pulled up and Pam dismounted. "Feels good to stretch the legs. I'm sorry I can't get you down Honey, but we can have some lunch. Pam opened the package on the table and called for Kim's reins. Kim was handed a sandwich and Pam picked one up for herself. "Let me know when you want a drink." Kim finished the sandwich and called for the cold drink, and it was cold. It had been packed in an insulated sleeve. Pam packed the remains of the lunch in her saddle bag and remounted. They each had the drink in one hand and guided the horse with the other. Pam came up beside Kim so they could talk easier and they spent another couple hours wandering among the trees before they headed back.

It was a sad parting when Kim was lifted from her horse. She asked the animals name and said that if she ever got back, that was the horse she wanted. She put her braces on when she got to the car and went back to the rail to watch some of the other kids and how they were doing. It was fascinating seeing the grins on the faces of those kids. Some had never been on a horse before. She now felt a kinship with them, since right now she felt like she started at her hips and anything lower was artificial. With tears in her eyes, she returned to the car and they started home..

PART SEVEN

Kim was real quiet on the way home and Pam was starting to get a bit worried. "Is there something wrong Honey?" "No. I was just thinking." "Anything I can help with?" "Nobody seems to be able to help." "That's a very profound statement. What makes you say that?" "By Monday my paralysis will be gone and I'll be able to walk again. Theirs won't be and they can't." No more was said for a long while. They stopped along the way and had an early supper, getting home about six. They went in and Pam could see that Kim was still bothered. "If you want, go take a bath and I'll put you in the lung and we can relax this evening." Kim couldn't move fast enough and soon back in the chair ready to go. Pam lifted her in, strapped her down, closed and started the lung. Except for meal times and toilet, she was in the lung until Monday morning. Even then her legs were numb. She started to feel the straps on her braces a little before quitting time.

At four twenty five, Pam walked through the office and went out to the storage area. She returned just after four thirty with a handful of green tickets and put them on Kim's desk. "I would have gotten those in a few minutes." Kim said with a trace of hurt in her voice. "Don't bother about it Kim. I always go out there at five before quitting time on the first and fifteenth." Kim looked puzzled. "Why on those days?" "Those are the pay days around here Honey, and here's yours." Kim opened the envelope and her mouth dropped open. She looked at it again and it still stayed open. "This is a full months check isn't it." "Sorry Honey, but that is for your first two weeks only." "You must have made a mistake. No way can I be worth that much for what I do around here." "That is what I would have to pay anybody that I hired into your job and they wouldn't know half of what you do. On top of that, they would run out of here like trapped rabbits at quitting time or demand overtime."

The next day Kim deposited the check and more than doubled her account balance. The week went by in a hurry. It seemed that the customers were happy with the way things were always ready for pick up on schedule and they were starting to get new customers due to referrals. Kim had noticed the number of numbered accounts increasing as well as the previous customer list getting longer. This was something that every business hoped for.

Friday evening when they left work, Pam decided they should go for a nice dinner at one of the better restaurants in town. They had parked a block away and had to walk back. When they got to the entrance they had to work their way through a crowd of tourists to get in. It was a bit anoying, especially the ones with vidio camera's. They had a very elegant meal and left almost two hours later. They arrived at Pam's a little before sunset and decided to have coffee on the deck as they watched. "Kim, Please take your braces off. I would like to see how you would look in that outfit if you weren't disabled." "Sure Mom." Pam studied her for a few minutes. "You know, You look just like a High School Freshman that just came home from a very exclusive girls school." "Thank you Mom. That's very flattering." "However, I think you better get some shoes on before your feet get cold."

Kim pushed herself to standing and went to take the first step and crashed to the deck. Pam was up instantly and at her side. "What happened Honey? Did you trip?" "I don't know what happened. I got up to go to my room and just went down. It was like my legs refused to hold me up." "Do you hurt any place?" "No. Everything feels alright." "Let's get you up then." Kim reached out and pulled her chair over and managed to get into it. She sat there for a while getting her breath back and then started to reach for her braces. "Please Kim, No. If you put them back on now and keep wearing them, you are going to need them the rest of your life. I know how much you love them, but you have to keep using your legs too." "Can I have my crutches?" "Yes." Kim got her crutches and when she got standing put them under her arms immediately and slowly started for her room. Pam was right close behind her in case she started to go down again.

Kim made it with no problems, put on a pair of flats and they returned to the deck to watch the last of the sunset. "We have about ten minutes before it gets dark. Care for a short walk?" "Let's go." While they were walking Kim asked, "Does this mean I can't wear my braces any more?" "No, Honey. It just means that you have to exercise and keep your leg muscles in shape for when you do wear them. I almost am willing to bet that your mind started to forget how to handle them for walking without the braces. Remember, you learned to walk at a young age. It was not a born instinct, same as you had to learn to get around on crutches and braces." They went about six minutes out bound and turned around. Just as Pam had thought, Kim was covering ground faster on the return trip. "Keep walking but the next time you lift your crutches hold them clear of the ground and see if you can keep going. Just have them ready if you need them." Kim did and to her amazement, she made a good two dozen steps before she needed them to help her tired legs. She did it twice more before they reached the house. "Congratulations Kim. Beautifully done. Let's get something to drink."

It was a clear night with a full moon, so they decided to sit on the sun deck and finish the evening there. "Both Marion and I have exercise bikes. I think you should start using them tomorrow, at least twice a day, to get your legs back in shape and to keep them that way. We were told to use them after some of the stand in's that we used to do. I'll call Marion and have Bob get theirs out and put it in your rooms. You can put it in which ever room it fits best. If you can go jogging Sunday evening, I'll let you wear your braces to work Monday. Is that a deal?" "If I can't, can I still use the chair at work? It's more efficient than having to get up each time I want to go get something." "Putting it that way, it's no more than sitting on a rolling desk chair. I don't want you using your braces in the evening unless we are going out. Is that agreeable?" "Yes, I agree to that." Now see if you can walk to your room unaided." Kim got up and very carefully took her first steps. Pam followed with the crutches. "Have you done any walking since I put you in braces?" "No. I didn't think you wanted me to, so I wore the braces all the time and used the chair if I didn't have them on." "It's been five weeks then since you have walked at all. No wonder you are having troubles."

Saturday morning, Kim found that she needed the crutches to get around to start the day. She had managed to get to the kitchen carrying her crutches instead of using them. Finishing breakfast she got up and holding the crutches like walking sticks walked to the front door and back. She then left them by the kitchen door and went walking around the house looking like a caged animal wanting a way out. After about twenty minutes of this she sat on a stool and had a coffee with Pam. "I think I'll go out on the driveway and practice. It has a slope, so I'll be going up and down hill on each round trip." They finished and Kim went outside. Pam went to the garage and located the bike and brought it to the front room and wiped it down. It turned out that after a few round trips, Kim had walked down the road to where they had turned around last night and returned. She felt proud that she had made it three times. Kim worked hard at it and between walks and using the bike, they were able to go jogging Sunday evening for about twenty minutes.

Kim did get to wear her braces Monday like she wanted. When Pam dropped her off that evening, she found Marion sitting in the wheelchair in her study. "Time to talk young lady. Pam and I have discussed this. When you come in, you put thirty minutes on that bike over there." indicating the corner of the room, "You can leave your braces on if you want and wear them to supper. After supper you remove the braces, put ten more minutes on the bike and we go for a walk. I need the exercise too. Agreeable?" "Yes, Aunt Marion. Whatever Mom and you say. Just so I can keep wearing my braces." "That's the girl. You can keep wearing them as long as you do as we ask. Now, get started. This is the beginning of a new life for you." The week at work was as usual and the evenings at home went as Marion had instructed. Kim's legs were getting stronger by the day and were just about normal when she went to Pam's on Friday evening.

They stopped for dinner on the way to Pam's place and on arriving there Pam said, "You know what you have to do after dinner is finished." Kim went to her room and removed the braces and did her time on the bike by adding the two evening sessions together and taking a ten minute break half way through. When she was done they both changed into walking shoes and went for an hours walk. She enjoyed the walk, seeing all the palatial homes in the area and talking about all the possibilities of part time acting from the * patient * point of view.

Saturday morning they were up early and she did her exercises, they had breakfast and Pam told her to dress for rideing. They would stop and pick up a pair of regular western boots on the way. She wore the boots she had to the western shop and then they went to a different stable than before. It turned out that Pam was a regular at this one, going there often after dropping Kim off at the Thomas's and going for an evening ride. They had a very pleasant ride for a couple hours and returned to town. Kim asked if they could have lunch at the Marina and that she would buy. Pam agreed and they did. After lunch Kim wanted to walk the docks and look at some of the boats. They were standing on the visiting boats float watching and commenting on the graceful sail boat that was going down the channel to a berth deep in the Marina. Kim didn't see the girl in the cockpit pick up a camera with a long lens on it and take pictures of both of them where they stood.

They wandered the docks for a good half hour or more before they decided to go some where else. On their way back to the car, they were spotted by that same girl and she quickly got her camera ready. Standing just inside the restaurant door, she got several close up shots of them and also a good shot of them getting into their car that included the license plate. All of this unknown to Kim and Pam.

Pam asked if Kim had ever seen what luxury travel looked like. "What do you mean." "Have you ever seen the inside of a luxury ocean liner, other than pictures?" "No. Why?" "Would you like to see, and try to imagine yourself in the middle of the ocean relaxing on it, like a tour ship?" "I would love to." With that Pam turned a corner and headed to the other end of the marina. The car was parked near a large building with a ticket booth that they had to pass to enter. Tickets were bought and they passed through the large building, exiting on the far side to face an extremely large white wall with little round openings in it. "What is that?" "That my dear daughter is the side of the QUEEN MARY, the famous Ocean Liner." Kim's heart started to pound. She had read so many stories where the ship had been mentioned, but never in her life ever expected to really ever see the ship, much less ever get to go aboard and look around. This was almost too much for her. Pam could see the look in her eyes and said, "Come on Honey, Let's have a look around." They wandered the ship until they realized it would be a late dinner for them with the hours they had spent there.

They had a fine dinner and went on home. "How are the legs feeling Honey?" "Tired and sore. I haven't walked that much in a couple of months. More probably in a couple of years." "Take a good hot soak and then let's spend the rest of the evening on the deck. I'll do the same and meet you out there." "See you there." and Kim went to her room. They had their baths and Kim was the first out on the deck in a night gown and her chair with the raised leg rests rather than the standard foot rests. These were adjustable from standard to straight out like would be needed to support a cast. Kim had them at about forty five degrees. Pam cam came out shortly after in her chair, but both legs were in plain sight. They talked for quite a while before Pam said, "Let's go to bed Honey. She went around checking the security of the house and went to her room with Kim following. Pam knew what Kim wanted and opened the lung. Kim got in and strapped her self as much as she could and Pam finished , closed the lung and started it.. They both were asleep almost as soon as the lights went out.

Pam had breakfast ready and setting on the bedroom table when she woke Kim. Kim did the necessities and had her breakfast and Pam put her back into the lung until that afternoon. She was allowed her braces until after supper that evening and then had to go for her walk to stay with the exercise schedule. They sat around talking about different things until bed time. They were up early Monday morning to face another week. Mid morning a messenger came with a small package for Pam. Kim said she would sign for it and take it in to her. The messenger refused and showed her the label. * HAND TO PAM MARTIN ONLY. * She called Pam on the intercom and told her there was a messenger for her personally. "Send him in." and she did. It was a few minutes before he came back out.

Still later, "Kim could you come in here Please?" "Right there." she answered and rolled her chair to Pam's office. "What can I do for you Mom." "Just sit there and watch these commercials." and the VCR started. The first one showed them from approaching the hotel all the way through dinner and leaving. It then went into the second one. This one showed them arriving at the ranch, getting on the horses, Kim's handling of the little mare, having lunch and returning to the office. It also showed Kim in her braces at the end looking at the other kids and in the final close up you could see the emotion on her face as she crutched back to the car. It almost made her want to cry again. The voice over brought the emotion out as being sad that she had to leave the place right then which was NOT what she had been thinking at the time. "As you heard, the ranch is a non-profit operation to help kids This tape is going to be duplicated and sent to many groups around this state and some neighboring states to help raise funds for the ranch. They need you to sign this release to be able to do that." "Pass it over. No problem and I hope they can raise a bunch. Those kids deserve it." Kim signed it and passed it back to Pam.

"This came with the tape for you and the tape is yours also for your collection. There should be one for each job you do. You could end up with a rather large collection by the time you're done." Kim looked at the check, took a deep breath and looked at Pam, "I can't possibly take a check this large for enjoying myself. Please return it." "It's not collected money, Honey. It's from his own pocket as a Thank You to you for doing the part." "In that case, ask him to donate it to the ranch for me." Pam couldn't understand Kim. Here she was new in town with a small bank account that wouldn't last very long if she decided to leave here and here she was turning down a thousand dollar check and giving it to the ranch. You don't expect to find kids like this anywhere, much less in my own office. Kim was excused and Pam was on the phone almost instantly.

"Harry, she turned down your check. She said to give the money to the ranch. The kids need the animals more than she needs the money." "I thought she seemed like a great kid when I met her. Now I know she's a great kid. Show her how to sign it over to the ranch and my messenger will pick it up this afternoon. "Kim, Do you know how to sign a check over to someone else?" "Sure." "Harry said for you to sign this one over to the ranch and he will get it to them." "OK." And Kim did. The check was picked up and that was the last of it, she thought.

Just before five the phone rang and when Kim answered it, it turned out to be Carol. "Kim, Is there any way that Pam, you and I could meet at the little park in the Mall just after six when I get my lunch break?" "Let me ask Mom. - - - - - - - - Yes, we can meet you at six. What's it about?" "Can't say over the phone. See you at six." and she hung up. Pam came out of her office ready to go and looked at Kim. "She say what she wanted?" "No. She said she couldn't say over the phone." "I wonder if she's thinking about another weekend like the last one. Could be an interesting evening. I better call Marion and let her know you won't be there for dinner."

They were about to sit down on a bench when Carol arrived and suggested they sit at one of the tables. When they were sat down, Carol placed a large envelope on the table. "I took these pictures from a friends boat Saturday afternoon and a little later in the parking lot. Please look at them." Pam and Kim looked at the pictures and both of them realized at the same moment that they had been found out. Both of them looked at Carol with expectancy, but neither said a word. "That IS your car, isn't it, Mrs. Martin?" "Yes, that IS my car. Unless you are going into Blackmail, please drop the Mrs. Martin bit and go back to Pam." "OK Pam, what is going on? I thought Kim was paralyzed and then I see the two of you walking around perfectly normal. Now Kim shows up in braces here again."

"How many movies and TV shows have you seen where there is a bad accident and they show people in casts, braces and or traction?" "Many, many of them. Why?" "A majority of those people, the adults, were Myself or my sister Marion, where Kim lives during the week. Kim is in training to take over from us since the violence has switched to the teenagers. Just like the stuntmen who create the accident scenes, we are the stunt women who do the hospital scenes." "You are telling me that Kim isn't really paralyzed but practicing for the camera?" "That's right. Is there a VCR near that we could use?" "Yes, upstairs in the store. Why?" "I have some thing I want you to see, but are never to tell any one that you have seen it unless you see it sometime other than this time. Agree?" "I agree. Now I AM curious. Let's go."

After viewing the tape, Carol had to sit down. "Unbelievable." "Now you see why you can not tell anyone you saw an advance copy of that tape?" "Yes I do. I still can't believe how truly paralyzed you appeared." "Would you like to do another weekend sometime? Maybe with some extras?" "Yes, and I won't ask what they will be." "When can you get five consecutive days off?" "I have this Saturday and Sunday, and I can take vacation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Would that do? You could pick me up at five thirty like the last time." "Perfect. Have five days clothes with you Friday. See you then. Now you better get back to work."

PART EIGHT

Carol called the first thing in the morning as happy as could be, and said she would see them Friday after work. The next four days were slow in some ways for Kim and yet went quickly. She couldn't seem to get Carol out of her mind and was still wondering what Pam was going to do when they picked her up Friday. Pam wouldn't give even the slightest hint of what was in store and why did she ask for Carol to have at least five days. When they pulled up in front of the mall, Carol practically ran to the car and got into the back seat. To her surprise, her braces and crutches were there. "Put them on Carol. You have about ten minutes before you will need to use them." Thankfully, Pam's car had tinted windows so she had some privacy as she pulled her dress up to do the thigh straps.

It was more like fifteen minutes when Pam pulled into an under ground garage beneath a very large building. Kim was requested to remain in the car with locked doors while Pam and Carol went upstairs. Carol took a few turns around the garage to get used to the braces again before they entered the elevator. A good twenty minutes later they emerged. Kim had to do a double take. Carol was now a red head and was wearing glasses as thick as the proverbial coke bottle bottom, still wearing her braces, but handling them differently. "If it weren't for Pam being with you, I would never have recognized you. I didn't know you wore glasses." "I don't. Pam put contacts in and I couldn't see a thing until she handed me the glasses. I can see perfectly with them."

With everybody in, Pam drove out and went a dozen or so blocks and turned into another under ground parking space. "Your turn this time Kim. Take your braces off first then get out." Pam started to get out at the same time but moved slower until Kim was standing up. "After we're gone, get into the front seat." and she stood up. Pam was back in less than five minutes and they drove off. "We'll pick Kim up in three or four hours. Let's eat and find something to do to kill time." They decided to eat and then go shopping at a different mall than where Carol worked. They stopped at the food court for a little refresher just before nine and Pam made a call on her cell phone. "We can pick Kim up in a half hour. How do you like your legs? That's how Kim was for the horseback ride." "I'm, I don't know, thrilled but scared." "You now have three choices to get around. Braces, wheelchair or drag yourself across the floor." "How long will it last?" "Into next week. That's why I wanted you to have five days off. It should only last three days, but Kim's lasted almost four. For that amount of time you will be handicapped."

They left the mall and went for Kim. Pam told Carol to stay in the front seat and went up stairs. When Pam returned, she was pushing a wheelchair and Carol couldn't believe what she was seeing. Kim was cast from her pelvis to the band around her forehead and out to the fingers of her right hand. The cast also covered her right eye to her nose. She was blind on that side. Her right leg was also cast in a full length cast set at about a forty five degree angle. Pam got her into the car and they were off to Pam's house finally.

They arrived around ten thirty and Pam and Carol went in and Pam returned with a wheelchair for Kim. Once inside, they settled down to talk, after Pam poured each of them a glass of wine. "You girls are probably wondering about what has been done to you, Right?" Carol nodded agreement, and Kim said, "Yes Mother." "I feel sure that Kim has figured it out by now, but I suspect Carol still feels in the dark. There is a reason why I asked you to have five days off, and for the red wig and the glasses. Both of you will have all day tomorrow to get accustomed to your present situation and then the fun begins. Have you any idea yet Carol?" "No. Not the least bit of an idea." "Well then, let's get to bed and I'll tell both of you more tomorrow. The contacts are long wearing Carol, so you can leave them in over night. You will basically be blind when you wake up, that is, until you put your glasses on in the morning. I'll see you after I get Kim to bed." Kim was given a couple of sleeping pills to help her, since she was starting to get some cramps in her shoulder and leg. Carol was checked and Pam finally was able to go to bed herself.

Saturday morning Pam helped Kim get dressed and Carol met them in the kitchen when they came out. She was dressed in blouse, skirt and braces with the red wig and glasses and had coffee on the table when they arrived. "It's a beautiful day, let's have our coffee on the deck." They and the coffee moved outside. "Any idea yet Carol?" "None what-so-ever. You said there was a reason for me to be like this and that the fun would start tomorrow." "Both of you have parts in a movie for TV." "WE WHAT!" "Just what I said. It's a walk-on part, but it could be a beginning. As we said Monday evening, we are stunt women and Kim is doing the part of an auto accident victim that the actress doesn't want to do. One of her friends in the script is a handicapped red head who wears strong glasses. You will be shot several times as you visit Kim in different situations. Are you willing to do it?" "My God, YES. I must be dreaming. Something like this is what every girl dreams of." "Since that's settled, let's have some breakfast."

Pam went and made breakfast while the girls talked. After, breakfast, Carol started practicing her crutching to get used to doing it with dead legs. It turned out to be a lot more work than just being in braces and having her feet to help launch herself on each swing through. While she was doing that, Kim was practicing moving herself around using her one leg and one hand in the wheelchair. She didn't dare try to move to a chair or the sofa from the wheelchair without someone to help her. By the end of the day Carol was doing real good on the crutches. Kim on the other hand was having trouble trying to eat with her left hand, but she was getting better at it. At supper, she only stabbed herself twice with the fork. She found it disconcerting to say the least, to have to sit bent forward to be able to even see her plate.

The filming went off great on Sunday and Monday. They did the hospital room shots Sunday, and Monday was spent in a home type setting, mostly bedroom and bed shots with a few near the end of the day in a living room. Marion had come along on Sunday, but on Monday Pam had to go to the office and Marion took the girls. They read lines from a script board to get the mouthing and expressions right, but the actual sound track would be done by the regular actresses speaking in time with the facial expressions and movements of the girls. Both girls were having a ball doing the job. Their only complaint was having to get there so early to get their make-up done. Carol's shots were completed on Monday, but she accompanied Kim Tuesday and Wednesday in case there were any retakes to do. Tuesday evening Carol had removed her braces and started walking again, so she would be able to go to work Thursday.

Kim wasn't that lucky. She had a bunch more hospital shots to do and on Saturday they removed the leg cast and the part of the cast that covered her right eye, leaving the rest of the cast in place. She spent another two weeks in that cast. Carol was called to find out what days she had off and it was arranged for her and Kim to do several shots in different shopping malls. Carol was beyond herself with joy. After the first week of shooting with Carol was over, Kim decided to stay at Marion's, since she was taking her to the studio anyway. That way she wouldn't have to get up so early to drive up to Pam's and then back to the studio. Of course Kim stayed with Pam on the weekends to let Bob and Marion have the house to themselves and to give Pam some company.

When the shooting was done on that last Friday, Kim asked if they could have dinner at the mall with Carol. They went and after getting Kim seated in the food court with a coffee, Pam located Carol and told her they would be waiting for her in the food court. Carol showed up just after five thirty. They had a good dinner. She asked, "How much longer do you have to wear the cast Kim?" "I'm done with the shooting, but we haven't made any arrangements to get it off yet. Why?" "Those mall shots we did were set up. I was wondering what kind of treatment we would get if we went shopping without anybody knowing we were coming." "That would be interesting if you were wearing your braces and glasses. Could we do it Mom, Please?" "I don't see why not. We can go by Carol's and she can get clothes to spend the weekend." "Perfect." "I was going to get you out of the cast after dinner, but I guess you can stay in it for another week." "It's worth another week. to have Carol stay the weekend, if that's all it's going to cost me."

They did go by Carol's and when they got to Pam's place, Carol immediately went to her room and put on her braces and came back out and asked for the contacts. Pam went to her room, returned with them and inserted them. Carol asked for the glasses and was told, "Later my dear. Get used to your bad eye sight. I have an idea running around in my mind. Let's move to the deck, it's too warm in here. Kim can guide you while I get the coffee." "Are you really that blind Carol?" "You bet I am. I can't even tell where the door is." Pam returned with the coffee by the time they got out there and sat down. The three sat and talked quite a while before Pam said, "Carol, what would you say to spending a weekend here totally blind, without braces, and using a white cane to get around? You wouldn't be able to discern a thing other than day light and dark." "I don't know if I could take it." "You and Kim could go shopping. She could guide you by your holding her arm. It would be an interesting experience." "I still don't think I could take it." "Think about it."

Pam let it drop at that and handed Carol the glasses. They spent a very enjoyable weekend talking and shopping and going places. Carol was dropped off at her apartment on the way to work on Monday. She had left the braces at Pam's after breakfast, but was still wearing the glasses. After work, Kim's cast was removed and they proceeded to go out for dinner and then to Pam's. Without realizing it, Kim had eaten left handed. Pam noticed this but said nothing, wondering how long Kim would continue before she noticed what she was doing. She did this for several days before she noticed it herself.

Pam saw Kim start to use her right hand to have a donut during coffee break Thursday afternoon and commented that she appears to have lost her 'lefty'. Kim replied, "I just realized what I've been doing when you said that. I don't remember if I tried writing when I couldn't use my right hand." "I don't think you ever tried, but you did real well the times you were using the computer." While they were talking Marion called and invited them to dinner that evening. They had a wonderful evening after dinner and Pam left leaving Kim to spend the night there. Kim was picked up on schedule. On the way to the office Pam turned to Kim, "Call Carol as soon as we get there and see if she would like to spend the weekend again." Carol was delighted and said she would meet them at the usual place and time.

When they rolled up Carol immediately came to the car and got in back. Her braces were not there as she had hoped they would be. She was wearing the glasses but not the wig. They said their greetings as Pam pulled out. When Pam was settled in traffic Carol removed the glasses and passed them up to Pam and said, "Mother would you put these in your purse and protect them for me?" Pam was so surprised she almost ran off the road, but said nothing for a while. "What would you girls like for dinner?" "I'd like something lite and easy." came from Carol. "I agree. How about a burger and salad?" came from Kim. "Sounds like something I could handle." Pam found the restaurant and pulled into the parking lot a distance from the front door. As they got out Kim was surprised to see a white folding cane unfold from Carol's right hand. After closing the door, Carol held out her left hand. Kim took it and put it around her right upper arm.

Pam looked over and saw what was going on and smiled to herself. When the girls came around she said, "If Kim had her braces on I would have both of my handicapped girls with me." The girls giggled at that and they went on in. Kim got Carol seated and read the menu to her. Carol stayed with her original choice of burger and salad, commenting that if she couldn't handle the salad, Kim could feed it to her. "Honey, I know it's tough loseing your eyesight, but you'll get used to it after a while." said Pam as Kim gave Carol a hug. A few moments later Kim saw a lady diner at the next table pull out a handkerchief and wipe tears from her eyes. Was she crying for Carol after what Pam said? The lady and her companion finished eating a few minutes later and left shortly after.

Kim said nothing about what had gone on, but did have to help Carol with the last of her salad. Eventually they finished and left. During the meal Pam had excused herself and went to the rest room. The girls speculated she was using the facilities when in reality she was making a confidential phone call. She returned and said nothing. When they had finished they went to the car and to Carols horror, they went to another mall. They shopped for a good long time with Carol holding Kim's arm the entire time.

Turning to her, Carol said, "You realize we are going to be like this anytime we leave the house, don't you?" "That doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't bother you." "I feel secure holding you, but what does bother me is not being able to see what I am feeling. It would be nice to see what color or pattern something was." "You mean you can't see what color something is?" "Only if I hold it close to my face. Can we sit some place? My legs are getting tired." "We sure can." and Kim went to one of the benches in the mall main corridor and they sat down. Pam said she would be back in a little while and left the girls to themselves. Kim spotted a coffee bar and got them each a cup while they waited.

Shortly after they finished their coffee, Pam came down the corridor and said she had completed all she came to do and they could leave. "It seems so strange to be like this. So helpless." "Like your braces, it will take some time to get accustomed to. Eventually, you will want to go out by yourself to go shopping." At that Carol came to a dead stop. "You mean go out like this alone?" "Sure. You might even find a boyfriend that would like to have you like this most of the time. It's not unheard of. I've seen a couple of guys give you the once over and the look on their faces wasn't one of pity. So, let's get moving and get on home." They left the mall and headed for Pam's place. On the way, Kim related what had happened in the restaurant.. Pam and Carol were both astounded that something like that could happen.

When they arrived, Kim immediately went to her room and put her braces on. When she came out she said, "Let's go for a walk Carol. I want to see what it will be like on crutches when we go out tomorrow." Carol stood and held her hand out and as Kim passed, took hold of her arm. "Don't be gone too long girls. I'll have a snack ready when you get back." they returned thirty minutes later and Carol was smiling. She had navigated the driveway and the shoulder of the road and never stumbled once. She was proud of herself. They had their snack and coffee.

"How long have you had the contacts in Carol?" "Since five thirty." "Were they rinsed every day while you had them out?" "I put them in their solution any time they were out." "How do you mean * any time they were out *?" "I wore them all the time I was not at work. I bought the cane and most of the time I didn't wear the glasses. I took them out to go to work and put them back in immediately I got home and used the cane to get around." "That's what I call dedication to a project. I'd like to change your contacts right now if you will let me." "Sure. Where do you want to do it?" "Let's go to your bath room. These will be a bit different from what you are wearing now." Carol immediately got up and made it to her bathroom on her own. Pam had her remove her present contacts and close her eyes. "Reduce the force keeping your eyes closed so I can open each one, but enough so it will close when I release the lid." Carol did so and Pam inserted the contacts.

"Why did you turn off the light?" "I haven't turned it off." "But it's so dark in here now." Pam pulled her close and hugged her as she said, "It's the contacts honey. You are now totally blind. Even the glasses won't help you now. These are wide area, long wear contacts that can only be taken out with the little suction thing I used to put them in. You now have pretty blue eyes to go with your blond hair and the pupils appear to be wide open the way most blind peoples eyes are." "You mean the lights are still on?" Pam hugged her some more as she took her hand and said, "Here's the light switch honey. Turn it on and off and see for yourself." Carol did and exclaimed, "There's no difference."

"Let's get back to Kim. I think you both could use a small glass of wine to relax." They went back and Pam did get the wine. After a while they all went to bed. Carol declined any help getting to bed.

PART NINE

On waking the next morning both Kim and Pam were suprised to hear Carol in the kitchen. The coffee was ready and she was sitting at the table with a fresh cup in front of her and the toast just popped up as they were looking. She got up and retrieved it as smoothly as if she could see it. They were both astonished. Pam motioned Kim to her bedroom. When they got there and closed the door she whispered, "Did you see that?" "I couldn't believe my eyes." "Let's get dressed and go out there like we just got up." "OK. Whoever is first waits for the other and we go in together." "Right."

They got dressed and Kim put her braces on again. This way Carol would hear them coming. Pam was waiting in the hallway. When they got to the kitchen, Carol asked, "Is it day light yet?" "It is. How long have you been up?" asked Kim. "Long enough to make coffee and this is my second cup." "Why don't you girls go out on the deck and sit at the table. I'll bring the coffee." Carol stood and started for the door to the deck. Kim didn't say anything and Carol found the door, opened it and went to the table and sat down. Kim was astonished and went and told Pam before going outside. Pam could hardly believe it.. They went out to Carol and talked a while until Pam went in and fixed breakfast.

By the time afternoon arrived, Carol was getting around the house real well on her own. They had lunch and decided to go out to a park to let Carol get some more practice getting around outside. They had been walking and talking for better than an hour when they decided to stop at a picnic table and have a cup of the coffee they had in a thermos with them. Pam set out the cups and poured. It wasn't five minutes before Pam's cell phone rang. After a minute she pulled out a pen and wrote down a number. After dialing it she got up and walked off a few yards while talking. Still talking she returned to the table. "Kim, Do you want to do another shoot this week? It will be at least a weeks worth of time." "Sure. What will it be this time?" "A long leg cast and bandages." "Take it."

Pam returned her attention back to the phone and confirmed the agreement. Turning her attention back to Kim she asked, "When do you want the cast?" "Why not right now? We can still go to a late dinner around seven if we can do it soon enough." Pam got out her pocket phone book and called Tommy and explained what she wanted and requested it be done as soon as possible. There was a pause and she hung up. "Let's go girls. He'll be ready when we get there." They finished the coffee and after packing things away got on the road. Kim removed her braces on the way there and removed the shoes from them and put the shoes back on. When they parked, Kim put the braces in the trunk of the car, leaving her crutches up front for use later with the cast.

They then proceeded up stairs with Kim holding Carol's hand to guide her instead of Carol holding her arm as before. Tommy met them in the waiting room as they walked in and took them right back to the casting room. He had Kim remove her left shoe and proceeded to put on the cast. "I'm going from your toe nails right up into the crotch with the plaster going just a little past your toes on the bottom to protect them." Carol was sitting just off to the side trying to visualize everything he said. The cast was completed in under thirty minutes and they had to sit and wait for it to set before Tommy said they could leave. Kim lay on the table for another hour and a half before he came back and said they could leave. He wheeled Kim to the car and she got in the back seat to have enough room for her cast. When Kim was settled in, they went looking for a restaurant.

They had a good meal and Carol did real well after Kim cut her meat for her. They relaxed with coffee afterward and decided eventually to go home. Pam poured each of them a glass of wine and they went on to the deck to enjoy the rest of the late evening. As it chilled off, Pam suggested going inside. They had been talking of various things when Carol got a funny look on her face. Pam noticed and asked, "Is something wrong Carol?" "I was just wondering if Kim would let me look at her cast." "You know the contacts are supposed to stay in until tomorrow night." "I know." Kim looked at Pam and said, 'Move right over here and look to your heart's content." "Thanks Kim." and she moved over beside her as Kim raised her skirt. She ran her hands all over the cast several times from toes to crotch and the outside. "If it went any higher they would have had your hip in it too." "That's still a possibility if the producer wants it Carol moved back to her chair and they chatted the rest of the evening away.

Sunday after breakfast the girls went for a long walk. They were gone well over an hour before they returned. Carol had even led on her own for a while using her cane to follow the edge of the road and even finding and getting up on a curb in one place. They spent a leisurely day and shortly before supper, Pam asked Carol if she would like to try something a little different. "Sure, what do you have in mind?" "How would you like to have one eye back?" "I would like that." "Lets go to your bath room." Carol led off with Pam following, noting how confidently Carol moved. Pam removed the right contact and much to Carol's surprise, inserted the one that required the glasses. "Let's go back to Kim now." "This IS different. I'm still blind but I can see light with one eye." "With both eyes open can you tell which one is seeing the light?" "Not really." They had reached the living room and gotten seated again when Kim spoke up. "That is a strange sight." "What is?" asked Carol. "One eye looks natural and the other one has the pupil wide open."

They all moved to the kitchen and Kim helped Pam with supper while Carol sat at the table and talked with them. When everything was on the table, Pam reached over and put the glasses in Carol's hand. "How long can I have them Mom?" "The rest of the evening if you want." They then went to eating. about half way through the meal Carol said, "It sure is nice to see where my food is located on the plate." They finished up the meal and Surprising the other two, Carol removed the glasses and handed them back to Pam. Nothing was said while they had another cup of coffee. Carol didn't say anything more until the dishes were done and put away. "Mother will you put my other contact in?" "The clear one so you can use the glasses?" "No, the dark one so I'm not tempted to ask for the glasses." "As you wish Sweetheart." and they went back to her room, returning a few minutes later.

A while later they all went to bed. Carol was still blind when they dropped Kim off at Marion's so she could take her to the studio where the shooting was to take place. As they had been ready to pull out of Pam's driveway, Carol had asked if Pam had the other contacts and glasses with her. She was assured that Pam did indeed have them with her. Just before getting to Carols they pulled into a parking lot and the contacts were changed and the glasses put on. When they had pulled up to Carol's, Pam handed her a large brown padded mailing envelope and said to be sure to watch the video and read the rest of the things in the envelope. They said their Good Bye's and Pam went to the office.

Pam had completed all the shipping tickets for the morning and was better than halfway through the return tickets when the phone rang at ten. It was Carol. "Mom, is there any possibility I could see you this morning. I don't have to be at work until one thirty." "Come right on out. The bus stops right in front of the building." and she gave her the address. "I'll take a cab. See you real soon." Pam had barely finished the return tickets when Carol walked in and gave her a big hug. She was still wearing the glasses. "There is no way that I can take this check from you for spending time with Kim." "Sweetheart, you are now an actress, if you have signed those papers, and I am your agent. I have already deducted my agents fee, so what's the problem?" "You mean - - -." "Yes, That is your net for your time spent at the studio, paid by the film company. You need to figure out how much income tax you will have to pay on that amount and I would advise you to put that amount into a separate savings account for that purpose. That way you won't be short when tax time rolls around."

Carol had to sit down at that news. "Did you bring the papers?" "Yes. Here they are, all signed." "Good. You're in. You have been listed with the Actors Guild and will get your card as soon as I call and confirm the contract. How did you like the video?" "I didn't recognize my self or Kim at first. I had to run that part a second time. It's absolutely amazing what they can do." Remember, like the other video, You CAN'T show it to anyone until the film is released." "I won't." "Now relax and I'll show you around this place." Carol was truly amazed at all the hospital stuff that was stored there. "This stuff is all for rent to the different studio's. They own virtually nothing of what you see when you watch a show. When they had finished with the tour, it was almost noon. "Let's go down the street and have some lunch." and they did with Carol insisting on buying.

During the meal, Carol asked, "Is there some evening we could get together at the mall food court again? It's so relaxing to eat with you two on my break." "I'm afraid not this week or next possibly." "Why not? Kim can get around in her cast." "Not this time. Right now she is being moved to a private clinic." "What happened. She have an accident?" "Don't panic. They're changing her cast and she will have to stay there for the entire time she is cast." "What kind of cast is it that would KEEP her in the hospital?" "It's the transportation of her that would be the problem. Cast from breasts to toes on both legs with bars between them and a cast on her left arm." "Oh no. She'll never be able to stand it." "She'll also be on IV and catheter." 'She's really willing to do this?" "When she called this morning, I was against it but she was ready to do it and argued with me. In this she's boss. I had to call the producer and renegotiate. She was satisfied, so I gave the go- ahead. They're putting her out for the casting, but I'll be able to see her this evening." "Could you meet me after I get off and let me know how she is doing, Please. Some how I've come to love the little snot. I worry about her." "I'll be at the front of the mall at nine and we can go someplace and talk. You better get a move on or you'll be late and I also have to get to work. See you tonight." "Bye."

Carol caught the bus home and Pam returned to the office. She waited an hour and called the clinic to check on Kim. She was told that everything was fine and she asked if Marion was with Kim. She was and had never left her side the whole time, including while she was being cast. She could come see her any time she was ready to. She asked a message be passed to Marion that she would see them just after five and hung up. It sure was a slow afternoon for her. She was out at five on the dot and almost got a ticket on the way there. Even though she knew what she would see when she walked in, she wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted her.

Both Kims legs were propped up, her left arm was in a sling supported by the frame over the bed and her head was in a harness putting traction on her neck. Pam went over and gave her a gentle kiss. "It was bad enough walking in and seeing you like this, but if it had been for real, I think I would have fainted." "It's not that bad, but I am going to miss both of you this next week." "How so? Marion will be with you every day." "I won't know that. After you leave, they're going to put something into my IV that will keep me asleep until next week. They say it would make it easier for me." "We'll see about that. Do YOU want it that way?" "Not really. I would like to enjoy the shooting and these casts." Then it WILL NOT happen."

Pam was digging in her purse for her phone book as she said the last. She went to the phone and made the call. There was real heated discussion going on but she couldn't really hear much until Pam raised her voice, almost shouting at the phone," * What the hell is going on with the traction on her neck? That was NEVER AUTHORIZED. * There was a pause and she seemed calmed down. The next thing Kim made out was * make it a thousand and I'll ask. * Pam lay the phone down on the table and came to the bed. "He is willing to pay you a thousand dollars a day that you are unconscious. Are you willing to do it or should I go for more?" "Find out how many days I'll be awake in the casts." Pam went back to the phone and talked for a little and came back to Kim. "He says probably three days. He will cover up to five extra days after the shootings if you want them." "Tell him I'll take the five days in case they need any retakes." "You realize, that could put you up to almost three weeks in those casts, don't you?" ""That's OK with me, by the way, I want Dr. Duncan to be monitoring and approving this." Pam went back to the phone and talked a while and hung up. "He is agreeable to all your terms. I still hate to see you like this. It tears my heart out."

Pam went to the phone again and called Dr. Duncan's office and talked to him for a few minutes and came back by the bed. The three talked until almost seven when Dr. Duncan walked in. "So, how is my girl tonight? Really did yourself up this time." "I know. I don't trust them, that's why I want you in on this." "In that case I better find out just what they intend to do and how. See you in a little." He left after writing down a couple of names from her chart. He returned about forty five minutes later. "Just what did they tell you they intended to do?" Pam jumped in and told him all that they had agreed to and what they had done without it being authorized to do and Kim had later agreed to. "What have they been told to do to her now? I'll take her out of here right now and sue for breach of contract." Pam was getting mad. "Easy does it Pamela. I told them that if they do one more thing to this girl, I'll take them to the Medical Board and have their license pulled." "That would save me from having to go to court to have it done."

"Well then, If you and Kim say go ahead I'll start the sleep drug. I will be coming by, unannounced, a couple of times a day to be sure they don't change the rate and to check her condition. I don't think you should let her come here again." "You can be sure she'll NEVER see this place again." Kim looked at him and said, "I thank you for your concern Doctor. Go ahead with the medication." "You agree Pam?" "She said do it. This time she's the boss, though it bothers me." Doctor Duncan connected the bottle of medication to the IV and started the drip. It'll take a little while to get to her and then only a few minutes later she'll be asleep. "Marion or I will be here most of the time. If either of us see's anything change, you will be called immediately. Marion is a registered nurse." "Very good. Here's my card and it has ALL my numbers on it. If you have to call my service, tell them it's an emergency.

Kim's eyes were starting to droop. "Good night Mother and Aunt Marion." "Good night Kim. We'll be here when you wake up." and both gave her a kiss. Marion spoke up, "Doctor, will you order a cot be placed in here? I'm not going to leave her side." "You have it Marion." and he called the desk, ordered it, and wrote it on the chart. The cot and blanket were delivered before the doctor and Pam left. Marion went to the phone and called Bob and filled him in on what had gone on and said she would be staying at the Clinic until Kim was out of there.

When they got out in front of the clinic, Pam stopped and looked at the doctor. "I didn't want to say anything inside the building, but how long can she stay in that cast and not be hurt by it?" "Depending on how she is physically, she could spend up to six weeks without too much problem. She'd be stiff and have a problem walking for a few days." "The reason I asked is that they want her to do the rest of the picture in a brace from her armpits to her heels as if she had spent six months in that cast." "If she had spent six months in that cast, yes she would need a brace like that." "Thank you doctor. I need to be at the mall to meet Carol in a few minutes. Bye." "Bye Pam. Call my home any evening you just want to talk or we could go to dinner and talk, and call me John Please. We're both very close on this." "Thank you John, and I will call. Bye again." and she went to her car.

PART TEN

Carol came running out of the mall entrance a couple of minutes after nine and jumped into the car out of breath. "You need to start jogging to increase your lung capacity Sweetheart. Slow down." "I can't. How is she?" "She was falling asleep when I left." "When can I see her?" Tomorrow morning if you want, but she won't know you're there." "Why is that?" "She's on a sleep drug and will be that way until the end of the week. The script calls for a month long coma. With the sleep drug there won't be any movement of her eye lids or mouth during the filming and they said she wouldn't feel any of the cramping that comes after first being put in a cast like that one." Pam had started driving while they were talking and soon pulled into a restaurant. "I haven't had dinner yet. Please join me."

"I still want to go see her in the morning." "My sister Marion will be somewhere close by her. Find Marion and stick close to her and be careful to not disturb the shooting. You already know that." As they were being seated, Carol said she was going to the toilet. She returned a few minutes later wearing her glasses. "Sorry, but I didn't have time to put the contacts in when I got off work." "You like them, don't you?" The waitress came before she could answer and they ordered. "I have gotten so used to them that I have been thinking of wearing them at work." "What will your co-workers say when you show up in glasses?" "I'll just say I had to stop wearing my contacts for a while. I thought I would get some other frames to go with some of my other outfits if I did that. Another pair for work to switch with and a dressy pair for going out special."

Pam pulled one of her cards out of her purse and wrote a name and address on it. "Go here to do that. When you get in to the doctor he will see right away that you have contacts in. Tell him you want the glasses to go with the contacts and that I sent you. Show him this card if he wants proof. I've signed the back." They finished the meal and as they were walking to the car Pam asked, "Would you like to stay at my place tonight? I could drop you at the clinic in the morning." "I would love to, but I need to stop home for some things for tomorrow." "We'll go by your place and then home." The stop was made and Carol put her bag in the back seat. She got in and when she was seated, pulled a glasses case from her purse and put her glasses in it. Pam smiled to herself.

Carol found the front door on her own after getting her bag from the back seat. They spent a quiet evening talking, which eased some worry from Pam's mind and then went to bed. Up a little earlier than usual, they had breakfast and went to the clinic. Kim was already gone from her room and after some questioning found where she was and went there. It was a large room with plenty of space for the cameras, director, cast and technicians.

Periodically the whole set was moved from one corner of the room to the other when they wanted a shot from the opposite side. At one time they had even moved to the other end of the room so they would have the door and had different people walk through it. The tape would be edited to get everything in proper sequence. True to her word, Marion was never over ten feet from Kim the entire time. During one lull in the shooting, Carol and Marion were introduced. Carol said she would try to stop by each morning before work but couldn't make a solid promise because she might get called to work early. Marion understood and Carol said Good Bye and left for work. Pam had left at ten to eight to open the office.

Carol did make it there Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Pam went every night after she closed the office and stayed until close to eleven when Marion returned. This gave her the evening with Bob. He would come see her and Kim on his way to work and Carol would come and stay with Kim while Marion went out and had some breakfast. Kim had no idea of how close she had come to these people. The producer had also noticed how close the two girls had become. He had felt they were close the first time they worked together, but now he was sure. About two Thursday afternoon the phone on Pam's desk rang. She was on it for quite a while, making notes as she talked and listened. When she was finished she turned to the phone book and looked up the store where Carol worked and called it. "Would you get a message to Carol Johnson to call Pam during her first break, It's extremely important but not urgent." The message was read back. "Thank you very much."

Pam had barely gotten back into what she had been doing when the phone rang again. "What is it Mother? Is Kim alright?" "Yes, she's fine. This is about you." "Me. What did I do?" "Nothing Sweetheart. It's about what you Might do. We need to get together and talk as soon as possible." "I'll tell my supervisor my sister is in the hospital and needs me. Incidentally, I'm wearing my glasses. I'll call as soon as my replacement gets here." "Can you afford to take the time off?" "With the check you gave me, I could take the month off." "You might need to. Get here quickly. Bye." "Bye Mother."

Carol went back to her work area wondering what this might be about. She was completely puzzled by Pam's answer that she might need to take off the month she had joked about. She found her supervisor and after the story of the hospital, was told to check out and get going. She would cover until the replacement got there. She did and getting her things from her locker, went for the bus stop, stopping on the way to call Pam and let her know she was on the way.

At three thirty she walked into Pam's office. "What's up Mother?" "I have a problem." "And what just what might that be?" Pam proceeded to tell her about the call from the producer and what he wanted. She referred to her notes several times during the conversation and then asked Carol what her pay was at the store. "You will never save up enough on that to go to college paying for all that's needed to live. Do you have any reason to have to stay at the store?" "None really that would make me have to stay there." "How much notice would you have to give?" "To be decent, I would guess at least a week." They talked further on how far Carol was willing to go doing the hospital scenes, and as to what discomfort she would be willing to endure. Would she be willing to quit her job if the retainer was sufficient. Carol was asked to wait at Kim's desk while Pam made a couple of phone calls.

Carol could hear that a conversation was going on but not able to make it out until one time when Pam raised her voice in anger. * NO WAY IN HELL. YOU WANT THEM ANYTIME YOU WANT, YOU PAY THEM A LIVABLE RETAINER. * After that outburst things quieted down again. Pam's voice came up again, but just a little bit and not in anger. "Have that printed out and in my office by ten. I'll call you when it's signed. Bye." There was a couple of minutes of quiet, then, "Carol, would you come in here please?"

They sat and talked about what Pam had negotiated and the fees. When she got to the part about the amount of the retainer, Carol's mouth dropped open and she gasped. "But that's more than three times what I make at the store." "Sweetheart, You will be expected to be wearing nice clothes, have your hair done, go to the beauty parlor and be driving a nice car. You can't possibly do that on what the store is paying you. It's only what a good secretary gets for her time at work. Are you interested?" "You bet I am. Most definitely. I would never have imagined this happening to me when I first met you and Kim." "I take it you will be here before ten tomorrow morning to sign a contract?" "Positively Yes." Pam picked up the phone and dialed. A few words were said and she waited a bit. "Harry, Pam, It's a done deal. She'll be here at ten in the morning to sign." - - - - "OK, tell him to wait and he can bring it back with him. Should only take a few minutes to go over it. See Ya. Bye."

"OK, now call your supervisor and ask how soon you can be off the pay roll." "I know how to do it. I need one other call first." "Do whatever you have to." Carol got a book from her purse and thumbed through it, picked up the phone and dialed. "Georgia?, Carol. Are you working a second job or going to school besides working the store?" - - - - "Good. How would you like to take over my time in addition to your own?" - - - - "Great. I had something come up and I need to be out of there as quick as possible. I'll call Mrs. Barnes and if she agrees, you can start my time tomorrow at one thirty. I'll call you back and let you know either way. Bye." She hung up and dialed the store.

"Mrs. Barnes Please." While she was waiting she said, "This should do it." - - "Mrs. Barnes, this is Carol. I hate to do this to you, but I need to resign my job. I called Georgia and she would like to add my hours to her own. She's ready to start my shift tomorrow if that's agreeable with you." - - - - - -"Everything came out fine and she's OK, but I'll need to be there to help my mother when she gets home." - - - - "I'll call Georgia and let her know. Just tell payroll to mail my check. I'll be out of town for a while and thank you." She called Georgia and then turned to Pam, "That's it. I'm all yours."

"Great, now be a good girl and run back to the shipping desk and get any green tickets you find that don't also have a red part, then we can get out of here. The boys have already left." While Carol was out back, Pam called Kim's room and asked about Kim and informed Marion that she and Carol were going to eat on the way over. Carol returned, the place was secured and they left. With a quick supper on the way, they were there before six, and after briefing them on the days activities, Marion left for home.

Dr. Duncan was just leaving as they entered. He was satisfied that they hadn't tried any funny stuff with Kim. With Marion being an RN, they knew better than try, and he apologized for having to leave, but he had another patient in General Hospital to see before going home. He said good night and left. Pam and Carol sat down to talk. Pam told her the script was being rewritten as they spoke. The producer had seen the way the two interacted and wanted them to be a team. The supposed friends Kim had before the accident would desert her and Carol, A friend from grade school days would show up in the bed next to hers with a broken back and injuries to the nerves to her legs, ending up in braces as Kim would be. They would go to physical therapy at the same time and reestablish their original close friendship.

Carol loved the sound of the new plot. "How soon do we start?" "As soon as the contract is signed, you will take a cab to Tommy and he will put a cast on you from over your shoulders to your hip joints. You will be absolutely ridged from shoulders to hips. When that is set he will take you to Dr. Duncan for your shots and then bring you here.. You should have most of the feeling in your legs since the shots are going to be put onto the muscles rather than the main nerve bundle. Your legs will be weak enough that you can't walk unbraced. How does that sound to you?" "Sounds wonderful." "Tommy will use a wheelchair to move you around and I'll bring yours to the clinic when you need it."

Marion got there before eleven and they left. As they walked out the front entrance, Carol removed her glasses and opened her cane and took hold of Pam's arm and they proceeded to the car. Carol didn't wear her glasses again until they reached the clinic doors the next morning. They stopped for a moment beside the doors while Carol put her glasses on. They went inside and found that Kim was already in the studio room. They found Marion only a few feet from her and the watch was turned over to Carol as Marion went to get some breakfast and Pam went with her to keep her company and talk. "I think we have found our two replacements." "Sure looks like it. How will you keep them busy when they're not on camera?" "That won't be a problem for a while. You are going to go nuts driving and watchdoging for them. Looks like they may even have a full film of their own as principles." "You don't say." "We better get back there so I can take Carol with me."

They went back to the studio room and Pam and Carol left for the office. "Pam, I need something to do." Pam showed her how to look up the items from the fax machine and make out shipping tickets for them, and how to answer and transfer calls. Carol was soon at it and having a ball. The messenger walked in right at ten and they went into Pam's office. Pam opened and checked the package and asked the messenger to wait in the other room while they went over it. He closed the door as he went out.

Pam went over the contract with a fine tooth comb explaining each item to Carol. Carol was astounded at some of the fee's she would be getting for doing something she was starting to enjoy. Pam went over all three pages of things they could inflict on her and they were both satisfied with what was there. It even had a negotiate clause in case something had been missed. "Have you seen anything you would refuse to do?" "I don't have any refusals, but some of them seem a bit scary when you think about them." "That's why you get the fee you do. Ready to sign? This is a one year exclusive contract. You can not work for any other studio regardless what they offer you, understand?" "I understand. You will make any arrangements for me for shoots. I'll sign." Carol signed all three copies and passed them to Pam to sign as each was finished. Pam signed as exclusive agent for the girls.

One copy was returned to the messenger in the original envelope and he left. Pam made a call and said the messenger was on his way. She called the cab company and ordered a cab and then called Tommy and said Carol would be on her way as soon as the cab got there and to be ready for her. While they waited, Pam put Carol's copy in an envelope and sealed it, made up a file folder and inserted her copy of the contract along with Carol's envelope and put the folder in the file cabinet. They heard the cab horn and they both got up. Pam gave Carol a long kiss and hug and said, " Good luck baby, I'll see you tonight." "Love you Mother, Bye." and Carol went out to the cab.

At four Tommy called and said she was at the clinic and in bed. "How is she Tommy?" "Happy as a Lark in spring." "How about her legs?" "She can move them a little, but not enough to get her feet off the foot rests. She can wiggle her toes, and it seems as if that amuses her." "That's what the studio wanted. Seems Dr. Duncan did a perfect job. Thanks Tommy." She finished up the paper work by four forty five, checked all the security items and was sitting on the chair she had put by the door. When the buzzer went off at five, she walked out, locked the door and armed the alarm system. She walked thru the clinic doors ten minutes later and went directly to their room. "How are my babies doing Marion?" "Real well. They took Kim's arm cast off this morning, and Dr. Duncan gave Carol a couple of pain pills to take when she got here. I got her to take them finally. They'll stop the cast cramps, but they put her out too." "Was she wearing her glasses when they brought her in?" "Yes." "Better have her take the contacts out when she wakes up. The script didn't say anything about glasses." "Will do." "Let me grab something to eat and you can get out of here."

Pam was back in a half hour and told Marion to go. She sat there and marveled at the girls. Both of them looked like they had been in a horrible accident, but right now both were sleeping peacefully. Pam studied Carol's cast where it was exposed above the hospital gown and marveled at the smooth job Tommy had done on it. It was so quiet in there that she started to doze off. Can't have that. An idea struck her. Put the chair in front of the door with enough room to just open it. Anyone wanting in would have to wake her. She did just that, leaving about three inches clearance. Sitting down again she let herself drift off. Suddenly her head snapped up. She looked around and then at her watch. She had slept two hours. Unbelievable. She went to the phone and called Marion. "Stay home with Bob tonight. I don't have to open up tomorrow. Enjoy an evening at home." - - - - "No thanks needed. See you in the morning AFTER you have Breakfast with Bob. Good Night."

She moved the chair over to the window and sat looking out over the harbor watching the sun reflect off the water until the sun had set and then watched the lights of the boats moving around out there. It was close to eleven when there was a light knock on the door and a nurse came in. "IV check." She checked both bottles and made sure the reserve was full and made a note on each chart. "You people are sure keeping a watch on that girl. What's up?" "Have you heard through your grape vine what went on?" "No. What did go on?" "I won't say more than the watch is on both girls." "Sounds nasty." "I called Kim's doctor in at Kim's request and he had a discussion with someone. Are you on until morning?" "Yes." "Will you be in again during the night?" "Probably around five in the morning." "Good. I'm going to put the chair in front of the door so it can only open a little without waking me. Make a note to wake me at five please." "I will and thanks for telling me. See you at five." and she left.

Pam moved the chair in front of the door as before and settled down in it. It wasn't long before she was sound asleep. She was wakened by a light tapping on the door and the knob turning. "Yes?" "It's five am." "Thank you. Just a moment while I move the chair." She moved the chair and the nurse came in. "You should have used the cot. You could have moved it here and had a better nights rest with the same protection." "Thank you. I hadn't thought of that. We might just do that as long as the girls are here. You might leave a note at your station to that effect." The bottles were changed and the nurse left. Dr. Duncan came in shortly before six and pulled Kim's sleep drug.

He talked with Pam a while and Carol woke up while they were talking and asked how Kim was doing "She's doing fine. Question is, how are you doing with this." "I feel great." "What about the legs. They feel great too, until I try to move them. That's when I get my surprise, They don't move. Feels wonderful." 'I'm glad you're so happy." he peeled back the covers to expose her toes. "Can you move your toes? - -. and what about your legs? Can you raise your knees?" and they came up just a little but her feet stayed on the bed. He covered her feet up again. He said Kim would probably wake some time between nine and noon and left to do his rounds at General.

True to his predictions, Kim started to stir around nine thirty. By ten thirty she opened her eyes to see Pam and Marion sitting by her bedside. They talked for a couple of minutes when she asked, "Where's Carol?" "She's here Honey. Right over there in the other bed." Kim turned her head and looked where indicated. "What happened to you?" "Nothing. We're in this thing together, so you'll have to put up with me now." "You mean that you are going to be doing this stuff too?" "You got it kiddo." Pam and Marion had put their chairs between the foot of the beds so both girls could see them and they had raised the head end of the beds to make it easier for the girls. Pam filled Kim in on the changes to the script that would be putting the two of them together all the way through Physical Therapy. They would basically be wearing the same kind of brace. Carols would have a back brace that went clear over her shoulders, where Kim's would stop just under her breasts.

Remember when I said you were in training to take over as a teen to do what Marion and I do for the adults?" "Yes." "Kind of hard to be a team of one, and the way the two of you inter act the producers are going to have you working together quite a bit. Also you will getting the teen parts and Carol will be getting high school senior and college parts. If one of you is busy, the other can step in if age isn't a factor and if they need an older person, then Marion or I will take the job. Make sense to you?" "When you put it that way, Yes."

It was pushing noon by this time so Marion checked the quantity in each IV and noted it on their charts and signed the entry. "You two keep watch on the other. Nobody does a thing in here until we get back. We're going for a quick lunch." On the way to the cafeteria, Marion stopped by the nurses station and told them she had checked the IV's and made the entries on the charts. The duty nurse looked at her with a puzzled look on her face. "Don't worry, I signed the entry. I'm an RN too." and they proceeded to lunch.

PART ELEVEN

On returning Pam asked if anyone had been in. "Haven't seen or heard a soul since you left." "Good. Now it's time for you to get to work Carol." "What can I do?" "You will start learning how to get from the bed to the wheelchair and back so you can do it for the cameras on Monday or Tuesday." Marion proceeded to show her how to do it and Carol did it many times before Marion was happy with it. Pam held the IV bottle and moved with her as necessary. Marion had her do twelve moves every other hour. Three and rest ten minutes and then three more, etc. By bed time she could almost jump from the bed to the chair.

At ten Pam told Marion to go home so she could go get some sleep and come back at eight in the morning, and Marion left. A while later Pam told the duty nurse that she was going to turn in and would have the cot by the door. "Knock and wake me if you have to come in for something." Pam did the necessities, said good night to the girls, pulled off her shoes and dress and turned in. At five on the dot there was a tapping on the door. Pam tapped an acknowledgment and getting up, moved the cot and opened the door. "Good morning Mrs. Martin, it's five o'clock." "You mean to say I slept seven hours straight through? I don't even do that at home." "If you haven't been up, I guess you did. I need to check the IV's." That was done and the nurse left.

Pam got her dress on and sat looking out the window. The cot was back by the wall and the blankets folded. Dr. Duncan walked in around eight to check up on the girls and talk with Pam. The girls were checked and Pam and he went into the hall and sat and talked where they could watch the door. Pam wasn't sure where the conversation was leading until Marion walked up and Dr. Duncan asked her to breakfast at the restaurant just down the street a ways. Marion told her to go and not hurry back. "You've been living on cafeteria food since Friday." They went and had delightful breakfast and good conversation over the better part of two hours. He dropped her off at the clinic and left for rounds at General.

When Pam got to the room, Carol was again working at getting in and out of the wheelchair. She was also wearing her glasses. Pam didn't say anything about it but put it in mind to ask the producer if it made any difference. Between practice sessions, they all sat and talked. Pam had gone over the shooting schedule and now discussed it with the three of them so Marion would know what was going on. As noon approached, Marion checked the IV bottles and made the entries. They girls were left to watch out for each other and as the two went to lunch, they stopped by the desk and told the nurse No one was to enter the room until they returned and that the IV's had been checked and signed. They were back in a half hour.

The producer came in around two to visit with the girls and see how they were doing. Kim's traction had been removed the same time as the arm cast and she was doing fine. Carol said she was OK but wished she could have a good long soak in a tub. "You might just be able to do that Tuesday evening or Wednesday. We should be done with the cast shots some time Tuesday if everything goes OK. That's why I said possibly Wednesday. We need to get you out of the cast as soon as possible so you can be measured for your brace. Kim was measured before the cast went on and it's about ready." Both girls were elated at the news, then Carol got a worried look on her face. "What is it Sweetheart?" "I want Tommy to do the removal." Pam looked at the producer, "Any problem with that?" "I don't see any problem." Kim spoke up, "Me too." "I see no problem. You want to arrange the transportation Pam?" "One question, what about needed retakes?" "All of Kim are good so far. I'll be watching a monitor the whole time during the shooting and I'll look at the tape between scene set-ups. If I see anything, well do it right then." "Sounds good to me. Tell Marion when you're done with the last shot and she can call me." "OK." and he got up and left.

As the producer closed the door, Pam got a funny look on her face and jumped out of her chair and went for the door. She caught the producer just before he got to the elevators. "If the casts come off Wednesday, when do you want them again? Carol's brace will take some time." "Why don't we look at Monday a week and a half later, IF the brace is ready the prior Friday." "Sounds good to me. Bye." And she proceeded back to the room. Kim looked at Pam as she returned to the room. "What was that all about Mother?" "More schedule checking. Looks like you two will have a week and a half off IF Carol's brace is ready a week from Friday." "What about my extra five days to enjoy this cast?" "Isn't that why you wanted Tommy to take it off? So you would be able to wear it at home? I'm sure that was Carol's reason." Carol smiled at that comment but said nothing. "I'm sorry about the extra five Honey, but I want you out of this place."

The shooting went very well on Monday and Tuesday. In fact it went better than expected and they were done by two in the afternoon. The producer went over all the days shots with Marion and both were well satisfied. At three thirty he gave Marion the go ahead to take the girls home. She called Pam while the girls were on their way back to their room. When she got there the girls were back in bed and a doctor was there to remove the IV's and catheters. She thought while he was removing Carol's and when he turned to take Kim's out, she said, "Only the IV. I'll remove the cath after she's out of the cast. Right now she wouldn't be able to use the toilet." He agreed and then left the room.

Once the doctor was out of the room the girls were dressed. Carol pulled on a sweat suit top and worked her shorts as far up as she could get them. Mean while Kim had gotten most of the way onto a bulky knit sweater. Carol transferred to her chair that Marion had brought up from the car, and raising her bottom using the arm rests, Marion pulled the shorts the rest of the way up. Marion then reached into her bag and pulled a pair of panties and a pair of shorts out. Kim looked at them and said, "This will have to be the best trick in the world." "Not if you do as I say." Marion then gave a tug on the panties and they separated at the side and crotch.. "Now arch your back and get your bottom off the mattress. Kim's eyes were wide as she did as she was told. Marion slipped them under her hips and after Kim was back down refastened the velcro at the crotch and side. The shorts went on the same way except they had buttons at the crotch and a zipper on the side. "That WAS the neatest trick I have ever seen."

It wasn't too much later when a pair of EMT's walked in pushing a gourney. "There's a Miss Kim Martin to go to Mrs. Martins house on the hill. "That's me." Kim was moved to the gourney and the older one looked at Marion. "Mrs. Martin said you would show us the way and that you had a key." "Will you be coming out the regular exit?" "We can." "OK. I'll be waiting there with my flashers going. Give me a couple of flashes of your head lights so I know it's you and not another from your company." "OK, See you there." They left with Kim and Marion took Carol to her car. They had only been waiting there a minute or two when they saw the head lights. Carol gave them a wave as Marion pulled out with them following.

It was an uneventful trip up to the house and it was almost five by the time Kim was in her bed and the EMT's left. Marion emptied Kim's cath bag and asked," Will you be alright until Pam gets here? I need to run Carol back to town for her brace measurements." "No problem. Mother will be here in a half hour or less." Marion called Pam and then her and Carol were on their way. It didn't surprise Carol when Marion pulled into the basement of the medical building where Tommy's office was, but she WAS surprised to see Charlie the orthotist standing there. Tommy removed the cast and disappeared with it for a half hour while Charlie took measurements from Carol's shoulders to her heels. He also had her lay out on a large paper on the conference table and made a tracing that outlined her complete body and transferred his measurements to it at the proper locations. He had also marked the locations of her hip, knee and ankle joints on it.

She was all set to get dressed again after getting back into her chair when Marion put a blanket over her and said to wait a bit. Tommy came back into the room and said it would probably be another fifteen or twenty minutes before she could get dressed again and apologized for the delay. He called down to the deli and had sandwiches and coffee sent up. They finished the repast and Tommy excused himself to return in a few moments with Carol's cast. "Back on it goes." He had her get onto the examination table and had her lay back into the back half and placed the front on her and fastened the velcro straps he had added to it. Marion pulled her sweat pants on when she swung around on the table and pulled them the rest of the way up as she lifted herself with the trapeze over the table. Her top was put on and they helped her into her chair. As they started for the door he said, "Until the next time, Good Evening Ladies." "Bye Tommy and thanks." and they left for Pam's place.

Meanwhile Pam had gotten home and was talking with Kim. "You wanted the extra five days in your cast real bad, didn't you?" "I did." "Well it looks like you are stuck in it until somebody decides to call Tommy to come take it off." "How do I go to the toilet?" "You have the cath." "I mean the other." "Marion will give you an enema every other day while she is here with you." "Oh." was all she could say. Marion arrived and brought Carol in. She said she had called Bob and they were going out to eat and she needed to hurry. Pam walked out with her and told her that Kim was to stay in the cast for seven days more and would need an enema every other day starting tomorrow. Marion agreed and said she would be there around seven thirty to spend the day with the girls. She was told to not tell Kim how long the cast would be on and she agreed to that also.

Wednesday Carol called her land lady and asked that her Aunt Pam be let into her apartment to remove and store her things. She said her aunt was putting this through on her three way calling so she wouldn't have to pay a second long distance charge. That statement was to put her off in case she had caller ID on her phone. Pam was really on the extension. She would be out of town for a month or more and there was no sense in the apartment sitting empty and paying rent on it. Her Aunt would arrange storage until she returned or would ship her things to her if she didn't return. Pam then broke in and arranged to go over the next evening to get things packed up. She did go over the next evening with a bunch of boxes and started to pack things up and marking the boxes as to their contents. Before leaving she made arrangements for coming back for several days and then to bring one of the boys from the shipping desk with the van to get everything. When everything was loaded and they were ready to leave, Pam went in and turned in the keys saying that Carol had mailed them to her. She gave the land lady a card and asked that if she had missed anything, Please give her a call and it would be picked up.

Carol's braces were done by the second Friday as the producer had hoped and Kim had gotten out of her cast on Wednesday and tried on her brace for fit. She had been told to not use her legs or hip muscles and she didn't as she took a bath and other things. Pam immediately put her back into the cast. It now had velcro straps on it like Carol's. Dr. Duncan had come out on the first Friday to renew Carol's shots and did the same Sunday a week later so they would be fresh when the shooting started the next morning. Neither girl had been allowed to use her brace since the producer wanted first time shots of them trying to get around with the strange appliances. They went to the studio where the shooting was going to take place and Kim immediately recognized most of the things there. She had seen most of the things there in Pam's warehouse. The shooting went well and three weeks later the girls were finished. Carol's shots had been renewed weekly so she hadn't been able to move her legs on their own for more than five weeks now.

It took another week and a half before Carol had full feeling and control of her legs. To get around during the time since the shooting had been completed, she had to resort to using the brace from the movie set. She didn't have enough strength in her pelvic muscles to handle her own braces. She was now looking at two months since she had even stood unaided on her legs. Now that the feeling was back, Pam started her immediately on exercises to get them back in shape again so she could function. Mean while Kim had good strength in her pelvis and was able to use her own braces from the start. She also worked out on the exercises and within a few days after the end of the shooting, SHE could walk again on her own. After a week of the exercises Carol had enough strength to go back to her own braces.

On Monday, after a wonderful weekend of fun and sight seeing, Pam called and asked if the girls would like to come to the office around four so she could have Kim show her something on the computer and then go out to dinner. Of course they agreed and proceeded to get dressed in dresses. They had decided to dress very nicely but not be over dressed. Pam had said the cab would pick them up at three thirty. They were ready by two thirty and sat down to talk while they waited. Carol had taken her glasses off and was just holding them. "I can't see a thing without these. I think Pam likes to see us handicapped." "I know she does. Ever notice the difference in her when we are in our braces?" "Not that much, but I notice it when I take these off or wear the other contacts." "Let's shock her and wear our braces tonight. We have ten minutes before the cab gets here." "OK, but hurry." They were both ready on time and the cab was on schedule.

Kim paid the cab when they arrived and went in. "My, don't my two handicapped daughters look lovely this afternoon." "Thank You Mother." they both said in unison. "What was it you wanted to see me about Mother?" "Is there any way we can have the computer keep track of the information I need for the tax reports?" "I'm sure there ought to be a way." Kim went to her terminal and signed in and a few key strokes later the printer came to life. Kim was in her office wheelchair and rolled over to the printer, took a quick look at them and lay them face down in her lap. She rolled back to Pam and looking up said, "There is no way I can ever repay you for what you have done for me, but I sincerely hope this will help." and she handed the papers to Pam. Pam sat down in a rolling desk chair to look at them. Before she could finish large tears were rolling down her face. She rolled over to Kim and pulling her close gave her a kiss and a long tight hug. Kim could feel her shaking from emotion. "Honey, I don't know how or when you set this up, but it is exactly what I was hopeing you could get the computer to do." she said as she was wiping the tears from her face.

Both girls were chuckling when Carol said, "Mother, I think you need to fix your face before we go ANY place." "I bet I do. Thank You, Honey." and she left to get her purse. Kim quickly rolled out back and was back in less than a minute and was entering the tags in the computer by the time she returned. Carol was amazed at the way this kid moved around the place. A few minutes more and all the tickets had been entered and the printers had stopped. She turned to Pam, "Any morning orders to do?" "They're all done Honey." Kim had Carol bring the bills and she folded them with the customer number showing and entering the numbers, the label printer spit out the address labels. As Kim put each one down after putting the label on it, Carol picked it up, finished inserting the bill and sealed it, putting it in the out box. As they finished they both looked at Pam. She was standing there shaking her head. "No wonder the producers want you two to work together. Never have I seen anything like that. Neither of you said a word, and yet you went at that like it was a daily occurrence. Amazing is all I can say. Let's eat. It's after five."

Kim and Carol were more than surprised when Pam pulled into the parking lot at the mall and said they were going to fulfill a request made many weeks ago. Both girls looked at her in wonderment. They got out of the car and went to the mall entrance and in. Once they started down the main corridor with Pam flanked by the girls, Kim asked, "What request?" "While you were having your legs cast, which Carol didn't know about, she was telling me how relaxing it was to her to have her lunch with us at the food court and wondered if we could do it again some evening that week. That's when she found out about your cast and I told her it would be impossible for a couple of weeks due to the shootings. At the time I didn't know you were going to be out for the week either, so tonight is for Carol." "Thanks Mom. I had forgotten about even asking."

Pam and one of the cafeteria girls carried the trays to the table. They had a very enjoyable meal and decided to go to a different mall and do some shopping. This was to get Carol away from there so she wouldn't have to answer a million questions why she was wearing braces. They were going down the main walk of that mall when Carol stopped in front of the opticians window and stood looking at the frames displayed there. Kim went up beside her and they both looked and commented on the aspects of the different frames displayed there. Pam had stayed back to let them enjoy themselves without interference. Finally they turned and rejoined her and they went on.

Pam was proud of her two handicapped daughters. They looked especially elegant this evening, at least to her they did. She had seen the many looks of admiration they had both received since they had arrived. They continued to shop until it was announced the mall would be closing in ten minutes. They turned and headed for the mall entrance. When Kim saw the opticians, she moved ahead of them and was looking in the window as they went by. She turned and caught up quickly. They went to the car and Pam drove home slowly, thinking. They arrived there and Kim immediately put the coffee on as Carol got out the cups and other things to go with it.

Just as they were about to sit down, Carol excused herself and headed for her room giving Kim an opportunity to talk to Pam. "Mother can I get a pair of teen style glasses? People are still making comments that I seem to be older than I claim. Even Carol did that time we met at the food court when you were away. I don't want Carol know until I have them." "OK honey. I'll see what I can arrange." They could hear Carol on her way back. They finished their coffee and cookies and went on the deck to watch the moon come up over the far hills. The location of the house gave it a beautiful view both east and west. When the moon was fully up and completely round, Pam went in and returned with three glasses of wine and set them on the table and sat down herself. "Girls, A toast." They both looked at her when she said this and picked up her glass. They both did likewise and looked her again. "Starting at the office and ending under a full moon, my two beautiful daughters have made this the happiest evening of my life. I thank you." the glasses clinked and each took a sip, put their glasses down and went to her and gave her a kiss and hug each. There were tears in Pam's eyes when they looked at her face again. Carol escorted her to her room as Kim gathered things and cleaned up. They both got ready for bed and went to Pam's room and bid her good night with a kiss and hug each.

PART TWELVE

Over breakfast the next morning, Pam looked at Carol, "Would you be alright at home this morning by yourself? I have a few things that I need Kim at the office for." "Sure Mother. I'll get some mending done and I want to look at some of the film clips that we have and see if I can see anything wrong with the way we were working and maybe we can improve on it." Breakfast was finished and Pam and Kim left for the office, while Carol cleaned up and put things away. They opened the office and Kim went at her usual tasks for about an hour and completed them. She then made and took coffee to Pam. "What was it that you wanted me at the office for Mother?" "As far as Carol is concerned, I wanted you here to enter some new things that I had bought into the master inventory sheet. Actually, you're going to the eye doctor to get your eyes checked and get your glasses. Call for a cab and I'll get you the address." Kim couldn't believe her ears. She arranged for the cab and went back to Pam's office.

"While you're there, I want you to pick out the frames you like. He'll check your eyes, put the contacts in and check them again to get the right prescription to correct for the contacts. It'll probably take a few days to get the glasses. I asked for the strongest contacts he could provide and he assured me that your glasses would be quite strong. Stronger than Carol's, in fact." "Boy, will she be jealous." The cab had arrived and Kim left after giving Pam a kiss and hug. "Thank You Mother." She arrived at the eye doctors and was immediately admitted to the examination room where the nurse put the drops in her eyes, explaining that they would basically paralyze her eyes her eyes so she couldn't use the eye muscles to change the focus of her eyes. This would give a true prescription when they were checked.

The focus and curvature were both checked and noted on her chart. He went to his supply cabinet and came back with a pair of contacts. Explaining how to put them in, he had Kim do it. When she had them in, she couldn't see a blessed thing. She had to feel for the machine. Even though it was right in front of her face, she couldn't SEE it. She felt so strange. He messed with the different lenses for a bit and she could see the chart perfectly again. He noted the prescription and had her take the contacts out. She was told to pick out a set of frames and when that was done, went down stairs for a coffee and a cab home. They would call Pam when they were ready.

The girls spent a quiet afternoon and checked the cupboards and found that they needed to go shopping. Dinner was ready when Pam came home. After dinner they went grocery shopping and returned. They enjoyed the rest of the evening on the rear deck with a couple of glasses of wine. During the conversation the girls asked when she thought they would be going back to work again. "I'm not quite sure. Harry tells me that the writers are working on a couple of scripts that would call for both of you again, and there is one that would use Carol by herself, but you would be hired as a care giver for her for her time off camera, until she can take care of herself again." "What are they going to want me to be?" asked Carol. "Completely paralyzed from the neck down. A quadriplegic. You start out in a cast from your forehead to your waist and then in a wheelchair to the end of the picture." "How soon will this be and how long will I be that way?" "Right now I can't really answer either of those questions. The really big question is, Would you be willing to take on something like that?" "I'm sure I'd be willing if it wasn't for too long." What would you consider as too long?" "I think that would be more up to Kim. She would have the work of taking care of me. My problem would be getting bored laying around all the time. I could always go to sleep."

"What do you think Kim?" "Two months or less. Over two months is a no go, she would have trouble getting back in shape again." "I agree on that basis, so that's the time limit I'll give them. Try to be done in six weeks and the absolute end is two months. She will be pulled out at that time finished or not. You agree Carol?" "Sounds reasonable to me." "OK, I'll call Harry in the morning and tell him. That way they can schedule all the shooting that involves you to be in one group and do the other shooting either before of after your series and edit them in." They had another glass of wine and went to bed. The rest of the week was quiet. The girls played with their long braces and Pam got a kick out of watching them work in the kitchen in them. The girls spent the rest of the week in them. Friday afternoon Pam called and said she would be a little late getting home and they would be going out to dinner. She requested that if the girls wanted to be in braces, please wear the leg braces, The others would be a little too much. Seemed a strange request, but the girls complied and changed.

Pam arrived about thirty minutes late and they sat down to coffee. About half way through, Pam asked Kim to come to her room with her. She opened her purse and handed Kim a package. Kim opened it and found a contact lens care kit. Pam then handed her the contact lens case. "Put them in Honey." Kim did and was completely blind as she looked around the room. "I can't even see the door and the only way I can make out the window is that the light is brighter in that direction." "That's what you wanted, isn't it Honey?" "Exactly what I wanted." "OK, put these on and put this in your purse. Keep it close where ever you are with your contacts in." and she placed a collapsible cane in her hand. Kim put the glasses on and could see again. She went straight to the mirror to see how she looked. She couldn't believe how small her eyes looked and the rings in her glasses startled her. "Why the rings?" "That's what it takes to get glasses that strong. Now it's obvious that they're stronger than Carol's are. Let's get back to the coffee. Kim stopped by her room and put the cane in her purse on the way.

Carol was looking at a magazine and didn't look up when they returned. Finally she reached for her coffee and looked up. "YOU GOT GLASSES! Boy, do they ever look strong." "They are. I can't see a door with out the glasses and the only way I know where a window is is by the difference in brilliance in the day light outside versus the light inside." Carol had refilled the cups, so they finished and left for dinner with both girls now in glasses and braces. Kim's glasses did make her look more like a teen than she did without them. She felt good about how they looked on her and how she looked to others while wearing them. They had a great dinner and went shopping until the mall closed at nine and went home.

Sitting down on the deck with a wine, Pam asked, "Carol, would you be willing to change your name to mine with me as your parent?" "How do you mean?" "Change it to Carol Martin. That way you and Kim would be sisters on paper as well as in your minds." "What would I have to do?" "I would have my lawyer draw up all the papers and all you have to do is sign them and appear before a judge and say that is what you want to do." "The only change is the last name then?" "Yes, unless you want to change the rest." "Let's leave it at Carol Ann." "That's what it will be then, Carol Ann Martin." "I love the sound of that." "Me too." chirped Kim. She excused herself and went to her room. She took off the braces, put her glasses in her purse and opened her cane, and found her way back to the porch. Pam and Carol heard her coming and realized what she had done. Neither said anything until she found her chair and sat down. They both complimented her and they spent another couple of hours out there with Kim finding out what it was like to be blind before they finally went to bed. She folded the cane and put it in her purse, putting the purse on the night stand by her bed and turned out the light.

Kim woke up when she heard her door open in the morning. It was Pam. "Hey sleepy head, time to get up. Where are your glasses Kim?" "In my purse." "May I have them please." Kim reached in and got them out and handed them over. She had a bad feeling about this. "They'll be in my room Honey. See you in the kitchen when you get ready." Pam was surprised when Kim didn't ask when she would get them back. Kim had her shower and got dressed and went to the kitchen. "Did I get the colors OK?" she asked when she got there. "They go together OK." said Carol. She sat down and found her coffee. Breakfast was a bit trying since she couldn't see her plate, but with a little guidance from Carol, she managed to finish. By Sunday evening she was starting to feel a little more confident in getting around. Carol had taken her for several walks and made her do a little solo down the road feeling her way along the edge and finding the same curb that Kim had made her find and go up and later find and step down on the return trip and up to the house. Carol was wearing her long brace while they did this. The curb gave her problems too, with her hips locked for standing. It was an interesting trip.

Monday morning they had breakfast and Pam left for the office without a word about the glasses Kim helped Carol make lunch and dinner, doing what she could. Quiet evenings were spent at home. This was to be the pattern for the week except when they went out for a light supper Wednesday evening. Kim ordered a burger and salad thinking it would be much easier to get along with. Friday Pam called and told Carol to get Kim dressed in one of her knee length dresses and flats and to get herself dressed so they look like sisters. Make Kim look as young as possible. Forget about dinner, we're going out. Carol did as requested and they were ready by five.

Pam rolled in on time and quickly changed into a business suit and they left. On the way Pam handed Kim her glasses and told her to put them in her purse. They arrived at one of the exclusive down town hotel dining rooms and were escorted to a private dinning room off to one side. Kim could hear that there were other people already there. Pam introduced Carol and Kim to the producer that Carol would be working under. He was impressed with the girls looks and their appearances. He asked Carol if they had discussed the role she would have and if she was comfortable with it. Carol assured him she was provided it didn't last so long she had trouble recovering from it. "The shooting schedule shows three and a half weeks. I'll review the days shooting every evening and if retakes are needed we'll do them right away." "Sounds good to me." "It's settled then. You're on, starting a week from Monday. I'll contact you Monday Pam and send over the shooting schedule and the addresses of the different locations and dates to be at each."

"Kim you are a very pretty young lady. Are you totally blind?" "No. I have glasses, but they're so strong people stare at me. Using my cane, I can't see them, so they don't bother me." "Would you put them on for me, Please?" Shifting her cane to her left hand after releasing Carol's arm she reached into her purse and retrieved the glasses and put them on, folding her cane and putting it in her purse. "See why people stare at me?" "You are a very pretty girl, so people are going to take a second look anyway, never mind the glasses. Leave them on and let's eat. I have a part in mind for you that I would like to discuss with you, Carol and Pam later, after dinner."

The dinner was great and an hour later, stuffed, they moved to a small table off in one corner of the room. Coffee was served and Kim declined, requesting an orange juice instead, to keep up the young teen appearance. "Kim, Have you ever played field hockey?" "Yes, a lot of times in school. Why?" "Would you be interested in a part that had you playing in a game and getting hit on the side of the head with one of the sticks and coming out of it as a stroke victim, paralyzed on your right side and damaged eye sight?" "Yes and no would depend on a lot of things. Could I read the script before I have to answer?" "That could probably be arranged. Could you play a game without your glasses?" "I could wear contacts for that much time." "Fine. I'll send what I have of the script to Pam when I send Carol's papers over Monday or Tuesday." "I'll be looking forward to seeing it, Thank you."

Good Nights were said and they left for home. When they reached the exit to the main dining room, Kim reached up to take her glasses off. "Leave them on Honey, I like the look of them." "OK Mother." and they proceeded on their way. In the car on the way home Pam complimented Kim on her quick thinking about wearing contacts to play the field hockey game. When they reached home, Carol brought the wine and the glasses to the deck and they sat down to talk about the evenings events. Pam poured each a glass and said, "A toast to Carol. May you be happy in your choice to take on this part. For only the second part you have ever had, it's going to be a hard one to handle. I sincerely hope it does not discourage you for future parts. May you be happy as can be with this one." "Thank you Mother. Let's drink to that. I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I don't know why, but I'm intrigued by the thought of being completely helpless."

The rest of the evening went by quietly and at bed time Pam informed them, glasses only in the morning and wear clothes for horse back riding. Carol looked at her and she said, "Don't worry Carol. We'll stop at a mall on the way and get what you need. This is your last chance to relax before you start on training for your new part. Tell you both more later. Good Night." Both girls said good Night Mother at the same time and each gave her a hug and kiss and headed off to their rooms.

Pam had arranged to have the horses for most of the day and they had brought a lunch with them. Finding a cool shaded spot near a stream, they stopped to eat and water the horses. They finished rideing and had dinner on the way home, finishing up the day with an evening of relaxing. All were very happy with the way the day had gone. Sunday was quiet around the house and both girls decided to use their original braces for the day. In the early evening they decided to go for a walk and Pam went with them for their company. She had come to love these two as her own.

They both went to the office with her on Monday to help out, knowing she was going to be busy on the phone with the producer and the director of Carol's picture. Kim took over Pam's job of writing up the phone orders while Carol took over the fax orders. By ten thirty they were almost caught up. Kim had made a run around nine to deliver and pick up tickets and only the work since then had to be delivered and picked up. Kim made coffee and all stopped while they relaxed for a bit. By eleven thirty all was caught up and they relaxed until lunch. Just before two a messenger arrived with a large package for Pam and she signed for it. A few minutes later she called the girls into her office and they discussed the terms and fees of Carol's contract. After a little discussion, Pam called the producer and after a short discussion with him, she hung up, made a few marks on the contract and explained them to Carol. Carol signed and Pam counter signed all copies, put one in an envelope and sealed it. She put a second one in an envelope, sealed it and put it, with the third copy, in Carol's file folder. She handed the rest of the package to Kim and said, "Call a cab and go home. I'll see you two at dinner. Plan on enjoying yourselves the next couple of days. Cast and shots on Thursday. Marion will pick you up from Tommy's when Dr. Duncan is done with you."

The cab arrived and they went on home. After getting things set up for dinner, they sat down and started going over the script for the next job. They went through it rather rapidly, scanning for the places with a character change where Carol would take over the part to do her thing. THERE WERE NO NOTATIONS. "I wonder who will play the part of the sister?" "I didn't see an artist's list with it either." "What I want to know is, where do I start and how much of this is for me. I'm sure I do the cast part, but how much else?" They decided to go through it again, page by page and see what they could find. Part way through, Kim stopped turning the page. "Looks like who ever is playing her part gets fitted for a leg brace." Carol looked at her watch. "We better get dinner on the stove. Mother will be here in a half hour or so." At that last Kim looked at her, "You feel that way toward her too?" "How else could someone feel, the way she treats us and worries about us all the time?" Kim hugged her and said, "I'm glad you feel that way. I love and worry about you too sis." Dinner was put on and they went back to the book. There wasn't too much more after the brace fitting. A couple of outings and a trip to the mall.

Pam was home on time and dinner was ready when she walked in. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the girls cleaned off the table and Carol poured the coffee while Kim got the script. They went through it with Pam, asking some questions that she tried to answer to the best of her knowledge. When they had finished going over it again, they asked the two big questions on their minds. How much of the part was Carol's and who would be playing the sister? "Girls, Girls, let the writers finish the story line and then the producer will go over it with who ever is going to have the part to see how much of it they are willing to do and THEN the rest is up to you. That's when they will put in the artist changes and you will find out. I don't know any more than you do."

"Carol, what would you like to do for the next two days? They are your last two free days for, what, four weeks?" "Could we go to the marina and wander around for a bit and then have coffee and pie on the sun deck by the restaurant while we watch the sun set?" "You got it sweetheart." Things were cleaned up and getting their purses and each grabbing a jacket, left to do just that. They were having a good time and Carol seemed to be aglow with happiness when suddenly a frown crossed her brow. Pam noticed. "What is it dear, you were looking so happy there?" "Where will I be staying nights?" "At home of course. Marion will pick you up on the mornings you have a shoot and bring you back home when you are done for the day." "I was worried I would have to stay in a clinic again. That was too hard on you." "You WILL be at home every night. There will NEVER be another time like that. I will refuse any part that calls for a repeat of THAT for either of you." "I have another question. Will I be able to go out while I'm doing the part?"

"What do you mean Honey?" "Are we going to be stuck at home evenings while I'm like that?" "Other disabled people get to go out. I see no reason why you can't do the same if you're comfortable with it. We would have to feed you and other things, but they do that too. Marion could leave the van at the house for you and use her car to commute. We could use it in the evenings then." "Can I get another pair of glasses? With different glasses and wig, nobody would recognize me and we could come back here some times or to the restaurant at the other end of the marina." "Carol, with what you have in your account, you can get just about anything you want. That reminds me that I need to get both of you credit cards for these kinds of things so they would be billed to your account. For tomorrow, use this one." and she handed over a company card. The sun had set and they were finished with the coffee and pie. Putting their jackets on, they picked up their purses and went home.

After cleaning up from breakfast, Carol and Kim took a cab and went after Carol's new glasses. Kim was in her braces, but Carol was not. Carol picked out two new frames, and Kim decided to get a second pair for herself, a teen style for evening wear. They used the company card, but had separate charges made so they could give Pam separate receipts so she could deduct from their accounts. Finishing up there, they decided to go shopping in that neighborhood. About eleven thirty, Kim called Pam and asked if she would be free to meet them at the corner diner for lunch. She said she would be, so they hailed a cab and went there. They were barely seated when Pam walked in. They had a good lunch and the girls went back to the office with her. Kim asked for a draw from her account as she was getting low on spending money. Pam wrote her a check and looked at Carol. "I don't think I'll be spending much this next month." and they all had a good laugh. They left saying they would see her at dinner and went down the street to the bank and cashed the check.

Carol wanted to be out some more, so they took a bus to the mall and wandered around the place. They had explored this one so many times they decided to go to a different one. Back at the bus stop they checked the bus route map and boarded one to another mall where they hadn't been before. Time almost got away from them and they barely had time to get supper ready by the time Pam came home. The evening and Wednesday went all together too fast for Carol, when Thursday morning she found herself and Kim in a cab on the way to Tommy's for her cast.

When they arrived and went in she was changed into a hospital gown, her hair pulled into a high pony tail and a bathing cap put on her head. She was then taken to a casting frame and put in traction and after a half hour she was wrapped from forehead to pelvis in less than twenty minutes. Tommy had kept the cast just a little high and finished the edges as he went so there was no waiting for the cast to set and be trimmed later. It was all done in one smooth operation. When the cast sounded solid enough, Tommy slid a stool under her bottom and told her to slowly sit on it as he eased the tension on the traction to maintain the pressure as she settled down on it. A while later Tommy released the traction and the way he had installed the traction harness, was able to remove it without disturbing any flesh or causing any wrinkles in the cast lining. She had no more than been lain down on the foam padded table and the bathing cap removed than Dr. Duncan walked in with his bag of goodies.

"Good Morning To All and how are you this morning Carol?" "Fine, I guess." "Which would you prefer, arms or legs first?" "Let's be different this time and do the arms first." "OK, so be it. Let's get you rolled over onto your stomach so I can get to the right places." With the cast supporting her head, she was moved up the table where her face would be clear and rolled over. As he was getting the shots ready, she reached out for Kim's hand and held on tightly. Kim moved over by the table so Carol's arm was lying on the foam pad. Dr. Duncan put the shot in just below the shoulder joint in her back and in about two minutes Kim felt Carols grip go completely limp. Carol reached her other hand out and Kim took it with Carol holding on the same way. The shot went in the same and the same reaction occurred. He then moved to her legs and gave her a shot high in the back of each leg just below her bum. He then checked her heart as much as he could with the cast and took her blood pressure. "Everything looks good so you don't need a tranquilizer to even things out. I'll see you Sunday evening. Bye." "Bye Doctor and thanks."

The doctor left and Kim called Tommy to help turn her back over onto her back. She then called Marion saying Carol could leave in an hour from then. She went back to Carol, gave her a kiss, said she loved her and proceeded to brush out her hair. "Kim, want to know a little secret?" she whispered. "What?" "Don't tell anyone. I still have my contacts in." "You WHAT?" she whispered back. "I still have my contacts in. I can't see a thing. So long as I'm like this it doesn't matter, so don't tell anyone, Please." "I won't, but tell me when you want them out and I'll do it when nobody is around. You will need to see the cue board for the shootings." "They know I wear glasses so they'll will have to let me wear them or I have to memorize the lines. Let's keep it this way, Please?" "OK, you got it. Can you feel or move anything?" "So far as I can tell, nothing moves when I try and I couldn't feel anything when you were turning me over either."

Kim had gotten Carol's top and skirt back on about the time that Marion came in with the high backed wheelchair that Pam had put Kim into when they were playing around with the lung. Carol's shoes and socks were put on and Marion lifted her into the chair. Tommy came in about that time and asked Carol how the cast felt and if it was pinching anywhere especially around her rear end. "Feels great right now and no pinching. I'll have Mother check when she puts me to bed." Marion fastened the belt around her waist while Kim did the one arm. Marion completed the other and they left for home.

PART THIRTEEN

As soon as they stopped in the yard, Kim jumped out and went for the door and unlocked it and made sure there was nothing in the way to block Marion as she wheeled Carol in. When that was done she went to the kitchen and put the coffee on. "Could you put me on the porch, please? I feel like I've been stuck inside for a week, the way I feel. Some fresh air would be so nice." Kim opened the back door and wheeled her out there as Marion said, "I'll make some lunch and bring it out." Kim got Carol positioned facing toward the west and town and sat beside her for a minute holding her hand. "Can you feel that love?" "Not the least bit my sweet sister." "The coffee should be ready. Be back in a shake." She returned in a couple of minutes with the coffee and with Marion following with the sandwiches.

They tied right in and after a couple of minutes of Marion feeding her, Marion said, "Would you like to have your glasses back on Carol? Tommy said you took them off when they were going to put the swimming cap on you and you put them in your purse. When I went a got your purse I saw the glasses, I checked your contacts case and they're not in it. There's only one other place they could possibly be." "Thank you Aunt Marion, that would be nice." Marion pulled the glasses from her dress pocket and put them on her. She had a little problem with the cast being so close to the tops of her ears, but she managed and they went back to eating with Kim feeding her this time. Kim could see that the sun was now bothering her a bit so she went to the storage cabinet and brought back the table umbrella and set it into the hole in the table. Carol was already in the right position so she was in the shade and they finished their coffee and sandwiches.

Kim got the coffee pot, refilled all the cups and they started to talk the afternoon away. After a couple of hours, Carol said she felt like she would have to go wet. "I didn't want to say this before, but I think that for your benefit and comfort, you should use a catheter. I could put one in right now if you want to try it. I think it would be less embarrassing for you on the set while you can't go on your own." "Let's try it. I know what you mean." They took her to her room and Marion let the back rest of the chair down until Carol was almost laying flat on her back. The Cath was inserted and almost filled the bag on the first run before Marion could fill the holding bulb. "You sure DID need to go, but at least we know it's in the right place. How does it feel?" "Can't hardly tell it's there. I wonder if the shots could have affected that area too." "Might ask Dr. Duncan next time he see's you. What did Kim say? Sunday, I believe." "That's right. Sunday afternoon, to give me boosters to carry me through to the next Sunday and the next two after that with a possibility of a fourth visit." While Carol was talking, Marion had raised the back of the chair up to it's original position. "How does it feel now Honey?" "Still feels good. Can't tell it's there." Marion clamped off the hose and went and emptied the bag. On her return she rerouted things, hung the bag under the chair, unclamped the hose and they went back out on the porch.

"If I remember rightly, the shooting schedule calls for three and a half weeks. You shouldn't need the fourth visit. The effect won't just stop a week after your last booster. It could take another week to start to wear off." "Aunt Marion, Have you ever had a cast for a movie that you wore longer than necessary because you wanted to see what it would be like to try to live your normal life in it?" Marion had to think on that one for a little bit. "Yes, I did. It was a left shouldert spica, and it was wonderful. Why?" "Did you ever wear it again. Kim and I had Tommy cut our other casts off in a way that we can put them back on again with Ace bandages, or tape if we wanted to wear them out in public." "I did wear it that way a couple of times. Tommy cut it off the same way you said he did yours. Two years after it originally went on Bob decided to take a six week vacation and turned management of the company over to his floor supervisor for that time. A week before we were to leave he informed me that he had invited Tommy over for dinner the next night. Unknown to me, those two rascals had been talking for a couple of weeks. I fixed a real fine dinner that night and both of them helped me clean up afterwards. This is strange I thought, but put the thought out of my mind. When we were done Bob asked me to put the cast on again to show Tommy. He helped me into it, wrapping an Ace bandage at my waist, my breasts and out my arm. At his insistence I didn't bother with a blouse and just pulled my skirt back up."

Marion continued, "Before I realized what was happening, Bob was unwinding the Ace bandage from my arm as Tommy was wrapping a layer of plaster bandage on to it. I stood there dumbfounded while this was happening. They had me stand there while they completely wrapped the whole cast, and when they had finished they had put two wraps on the body part. When I asked why, I was told he wanted the cast to look new. There was no way that we could remove the cast now. We would have to see Tommy to have it done. While Bob was telling me this, Tommy had cleaned up his mess. He picked up his bag of supplies and as he headed for the door, he turned and said *See you in seven weeks* and went out. At the moment, I could have killed both of them. It turned out to be the best vacation we ever had. Bob was so attentive the whole time. I think that trip brought us closer together than ANYTHING we had ever done in our lives up until that then. After we returned, I had to wait until Monday to see Tommy to have it removed. I went while Bob was at work. Tommy removed it alright, but unknown to Bob until he came home that evening, I had Tommy replace it with another one with my arm in a slightly different position. Bob went wild when he saw me in the kitchen when he came home. I wore it for another six weeks and it was like a second vacation."

"What a beautiful story." and Kim agreed whole heartedly. "Now do you see why there may be a possibility of a fourth visit from the good Doctor?" "Are YOU telling me that.........." "There's a strong possibility that I may want to find out what life is like for someone who's like this permanently. I can't put this on and off like a cast. I may want to see what life is like for me without the schedule of getting to the studio every day and just live the day as I want. Go shopping, Go out to dinner and other things in this condition. Right now, I don't have a tense muscle in my body and it feels so relaxing. I can't tell you how pleasant it feels." "You've been that way for only four hours now and you're ready to make a commitment like that?" "It's not that I'm ready to, but given the conditions of this, I need to plan for what I might do." They returned to Carol's room and Marion proceeded to instruct Kim in what she was going to have to do to take care of Carol, from sanitary needs to getting her in bed and how to exercise her arms and legs to keep the muscles in shape for when the paralysis wore off. They were still at it when Pam walked through the door.

"My God, I forgot to make dinner. I'm so sorry Mother." "Don't worry Honey, there's no rush. I want to spend some time with Carol." "Now that you're home I think I'll go and get things ready to feed Bob." Pam walked out to the door with her and when they were outside, Marion told her how the day had gone and the comments that Carol had made. Pam was astonished but not too surprised at the comments. "I thought that might happen. Expect the same from Kim after their next picture. Come at your convenience in the morning. I'll call if I think you need to be here, otherwise let the girls have the time to themselves. In fact, don't come unless they or I call you. Have your cell phone ON if you leave the house." "OK, I'll leave them to themselves. They are a pair, arn't they?" "That they are. Good Night." Marion left and Pam went back inside.

Friday and the weekend went great. Carol was as happy as could be. Kim only had to call Marion once to find out how to do something. Other than that, Marion had the weekend with Bob. They came out Saturday morning to see the girls, and leave the van in case the three wanted to go someplace. Kim was especially happy to see Bob again. The possibility of the girls staying at Marion and Bobs place again, in Kim's rooms, was discussed as a way to cut down on the amount of driving that Marion would have to do and Pam could stop to see them on her way home from work. They would stay with Pam on the weekends. Kim was unsure of what to think. It would save Marion about forty miles of driving each day. That would add up two hundred a week or about seven hundred for the three and a half weeks. That's a lot of driving. The adults finally settled it that way and told the girls to have their things ready to go Monday morning when they were picked up. Kim and Pam worked together and put out a lunch for all. Bob and Marion left shortly after.

Saturday evening, while Carol was on the sun deck, Pam and Kim were in the kitchen getting supper. "I was going to ask you to come to my room after we put Carol to bed, but we can talk now. I'll Call Dr. Duncan and set up for him to come for supper tomorrow and we'll take Carol for an outing and lunch some place. In the morning, get her dressed but don't put her glasses on. Put them in your purse. I found another restaurant in a marina and we'll have lunch there After she's out of the van put her glasses on. She seem's to love being around the water and boats. I'm almost ready to bet, that when this is over, she'll buy a car and a boat within a week of each other." "I wouldn't be surprised at all, but she will be surprised when she doesn't recognize the restaurant tomorrow." Things were put on to cook and Kim went out to Carol with a couple of coffee's and sat and talked. "I hope you didn't mind me sleeping in the same bed with you the last couple of nights. That way, if you need me I'm right there. That's the way it'll have to be at Marion's. There's only one bed in my rooms, but it's big enough for both of us." "I love it. I feel so secure and it's like having a slumber party." "I'm glad you feel that way Sis."

The table had been set so Pam came out to the deck and joined the girls for ten minutes or so and had a coffee with them. She then went in to check dinner and soon called the girls to the table. They had a good time at the table with Kim feeding Carol. They ended up talking the evening away and went to bed after a glass of wine to relax. Pam had brought a transfer board from work and Kim was able to completely take care of Carol on her own. Pam kept listening to the sounds from Carol's room and when everything went quiet, went in and wished the girls good night with a kiss for each and said how much she loved them.

Saturday morning Kim had complete charge of Carol. After waking them, Pam went on to the kitchen and started breakfast. The day went as planned. Carol never asked for her glasses and the only comment she made came as Pam was letting her down to the ground on the lift in the side of the van. "I smell the sea. We must be near the marina." She was wheeled to one of the walkways along the water and when they reached some benches, Kim got her glasses out and got them on her. She then slowly turned the chair so Carol could get a view of the whole place. They talked for a bit and then took a stroll around the boat basin.. Carol commented that she had never been to this particular marina before, which made Pam feel good. They entered the restaurant right at noon and the hostess sat them at a window table that Pam had reserved. Carol was positioned so she could see the boats as they worked their way through the various channels of the marina. The lunch was great and they took another short stroll before going home.

When they got into the house, Carol looked at Pam, "Thank you Mother, that was a wonderful treat." "You deserve it Sweetheart." The afternoon was spent packing the clothes they wanted to take for the week at Marion's. Marion came out around eight and after talking a while took Carol to the toilet and gave her an enema. "Don't want you getting bound up. You have enough problems right now and don't need that." They talked for a while more and Marion went home. Kim took the suit cases out and put them in the van ready for the morning. Pam drove the van to Marion's and then got into the passenger seat. Marion came out and took over the driving and dropped Pam off at the office. She would take a cab home that evening.

After each scene, Marion and the producer would leave Kim to monitor Carol and they would go to a private sound proof room and review the last take. Every one was good to go. There was only one retake and the director had caught that one on the monitor he watched. He had stopped everything and had it redone then and there. At two thirty Friday, Marion was told that all the shots requiring the cast were done and they could leave. Have Carol back Monday morning without the cast. She went to the girls and gave them the good news and they left. When they got into the van she asked when Carol would like the cast off. They needed to go over to Charlie's place and get her fitted for a neck brace for a couple of days shooting next week. "Might as well do it now and be done with it. Have Tommy take it off like he did the others." "OK." and she called Tommy on her cell phone and told him they were on their way. The cast was removed the way she wanted and they were on their way over to Charlies. On the way there she said, "While they're fitting that on me, why not call Dr. Duncan and see if it would make much difference if he gave me the boosters on our way home instead of Sunday. That way he wouldn't have to interrupt his weekend and we wouldn't have to interrupt ours." "Good Idea."

Carol was fitted with a hard collar while Marion made the call to Dr. Duncan. As they got into the van she said, "He said he would meet us at the house as soon as he closed the office, and that there would be no problems with giving you the boosters on Friday evenings. He appreciated your concern about interrupting his weekends." The shots were given that evening and on the next two Fridays. All the shooting went well with very few retakes and most of them were caught as they occurred. They went out to dinner several times and Carol appeared to be enjoying herself. A couple of those times they went back to the new found marina and Pam had reserved the same table so Carol could watch the boats. The exercises that Kim had been doing to build her strength for crutching started to show their value as Kim was able to handle Carol's limp body much easier than she had expected. The shooting was going to run one day over schedule and for Carol it came down to decision time. She talked it over with Pam and Kim and was told to do whatever she would like. They would support her.

She decided to go with the fourth series of shots, knowing full well what that would mean. Wednesday she had Marion call Dr. Duncan and she talked to him herself and made the arrangement for him to come out Friday to give her the fourth in the series of shots. What she didn't realize was that her system was loading up on the chemicals and absorbing each shot slower than the previous one. She got the shots and as expected, remained a quadriplegic. It took seven weeks before she started to have sensation in her arms and eight weeks for her legs to do the same. At the same time she found that she could move her fingers a little bit. At least enough to see them move. It was ten weeks before she could raise her arms off of the arm rests and twelve before she could raise a sandwich to her mouth, no matter how hard she tried. The strength just was not there. It went to a full three months before she could fully feed herself and move her wheelchair by herself. It was hard work, but she was now able to transfer from the chair to bed and back. She had Kim help her into the full brace one day thinking that might help.

She had been doing exercises on the bed to try to strengthen her legs but knew in her heart that she would never be able to stand without the long brace. She just didn't have the strength to control her upper legs enough to use the KAFO's. She was able to get around in the long brace and after a couple of hours, decided to unlock one hip, and use those muscles to do a four point walk. That turned out to be the best exercise. Now and then she would stop and see how far she could raise the free leg. After an hour of this she switched legs, and did the same with the other. She finally sat down to rest and Kim fixed lunch. After lunch Kim brought out the exercycle and helped Carol get onto it. With hips and knees unlocked, Kim had her start peddling it while she called Marion and asked how long Carol should work on the cycle and gave her an update on what they had been doing.

Returning she said, "Marion said thirty minutes maximum with at least an hour between times and at least three times a day. She also said to not use that brace when you feel you can use the other ones and to stop using them when you can get around only using crutches." "I take it then, I can use the chair when my legs get tired?" "Yes, or if you don't want to use the crutches when we go out. You need to get back in shape fast. Our next series is coming up soon." Carol worked hard at it, using hand weights to strengthen her arms when she was seated in the chair resting her legs and then back to the exercycle again. Carol got five sessions in that day and six the next day, taking a hot soaking bath each night to relax her muscles before going to bed. The third day Kim got a surprise when she went into Carol's room to help her into the brace. Carol was standing beside her bed wearing the KAFO's. She did a stiff leg walk to the hall and did a couple of cautious swing through's. "I think we are on our way now Sis, and they proceeded to have breakfast." The day went the same as previous, as did the following one. Dinner was ready when Pam came home that evening and they had a great time talking about Carol's progress. After the second coffee Carol excused herself for a few minutes.

A few minutes later they heard Carol's door and the sound of crutches. Carol came around the corner into the living room and stopped. Pam and Kim gasped in surprise. There stood Carol in a white blouse and short plaid skirt and NO BRACES IN SIGHT. Kim practically flew out of her chair and Pam was right behind her. They both hugged her and said how good she looked standing there. They both sat back down and Carol wandered around the house like a caged lion. After a while she asked if the they could go out to dinner the next night at that new marina "Of course Sweetheart." and Pam got her purse and finding her address book, called and reserved the same table as before for seven the next evening. Carol meanwhile had sat herself at the dinning room table, not trusting that she would be able to get up from one of the over stuffed chairs or the sofa.

They had gotten quite friendly with the waitress and she was overjoyed at seeing Carol up on her feet again, even though she still needed the crutches. It was a great evening, and they went home very happy with the way things were going. Carol made a complete recovery over the next couple of weeks and they even went horse back riding a couple of times. Carol could now see why Marion kept on insisting that they keep up exercising all the time.

PART FOURTEEN

The day had finally come. Carol and Kim were playing with their toys when Pam called and said to grab a cab and come to the office. Both were wearing their glasses and Kim had her KAFO's on. Kim called the cab and they both changed clothes wondering what was up. Pam had them come right into her office, not saying a word about Kim wearing her braces. There was a thick brown envelope lying on her desk. She greeted the girls and had Carol get three coffee's. She opened the envelope and said, "Here it is. Your next job. There's two copies. Look them over while I go out back for a while. I think you will like this one. You were given the general outline several months ago. See you in a while." The girls opened them up and started to go through them.

Kim was going through hers a bit faster than Carol and suddenly said, "Here it is. I get hit in the head while playing field hockey and end up in the hospital. Turns out that I'm paralyzed on my right side and my eye sight has been affected. I'm released after a week and go to the eye specialist that checked them in the hospital. He tests them and prescribes glasses. When I get them, I look in the mirror and start to cry because they're so thick." "I wonder who will be playing her girl friend? Sounds like they have a delightful time when they're together." They kept on reading and found that the paralysis eventually goes away but her eyes don't change back. It goes on to a happy ending with the girls moving in together after graduation, to help Kim with her living, and eventually staying together to keep expenses down when they get jobs. "Sounds delightful. I wonder who the actress is that you will be subbing for and who has the other part."

Kim thought for a moment. "I wonder if Pam might know or if she could find out for us." "Find out what, Kim?" Pam had returned just as Kim had said that. "Do you know who the two girls are that I'll be working with?" "Did you find the substitution shift where you take over and then where she takes the action back?" "That was going to be my next question." "There aren't any." "You mean to say ..............." "That's right Baby, this picture is YOURS." "But then, Who's the girl friend?" "Carol." "CAROL?" "That's it. This one is for the two of you. After what Carol did on her last job, they couldn't resist putting the two of you together in a full show." Together they both said, "I don't believe this." and they both started to cry in happiness and went to Pam to show their appreciation.

Time marched on and it was time for lunch. "Let's go down to the corner and have lunch." said Pam. She locked the door and they did just that. On the way there Pam said, "I'm proud of the way both of you are dressed. Very professional looking." No more was said about the next job until they returned to the office. "I want you girls to take these home with you and go over them very carefully and see if you find anything you would like changed. There will be many location shots so you will be doing a lot of traveling. There is also a couple of blocks of time for continued improvement in your condition and they want shots during those times. Call a cab and get out of here." Kim called the cab and when it arrived, they said their Good Bye's and left.

On the way home they decided this should be a special evening for Pam. They stopped the cab at the market and then proceeded on home. Kim paid the cab and they went in and to work. About four they started getting things ready for dinner and put it on cooking. They were hard at it when Pam walked in. They both got up to greet her and Kim said, "Go put on something comfortable while we get dinner on the table." "OK. What ever you have cooking smells wonderful." and she went to change. When she came back, there was a feast lain out on the table. "My, My, what's all this?" "It's a thank you Mother." and they left it at that. After dinner, with all stuffed from eating too much, they retired to the deck with coffee. The girls asked several questions and Pam showed them or explained the answers to them. "When do we sign on and when do we start?" "You can sign now and I'll call Harry and let him know." and they went inside with Pam going to her room for the papers. They were signed and counter signed and Pam called Harry from her room.

She returned a while later. Harry was happy they accepted the script without changes and would get back to them when the costumers were ready and the shooting schedule was set up. Probably a couple of weeks. A week later they were called to the costume makers for measurements. On returning, Kim went in and checked her E-mail. When Kim had gotten her check for the ranch and restaurant jobs, she had bought a computer to have in her room and imported her account from Marion's. She kept in regular touch with her mother, telling her about the different places she had gone. Now she was getting worried. They were talking about taking a vacation and coming to California to see her. This would not do. At least not at this time, with the new job to do. She told them over dinner that night and asked Pam what she should do.

"Have you told them what you do for a living when you're not working for me?" "NO WAY. They would think I was out of my ever lov'in mind." "Depending on how soon they want to come out, it might pay to invest in a phone call and talk to them and explain things. If you wanted, I could get on the phone and maybe soften the blow a bit." "Suppose I'm in the middle of this thing when they show up. They might just raise the devil with both me and the producer, not to say the least, what would they say to you for letting me do this?" "Nothing more than some of the things that have been said to me in the past. Maybe you could get them to hold off for a couple of months. It's kind of warm around here this time of year." "This is cool compared to what it is back home right now. This would be like spring or fall to them."

"I guess that wouldn't work then. The only other alternatives I can think of are to go visit them, or tell them the truth. Since they want to come out here to cool off and see you, the first would be out. I'll have to think on this." When this conversation started, Carol came to attention and as it progressed her mouth dropped open as she stared at them, not saying anything that would change the subject. Kim saw this and now had her chance to rectify a long time misunderstanding. "Mother, I think I need to come clean with Carol. This seems to have her totally confused." "Yes, I think we both need to." "Excuse me a minute while I go to my room." and Kim went returning with her purse and some papers in her hand.

She opened her purse and pulled out her wallet and handed her a student ID card. Carol looked at it. She then handed over a birth certificate. "That's the me that you know. The birth certificate is real and can be checked out at the hospital. Now, THIS is the REAL me." as she handed over a second birth certificate. "It will also check out with that hospital and it also is real." "How in the world can anyone have two genuine birth certificates? That's impossible." "You take it Mother." "Yes Carol, both are genuine. Kimberly was my natural daughter. She died of pneumonia, on the east coast, when she was nine years old. It appears that the hospital was never advised, because when I requested a duplicate for traveling, they issued that one. I asked for it when I saw Kim's potential. The student card is a fake." "The first name is the same on both of these." "That just happened to be a happy coincidence and saves Kim the problem of remembering a different name." "That means that you just turned nineteen just like me. We're the same age, but I have a problem believing it." "Believe it, Sis. It's just that I'm so much shorter than you." Carol got up and went to her and gave her a big hug. "You'll always be my baby sister." She then went to Pam and looked at her and gave her a big hug too. "I love you Mother, for telling me everything. Don't try to apologize for anything. Neither of you ever lied to me, I just assumed she was your fifteen year old daughter."

Carol went and sat back with a happy smile on her face. The other two seemed to be a bit more relaxed than normally to her. Maybe they were, having gotten that out in the open and not having to worry about any slipping up any more. Suddenly Carol got a wide grin across her face. "Eighteen is the legal age in this state for a girl. So, no matter what they think about what you do to earn a living, there's nothing they can do about it." "I know that, it's just that I don't want to hurt them." "Hey, this is legitimate movies. They should be happy for you. Every girl in a thousand, dreams of this happening to her and ninety nine point nine percent of the time it doesn't. At least you're not doing porn. Think of the reputation THOSE girls get." "I keep thinking about the hell they might raise with Pam because they would think I'm hurting my body." "Just tell them we are supervised by a doctor and other specialists and we have a nurse in semi-residence and with us at all times when we are on a set or location. That should settle them down or nothing will."

"Carol has a point there Kim. You are always under the care of a doctor and Marion is always going to be near you when you are on a shoot. What we need to know is, when are they planning on coming to see you. Might be an idea to send them a note and ask what their schedule is going to be so you can arrange for time off work." "I'll put an E-mail out tonight and ask them." "Find out if they are going to drive out or fly." They had not received the shooting schedule yet, so they didn't actually have any firm date for things to get started. Kim sent the E-mail when they parted for bed, knowing that due to the time difference, her parents would already be in bed and would pick it up some time tomorrow. Kim checked her mail several times the next day and it was after four before she got a reply.

*Darling Daughter

You sound so happy all the time, we're dying to see you but looks like your father can't get two weeks off for at least a month or possibly six weeks. Right now they're busier than a bunch of cats on a hot tin roof. He's having to put in overtime several nights a week. We are strongly considering driving out so we can see some of the country on the way. They say it's a beautiful drive up through the mountains. We'll keep you posted on the schedule as we know things.

Love, Mother and Dad *

Kim printed the message out and laid it on the table where Pam normally sat and went back to the kitchen to help Carol finish with dinner. Pam came in right on schedule and went directly to her room and returned wearing a light weight cotton dress and flats. "This is so much more comfortable." The coffee was at her place, so she sat there and saw the message. "Depending on the schedule we might have a problem here. Two more weeks before their departure might just be the key. I'll talk to Harry and see if we could get some of the first shots out of the way while they finish up the rest of the schedule. That might shorten things up just enough to take care of our worries." She got up and went to her room. The girls could hear her talking to Harry and everything sounded peaceful, so they felt she was getting what she asked for. There was even a little laugh now and then, so they must be agreeing to something.

Pam finally came back to the dinning table and sat down, still chuckling to her self. "They have already started shooting the scenes that you are not in, and this is the best part, he was going to call tomorrow to see if you two were ready to go, and how was Carol doing. That's why we were laughing. I beat him to the punch. "When do you want to start?" "As soon as we can. When is our first schedule?" "Day after tomorrow. Harry will send the schedule and the rest of the script over by messenger tomorrow morning. You two can start working on your lines after dinner, and remember Kim, no glasses until after the accident. Let's eat. I'm starved. Back in a minute." She called Harry and confirmed that day after tomorrow was good and returned to the table. The food was there and waiting for her.

The girls were complimented on their cooking and after things were cleaned up and the second coffee gone, she went and called Marion and brought her up to date while the girls worked on their lines. A couple hours into it, the girls took a break and everyone grabbed a cup of coffee and they went onto the deck to relax a bit and just talk. The coffee disappeared and they went back to work. At ten thirty Pam called a halt and served a wine each. They talked a little and went to bed.

At breakfast the next morning, Pam said, "Marion will pick you two up and take you to get your glasses for the script. They will have all the instructions regarding them. Pick out a pair you like. You get to keep them. Take your contacts out before you leave here and he is going to recheck your eyes to be sure that wearing your contacts and glasses so much isn't changing them." "What time should we be ready?" "Do up the dishes and putter around. The office opens at nine. See you two this evening and study as much as you can." With that she grabbed her briefcase and headed for the office. Marion was there just after eight thirty and Kim took her contacts out as they rolled out the driveway.

Taking it easy on the way there, they still arrived with five minutes to spare. The nurse was there so she put the drops in Kim's eyes to get things started. While waiting for the drops to work, Kim looked over and tried a bunch of frames finally deciding on a pair and asked Carol's opinion. "I think that's the best pair you have tried on so far. Put those to the side and see if any of the others look better on you, but I don't think you'll find any." Kim finally agreed that she couldn't find any that she thought looked better and took those to the receptionist. She was called to the back room and her eyes were tested without the contacts and there was no change. She put the contacts back in and was checked again and it came out the same as the last test a couple of months ago. The doctor told her the glasses and bill would go directly to Pam when they were ready.

Marion took the girls home and study they did. She did a little house work to stay busy and out of the way, but was ready to stop and answer any questions the girls had about anything in the script and was making lunch before they realized what she was doing. "You two keep going. I'll call when this is ready." and the girls did as told. She brought them coffee at mid afternoon and had them take a twenty minute break and then back it. She had dinner ready to put on the table the minute Pam walked in. When she had called the girls and everyone sat down to eat, she excused herself to go home and get dinner for Bob. The three protested, but she was firm in wanting to have dinner with Bob. "I'll pick you girls up at seven. Be Ready. Bye All."

The girls were ready and Marion did pick them up at seven. On the way there she said, "Back in harness again like a bunch of work horses." Both girls were dressed as High School students with Carol dressed to look just a bit older than Kim. The days shooting went very well and at the end of the day they were told that tomorrow was the big day. Kim would be out on the field playing Field Hockey with Sophomores from two high schools. Carol would be in the stands and when she got hit, Carol would run out to be with her. The stands would have a bunch of actual students in them but they would be told that they were not to leave the stands, no matter what happened unless they were one of the dozen that would be told to do so before hand. There would appear to be an accident on the field, but it was part of the script, but to make it appear real, he would appreciate it if the spectators went deathly silent when the girl went down. Everyone was released to go home.

The girls were picked up at seven again and went directly to the stadium at the nearest of the two schools. The cameras had already been set up and there was a wardrobe trailer there for changing. Kim was given one of the actual school uniforms to wear rather than one from wardrobe supply. The teams arrived and Kim was introduced around and the rules for the day were explained to them. They all proceeded to get acquainted while the students filed in. The instructions were given and Carol was introduced to them. "This Young Lady will be the que to the twelve that have been authorized to go on to the field. When Carol stands up to run out, count to five before you move then get out there like it was a close friend that was hurt.

The first part of the game really brought back memories for Kim. This was one of the sports she favored. They played hard for close to fifteen minutes before a halt was called. The teams then changed apparent goals and restarted the game. After about ten minutes a halt was again called. Kim and one of the team girls that had been asked went to the wardrobe van and gave her shirt to a stunt girl while a neck protector was fitted to Kim. It was well padded and went from under her helmet down her neck and spread over her shoulders and fastened under her arms. The game proceeded and the green light came on indicating Kim and the other girl get in position and do the stunt when ready.

"Green light Kim." "I saw it where's the ball?" "Coming up. Get ready." "Right behind you about three feet." "OK. Here it comes." and she swung at the ball and let her stick continue to swing, but without any power behind it. She was actually holding back on it some. Kim felt it hit and crumpled to the ground as planned. The teams gathered quickly and the protector disappeared almost instantly and her helmet was back in place. Carol delayed until the cry, "She's hurt, get help." and Carol was up and running. Three seconds later the authorized students were up and running as also was the hand held camera and the game officials. Carol got there and dropped down, "You OK baby?" "I'm fine." "Close your eyes, camera coming in fast. You're out cold." The camera closed in and got a bunch of shots and in a few seconds the studio ambulance came screaming up. The orderlies checked Kim and loaded her up, with the hand held camera catching all the action and the expressions of shock on the faces of the teams. The ambulance left the scene and the end flag went up.

The students heard the PA come live and all went perfectly quiet. "Ladies and Gentlemen, not students, I truely mean Ladies Gentlemen, that was a superb performance. I could not have expected any finer performance from a group of professional this size. Everything went perfect and no retakes will be required. Congratulations on a job well done. I wish I could pay you in cash for what you have done here today, but State Law and the Actors guild forbid that. In place of that there is a wardrobe unit behind the stands. Beside it a Young Lady waits at a table for you to sign the guest book, and in return you will receive a voucher for dinner for two at the xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx which I know is the students favorite restaurant in this area. Will the Captains of the two teams and the game officials please meet under the flag for the last scene that needs to be done. Ladies and gentlemen I thank you once again. Please file out of the stands quietly and orderly while grieving for the student that was injured.

The last scene showed the game being canceled and called a no-game which results in neither team loseing any point standings. It also had the shocked and grieving students departing in the background as the scene closed. Kim headed back to grab a shower, but was delayed by the students wanting her and Carols autographs. She finally got her shower and changed. She put her contacts in and put her glasses on. The spectator students were curious that none of the team members were there wanting autographs. Unknown to them, pictures were taken of Kim with the teams prior to their coming to the stands. Her work would start when the sets were printed and put into large envelopes. Each team member will get a set and one picture in each set will be autographed by Kim to the individual whose name appears on the envelope. Each team member had signed a roster in the locker room and the pictures would be delivered to each school for delivery to the team by the coach.

They had lunch on the way to the studio hospital room. When they arrived, Kim was taken behind a screen and put into a hospital gown and put on a gourney. She was rolled into the hallway and the room was cleared. Filming started as she was rolled into the room and put to bed. When she was behind the curtain, she had put her glasses in her purse and handed it to Marion. Now she was blind again until she got them back. She lay there with her eyes closed while scenes of the next three days were shot. All took a break while things were set up for the next set. This was the day she was to wake up. Carol got a coke for Kim and held it out to her, and Kim had to feel around to find it. That was when one of the young girl stage hands realized how blind she was without her glasses and let out a gasp. About the time Kim finished her coke, the director called "Places everyone." Carol took the empty can and got out of the way as Kim lay back down and closed her eyes.

By the end of the day, they had finished all the hospital room shots. When all was done Kim started to get out of the bed and called Carol over. Quietly she said, "Let me borrow your cane." "OK Baby." In a normal voice, "Guide me to my clothes will you please?" She swept the area in front of her as they went until Carol said to sit down. She proceeded to get dressed and they left with Carol guiding her. When they reached the van to go home, Carol said, "OK, time to fess up. What was that all about in there?" "Didn't you hear that girl gasp when you made me feel around for the coke?" "I did, so what does that mean?" "I think she had just realized I'm blind without my glasses." Kim gave the cane back to Carol and got her glasses out of her purse and they went home. Kim had done a good job faking the paralysis when the 'Doctor' was checking her.

PART FIFTEEN

Pam was already home when they arrived. Marion parked the van out of the way and jumped into her own car and took off for home. She had called Bob on her cell phone and he said not to worry, they were going out to dinner. This had to be something special. Kim greeted Pam with a hug and kiss and went straight to her room to get the shooting schedule and came back studying it. "Looks like we have two solid weeks of shooting and then recovery shots and then the closing with me on my feet again but still blind without glasses. I like all these different places we get to go to, even if I do have to go in a wheelchair to go there."

"Mom, can we go out to dinner and shopping tonight? I need to get the shots tomorrow afternoon if this is going to work." "Sure Honey, where do you want to go?" "I'd like to go to that new Marina. That waitress is kind of nice." "Seven sound OK" "OK by me." "Me too." "I'll call. We have less than an hour to be out of here then." When the girls came back Pam lost her breath. They were wearing identical outfits, right down to their glasses. Even their hair had been done the same. "Do we look like sisters mother?" "You sure do. There is no mistaking that." All were wearing dresses and heels tonight. They finally left and had an enjoyable time. The waitress thought they looked absolutely perfect and said so to Pam.

They finished up their dinner and headed out to the mall to do some shopping. They mostly wandered around window shopping. The girls did go into the department store and looked at skirts and blouses. Kim picked out a below the knee skirt she felt would work well with her brace and picked out a blouse to go with it. Carol liked the combination and bought a set for herself. "Maybe we could wear them for the mall shots if the director approves." "That's a good thought. We ARE supposed to be SISTERS in this one, and not just friends." That brought a smile to both Pam's and Carol's faces. The mall was getting set to close for the evening so they proceeded on home.

They girls went straight to their rooms to put the new items on and model them for Pam while she put the coffee on. On the way down the hall Kim whispered to Carol, "Put on your black Mary Janes." Carol wondered at this but did as asked. Kim worked as fast as she could and when she was done, went and tapped on the joint wall between them, signaling that she was ready. Carol tapped back OK and they both entered the hall at the same time and went to the living room. Again Pam almost lost her breath. They were identical except for the brace that Kim was wearing. "Mother, I have two questions." said Carol. "Ask them." "First, Do you think we could go out looking like this a couple of times?, and Second, Do you think the director would approve of these outfits for the mall shots?"

"First, You two can dress any way that suits your mood and we can go out any time you so desire. Please don't consider yourselves stuck here all day. Call a cab any time you want. Just let me know if you won't be here when I get home so I don't panic. If it's close to five call and I'll meet you. As to your second question. If Kim will get her digital camera, we can take a set of shots for Marion to show him and see what he says." "Great idea." and Kim went to get the camera. When she left, Carol said, "I didn't know she had one." "That little girl has or knows about everything connected with computers." Kim was back in a minute with her camera. Pam had them pose several different ways and took about a dozen different shots. For several of them, Kim let her right arm totally relax to show what she would look like for the shoot at the mall.

"Let's go to my room and see what we have here." and she picked up her cup and left. Pam and Carol did likewise. Carol couldn't believe what she heard. "You mean that you can look at the pictures without having them sent out?" "My Dearest Sister, I will have you a set of proofs in twenty minutes." and she connected the camera to a cable laying in front of her monitor and brought up her favorites menu. The screen went blank for a moment and a program came up. Grabbing her mouse she moved the arrow around with a few clicks and then reached over and turned her camera on and made a click on a small box and sat back. Carol couldn't believe her eyes. On the left side of the screen a string of pictures the size of 35mm slides started to appear. "I don't believe this." "Believe it, Sis."

She clicked on the first picture and it came up as a four by five and Carol gasped. It was a beautiful shot and the colors were perfect. "This is absolutely amazing." Kim clicked SAVE and moved on to the next picture, did the same things and hit save. Each time she asked Pam "Save" and waited for the nod of approval. The complete set was put to save and she closed the program and brought up a second one. This one changed the format. She went through the list and changed each one to a .jpg file. Closing that program she opened Publisher. While it was coming up, she asked Pam if four per page was OK until they decided which to enlarge. Pam approved the idea and she went to work. She imported the first four, placing just clear of the four corners of the page as they came up. A diagonal pair was moved onto the page outline and the size adjusted until all four edges met in a perfect cross over. The other two were moved into position and adjusted to fill the blank spaces, and called for page two, did the same and called for page three and again did the same. She clicked file and then save, with it calling for a file name she keyed one in and clicked save again. When the action light went out she she changed the printer cartridge to a color one, clicked on print, picked up her coffee and sat back. Looking at her watch she said, "Might make it yet." "Might make what yet?" "I said proofs in twenty minutes. As I said, I might make it yet." After she had a couple sips of her coffee the printer pushed out the first page. "Just under two minutes, I will make It."

At nineteen minutes and some seconds, Kim handed Carol three pages of pictures. "I made it." she said with a big smile. With a satisfied look on her face, Kim picked up her coffee while the other two went over the pictures trying to decide which six to enlarge. "Let's sit at the table to look at these. I need to sit down." Carol said and they went to the dining room as Kim clicked save and named the .pub file. She then joined them. Carol was still having a hard time believing that twenty minutes before, they were taking these pictures, and now she was looking at them. They were having a hard time deciding and Kim went to the desk and brought back a pencil. "Put a check mark in the margin next to the ones you want to enlarge. Remember that if we enlarged them too much, they will get grainy and not look good, so we have to watch how far we push them."

It took a good half hour for them to decide and finally there were six check marks in the margins. Kim took the pages and went back to her computer and did a copy and paste to a new page for each of the six. She then went back to the first and brought it up as far as she felt she could with regard to what the screen showed for quality. Looking at Carol she said, "They might look better or worse than that after we print them out." She did the same to the other five and set the printer to best quality and clicked on print when the prompt came up she entered four through seven and again clicked print "This is going to take a while." She picked up the remains of her coffee and went to the deck to watch the moon with the other two following.

They sat there talking for a couple of minutes when Carol suddenly excused herself and left. Pam and Kim looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. "I bet she went to see how the printer was doing." "Possibly, but from the look on her face when she left, I don't think that was what was on her mind." A few minutes later Carol reappeared wearing both braces on the Mary Janes. "Mother, Would you take a couple more pictures of us Please. I would like something to remember this night with." "No problem Carol. As soon as Kim says we can use the camera again." "The camera doesn't have to be connected now to print. I'll go get it. See you two in the living room." and they went in.

Kim returned with the camera and handed it to Pam. "You decide how you want us Carol." After four pictures Carol said, "I wish there was a way that we could get mother in here with us." "No problem." and she left to return with her tripod. Carol posed the three as she wanted them and Kim went to the camera and got things lined up and said, "Ready." "Yes." was the response. She tripped the timer and checked the field and got in position mentally counting. "Five seconds, Smile." and the flash went off. They changed the pose and took a second. Kim took the last swallow of her coffee and taking the camera, went to her room. While Kim was down loading the pictures, Pam had picked up the set of enlargements and was looking at them with Carol.

Kim went through the process and printed a set of proofs for Carol. When the printer was done, she named the file and closed it. "Big day tomorrow. I need to get to sleep." They said good night to each other and all headed for bed with Carol taking her proofs.

Kim had woken early and had breakfast ready when the other two came to the kitchen. Breakfast was completed and when they had cleaned up Kim and Carol went jogging for a half hour, came back, took a shower and dressed for the day. They were at Dr. Duncan's office at one o'clock. Kim had worn her right brace and took a cane just in case she would be able to walk after the shots. She was able to get around after the shots, but it was difficult. The shots were very high up and affected the muscles in her upper thighs that help move the leg forward and back. Dr. Duncan explained that ninety percent of the power to move the leg comes from the muscles in the upper thigh and their tendons that are connected to the pelvis front, back and sides. Very little comes from abdominal muscles. She practiced for a little while in the interior hallway by the exam rooms before they went through the waiting room and left.

They stopped in the cafeteria just off the lobby of the building and had lunch before going home. Kim did OK with the lunch even though she had only one hand to work with. It sure felt strange to know she was picking up her hand and yet not be able to feel the hand that was doing the lifting of it. To keep her arm from swinging all over the place, she had Carol put her hand in her jacket pocket. They went home and arriving there, Kim went to her room and lay down to rest. This was going to be harder than she had thought. Carol removed her brace and advised she try to nap, and that she did, almost instantly.

Kim slept for close to three hours while Pam and Carol talked out on the deck. When she woke she looked for her brace and couldn't see it any where in the room, but her chair was by her bed. She managed to pull it over and get into it and went to her closet for the brace. It wasn't there. She went to the living room and saw them on the deck and went out. "Carol, what did you do with my brace?" "Mother had me put it in her room." "Why?" as she looked at Pam. "The studio wants to get shots of you learning how to cope with your condition. What better way than to not have to be acting? You can't have it back until the script calls for it." "Actually, I guess you're right, but I hate to be stuck in the chair until then. I think that doesn't happen until about the end of the week." "I guess that means you're stuck in the chair until then and we get to wheel you around. I don't want you practicing one foot propulsion either. Please put your good foot on that other foot rest Honey."

The weekend went quietly by with Carol or Pam pushing her where ever she needed to go. Marion picked the girls up Monday and they went to the studio. Charlie actually got a guest shot supposedly measuring her for her new brace on Wednesday. He, in actuality, already had one for her since he had the casts of her legs and had the waist measurements from the last film. What Kim didn't know was that she was getting a totally new brace, an HKAFO with a locking hip joint. Thursday they filmed the sequences in a couple of malls with Kim in her chair and expressing the wish to have a brace so she could get around better. Friday they had the shots of her in her 'Doctors' office getting her new brace and then going to a couple of malls again. Since she hadn't known about the new brace, the look of surprise on her face was genuine and fit right in with the script. She got to wear the new brace home that night when it came time to end for the day. The shooting was going great. So far there had been no need for any retakes.

When Pam got home the girls asked if they could go out to dinner. "No problem. Where would you like to go?" Without thinking, both girls said, "The new marina." Pam looked at them and went to make the reservations. She was thinking to herself, *this ought to be fun.* When they got there, their favorite waitress was on duty and she did a double take at Kim thinking to her self, a couple of weeks ago, the other one was crippled. She put them in a quiet back corner and took their orders. After delivering them to the kitchen she returned with the coffee and asked if she could sit and talk with them for a few minutes since they weren't very busy yet. All said to sit and talk.

She looked at Pam and said, "I'm a bit puzzled. A few weeks ago your oldest was crippled when you came in. Then for a couple of times, everybody was normal. Now, tonight, your youngest is crippled. Could, or would you tell me what is going on? I don't think they could fake their problems this well." Pam looked her straight in the eye and could see genuine curiosity. 'What I tell you must never leave your lips." "It won't." "Alright then. Do you know what a stunt man is and what he does?" "Yes. They do the car crashes, jump from burning buildings, go over water falls and things like that when the main actor could get hurt." "Correct. Have you seen car crashes of a load of teen age kids and seen how they are when they end up in the hospital?" "Yes, and I'm fed up with a double roll over and nothing more than a few scratches when the car was demolished." "Do you remember three weeks ago when we came in, both girls were disabled?" "Yes." "Kim was pretending and Carol was ACTUALLY DISABLED. Right now Kim is playing the part of a sophomore in high school that gets hit in the head with a field hockey stick and suffers a stroke and bad eye sight. Her leg and arm are ACTUALLY paralyzed. She was given shots to accomplish this. Right now you are sitting with the two best medical stunt girls in the business." Lori ( that's what the name tag said ) sat there with her eyes wide and her mouth open unable to say anything.

Finally she said, "More customers. I'd better get moving." and she left the table to take care of them. She was back a few minutes later with their meals. Before Lori could get back with them the restaurant started to fill up and she was fully occupied. They finished their meal and when they went to pay, she slipped Kim a note. Kim opened it when they had sat down to discuss the evening, and read it aloud.

Dear Pam, Carol and Kim,

I wanted so badly to get back to you. What you are doing totally amazes me. I would like to have talked some more about it, but as you saw, things got real busy. If you have the time tomorrow, before two p.m., please call me at (and she wrote the number). I have to leave for work at two.

Sincerely, Lori

"Interesting note. Do we want to call her?" "I don't see why not." answered Kim. Carol agreed. "Settled then. We call her on this phone in the morning. It's a speaker phone and we can all talk and listen. The call was made right after breakfast and Lori was sincere in all that she asked and was totally amazed at what the girls were doing. She gave them the number of the table they had been sitting at and asked that they request it when they called for reservations. The rest of the day except for a trip to Dr. Duncan's for shots, and Sunday were quiet and Kim was restricted to using her chair again with Carol pushing her wherever she went.

Monday saw them back at the grind again. The shots were a slightly weaker solution so they wouldn't last as long and after a few field trips and working the different sets they were down to the weekend again. They had done home scenes, physical therapy center and mall shots in the brace. During the last scenes on Friday, she started to notice a tingling feeling in the fingers of her right hand but didn't say anything. They spent a quiet weekend with dinner a little early on Saturday evening to be able to talk with Lori a little more before the restaurant filled up again. They all liked her and she was enthralled to know them.

Kim had checked the shooting schedule when they got home. There were a couple of home scenes with her showing some improvement and then intermittent scenes for the next two weeks as / when she felt she had improved enough to make them worth the effort, as she continued to improve to the end of the film. That took the rest of the week and half of the next before she could walk off the set without her cane. She had had the use of her hand and arm for the last week before the end. She felt relieved. She had made it. The last E-mails she had been getting indicated that her father was having trouble getting the time off, but work had finally slacked off enough that he could take his vacation. Her mother and father would be there in another week and a half. At least she didn't have to worry any more about being incapacitated when they arrived.

Since all were in good physical shape again, they decided to go horse back riding on saturday and do dinner again early saturday and visit with Lori a bit. Pam called for the reservations and specified table by number. When it was confirmed she asked to speak with Lori. When Lori answered with "Hello." Pam went back with, "Lori, this is Pam. We're coming for dinner tomorrow night at the table you wanted us at. How would you like the girls? Perfectly normal or handicapped?" "I would love to see them handicapped again." "If I can, they will both be in leg braces or worse. See you tomorrow night then. Bye." "Bye."

TO BE CONTINUED Ö

Unfortunately I have never seen the end of this story, I think it remained unfinished. Bobby

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