Friday, January 25, 2013

The Lazarus Society IX

9.         Servi awoke to a clinical probing of his abdomen.  Doctor Tedesco was leaning over him, tapping about his torso.  When the doctor saw Servi’s eyes, he smiled reassuringly.
            “I am still working on getting you those tests, Senore Servi.  I am pulling every string in the national health system.  But some of them are a little threadbare, if you get my meaning.”
            “Why should I be tested?” Servi asked with a noticeable slur, as if his sluggish tongue had been dipped in tar.  “What is wrong with me?”
            “That’s just it,” the doctor answered, pulling Servi’s shirt down and paternally patting his head.  “I can’t find anything wrong with you.”
            “I don’t have money for tests, or for these drugs.”
            “Courtesy of the Italian government,” the doctor smiled.  “I’ve made you an Italian citizen in our paperwork.  A little formal lie is all, for with the name Servi, it’s easy.”
            Servi considered: one day he was American, the next Canadian, and today, Italian.  In the grand sweep of his short life, Servi had drawn the low card of identity.  He did not belong anywhere.
            “Doctor,” Servi asked, his slur more pronounced. “What is the Lazarus Society?”
            “What?” the doctor asked, and Servi asked it again, elongating the syllables until they strained to snap.
            “Oh,” the doctor answered, nodding. “That is the organization that the American, LaOmbra, works with… they are part of a religious order.  They send people to work in poor neighborhoods, with the sick or dying, in preparation to become priests.”
            “Priests?” Servi asked, trying to raise his head.  “Tony LaOmbra is studying to become a priest?”
            “Yes,” the doctor answered, but seeing Servi’s agitated state, he ordered him to be silent.  But they were wasted words, for Servi’s eyes sealed like twin doors on a tomb, and he fell into a sleep so black it was death’s fraternal twin.

Dear Aaron, Father Francisco wrote, perhaps you don’t remember me.  I taught you at CCD.  Your mother has been coming to Mass and we have become reacquainted.  I remember you as the young man who was interested in Saint Augustine’s Confessions, and she asked me to write to you…

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