Date Published: October 28, 2016
Publisher: Harvard Square Editions
Grey and his co-workers find themselves in dangerous situations every day at work. Their social services jobs require them to confront irate parents who are on drugs or who are mentally unbalanced. Grey is a long-time social worker, one who is not afraid to snatch newborn babies from glazed-eyed mothers or grab abused children out of classrooms, to place them in foster care. But something happens to Grey, something he cannot put into words as he struggles to cope.
When a new co-worker enters the department, she secretly strategizes ways to force Grey out of his job. He senses her ploy and his stress intensifies. He grows increasingly head-strong and defiant, but he fails to stop her from delivering the final crush in an unexpected, malevolent manner
To challenge his co-worker, Grey must find his inner truth and his co-worker’s “Achilles Heel” in order to rise up to conquer her. One of them must be transformed or destroyed
GREY STOOD QUIETLY next to the hospital bed. “Mrs. Jaspers, your baby has tested positive for cocaine.” Grey knew from experience that talking in a low voice helped hold back the negative emotions of a child’s removal, before anger and defiance from parents swept around him like a dangerous tempest. Mrs. Jaspers, a nineteen-year-old woman recently out of high school, glared at Grey. Her eyes grew larger in her upturned face, framed by tangled, matted purple hair. She wore an apologetic nose ring that swept to one side of her flared nostril and vibrated with each panicked inhalation she drew in.
“I repeat, Mrs. Jaspers, your baby has tested positive. I am from the Department of Social Services. I am here to take your baby to a safe environment.”
Mrs. Jaspers bolted upright in her bed. She grabbed onto Grey with a gritty desperation to stop him from removing her baby. “My baby ain’t on cocaine. How dare you say my baby is on drugs? I didn’t give no drugs to my baby. You cannot take my baby girl. We are waiting for her daddy to come see her. We are going to name her today. I need my baby to stay with me, because like I just told you, we’re waiting for her daddy to come see her.”
The daddy, a twenty-one-year-old unemployed construction worker who married her when she tested positive for pregnancy, prowled the streets looking for cocaine after a three-day drinking binge. Grey unclasped the mother’s hands and moved towards the door.
Mrs. Jaspers jumped up, pulling out her intravenous tube, causing blood to spurt out of her arm. She howled loudly. Grey called in a police officer who waited tentatively in the corridor. The police officer’s presence did not deter the fiery mother from running around her hospital room in frantic leaps. The sickening odor of fresh blood permeated the room. Her hospital gown flew open, displaying the naked form of a young woman new to adulthood. Her tattoos, splayed across her torso, looked like colorful orbs of paint, embroidered flesh.
About the Author
Shelby Londyn-Heath has been a world-traveler, crossing the Sahara Desert on the back of a salt truck, working on banana plantations in Spain, an oil company in New York, and on coffee farms in Hawaii. She has jumped freight trains across the United States, and she was the proud owner of a beachfront bamboo hut on the Canary Islands. She has worked as a counselor, social worker, and teacher