From last time ...
Sarah settled back into her seat and let the warm glow of the alcohol slowly seep through her chest and into her stomach.
She had no idea that this would be the last plane ride for a long time.
And now ...
Sarah sat at the window, talking on the phone. Her voice was flat and even, but there were tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I don't know what I'm gonna do, Mackey. I can't leave her like this. There's no one I can ask to be with her. Jerry's away, and how do I ask anyone else to babysit my mother for 24 hours a day."
She listened for a minute.
"I know, Mackey, I know. Nurses are trained for stuff like this. But the last time I had a nurse in here she almost had my mother committed. That woman had NO experience with this kind of thing - she thought Mom was crazy. She's NOT crazy, Mackey. She's sick. She's senile. She just needs someone to help her get her head back, thats all."
"Gamatti is gonna get his, Mackey. Don't you worry. It's just not this year, that's all. We'll have to wait, although the idea of that fat bastard living any longer than necessary really frosts my balls."
She smiled as Mackey said something into her ear.
"Well ... YOUR balls then. Thanks for pointing that out. But you know what I mean. I just hate it. I want to do him and do him now, but I just can't leave."
Sarah watched as her mother wandered into the room then turned around and wandered right back out again.
Sarah covered the mouthpiece of the phone.
"Mom!! Are you okay?"
Her mother's voice drifted into the room from her bedroom.
"Yes, dear. I'm fine. I was looking for your father. You will tell me when he comes home, won't you?"
"Sure, Mom. I'll tell you."
Sarah uncovered the mouthpiece and spoke into the phone, softly.
"You see, Mackey? She just wandered in here looking for my father. He's been dead for 25 years. She doesn't remember. What am I supposed to do?"
Mackey said something else.
"No. I'm not gonna put her in a home. Not if I don't have to - and right now I don't feel I have to. She's physically fine, Mackey. It's just her memory. Her mind. I keep hoping it'll come back. Sometimes it does, you know? Sometimes she's as clear as a bell. Sometimes."
She listened for a momnent.
"Oh, I know she's gonna wind up in one eventually. Deep inside? I know. But not now, Mackey. Not now. She may not be in there half the time, but she's always my Mom. And I take care of mine. Just like you take care of Ma. Speaking of Ma, when is that casino going to be finished?"
"That soon? Wow. You're really gonna be busy when that opens. Just don't lose track of the mining operations."
"Yes, yes, I know. The office has been running very smoothly. I get reports every week and the girls there do a good job, but it's comforting to know that you're nearby .. and that you keep an eye on things."
Sarah listened, and a frown creased her brow.
"Yes. I've been keeping in shape. Sorta. It's hard. I can't leave here. I can't run."
She listened again.
"Okay, Mackey. We'll talk soon. Good bye."
Sarah hung up the phone and looked at it. She looked a bit puzzled.
"I wonder what he meant by "Stand by, Marine"?