Dr. Deanna Allen hitched the beat up ‘70s Airstream camper to her spotless Cadillac SUV. Ample amounts of duct tape held the creaking, tarp-roofed, silver capsule together. Hubert, her new found sidekick, nodded approval. The pot bellied pig drank in air from the passenger side’s open window, hooves up and snout out.
No one stopped her, if anyone saw. She never wavered, not for a moment. Deanna gunned the engine and roared north with Hubert at her side. The Airstream rattled behind them. The duo left Kentucky wheeling toward Cleveland.
Earlier that day…
A call had interrupted Deanna’s morning checklist. In the moment she ignored the intrusion while she set up and tested her equipment. The day’s slate of patients depended on her preparation. She never shirked her duties, that’s how she’d become head anesthesiologist at the Cleveland ambulatory center for outpatient procedures. Deanna retrieved the voicemail later that morning in between patients.
“I found this number in your brother’s things,” Lanelle said. The woman managed the trailer park where Deanna’s brother Travis lived. Her gravelly voice sounded like a rough cough. The sentence arrived in grating spurts.
Display monitors, pressure gauges and flow meters faced her. She checked the anesthesia machinery decked in her usual light gray scrubs. The high-tech equipment cart rumbled over to the side. Her foot toed the wheel brake and pressed down. The message – out of the blue – about her brother commanded her undivided attention.
“Your brother’s been a problem from the start,” Lanelle said. Exasperation tightened her voice. “Probably shouldn’t say it, but you gotta be right to know.”
Deanna’s heart rate quickened. Body frozen in place, she braced herself.
“That pig of his, been rooting through trash, digging up plants. Been cleaning up after it all week. Your brother wouldn’t pick up the dang phone. Finally I marched over to his camper that idn’t even regulation, an Airstream, we got rules.”
Deanna’s shoulders relaxed.
Her breathing returned to normal.
She checked her watch.
“Anyway, that’s when I found ‘im. Ambulance come already. Somebody’s gotta get down here and get this pig. Runs like the dickens any time I come near.” Lanelle finished the message with this sentiment. Some pig remained at large. Her brother’s circumstances paled by comparison. EMS had taken care of him. The manager had yet to capture a porcine menace.