The wheelchair was still in the breezeway; with nowhere else to go, Jack sat again, half expecting Judith to change her mind. At first, he didn't really believe he had done this, for nothing in his life had prepared him for it. It occurred to him that he actually might have gone mad, a momentary episode, maybe. Could it be that he was suffering some weird side effects from his medication? Or some stress reaction to the savagery of the beating? Sitting in that wheelchair, he didn't know who he was, he didn't even feel like himself, it was too crazy to be real. Why was there no pain? He had suddenly gone numb, another indication that, for the first time in his adult life, he was totally alone. Not only alone but adrift. The great Blackjack Cagle had painted himself into a frigid corner where he sat shivering like a lost dog, cradling his travel bag as though it were all he had left in the world.
"Oh, man!" His sigh was a whisper that concealed his desperation. He hadn't the slightest idea of what he was going to do.
From out of nowhere, a small black airline employee stepped in front of him. "Alvin Agar" read the ID tag pinned to his jacket. Large eyeglasses dominated his narrow face. He stood there, hands on hips, smiling like a friendly owl.
"What's happenin', Black Jack?" His high pitched voice extended the classic black man's greeting. "You need some help?"
Jack had to laugh just looking at him. Alvin seemed resigned to his funny face as if, long ago, he had learned that there was nothing he could do about it.