The following story
is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event. Senate
Bill 1696, the Women’s Health
Protection Act,
is an actual law, currently being under

Going to Hell With Fozzy

Foster “Fozzy” MacBell
greeted the press outside the prison with a large smile, genuinely
happy to have been cleared of 120 charges of murder.

“To start with, I would like
to thank all those people who stood by me in my time of struggle,”
MacBell began. “Including the Reverend Sharpe, out of New York.”
The little
, he
thought. “And all of my friends, who, sadly, could not be here
The little
ingrates. Abandon me for months, will they? I’ll show them.

“I would also like to take
this opportunity to forgive my employees, who were forced to testify
against me during my trial.”
sue them later
. “I
will now take one or two questions.”

The ravenous pack of wolves
known as the press shouted like a collection of hungry teenagers in a
high school lunchroom.

MacBell picked one at random.
She addressed him as
MacBell, and asked if he was going to return to work.

He nodded, and didn’t bother to
correct the “doctor” title. “Of course. There’s no reason for
me not to. Especially now, since Senate Bill 1696–the Women’s
Health Protection Act–has vindicated me and everything I did.”
He pointed at random in the crowd.

“Mister MacBell, are you
afraid that someone might overturn the appellate court on the grounds
that they retroactively applied the new law to your case?”

MacBell squinted at the
reporter. He had accidentally chosen someone from that lupine
network. “No, Shep. I’m not. The DA who dares come for me is going
to be facing a giant lawsuit, and be in violation of the new law.
Next question … Mister Locke?”

“How did you enjoy your time
in prison?”

He laughed at that. “I lost
weight. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I have to go home. I just escaped a
life sentence.”

Most of the press corps
laughed. “Shep” didn’t, but that was to be expected. His network
also be
getting a lawsuit.
me a butcher, will they?

MacBell got into his taxi, and
went home.

MacBell entered his home, and
only found a note from his lawyer, explaining that the entire house
had been taken care of in his absence. And nothing had been

He didn’t smile at that. Not
yet, anyway. He had to be certain of the lawyer’s claim, especially
the last one.

He went to a bookcase, grabbed
one side, and swung it open, revealing a set of doors within. Then he
opened them, revealing the walk-in closet.

There it was. His religious
artifacts. He didn’t like to call the collection a “shrine,” it
sounded too creepy and evangelical for him. All it consisted of was a
statue of his deity, as well as a place to burn offerings that was
more like a large ashtray. There was also his container for the
offerings. Thankfully, they never really went bad. It wasn’t any
creepier than the cannibalism of Catholics. In some ways, it was less
creepy than the Wicker Man of those Wiccan Hippies.

There was a knock on the door.
He calmly closed the doors, swung the bookcase back in place.

MacBell went to his door,
looked through the peephole, and smiled. He opened the door to a
gorgeous, 5’10” black woman in a conservative gray business suit.

“Simone! How are you, sis?”

Simone MacBell glowered. “Are
you insane, Foz? You’re going back to work? Didn’t you learn
from last time?”

MacBell rolled his eyes. “Come
on in, Sim, before the press sees you and think you’re a hooker.”

She strode in. “Really?
You’re going to pull this crap on me?”

He closed the door and shrugged
on his way to the couch. “You’re beautiful, visiting a single man
who just got out of prison. People might talk.” He waved to the
couch. “Please, sit.”

Simone arched a brow and
remained standing. “Those are obviously people who know that you’ll
do anything with a pulse. Maybe farm animals.”

MacBell rolled his eyes and
crashed in the couch with a thud. “It’s just an alternative
lifestyle. That’s all. Look, I know you joined the holy rollers, but
come on–“

Simone pointed at him. “No,
Foz. You’re not going to pull that ‘it’s an alternative lifestyle’
act on me. I was there when you propositioned some of those boys.”

MacBell smiled. “Yes, but
that was back before you turned on our family’s beliefs.”

“What beliefs?”


Simone shook her head, took a
deep breath, and said, “Look, about going back to work–“

“The law says I can.”

She blinked. “Fozzy, you’re
not even a doctor!”

He grinned. “Look, nothing
can harm me. They can’t get me for practicing surgery without a
license. They can’t sue me for
that I do
in the
course of the operation. I could actively sterilize any undesirable
I saw fit and they wouldn’t be able to touch me. I could commit
murder if I liked.” He paused, smiled at the irony, and said,
“Obviously, I’m not going to do that to repeat customers, it’s bad
for business. I am untouchable. I could practice my trade on a used
deli counter and operate in a butcher shop, and
can’t be arrested
No one can even look at me the wrong way. The law says so.”

Simone bunched her lips, and
she restrained herself from screaming. “The law doesn’t give you a
license to kill!”

He relaxed into the couch.
“Technically, it kind of does. But don’t worry, I’m not going to
use it outside of my usual routine.”

Simone sighed. “Foz, you
could retire. You don’t have to go back to work. If any of the women
you injured on the job come back for you, or if any of their

MacBell laughed, cutting her
off. He laughed so hard, he nearly fell off his couch. “Simone,
are you serious? All of those women were poor black girls with
boyfriends who would be happy if they
sterilized. And the
rest of my patients?” He waved it away with jazz hands. “They
were all white businesswomen with no complaints. They just needed
their problems fixed.”

Simone shook her head, and gave
a slight growl of frustration, turning her back on her brother.

And then she saw something off.
“What’s up with that?”

MacBell blinked. She was
between him and his special bookcase, so he didn’t see what Simone
had noted until she strode over, grabbed the bookcase, and swung it