Lein was awakened by the telephone. He almost ignored it, he had finally been able to get some sleep after the worst bout of the flu he had ever wrestled, but an internal nudge made him wake up. After all, his wife was on tour, it could be her. He never missed Perion’s calls.
He rolled over and plucked the phone off the receiver. “Hello,” he mumbled sleepily.
“Lein? Oh, Lein,” a sobbing voice cried out.
He snapped fully awake then, as if someone had injected a gallon of speed into his veins. “Who is this?”
“Lein? It’s Debi,” her shocked voice spat.
Lein suddenly got the worst premonition. Something had happened, something bad. “Debi, what’s going on? What happened? Where is Perion? Where is my wife,” he almost screamed. “Debi, tell me what happened to my wife, tell me damn it,” he shouted at her. Later, he’d feel horrible talking to her the way he was, but he had to know.
“We-we had a wreck on-on the ice. We-we ran into a bridge. R-r-r-rolled over. The crew crashed, too. Oh my God.” She broke into terrible, gut-wrenching sobs.
“Debi, what about Perion? Tell me about Perion,” he spat out, harsher than he had intended. He had temporarily forgotten she was in shock.
“The crew ended up in a culvert,” she finally managed to say. “Half-half of them are dead, Lein, half. So are Rich, Jack, and-and all-all of the other drivers. But Lein, oh Lein,” she moaned, “that’s not the worst. Syndi and-and-and Randi are-are dead.”
The word ‘dead’ was actually obscured to sound more like ‘deahyyyd.’ Lein felt sickened by his yelling. “Honey, how are you,” he asked.
“I was-was almost untouched. I got a bruised face and-and stitches in my hand. Syndi and-and Randi got crushed by the coach, crushed. They’re dead, they’re dead!” She ended the statement with a gut-wrenching sob.
“Debi, please, I know you’ve been through hell, but you have to tell me about my wife. I need to know about Perion, how is she?” Lein was nearly crying now. Just don’t let her be dead or dying, please God, he thought, if you have one favor for me, let this one be it.
“From what I’ve seen, her cheek was really laid open. Something must’ve hit her on the head, too, because she’s unconscious. I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, Lein, but she was also treated for a miscarriage.”
Lein was dumbfounded. Had she said miscarriage? Had he heard her correctly? Perion wasn’t pregnant, unless she had gotten that way the last time he’d been with her. ”Miscarriage? Did you say miscarriage? She was pregnant? I didn’t...” Lein’s voice died out totally.
“Yeah, I-I guess she didn’t know she was pregnant, either. Lein, you’re coming, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there as soon as I can get out the door.” He almost hung up before he realized he didn’t know where there actually was.
Debi realized it, too. “Lein, you don’t know where we are. We’re about two hundred and fifty miles outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, in a town called Cyprus. You’ll have to fly out to the Little Rock airport and drive out here, there’s no airport. It’s the only way.”
“I’ll be there. If you can get in to see Perion, tell her I’m coming and I love her. Debi, I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
“I understand, just come, just get here. Perion needs you.”