Excerpt of The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp
(Page 7 of 8)
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The headline in the paper the next day says, One of
L.A.'s Finest Bags Three of L.A.'s Dumbest. But there was a
second part to the story that got even more coverage. Lots
A few minutes after Terry nails the bad guys, about a
dozen black and whites converge on the scene, followed
by LAPD Rescue. The cops are screaming, "Officer down!
Officer down!" which lets the Rescue Squad know to
bypass the dirtbag who is bleeding to death and take care
of that cop over there with the Camel dangling from his
The ambulance screeches to a stop, the driver's side
door flies open and out jumps Marilyn Cavanaugh. Marilyn
has green eyes, curly red hair, and a big Irish smile.
Sounds pretty good on paper, but she's what they politely
refer to in the Personal Ads as full-figured. She's a hefty
lass, Marilyn is, weighing in at about fourteen stone. But
she's also a top-notch paramedic, and no one ever complains
that their Angel of Mercy is too chunky. Certainly
not Terry. .
Big as she is, Marilyn is lightning on her feet. Wham,
bam, she takes Terry's vitals and quickie-splints his ankle.
Then together with her co-pilot, Marty Delaney, she hoists
Terry onto a gurney and wheels him into the back of the
bus. Marty hops in with the patient. Marilyn slams the rear
doors, jumps in the cab, and flips on the siren. Terry, who
has been operating on pure adrenaline, knows he's finally
headed for a fistful of Advil, a six-pack of beer, and at
least a week's paid leave. He closes his eyes and thanks
God for another mission accomplished. Marilyn, feeling
all the pressure of being responsible for an Officer Down,
peels out, hell bent for Cedars-Sinai.
And that's when the A-M-B-U and the L-A-N-C-E part
company. The back doors fly open, and the gurney catapults
out onto the macadam, where it rolls about thirty
feet until it runs head on into a Soccer Mom parking a
minivan. The cops, who are still on the scene, scramble
to help Terry, who now has a concussion to go along
with his broken ankle. When they realize this is not particularly
life threatening, they all have a huge laugh. But
the camera crew from News Channel 4 has the biggest
laugh of all. They had been shooting the departing ambulance
for the evening news when the doors burst open.
The video ran incessantly for three nights.
About sixty seconds later, a totally humiliated Marilyn
returns for her Officer Down Twice. And that's how they
After that, she visited him every day, first in the hospital,
then at home, offering to do whatever she could to
make him happy. One night, it seemed that the thing that
would make Terry the most happy was a roll in the sack.
No problem for Marilyn. Rarely does a nice Irish girl get
the opportunity to have sex with a man and actually
diminish her Catholic guilt.
One thing, as they say, led to another, and despite the
fact that Marilyn had seven-year-old twin daughters, and
a third, age five, Terry signed on for the whole package.
And that's how a guy from The Bronx winds up living in
Sherman Oaks with a wife and three teenage Valley girls.
We plugged along the 405. "No sense using lights and
sirens," Terry said. "With all this traffic, we'd wind up
causing an accident. Besides, the guy we're going to see
is already dead, so what's the hurry? You been to Familyland?" "A bunch of times. You know Joanie," I said.
a kid at heart." What I didn't say was how much she
wanted kids. We both wanted them. We spent three years
and thousands of dollars trying to make one. It was our
fertility doc who actually discovered the ovarian cancer.
Congratulations, Mrs. Lomax. You're not going to have a
baby, and you're going to die.
"I always thought of Lamaar as a rip-off of Disney," Terry said. "But that's
sort of like saying Pepsi is a rip-off of Coke. There may be truth in it, but
it's still an eight hundred-pound gorilla on its own."
Copyright Marshall Karp 2006. All rights reserved. Reproduced by
permission of the publisher, Macadam Cage.