A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder


This is a list of how often and where the term 'smoke' appears in the book PERSONAL BAGGAGE.

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Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"... start again with ABC. After lunch, and after watching demonstrations on operating nursing equipment, Penny joined new employees from other departments to watch a video analyzing a hospital fire in which smoke was not controlled and three-fourths of the patients had died. The mood shifted from ..."
"...a short distance from the emergency entrance. Penny stretched to her full five-feet, nine-inches and palmed the ceiling while she watched a fireman ignite a barrel filled with papers. Along with the others, she lowered herself to the floor and crawled outside to experience breathing beneath the smoke. ..."
"... outside to experience breathing beneath the smoke. Finally, each trainee was issued an identification badge to be used for clocking in and out. It bore the slogan RACE: Remove patient, Activate alarm, Control smoke, Extinguish fire. Before starting home, Penny stopped at the hospital ..."

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...In a fraction of a second, Penny passed from a dream world surrounded by blazing fire to wide-awake, gasping at air that seemed stiff with smoke. Sensing someone standing beside her bed, she peered into the darkness and fumbled with the lamp switch, trembling like a patient with escalating temperature. Squinting her eyes against the abrupt light, she surveyed the bedroom with a sweeping glance: she was alone in her room, there was ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
"...Supervisor Crouch was helping us to initiate a new nurse, taking her on a scare tour of Eye, like we used to do. We had a routine: first we’d set her up—tell about the ghost, and two staff members would leave, like, say they were going for a smoke. That night, I was one of the smokers. We went over to Eye, took the elevator down to Second, and hid in the dark hall ready to jump out, right? But when Leroy brought the new nurse down on the elevator, the door opened and shut ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"...A vivid dream haunted her. A black-clad woman standing by a window in a cold, smoke-filled room had extended her arm, stretched out her fingers, and beckoned. Penny had wanted to touch her hand—to feel her skin, but fear held her back, and the woman disintegrated as the Bose alarm sounded. Her form disappeared into the air like dust particles separating. ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...Penny arrived home in the middle of Sunday afternoon and stepped from her car into a gusty wind carrying a trace of wood smoke. Exhilarated by unexpected free time, she changed into jeans and running shoes and unhooked the gate to Zac’s pen. He could not be still while she tried to snap the leash onto his collar, but the connector finally clicked, just as Johnny’s blue car pulled into the ..."

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
" the fireplace, congratulating herself when the big logs began to blaze. In years past, she and the children had enjoyed sitting by the hearth with a roaring fire, but now their wood was only for emergencies. As she poked the kindling, adding more logs and inhaling smoke, she could almost hear the sounds of children in the room. ..."

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"... to postpone reincarnation as long as I can.” Her medications were “Geritol and pot.” She smoked pot in a pipe, taking “two puffs of a hit” for nausea. She claimed an allergy to alcohol. “If it touches my skin, I can taste it.” While Penny cleaned a site with Betadine and ..."

Chapter 22: Chapter Twenty-Two
"...a firm grip. Feeling pretty, she looked out at the scenery along the Natchez Trace, at bare crepe myrtles and vacant gardens laid out, waiting for summer. She rolled down the window as they passed an old white farm house encircled by porches, and whiffs of wood smoke eased her tension. On either side of the road leafless trees reached up, their branches blending into a wash of grey and blue as details vanished in the fading light. Aware of the pressure of Johnny’s hand, a thought occurred to Penny, as it had not occurred ..."

"...Sometime later, it was with a sense of relief that she awoke from a dream in which she had been trying to find her way through darkness. Moonlight, drifting through the tall bedroom windows, penetrated a shifting mist, wispy as smoke. Through the diffused light, she observed a figure standing in the doorway with one hand on the door frame, as if about to come into the room. ..."

"... little enema business is going nowhere. The fluid all runs back out.” “I have to smoke,” the patient said. “Please go out and shut the door. Pretend you don’t know, then you can do anything else to me.” “We’ll be in the hall,” Carina said, pushing Penny out of the room ..."
"... “I’d rather smell a little tobacco any day.” “How come flowers are more deadly to your sinuses than smoke and shit?” Penny asked. “This stink would gag a maggot!” Carina smiled. “I’ve never heard that before.” Penny grinned and held up a long, bony, index finger. ..."

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"PERSONAL BAGGAGE puts the reader front and center in the busy and stressful life of a hospital nurse. I..."

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