Dantes DilemmaI get up at dawn, a habit left over from the days when I trained nonstop. It’s late spring, so that means 5:30 a.m. in Chicago, enough time for a long, lazy ride before work. I fish around in my closet for a jersey, shorts, and shoes, and head down to the ground floor of my townhome where my stationary trainer is set up.

I love the trainer. It syncs via Bluetooth to a tablet on the handlebars of my DeRosa road bike, which in turn gives me access to hundreds of virtual rides streamed over the internet. Of course, I miss the days when I could take bicycle rides outdoors, but the trainer is the next best thing. Without it, I’d probably end up in the psychiatric ward of the hospital where I work.

I clip in and select a challenging interval program with real time video of a winding road in the Rockies. I can’t see the images, but I follow along in my mind, remembering a similar ride I took some years ago. My former photographic memory often keeps me entertained like this.

Eighty minutes later, my muscles are drooping and I’m covered in sweat, but I feel great. I bring the pedals to a halt and check my stats before dismounting and toweling off. Then it’s upstairs to the kitchen for breakfast.

After the workout I’m craving protein, so I decide on bacon and eggs. Modern appliances can be a pain, but my friend Josh helped me put tactile markings on the controls with a 3D pen. I put the tea kettle on to boil, pop the bacon in the microwave, and whisk some eggs together in a measuring cup. While the eggs are cooking, I test their consistency every so often with a finger. That and the aroma tell me when they’re ready.

I wolf down the food and head up to the third floor to dress. After shaving and showering, I pick out a sport coat and slacks. I can tell most of my clothing apart by its shape and material, but when it’s time to select a matching shirt and tie, I play it safe with the color identifier on my smartphone. My phone also has apps that can read menus, signs and the value of paper currency to me.

Before heading out, I stop to grab a white cane from the umbrella stand by the door. After three years, I’ve acquired a hefty collection, all minus the silly red stripe. I’m walking to work that morning, so I choose a rigid one that comes up almost to my nose. The long reach helps me to spot obstacles in my path without coming up short and spearing myself in the chest.

I’m not testifying in court that morning, so I head straight for the office, twelve blocks away. I’m happy when I make it all way there without being accosted by a stranger. Hardly a week goes by without one of these Good Samaritans locking me in a chokehold to “help” me cross a street. They’re lucky when they only get an earful in return.

I arrive at the office to find my assistant, Yelena, gone. I’m not surprised. Mondays are her manicure day. Our relationship is nothing like Perry Mason and Della Street. I should fire her, but then I would miss our verbal sparring.

At my desk, I switch on my computer and listen to my email with my screen reader until my first appointment arrives. She’s not at all bothered by my disability. In fact, she rather likes it, a feeling I attribute to the reason she’s in therapy.

“Hi Doctor Angelotti,” she says. “Are you looking at me?”

It’s always the first thing she asks.

“No,” I say. “Shall we talk about that?”

She giggles and we get started.

All in a morning’s routine for this blind shrink.


You can read more about Mark in Dante’s Dilemma, the third book in the “Mark Angelotti” crime series, published by Seventh Street Books. The first two books in the series are Dante’s Wood and Dante’s Poison.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 26 for the chance to win a print copy of Dante’s Dilemma. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

Meet the author
Lynne Raimondo is a full-time writer and the author of Dante’s Wood and Dante’s Poison, the first two Mark Angelotti novels. She formerly worked as the general counsel for Arthur Andersen LLP and later as the general counsel of the Illinois Department of Revenue. Visit Lynne at lynneraimondo.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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