chapter 74 Resurrection
My eyes hurt, so I didn’t want to open them. My mouth was so dry that I could not hold out any longer. The light hurt my eyes, even though there was only a night light burning somewhere in the corner of the unfamiliar room. I really didn’t know where I was or how I got there. I wondered if I had been tortured. Whatever happened to me was bad enough, so that I blocked it out.
It took me only a few minutes to recognize my surroundings as a hospital room. If it was a hospital room, there should be a call button, I reasoned. It made me feel better that I could remember even that much. After I fumbled around and found the button, I pressed it and then fell asleep again exhausted.
The next time I rejoined the world, I was still dying of thirst. I found that button and pushed it again. I managed to stay awake until a nurse came. She didn’t stay in the room long enough to even ask why I called, let lone long enough to give me a drink of water. Instead she rushed out as if her scrubs were on fire.
I didn’t have to push the button again because she returned in seconds with two more nurses tagging along behind. They seemed to gawk at me for a moment, before anyone spoke. “How do you feel?” the oldest one asked.
I could only croak like a frog, “Water.”
“I know your mouth is dry honey, but your stomach has a tube in it. I can’t give you water.” She took a washcloth from the stand by my bed. She took it to the sink and wet it. She returned to press it to my lips.”
I sucked on the washcloth and decided that it was better than Ice Cream. I looked over at what could easily have been a coat rack. Actually there was one on either side of me. The racks had plastic bottles and tubes which were connected to me. I was pretty sure there were more plastic bags at the fool of my bed. Those would be collecting all kinds of things not mentioned in polite society.
“What happened to me?”
“The doctor will be here any minute. We paged her just as soon as we knew that you were awake.”
“So you aren’t going to tell me?” I asked. I paused a moment to catch my breath, then went on. “I need a phone,”
“No you don’t,” the stern voice came from the doorway. The only slightly overweight woman in the long white lab coat said, as she entered the room.
“The hell I don’t.” I replied weakly.
“Don’t worry some cop named Blevins has been notified that you are awake. When he gets here, he can relay your messages. You are not going to lift a finger.” She paused for a long minute or so, then added, “At least not till I check you out.”
“Are you flirting with me?” I asked with what could only be called a sick smile. Hell I had the right to a sick smile, after all I was in a hospital.
“You wish,” she said grinning. “I have heard all about you Maxine. Now shut up and let me listen to your heart.”
She listened to my heart and lungs, then she looked at things I didn’t even want to see. Finally she said, “Well you are doing pretty good for a corpse.”
“Oh have they been exaggerating my demise?” I asked trying to make a joke.
“I’m not at all sure that you weren’t dead. The EMT thought you were. You almost went to the back of the line. Some patrolman, who followed the Ambulance, insisted that the ER doctor check you regardless.”
“And they found that I was alive?” I asked too tried to smile again.
“No, you were dead, then all of a sudden you blinked. The ER staff almost fainted. Looks like the devil sent you back,” the doctor suggested.
“Probably afraid of the competition,” Blevins said from the door.
“You can’t be in here just yet,” The doctor said.
“Blevins find Lucas tell him to get to my place and feed that stray cat. Just leave the food on the stoop,” I said just as I fell asleep again.”
I felt a little stronger when I awoke the next time. It might have been a day or an hour, there was no way to know in the ICU. I didn’t want food, but I would have gladly killed a nurse for a glass of water over ice. I was pretty sure the tube in my stomach was draining it for some reason. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember why it would be doing that.
I rang for a nurse again. When she came, unlike the last time, there was no commotion. “Yes Ms Stone?” she asked.
“Any chance I can get a glass of water with ice?”
“No Ma’am, you still have the tube in. I can get you some small ice cubes you can suck on.”
“Ice without being mixed with something stronger will be a first, but sure. Any chance you have any shaped like a nipple?” I asked.
She blushed, then left without a word. She was back with the plastic cup of ice within a couple of minutes. She held a cube to my mouth. I took the ice without a word. I knew then that I was really sick. Even if she was married, I would have sucked her fingers any other time, just for the shock value of it. Okay maybe not really done it, but I would have at least tried. That day, all I wanted was the water. I knew then that the no liquid or solids meant my gut was damaged. I’m no doctor, but it was strikingly similar to the surgery to remove the chunk of steel from an Afghan IED.
I remembered that hospitalization perfectly, but couldn’t remember why I was in the hospital at that moment. I went back to sleep remembering the hospital at the airbase in Germany. I am sure that I felt a lot better there. At least they let me eat after a couple days. Then I remembered that I had no idea how long I had been in the hospital in Aster. It could have been only a day. Even in my present condition I knew that one day was wishful thinking.
“I hear you have been awake most of the day,” the female doctor suggested.
“Most, I don’t think so. More than yesterday probably.” I paused took a deep breath then asked, “So when do I get a real glass of water?”
“They are taking you back into surgery to remove the tubes in a few minutes. I would give it one more day. I would guess that tomorrow, when you wake up, water and chicken soup will be on the menu.”
“First water, then coffee, and you can keep the soup,” I suggested.
“We will see about that,” the doctor informed me. Now, I have patients who really are sick to see.”
“Doc, my memory is a blank. Should I be worried?”
“No, you had a pretty sever trauma. It might take a day or two to remember it. Just let it happen, don’t obsess over it.”
“Okay. so are there a couple of kids with cameras in the waiting room.”
It was the nurse who answered. “No we threw them out. Do you want to see them?”
“Not just no, but hell no,” I replied with a much better smile.
”Good, go back to sleep. When you wake up, we will have that tube out.” she said
I followed the doctor’s orders for once. My mind shutdown and I drifted off to sleep. I didn’t realize at the time that even more drugs had been added to my drip.
Even after the tube was removed, I still had to wait 24hours before I was allowed to eat or drink. Well have more than a sip of water at a time. Even that sip of water was an improvement over nothing at all.
Half way through the 24 hours Blevins showed up. “So Max, you got one of them, and we have the other.”
“Blevins, I know I’m supposed to know what you are talking about, but I have no idea.”
“They told me you didn’t remember it, but I thought you would have by now.”
“Since you are here, I am going to assume some asshole put me here. So do you have him?”
“No, he is down in the morgue. Like the man said, ‘You kilt the bear, what kilt you.’ Only you didn’t stay dead like he did.”
“Considering how I have felt the last few days, he might have gotten the better deal,” I suggested.
“Well Max just so you know, the patrolman drove into Kaplin’s for dinner, and saw the whole thing. Even better your friend Mike filmed it all. You are going to be the town hero yet again. Mike’s got you on the national news.” Blevins sounded disgusted.
“I’ll have to watch that.” I suggested.
“You should watch it. You have a couple of nice dance moves on there.” Blevins added.
“Where did you find the second one. The one you said you have?”
“Oh he was laying in the parking lot doing that fish out of water thing.” Blevins said with a grin.
“Ah, I zapped him?” I asked.
“Oh yeah, and a damn good job it was.”
“Well how did I fail to get out of the way of the knife?”
“It looks like you stood there so the shot wouldn’t miss. He was in the air, when you shot him. It happened real fast, but it looks to me like you just held your ground to make sure that it was a kill shot.”
“That would make me an idot,” I replied.
“Yeah, but a ballsy one.” Blevins said.
“Did you give Luke the message about the cat.”
“Yeah, he had no idea you had a cat. He told me he didn’t see the cat, but there was trash all over the yard.”
“Yeah, I broke our deal. I’m not surprised.”
“Luke said he left the food like you said, and that it was gone when he came back the next day. Still the cat never showed.”
“It don’t matter who is getting the food, it’s about a deal I made. He was feeding for me, not for the cat.”
“Whatever you say,” Blevins sounded unconvinced.
“So did you find out who they were working for?” I asked. I did remember Davenport and Julie.
“Oh yeah, fat boy not only talked, we couldn’t shut him up. He kept saying that it wasn’t supposed to go down like that. He was just supposed to act tough and threaten you. He said Davenport told them that they might have to slap you around a little. It was supposed to be a piece of cake, and after you backed off they were to get paid two hundred bucks each.”
“I see, when they said shut up, I must have thought they said stand up.” I said sarcastically
“Something like that. When the threats didn’t seem to be working, they planned to just slap you around a little. It seems they didn’t do their research.” Blevins said seriously.
“How so?” I asked.
“If they had asked around, they would have known your ass don’t have ‘no reverse gear’.”
“Only reason you are being so complimentary is that I almost died, so stop it.” I said.
“Well Davenport got his ass picked up and there was nobody to go his bail. It seems that Ed was on the phone calling in favors and making threats.” Davenport has lots of property, but it’s all mortgaged to the hilt. After the old folks left it to the mission, Davenport took out big loans on it, then moved the money off shore. He couldn’t get to it right away, so he spent two days in jail. Too bad he finally made bail.
“Should I be worried?” I asked. It was nice to know how long I had been in the hospital finally.
“Got no idea Max. When your memory comes back, and you testify that he threatened you, he is finished. We just need a little collaboration for our living witness. Co conspirators make lousy witnesses, but when you call him out, it’s all over. So would he like to be sure you wouldn’t testify? Yeah he would.” Blevins said.
“So who is guarding my door?” I asked.
“That would be Jerry, and a couple of other patrol types.”
“Well a couple of more days and I’ll be able to take care of myself.” I suggested.
“Well since you did pretty well in that parking lot, I can agree with you.”
“Hey Boss,” Lucas said from the hall.
“Come on in kid,” I suggested. Blevins told me you have been feeding the cat. Thank you,” I said.
“It’s not a problem. I am sorry that you need me to do that. Maybe if I had been there, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“If not that night, then the next one. These guys were serious.” I said it showing him I had no hard feelings.
“Anything I can get for you?” Lucas asked.
“Yes there is a red leather jewelry case in the safe room. There is a fancy watch in it. I would really like to have it here with me.”
“I’ll get it and come back tonight.” Luke suggested.
“Don’t bother, tomorrow would be just fine.”
“Okay, everybody out,” the nurse said. “Ms Stone needs her rest.”
I would have contradicted her, but I was too tired to argue.