Thursday, March 3, 2011

Walter Wallace - Chapter 14

Sam Tank, (or Sammy Tank as Boss liked to call him. “Sounds more like a mob name,” he had said. Tank had wanted to remark that their operation had absolutely no affiliation with any mob but decided to bite his tongue. He often did this in Boss’s company) was biting his tongue. He was on the phone with Boss who had just finished ordering him to do another pointless task. Tank begrudgingly acquiesced. He slowed his car to a stop and performed a neat three-point turn. He was barely two minutes from his home but now he was heading in the opposite direction to Phil Talley General Hospital to explain why a seven foot giant had just carried a nearly lifeless body into the emergency.

At the hospital he first encountered the numbing whine of Ms Citadel, “You wouldn’t believe what he has done! You’ve got to do something Sammy! Oh he is such a horrible man! Who would do such a thing?” Who would marry such a thing? he bit back - a the stinging sensation surging through his tongue. He was unsure if he was directing the muted slur at her or to her husband – marrying either one was a horrid thought – and as she continued to rant and rave he ignored her and strode past.

He next encountered the nurse at the front desk. “Sir where do you think you’re going?” Similar treatment felt justified but he reasoned efficiently that she would send the heavy set security guard to drag him back down.

“I have a dear acquaintance on the brink of death, brought in by a brute of man and I beg you let me witness his next breath for fear that it may be his last.” He spoke in sweet serene tones all the while flirting with blatant sarcasm. The nurse was confused, feeling both emotionally charged and possibly offended such that she had lost all wits on both flanks and decided to simply let him by for fear of some unknown.

Tank restruck his stride and took the stairs two at a time up to the third level, intensive care. He noticed a half giant pulling at his fingernails, nervously peering down at two police officers with notepads at the ready. Talk looked up, his big eyes lighting up, softening the rest of his facial features as he saw Tank’s purposeful figure approaching. Tank however payed him no salute and bypassed the interview through a side door which he assumed led into an adjacent entrance to the ward.

He scanned the neighbourhood of bandaged bodies slowly, the monitors beeping to their own monotonic rhythm. He was nearly to the end when he saw a patient moaning in agony while a nurse tended to his injuries. Sam grabbed a bouquet of flowers from the bed stand of a sleeping patient and changed his step to an urgent pace, dropping his face into concern. The nurse had just finished her rounds with Not Citadel, turning she frowned at the approaching visitor. “My brother,” Tank choked, “Nurse Patty said it would be OK to see him.” The nurse was sceptical but believed him none the less and gave him some words of comfort.

Waiting until she was another three beds away before he dropped his act, Sam leaned in close to Not’s face. “You going to tell anyone?” Not remained in his vegetable state. Sam leaned in closer still while reaching over to the IV, pinching the small tube that connected to Not’s nose. His face twitched a few times before he straightened up, panic screaming out of his bloodshot eyes. “You are going to say you were beaten to a pulp by some thugs for money,” Sam spoke with an eerie calm, despite the increasingly frequent beep of Not’s cardio monitor, “the kind, caveman-like gentleman over by the police was fortunate enough to pass by and scare away said thugs and bring you to the hospital in time to save your life.” You do want your life to be saved, yes?” Not nodded with his eyes even though his head was convulsing involuntarily in negation. “Shame. I quite enjoy a good torture session.” He released the IV. “By the way, are you Boss Citadel? You know, the guy who was on TV tonight? Who me? Oh, no no no. I have been hearing that all night since that damn happiest man show began broadcasting.” He gave Not a final warm warning smile before switching back to fraught with concern, “Nurse!” he exclaimed with a final wink, turning away from the poor man, “I don’t know what’s happened to him! Help!”

The nurse rushed over and tried to find the problem. A doctor soon arrived and a second nurse who told Sam he ought to leave and wait outside. Sam strode away towards the police who were still exerting some small man syndrome anguish (though both were quite tall and only suffering due to temporary comparison) on a feeble and scared looking Talk. “What is going on here!” Tank interrupted rather rudely. Talk’s face lit up once more. “This man here has done a brave deed and you dare treat him like this?”

“This man is suspected of assault!” said the closer of the policemen stepping forward to prevent Tank getting too close to the suspect. Both cops towered over Tank and appeared much more at home having regressed to the more familiar form of authority abuse. “He has all but confessed,” he finished with finality.

“I dare say he would. The man is a lumbering idiot.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but who are you?” questioned the second officer also stepping forward.

“I am his carer,” Sam said with growing indignation (all quite well feigned). He pulled a card from his pocket which confirmed what he had just claimed. It was handy to carry around considering Talk’s clumsiness and it was also quite valid as Talk was declared legally retarded a few years ago and Tank was in fact named his legal carer. “He frequently admits fault when it is not his. I am sure that when you get a chance to speak to the victim, he will tell the true tale of Mr Talk’s heroics. You two, on the other hand, best apologise to this poor, troubled man before I take the courtesy of reading your name badges. Let’s go Richard, unless these fine upholders of the law wish to officially detain you.” He paused for half a moment and then turned and walked away, Talk obediently following.

The two officers looked dumbstruck, staring at the odd couple walk away like a chess master contemplating a sudden checkmate. Talk and Tank came down in the elevator without speaking and walked towards the exit. Ms Citadel raced over to them, this time Tank found time to talk, cutting over her before she managed to utter a word. “-Despite what some may report, you actually entered the hospital some time after the patient was admitted. You mistakenly were informed your husband was in the hospital and you were fortunate to be within close vicinity at the time of hearing this news. You since learned that the man was just freakishly similar to your husband who has actually been sitting in his penthouse suite for the last few hours.” He made to walk away and she made to follow but he stopped again. “Considering you did not enter with Mr Talk you should also not intend to leave with him; perhaps just a passing thank you to the man who you incorrectly assumed to have saved your husband’s life, should such a conversation have been captured on the security cameras.”

Again he made to walk away, getting slightly farther than last time before he heard her shrilling voice, “But what do I say I was doing in this neighbourhood?”

How about you make something up yourself, you useless bitch! Tank bit his tongue too hard this time, wincing slightly. “You decided to try some more simpleton tasks - a late walk to the local 24 hour grocer to do the shopping. Inspired by the curious Walter Wallace, weren’t you?” He exited out through the large sliding doors, the fresh sour taste again tickling his buds.

Notes to the text

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