The Dead Bin
by Gary Clifton
Davis McCoy, a veteran detective on the Dallas police force, is relegated to the “Dead Bin,” a kind of “doghouse” reserved for cops who have annoyed their superior officers. When McCoy investigates a series of bizarre homicides, he has to work his way past hostile management as well as the criminal underworld. Even the most hardened veterans of law enforcement will be amazed by what he finds.
Chapter 31: Contact
Coincidence is like a circle. Gotta find an end to see any connection.
They’d moved Ivan from Intensive Care to a single room which had nearly as many bells and whistles as a carnival Ferris wheel. He had taken three .25 caliber gunshots near the heart at close range. Characteristic of a .25 impact, the lead bullets had fragmented, making removal a medical nightmare, but the low-powered .25 slug had not penetrated deeply enough to finish his heart.
Flat on his back, pale and wan, more tubes protruding than an automobile engine, he appeared more dead than not. His breath was strong, but labored and irregular.
A stern nurse, friendly to the cops, but mindful of protocol, warned us against over-exciting the patient. “He’s not really unconscious,” she concluded the lecture. “Just dozing and doped up. By the way, why does he have that odd white spot in the hair above his forehead?”
“Hard to say,” I said. She wouldn’t have believed the truth.
Ivan, snail-brained to begin with, was incoherent. We tried for ten minutes to communicate. He could wake momentarily and even respond to questions. The only problem was he wasn’t answering the questions asked.
The nurse wandered in. “Can you give him some kind of booster?” I asked. “Probably get a murdering toad off the street.” She looked as horrified as if I’d pinched her on the butt.
After being assured by the attending physician if Ivan didn’t die in a day or so, he’d probably be able to answer questions, we re-grouped in the hallway. Harper reminded the young uniformed officer sitting in the hallway to stay alert.
Trying to deduce who might try to kill Ivan, Maggs said, “Stick sent out hookers in pairs... Maybe he’s got a partner.”
“Or didn’t do it,” I said, adding to the group feeling of bewilderment.
At the far end of the hall, the third-floor elevator door opened, disgorging several passengers. Clearly visible standing in the rear of the elevator was a tall, slender, blonde.
“Christ, that’s Lola Blue!” Maggs broke for the elevator, Harper and I following.
As we rushed the door, it tantalizingly slid closed. The arrow said “up.” We split in three different directions. I ran up a flight to the next floor. Ten minutes later, we regrouped, breathless in the parking structure. “Too much hospital,” Harper gasped. He lit a fresh stogie.
“What the hell was Lola doing in the hospital?” Maggs asked.
I said. “Maybe to volunteer to help the wounded? We’ve gotta find Lola for a little chat, and she just dodged us.” I repeated a line that had gotten old fast.
“Leastways, we know she’s still alive and breathing,” Harper exhaled a cloud of toxic poison into the open air of the parking structure.
* * *
Janet and Tim were still bunking in my apartment. Tim was asleep and she’d saved me some spaghetti. I nibbled at the food and dropped off to sleep dreaming of blondes in elevators. I awoke at just past midnight and vomited my dinner into the commode.
Back in bed, Janet told me she was going to take me to the doctor at gunpoint.
“Like I said, already seen the doc. He’s doing some tests. He thinks it’s just stress.” I was lying again; the gut hurt way too much to be minor.
“Well, horse around and die. I guess you’ll have me to mourn you. You won’t die alone. Just lay around and rot,” she laughed at her graveyard humor. I wondered how close to the truth she was.
“I intend to survive, kiddo,” as said the Trojan, Hector, before he ventured forth to fight Achilles. I hoped I sounded convincing. Hector had finished second.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton