April at the Antique Alley (14 page)

I reached in my jeans pocket and pulled out a bill. Thankfully it turned out to be a hundred. I gave it to the security guard and told him to ride to the hospital with Jill and take a cab back, which he gladly agreed to do. I made Jill swear that she would call nobody at all and told her it was important. She agreed and got into her car.

They wanted to take me to Parkland hospital because it was closest but I told the driver I wanted Baylor in Irving and he didn’t argue. I remember two things from the ambulance ride. The first is that I could hear the siren but it did not seem very loud. The second is that one of the medics offered me a shot for the pain and I refused him because I wanted to stay awake. Once I refused though my body really started hurting.

 

At the hospital they got me into a sterile looking room where a nice nurse stripped me naked, washed me off, put on a few more bandages until all the bleeding had stopped, and got me into one of those hospital robes that lets the whole world see your hiney if you aren’t careful. The whole time she was examining me the only thing that was going through my mind was that I hoped that I did not have any ligature marks on my wrists that I might have to explain.

Apparently my little bondage love session with Jana from the previous night either did not leave any telltale signs or the nurse wasn’t interested. The nurse told me a doctor would be right in to check on me and I directed her to let my friend Jill in as soon as she arrived.

Jill got there first. She was white as a ghost but turned a liquid gray when she saw me. As of then I had not yet seen my face and apparently I had dropped the shopping bag after I had passed out and not avoided every single kick. She refused to let me see a mirror. A doctor soon arrived and before she shooed Jill out of the room I made sure Jill took custody of my jeans. Since I rarely carry a purse my jeans were loaded down with credit cards and licenses and money and such.

The doctor however at my request let Jill stay in the room while I was examined. There were more bruises than cuts. I was tender in a couple of places.

She told me they would have to do some x-rays and then they would admit me. She promised to get the x-rays scheduled as quickly as possible and also told me there was a cop waiting to see me.

The uniformed officer was female and about my age. She went right to work explaining that a crime had been committed and apologized that she would have to document the wounds as soon as possible which is why she was carrying a large camera with her. Due to where the bruises were I had to get all the way naked for the photo shoot and she took pictures from head to toe front to back. I was pretty sure I wasn’t as cute as the centerfold of this month’s Playboy so I said a silent prayer that the case would never go to court and have the photos entered into evidence which would make them a matter of the public record and therefore in the public domain as soon as the trial concluded.

As soon as the photo session was completed the officer started asking the usual questions you would expect about time and place and description of the perpetrators and so forth but I refused to answer any of her questions demanding that she call Detective Samuels in Dallas instead. Since we were at Baylor in Irving and the crime had actually occurred in Dallas she was happy to agree to this.

 

When the cop left us Jill and I were alone for a few minutes and as soon as we were I told her the worst fear that had been building up in me ever since I woke up in pain. I had clearly heard the man say that I was sticking my nose in where it

 

did not belong. That meant that he was connected to the cases we were working, and only myself, Jill, and Jana knew we were going to be at Harry Hines Bazaar.

Briefly Jill and I discussed keeping that piece of information from Samuels when he took our statements but decided it would probably be better to divulge all to him.

An orderly arrived with a wheelchair so I left Jill in my examination room while he rolled me down to the x-ray department. It did not take as long as I had expected but they did have to take skeletal photos head to toe. Between the police officer in the hospital room and the x-ray tech doing his thing, I do believe this day was the one where I was photographed more than any other.

They wheeled me from there not back to the exam room but instead to one of the regular rooms on the ICU floor where I was being admitted. Eric Samuels and Jill were in the room when I arrived. The orderly got me into the bed and a nurse immediately jabbed a needle into one of my veins starting an IV saline drip.

Samuels sent Jill out of the room and started taking my statement. I pretty much told it as it happened and about the only real question he asked was whether I thought I could identify any of the men. I told him I got a pretty good look at two of the men as well as the boy who had been trying to break the car windows with the brick. He promised to get me some mug books to look through.

He would, of course, interview Jill separately to check for any inconsistencies in our versions of the story. Hopefully there wouldn’t be any.

Finally, with my story faithfully reported to my detective friend I did request from the nurse something for the pain. She was only gone a few minutes and returned with something in a hypodermic that she shot into the IV. I lost conscientiousness before Jill returned to the room.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

From the dark I wandered easily towards a silvery glow not too far down the road. I was perhaps seven years old and dressed in the shorts and a tank top that I had preferred back then. As the light got slowly brighter I could hear, still from a good deal of distance away, the chirping of birds, or was that crickets? It really didn’t matter much because either would have drawn my attention.

I strolled with a purpose away from the dark very curious about where I was going and what I would find when I got there. I was carrying some wicker thing that some how resembled an Easter basket but instead of brightly colored eggs the basket contained things like lock picks and a magnifying glass and a small digital camera. There was also, for some reason, in the basket, a picture of Basil Rathbone dressed as Sherlock Holmes.

 

The silvery light yielded to the bright orange that a child would pick to color the sky on a bright sunny day. It was almost blinding but the warm heat of the sun felt good on my skin warming me from a chill that I didn’t even realize I had.

I heard my mother yell at me for the one-millionth time to tie my shoe so I looked down and sure enough my big old sneakers were both flopping untied laces as I strolled along. I stopped and put the basket down and sat in the grass trying to tie the shoes. I made the two loops of rabbit ears with the laces but I could not remember which one was supposed to chase the other into the rabbits hole. I almost started crying so the Easter bunny stopped, put down her full basket of colorful eggs and tied my shoes for me. As the bunny completed this little motherly task she grabbed up her basket and hopped away. She was long gone by the time I realized that she had taken my basket with my tools of the trade instead of her own leaving me with the useless basket of brightly colored eggs.

I picked up the basket of eggs and started chasing after her desperately trying to catch up and losing ground. As I ran along the sound of the chirping slowly gave way to a dull roar that seemed to get closer and closer and also seemed to be coming from behind me. As the roar got louder and closer I realized I was no longer running but rather hopping on both feet and a large round white fluffy tail was growing on my backside.

The roar quickly turned into a large jeep with huge tires that was chasing me. It was driven by a large cartoon playing card that was the five of diamonds with a very nasty grimace on his face. He got closer and closer and I hopped with all my might with the precious eggs dropping out as I went, and the big tires of the jeep would crush the eggs leaving colorful egg goop in a five diamond pattern along our path.

 

CHAPTER-13.

 

Several hours later I was again awake and alert. Surprisingly the pain wasn’t too bad. Jill reported that the doctor had been by just a few minutes earlier and said that I had no broken bones. They would have to keep me at least twenty-four hours to make sure I did not have any internal bleeding, but if I did not then I could leave right after that.

That meant that I would be here until at least Sunday afternoon and I was hosting Lola’s funeral Monday morning.

Jill and I sat mostly in silence for about an hour neither one of us wanting to speak what was on our minds but each silently trying desperately to figure out a way that my new love, Jana, was not implicated. Both Jill and I failing to figure it out. Both of us expecting there to be some other answer but neither of us finding it.

 

Both somehow sure that Jana was not working against us, but unable to explain the beating without implicating her.

Some time later, just as they were delivering my dinner which I had no appetite at all for, Eric Samuels showed up again. He brought with him the news that he had taken Jana into custody. He had not charged her with anything and told her what had happened. She had completely denied any involvement and even requested that they give her a polygraph but that test had not yet been arranged. He could hold her for up to forty-eight hours without charging her and so far she had not asked for a lawyer.

He also brought with him some new technology. Instead of carrying in a big stack of mug books he handed me a laptop computer that was loaded down with pictures. He told me he had downloaded the most current database and showed me how to enter search parameters. In less than an hour I had picked out the two men I thought I would be able to recognize. I never did find the boy that had been smashing the windows with the brick, and I found dozens of others that MIGHT be amongst the others in the beat down, but at least I was sure of two of them. With that information he could move rather quickly. The first thing he would do is verify my choices with the security guard who had saved me and see if he could pick out any of the others.

When Samuels left I told Jill I did not want her to stay at my house alone and she promised me she would stay at her father’s house. Shortly later the nurse squirted more of that magic juice into my IV. This time there was no dream. When I woke up Sunday morning Jill was sound asleep in the chair next to my bed.

 

CHAPTER-14.

 

It is funny the things you think about. There was simply no way I was going to put the same underpants back on from yesterday, and the jeans still had a bunch of blood on them, so I left the hospital in a my good old hospital gown.

Jill drove her car with me riding shotgun and it is fortunate that it wasn’t raining because the two driver side windows were still busted. At my house, and still in my gown I got into my Taurus and Jill followed me the several blocks to a rented house in downtown Irving. My friend Tony was there but quite drunk. He told me he could replace the glass in Jill’s car and told me to pick it up Tuesday.

As soon as we got back to my house I called Samuels. He still had Jana in custody. She still claimed she had nothing to do with my beating but, of course, had no other explanation to suggest. They had taken a polygraph and according to Samuels she had passed. He more or less asked me if I wanted him to hold her any longer. I was not sure how I actually felt. I mean I was really relieved to hear that she had probably not been involved but still couldn’t figure out how else it could

 

have happened. I mean it was quite possible that I had misunderstood what the man had said when they were beating me but the memory was so clear. Mostly though, even if she were not guilty, I just didn’t want to see her right now. I mean if she were not guilty of arranging my beating then I was guilty of blaming her for something she had not done. Either way it was not good for a couple so new to each other. In the end I asked him to release her but to request that she not contact me until I contacted her.

Samuels finally had one other thing that helped. A couple of days ago I had requested that he look through old tax forms and see if Lola’s social security number had ever shown up as someone’s dependent and if so, were there other dependents listed. Well his people had found a fifty year old IRS form that listed Lola and two other dependents. He gave me the information and I made immediate plans to go to work on it. On the same tax forms there was listed Lola’s mother along with her maiden name and social security number. If I failed to contact either of the siblings I could always see where her mother’s side of the family tree led us.

I sent Jill to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and then sent her to the donut store. I needed some energy. While she was at the store I took a quick shower that hurt way more than it should have.

Dry, clothed, sipping coffee, and chewing on a coconut drenched pile of calories. Life was close to getting better. I had been an athlete all my life and was in a violent profession so I was not new to having a few nicks and cuts and bruises but this was the worst I had ever been beaten. It would take some time to fully recover but I couldn’t just convalesce. I had to push on. I had work to do and the case was starting to come together.

I fired up my own computer and hit that magic blue “e” that connected me to the entire world wide web. I searched through my drop down menu of favorites until I found the web page for the reverse Kohl’s directory. I use this site all the time so I knew my login ID and password by heart.

There were two people to look up. Both with the last name Martin, and I had the social security numbers for both. I had access to and would check the Social Security database eventually, but in my past experience this Kohl’s directory had served me well. This time was similar.

I set the parameters to search by last name and social, then I requested that it give me current address, phone number, and aliases. I typed the word “Martin” into the last name field, then I checked the notes I had scribbled during my phone call with Detective Samuels. The first was a Michael Martin so I poked his social security number in and hit the search button. In just moments it returned the message that it had not found anything. That did not mean that Michael Martin had never existed. What it meant was that it did not have any hit with a current address

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