Dec 1, 2013

Green Eyes --- Chapter 31: I expect you to die, Mr. Bond

Previously --- well, basically we fell in love with Alex. That's actually the most important thing. But other events interfere, such as the rape of Maurice, a casual acquaintance who lingers in the hospital at the moment, or the attempt of the rapist to eliminate Maurice as the witness to his crime.

We've been here before, right, I’ve seen these eyes before, and the person to whom they belong, and I know this room, a hospital room with a bed between my vantage point and the window, and lying on this bed is a person I know as well, wait, it’s Maurice, the guy who is dozing. A hint of concern, how does it look in the greenest eyes of the world?

My field of views widens until I realize that I'm a patient myself, lying on a bed next to Maurice's bed, more or less in horizontal position, my head between the ears of a pillow. The head section of the pliable mattress is inclined somewhat. "This head section, it's inclined at 35 degrees, right," I say (I don’t know why, but it’s the sort of thing I do). Alex laughs.
"You’re getting dangerous," he says.
"What am I doing here?"
"You were getting dangerous," he replies.

A spy flick comes to mind, with a German accent hovering above an encumbered spy who's strapped to some torture bench but asks in an odd gesture of helplessness: 'What do you expect me to do?' and the German accent replies: 'I expect you to die, Mr. Bond.'

 Sean Connery and Gerd Fröbe in Goldfinger (1964)

I tell Alex. Alex laughs his dry laugh again. The more I make him laugh, the more he’ll give me his email address. I raise my arm, trying to clutch his arm in an awkward gesture, he understands. We never held hands before. "Why don't you give me your email address," I ask.
"You've got anything to write?"
"I'll remember it."
"It's Alex-six-five-five-three-seven at gmail dot com. What's yours?"
"That’s almost a phone number."
"Two digits are missing," he says.
"Come to think of it, it's not a bad idea, helps you to remember your own number."
"Until you move out of state."

He's getting old-fashioned again, can't one keep one's cell number across states? "You want my email," I ask, "really?”
"Sure, why not?"

Mine is a difficult, outdated address, I'm not sure he's trying to remember (I’ll get a new one pronto, mental note). 'Alex-Five-five-six-three-seven,' I'm telling myself. "Five-five-six-three-seven," I'm saying.
"It's six-five-five-three-seven," Alex corrects me, "the largest Fermat prime known."
"That'll help."
"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit,” he says in an encouraging way, like he’s assisting a senior citizen in the bathroom. “Don’t forget, you can look it up on Wikipedia."
“The number?”
“Until a larger one is found.”
“Not bad,” he says, “but no new one has been discovered in 350 years.” He smiles. He’s the man of my life. We maintain high standards of romantic involvement.

“Not 35 years, mind you,” he adds.

I’ll have to get my act together. I do this wrong, everything will be lost.
"Alex, I'm in the hospital, right," I say.
"The guy from the diner tried to kill Maurice, right?"
“The guy from the diner?”
“Yes, the guy from the diner.”
“You sound confused.”
“I am confused.”
"Maurice says it was RapeDick. Dick Benson."
Did I dream this? In Mamma Mia, the other day, last Sunday, in fact, I’m sitting at the counter opposite to the cooking range, the section where the loners sit, the pizzeria is actually a refashioned diner, and this guy appears, with a woman, he’s almost dragging her inside, holding her by her wrist, she’s write trash, judging by her unkempt hair hanging flat down from her crane, she’s too meaty for words, he wears shades, the same shades he wore this afternoon, and tired slacks, and a T-shirt (perhaps the remainder of his uniform, the slacks?), he drags her to a booth, like orders her to be seated, sits down opposite to her, they are too far away for me to understand a words of what’s going on (which accentuates their body language), her body language is like just fidgeting, he keeps on exhorting her, I wonder whether they are married, it’s not possible, he gets up, almost rolls across the table, plops down next to her, shifts his butt up to her ass, there’s no oxygen left for her, his round flat face leans into her ear, she covers both ears with her hands, bends forward, hits the table-top with her forehead, repeatedly, then tries to get up, or out, but is stuck between him, the diner, and gravity, unexpectedly she dives under the table, slide-scrambles on her knees to the aisle, lifts body and belly into the air, and flees, or waddles, and he stays behind and orders a beer. That was him. Yes, that was him. The slap-around face, the narrow, mean lips, the belt-straining of extraneous body tissue in the mid-riff region, the absent nose, him.
“I met the guy, in fact, didn’t meet him, but observed him having a beef with a woman in Mamma Mia, on Sunday evening.”
“Well, this was Benson,” Alex says, nodding in the direction of the catatonic Maurice on the other bed.
“That was Benson, too,” I say, and share the entire scene.
“On Sunday evening?”
“After the rape.”
“I guess so.”
“Possibly his ex,” Alex says, “Benson making sure she stays mum, put more pressure on her.”
“Yes, it was him,” I repeat, “he was wearing the same shades.”
“Three witnesses,” Alex interrupts me, “Maurice, the ex, and Blake, his partner, three witnesses. Maurice almost gone.”
“It’s not possible,” I say, “how could he expect to get away with this?”
“Why, what, if you hadn’t shown up Maurice would be dead by now. He had serious internal trauma. Internal. Patient underwent emergency surgery, followed by post surgery exitus. One day out of intensive care. Not even sure they would perform a post mortem.”
“Benson wouldn’t know.”
“You’re right, but he knew enough to trace Maurice. Few murders are calculated on a strictly rational basis. Benson’s lost it, basically. He’s groping in psychotic space.”
“Groping in psychotic space.”
“Well, excuse me.”
“Sounds like a one-liner I could sell to Maurice.”
“Well, try.”
"I think he's sleeping."
"He’s got a sedative."
"And you, what are you doing here?"
"I am guarding you, both of you."
"Why don't you let security do it, you have security agents in this hospital, right?"
"Yes, we do," he says.
“They are not convinced."
"That RapeDick tried to kill Maurice?"
"Did you try?"
“Have you ever tried to convince security of anything?”
"Why can't we just go to..."—I'm interrupting myself.
"We've contacted the DA office. They send somebody, tomorrow. Somebody must take care of Benson."

I need a clear head, he's easily derailed by a wrong word. I need a cup of coffee, he will get it for me from the vending machine. I'm briefly alone with Maurice. Should I wake him up? Will I be able to get up? What's wrong with me? No bandages, so to see. Alex is back.

"I'm not hurt in a serious way, right?"
"No, you are not."
"No concussion?"
“Fuzzy or blurred vision?”
“He must have hit you fairly badly, though. You lost consciousness.”
I realize some bad hurt in my groin.
“My groin,” I say. He laughs.
“Yeah, it can wipe you out.” He has this lovely paramedic look on his face. “You should be fairly groin-resistant, though, with your amount of practicing. You’ve been all over the place, right?”

"What was I doing, sleeping?"
"You got a sedative as well, a milder one."
"You were talking gobbledygook, security thought it was you who tried to kill Maurice.”
“Maurice recovered just in time to save your ass and explain.”

"Can you take me home?" I ask (forgetting about my truck).
"I have to take care of Maurice until he’s back in IC. He’s relatively safe there."
“Will I see you again?”
“Why not.”
“Come on.”
“You will, no sweat.”
“You said you love me.”
“Did I?”
“Well, you wrote it. You wrote ‘I love you,’ and you drew a little Valentine’s heart.”
“Did I?”
“A Valentine’s heart …” he echoes breathily.

Intermission. Eye-wetting. Maurice still catatonic. Intermission. Quote. Unquote. Alex cups my forehead with his hand: “You’ll be fine.”
“Fifty ways to leave your lover,” I say.
“No-no,” he says, “no-no.”
"Alice told me. Stronger, she warned me," he says.
"She warned you?"
"She warned you to give me your address?"
"No, she warned me not to give you my address."
"I'm confused," I say.
"Because you're a victim of double negation.”
“I’m a victim of love.”

He laughs. “You’re French, wasn’t it?"
“More or less.”
“Victim of love. Victim of double negation. What’s the difference. Would you love somebody because it would hurt him too much if you don’t?”
“You say.”
“Just asking.”

"I want to see you again," I say.
"Your request for my email implied that, more or less."
“You want to see me again?”
“Sure, why not.”
"I love you," I repeat myself. Another flash, not from a movie but from a novel, Call me by your name, this kid, Elio, puts his hand on the elder kid’s crotch, Oliver, in complete desperation.

The door. In walks a nurse who knows how to make an entrance. He has aged bit in the last four years. "Quinton," Alex says, all alpha-dog now, his green eyes fixed on my former trick, "there you are."
"It took quite some doing," Quinton says, "It's 3500 bucks per night, I had to find somebody to sign off on this."
"And who was it?"
"Myself. The head intensivist is off playing golf in Palm Springs, and his replacement is C2."
“C2,” I ask.
“You don’t want to know, John,” he replies, then proceeds to Maurice’s bed, unblocks the wheels, pushes bed and patient across the room, and disappears, leaving the door open.

"What's going on," I ask.
"He's going back to Intensive Care, he's safer there, you can go home."
"I don't want to go home."
"This is the trauma ward, we have no jurisdiction here, we've called in too many favors already.”
"Tomorrow at 10 am," he says, "the DA, we need you. You're an indirect witness, you were the first one to be told about the rape by Maurice. Be there, or be square."

The door again. An unknown white-coat. “Later,” Alex says and disappears. The MD examines me dutifully and declares me discharged.

Are you still there? Then you'll possibly like the GREEN EYES. The first part is out now, available as Kindle book on Amazon, under this link:

Night Owl Reviews
Go here for the next chapter.


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