I start thinking about my plan when Lady Z, one of the nurses, enters. “Mr. Jameson, they’re playing cards in community room four. You wanna join them?”
She knows my answer. It’s the same question she’s asked numerous times before. But she keeps asking anyways, thinking I’m a hundred kinds of senile. Truth is, she’s quite attractive, and I don’t mind playing along. “I’d rather you and me play ‘hide and go naked’.”
She giggles and points a finger at me. “Oh, Mr. Jameson, I’m gonna have to watch you.”
I lean in close. “I’d rather watch you.”
She giggles again, but then her smiling face morphs into stern. “Remember it’s community room four. Do you need me to write it down?”
I want to give her a blast, tell her I may look seventy-two, but inside I’m twenty-two. Instead, I simply shake my head, ‘no.’
When evening comes and she gives me my sleeping pill, I wait ‘til the door closes, then spit the pill into the trash and get dressed.
I leave the building by the secret exit I found during one of my test runs. The cold air slaps against my cheeks, making me feel alive for the first time in months.
I hail a cab and take it to 278 Chestnut Street.
The door opens and a short, stocky man stands before me. Dr. Phil Lawson. The finest doctor money can buy.
He stares at me with wild green eyes as if I’m a mirage.
“Tim? What the hell…?”
He pulls a phone out of his pocket. “I’m calling Claire at Bedford. “
I look around, see no one, then reach into my bag and remove the gun I procured from some seedy guys in the village. “Put the phone away, Doc. Go inside.”
Lawson pockets the phone, then turns and walks into the house. He sits on the leather couch in the living room. I stand, the gun aimed at the middle of his chest. “I want you to tell the court you made a mistake. That I don’t have dementia, that I should be released from Bedford.”
He looks at me a moment, sighs. “’Fraid I can’t, Tim.”
I move the gun closer. He looks up with worried eyes.
“Upset you’d have to give the money back for lying on the stand? What was it, twenty-five grand? Thirty?”
Lawson looks down at the white shag carpet. “Nothing. Didn’t get a penny.”
“Right, sold your soul for free.”
He takes a deep breath. “When Jason first asked me to lie, I said, no. It wasn’t right that a son screws his dad just to get his power of attorney. Unfortunately, he’d found out about my past, all the terrible things I’d done. Surgeries I’d mishandled, people I’d hurt. He even knew about the man I shot. I told him how, after that, I vowed to live the righteous life, never cause harm to anyone ever again. He just shrugged, said he’d tell the media everything if I didn’t co-operate.
It didn’t matter what he’d do to me. It’s my family. I didn’t want their lives ruined by my mistakes.”
I see the sadness etched into his face, and it made me think of my own heartache. “Jason used to be a good kid, but he got involved with the wrong people.”
“I feel your pain, Tim. Look, I know a lawyer who has an in with the courts. I’ll give you his card.”
I think about it, then nod.
A shot rings out and the card in his hand falls onto the carpet. Blood dribbles down Lawson’s chest as he slumps back into his chair.
I drop the gun, confused.
Steve Shrott’s mystery short stories have appeared in numerous publications such as Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. His work has been published in ten anthologies—two from Sisters-in-Crime (The Whole She-Bang, and Fishnets.) His humorous mystery novels include AUDITION FOR DEATH and DEAD MEN DON’T GET MARRIED.
Copyright © 2016 Steve Shrott. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited.