Here is Chapter Four! Remember to come back next week as the story continues!
“Russell?” The man in the bed’s eyes stared at Russell narrowly avoiding eye contact. Not an intentional avoidance, more a forgivable result of being shot in the head. “You shot me.” Russell looked at Rick, then back at Jeff. He moved a few steps towards Jeff and sized up the blood stained bandage occupying the space above his left eye. Russell reached out his hand and started to poke the bandage. “What are you doing?” Jeff asked, his eyes becoming more crossed with each dab of the finger.
“How are you still alive?” Russell’s question carried the same naive wonder as a child asking how a plane flies.
“The bullet missed the brain ventricles and was confined to the left side limiting damage to minor language and speech functions.” Said Rick in dismay to room filled with disbelief. “His medical chart is on the end of his bed.”
The following silence was broken by Jeff “Can you get the policeman at the door, I need to tell him that Russell shot me.” There was no threatening overtone to the question, just a genuine request and it was at this point that Rick realised Jeff was thicker than pig shit. Russell seemed, by comparison, a scholar. Along with this revelation came an idea.
“You’re not going to tell the police anything Jeff.”
“You’re a drug dealer.”
“Scum.” Russell chimed in.
“You’ll do life in prison if they find out.”
“I was only selling prescription Valium from Thailand.”
“The law doesn’t care Jeff.”
“Shit.” Right on the cue the policeman strolled back into the room.
“Who the hell are you two?”
Rick took the lead in responding to the questions. “We’re Jeff’s friends, as soon as we saw the news report we rushed straight over.”
“Then why are you holding a hammer?”
Rick took a look down at the hammer in his hand and without think answered. “We found. In the car park.”
“And you just picked it up and carried it into the hospital room of a man at the centre of an ongoing police investigation?”
“It was Jeff’s, it’s his favourite hammer. He never goes anywhere without it.” Said Russell.
“I call him MC Hammer.” Added Jeff.
“It must have fallen out of Jeff’s jacket when they brought him in from the Ambulance.” Rick now felt oddly smug, especially considering everything needed to convict him and Russell of murder was standing in that room. The door opened once again, this time at the arrival of the doctor. He glanced at Rick and Russell, then at the policeman, then at the hammer and finally at Jeff, whose eyes were now simultaneously pointing towards the opposite sides of the room and a delicate dribble of saliva glistened on his chin. The doctor, admirably, managed to carry on his duties despite the unusual circumstances in the room.
“How are you feeling Jeff?”
“Excuse me doctor, do you mind if we have to room alone with Jeff for a few minutes?”
“Not right no… I’m sorry who are you?”
“I’m Rick, this is Russell, we’re Jeff’s closest friends.”
“Well Rick and Russell, Jeff’s health is paramount at the moment. Whatever you need to say to him will have to wait.” The current situation was a far cry from the stealthy ‘convincing’ Rick had anticipated. The only saving grace was that they’d somehow managed to coerce Jeff into withholding the incriminating information. Luckily it had been easy. If ever a person were needed as evidence of the effects of drugs on intelligence then Jeff was that person. Although it could be argued a bullet lodged in the brain wouldn’t have helped either. Despite Jeff’s coercion Rick was filled with an overwhelming desire to get out of the hospital. The policeman was far from convinced of their story and the Doctor would surely probe them further after he finished his checks.
“Ok then. Me and Russell will probably head home to get some rest then.” The policeman opened his mouth to object but before sound could get out the door swung open.
“I hope you’re hungry Jeff.” The words rang out melodically as a nurse who looked the type to invest as much time into OK! magazine as her career ushered in a tray consisting largely of bread and jelly. She was followed in by a second, clearly less senior nurse. “You’ve got quite the crowd going on here. Can I get anyone a coffee?”
“No thank you, we’re just heading off actua…”
“Nonsense! I’ll be quick. We just got this new machine installed down the hall. It’s rather good.” Without giving them a chance to respond she rushed back out the room leaving her timid follower behind.
Russell whispered to Rick “Rick, I wanna go.”
“Yeah, me too.” In an instant the nurse reappeared, a coffee in each hand. She handed them to Rick and Russell. The relief filled Rick’s body the same way the warmth from the coffee did. All they needed to do was finish their coffee and they could escape. Or at least they thought they could. Yet again the door opened and this time a group of people walked in. Their expressions showed a battle between worry and relief. A 50-plus woman broke from the group and ran over to Jeff, tears in here eyes. It was Jeff’s Mum. It was Jeff’s family.