If you’re coming in late, the novel starts here: CHAPTER 1: Some bugger steals my sushi
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“Mr Tulloch,” said Daniel, referring to his runner ID he’d nicked from me. “That’s one shitload of headaches.”
He began opening cupboards, rustling through drawers and chests and metal cabinets, until he found what he was looking for.
“Aha!” he said, with a flourish, producing a handful of calico carry bags.
I looked at him, stunned. “You’re not serious. Surely you can’t be serious!”
He grinned at me, and threw a wad of bags at me. “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley. Start loading, trippy boy!”
I shrugged a shoulder in the direction of the closed circuit camera pointed in our direction. “And what do you intend to do about our new career on film?”
The camera was ripped from its mount by the force of his action. Red lights came on, and a siren began to sound.
“Smart move, Daniel,” I said sarcastically. “Let’s go!”
“Allons-y! But not without a door prize,” he said, grabbing a handful of packs of panadeine forte and shoving it into a bag.
We quickly filled a couple of calico bags with dozens of packs of panadeine. Daniel made a lightning fast grab for a few other drugs as well, throwing pack after pack of drugs with unpronounceable names in a bag along with the panadeine.
Then he flinched, and stopped packing the drugs suddenly, listening. “Footsteps. Someone’s on the way. Let’s go!”
We grabbed the bags, opened the door to the drug room, and ran for it, skidding on the polished lino floors as we turned corner after corner until we found an elevator. We looked at each other, our sudden silence cut short by the “Ping!” of an elevator bell and, without discussion, got in.
The Bee Gees were playing on the Muzak elevator sound system. “Stayin’ Alive.” Fate has a sick sense of humour. I groaned. “Now I’m ready to kill myself,” I said.
I pushed a floor button; didn’t notice which level. The doors opened a few moments later. A female doc got in. White coat, and tight black pants. I’d know that butt anywhere.
It was the mystery medico: the doc we’d been looking for. I hunched as short as I could, and turned my coat up, trying to move past her to get out of the lift as fast as I could, my calico bag rustling suspiciously as I moved. Daniel followed, hunched over as well. As if it would make a difference – the guy is nearly six and a half feet tall.
We pushed past her, and I’d just about figured we’d got away, when I heard that crisp, high voice say: “Mr. Hocking?”
I froze, briefly, then kept on walking, Daniel right behind me. Then that brisk, precise voice again:
“Mr. Hocking? It is Mr. Hocking, I know it is, so don’t go pretending you’re anyone else. I know my patients, and remember every single one of them. Stop please. A moment.”
I stopped, and turned around, looking down to check out her shoes and see if we ran for it whether she’d be able to catch us. Damn. Sneakers. Why couldn’t it be ridiculous heels?
The doc stepped out of the lift, and caught us up, grasping me firmly by the shoulder. I could feel her nails pinching my skin through the material of my stolen lab coat. “I believe that’s my bag you’re carrying there. Come with me.”
She pulled me along with her; her grip was hard. I wasn’t getting away any time fast. I looked at Daniel, and mouthed, Get the hell out of here! He just shook his head and tagged along.
She steered me to a small examination room off the main hospital corridor, and Daniel followed us in.
The room was empty. No furniture but a stretcher, and an old wooden chair. There was also a desk of much higher status and comfort than the rest of the furniture, with a plush, high-backed, swivelling chair behind it. These two latter items were obviously designated for the doctor-at-work, rather than the patient being examined. Both gave a strong impression of power and authority, and were clearly designed to emphasize the difference in rank between examiner and examinee.
Yep. I really, really hate hospitals.
The doc eyed us sternly.
“Would you like to explain what is, precisely, the contents of those bags?” she said, motioning to our two calico bags. “Open them out on the desk. Right now, please.”
“No,” I replied simply. I’d noticed that, once again, the doc wasn’t wearing a name tag, or any type of ID at all. No swipe card, no stethoscope. I got the impression that maybe, just maybe, we weren’t the ones with the most to lose in this sudden confrontation. “I’m not opening anything.”
“Hell, no,” Daniel added, “No. Fricking. Way. No – with sugar on top. Shit no. Crap, no. Fuuuuuuccc—-”
“What he said,” I added further, cutting his language off, and starting to enjoy the expressions on the doc’s face. This was getting good.
There’s nothing more fun than getting one up on someone who thinks they’re in control of a situation and in charge of you. Except getting one up on someone who is incredibly pretty, who thinks they’re in control of the situation and in charge of you.
I was getting a strong impression the doc wasn’t used to being answered back by a couple of scruffy medico-imposters. She didn’t like it one bit, and her face said so. She stared in disbelief at us.
Daniel was warming right up. He strolled over to the plush chair, sat down, spinning it around to face the desk, and put his boots up on the desktop.
And would you like to tell us who the crap, exactly, you are. Because if you’re a doctor here at this hospital, I’m Mickey Mouse.”
“I’m Peter Pan, personally,” I said. “If your name is Wendy, and you’re here to sew on my shadow, I’m interested. Otherwise, you might want to tell us what you’re doing here, why you have no name tag or ID, and why the hell you gave me something that sure as hell isn’t Panadeine Forte.”
“He had interesting…ummm…side effects,” said Daniel. “Real interesting. You might want the contents of these bags…” He waved his calico bag of goodies at her tauntingly, “…But I’ve got a pretty good guess that there are a whole lot of other people who might be interested in the contents of these bags too.”
He grinned fiendishly at her. “Of course, it’s possible you left your ID at home today. It’s possible you left your ID at home yesterday too. And,” he said, with an evil glint in his eyes that told me he was enjoying the situation more than ever, “It’s possible that there’s nothing in these bags but real, bona fid-ey panadeine forte.”
I realised I was grinning like an idiot, and shut my mouth, attempting to look grave.
“In which case,” Daniel went on. “We ‘fess up. We’re nassssty, evil thieveses, precious! Takes us to the authorities, yesss!”
His expression suddenly changed – all serious, not a hint of humour. He leaned forward in his chair, took his feet off the table. “But I don’t think you’ll do that. I think you’re going to explain exactly who the hell you are, what the hell this shit is my partner in crime here ingested, and why the f&*% you’re posing as a doctor.”
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READ ON: CHAPTER 6: These are the days of miracle and wonder