Monday, July 25, 2011

Did she do it

   The man in the orange prison suit jumped up and took a deep drag on his cigarette. Sweat poured down his forehead as he stood in the recreation room at the Kansas prison. It was late fall, the weather hot and humid. His contacts had finally come through with what he needed to know. Reed Conners was in Dallas,Texas and wherever he was, Lindy Lewis would be close by. Time was of the essense. John Thomas had patiently waited and now everything was in place, just watiting to be put into action.
    Reed Conners lay in the Dallas hospital and when the morning sunshine finally awakened  him, he knew instantly where he was and that someone had tried to kill him. He raised his hand and felt the bandage covering his right shoulder and a sling around his arm. God, his mouth tasted like a tin can.  He winced as he tried to sit up to reach a glass of water on the bedside table, then fell back down on the pillow, pissed when the pain immobilized him.
    "Where the hell is everybody," he grumbled and the door opened and Betty, the waitress from Tony's Steakhouse, stepped into his room.  She came over to his bedside and kissed hin on the cheek.
    "What are you doing here?" he muttered.
    "Well, someone has to worry about you." She was still wearing her black uniform from work.
   She looked him over critically. "The doctor said you were lucky, if the gun-shot had been an inch lower, you'd be in real trouble."
     A sheen of sweat broke out over Reed's face and he punched the coarse cotton blanket that covered him with his good hand.
   "Here's the water," Betty said and held the glass to his lips, and as he drank she added, "Now Reed, you've got to rest so you can heal."
   "Yeah," he said, depressed and hurting. "Aren't you supposed to be at the coffee shop for you day job?"
   Betty sat down in a nearby chair. "I called in and took the day off."
   Reed looked at her and realized it felt damm good to have a woman worrying about him. "How did you know I was here?" He asked curiously.
    "I was feeling blue last night knowing this was your last night here, so I called your room at the motel and they said there had been an accident."
   "You mean you've been here all night?"
   "Well I guess," Betty said.
   "Thanks," Reed said a few minutes later, "Now I want you to go home Betty and get some sleep." And after she left, he finally got some coffee and when the caffeine cleared his head, he remembered it again. It had been plaguing him all night, but in his drugged state he wondered if it had actually happened?
   He had seen Lindy!  Had she been the one who had shot him? The million dollars she'd collected from his insurance company after her house fire couldn't mean that much.   
   Would all that money be worth it?  A murder charge?
   He exhaled and closed his eyes. God the pain, everything hurt!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Who am I?

    "Miss Lee, I can call the authorities and see if there's a missing person report out for you.  And perhaps we'll find someone to come for you!"
   But as soon as Dr. Horton mentioned that, a tremer shot through my body.  And seeing that, he said kindly, "let's take another look at that picture."  And I handed him the red billfold and slid under the blankets as I lay in the Dallas hospital bed. He studied the picture for a few minutes then said, "Miss Lee, this is you. Your eyes are blue, you know. You had them covered with brown contacts, and your hair has been lightened. And it says here, your name is Lindy Lewis, and you are from Minnesota!" 
   Bewildered,  I reached for the picture and looked again. And seeing my sudden fear, he said, "I want you to stay another night and we'll see how things are tomorrow. I think when you're well rested, things will right themselves." He smiled reassuringly and left my room.
  I slept the day away and well into the next night and awoke as someone said, "Miss Lee, I just need to check your blood pressure." I wondered, why she was calling me Miss Lee?  Then I remembered everything. I knew imediately who I was and why I had changed my identity. And Lordy, why I was in the hospital!
   But had Doctor Horton notified the police and the authorities?  I had to leave, and get away fast! I found my clothes and dressed and ran a hand through my hair. I peeked out the door of my room and not seeing anyone around, found the stairs and ran down. Then I found myself in the emergency part of the hospital, in the same place in the hospital I had come into a few days ago. Finding a handy phone I called a taxi and stepped around a corner to stay out of sight. Sirens screamed then as an ambulance flew up to the door and the paramedics brought a wounded man in on a stretcher.
   "Gun shot," they yelled to the medical staff who ran to meet them. And in the seconds that followed, before jumping out of sight, I recognized the man.
   "My God, it was Reed  Conners!" 
   Reed had been in Texas for three weeks and Lindy's trail had gown cold. Frustration deepened the lines on his face tonight as he went back to the motel room. His gut told him I had left Dallas and he was wasting his time hanging around any longer. He'd hit the road in the  morning and get back to Minnesota and relax and wait for the ice to thicken on his lake so he could ice-fish.
   He unlocked the door to his room, stepped in and immediately sensed something was wrong! Chills went up his spine as he stood still, silhouetted in the doorway. Monnlight filtered into the room through the thin shades. As his eyes adjusted to the gloomy interior, he saw his clothes had been torn off hangers and lay on the floor, and the dresser drawers had been pulled open and its contents strewn about.
   "What the hell--," was all Reed Conners could grumble before the world exploded and a million stars crashed through his head. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

The man in the white coat-

   Blackness swirled and threatened, then the curtain was slid aside as a man stepped into the cubicle in the emergency room I was in at the hospital.
   "I'm Doctor Horton Miss Lee," he said, "let's have a look at you." His middle-aged face was kind and his voice soothing as he took a chair by my side. "Can you tell me what happened?"
   "I don't know," I said twisting a kleenex.
   "Did you wake up feeling like this, this morning?"  He asked.
   "I don't know," I repeated. "But I have a room key and it has Regency Hotel on it."
   "You are in Dallas, Texas. Can you tell me what year this is?"
   I could only stare at him in silence and when I could not tell him who our president was, he said, "I'll need to do some tests, so I want you to stay with us for a day or two."  He smiled kindly. "Try not to worry, we'll find out what's wrong, Miss Lee."  And a nurse came in with a wheelchair.
   The ride through the long halls in the hospital was a blur and finally she wheeled me into a room and smiled.
   "Now I'll help you get undressed and into bed.  I want you to rest and Doctor Horton will be back to see you soon." She hung up my red silk dress and lined my black pumps in the closet. Then tied the strings on a gown and tucked me into bed.
   The lights of downtown Dallas had come on spreading a soft glow over the stark room. Dinner carts rattled on the tile floor leaving a trail of tuna and noodles and coffee. I laid back on the hard pillow and again the panic came over me. I felt as if I was being strangled and I struggled for a breath. And then the doctor's familiar face came into view.  He put a hand on my shoulder.
   "Take a deep breath, Miss Lee, its going to be okay. I'm going to give you a shot to help you get some rest."
   And I felt the needle prick my arm and then the warm blanket of the drug as it crept through my body dragging my tired eyelids down. I greatfully slid into the comfort of sleep and the clanking busy noise of the place receded into nothing.
   The next day was a maze of tests and humming machines and I began to relax after another night of sound sleep.
   Later, Doctor Horton came into my room and took a seat.  "Miss Lee," he said, "Your tests came back negative. Now I discussed your case with my colleagues and we've all agreed you have what's called hysterical amnesia."
   I looked at him helplessly. "What's that?" I whisered.
   "It's caused by stress. Stress and possibly from some painful event. You see, sometimes when our minds get too full of unpleasantness, we shut down.  We can't accept any more, Miss Lee," he went on, "but most of the time it's a temporary thing."
   I could only stare at him again in silence.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Who am I?

   I got up and began pacing after that terrifing nighmare, and I walked until I was exhaused, then finally, I slept. And the next day I felt fine.
   "Good morning, Miss Lee,"  Andre' the Matre'd greeted me as I came into the Regency Dining Room late in the morning. "My dear, you look like you need a cup of coffee right away. Were you out late last night?"
   "Something like that." I gave him a weak smile and waited for him to return.
   "Are you alright?"  He asked me again.
   "I just need some food I think." And I ordered breakfast, but as I lifted the cup of coffee to my lips for the last drop, something strange happened to me. My mind went totally blank, numbing familiarity. I sat frozen as I held the coffee cup suspended in midair, then dropped it. It clattered down against the saucer. A chill spread over my arms and I clasped them over my chest. I sat dumbfouned amongst the busy chatter in the room and terror began, then inched through me.
   A large sign on a wall said Regency Hotel. But where? I looked down at my hands and saw slim fingers, long painted nails, but they belonged to a stranger. I didn't know myself, couldn't feel the comfort of my own warmth. A key with the number, 1902 lay on the table beside a black purse. 
   "Thanks Lorna, you have a good day," a waiter said as he placed a tray with change down.  That came as a shock then, when I realized I didn't even know my name. I forced a weak smile on my face as I walked out on shaking legs.
   What had just happened? 
   I clutched the room key in my hand and hurried to the refuge of my room, but steeled myself for what I might find.
   Would someone be there waiting for me? 
   I took a few steps into the silent room and collapsed in the nearest chair. I looked around then, but nothing looked familiar! Panic gripped me as I sat immobilized, unable to think. Finally, I forced myself to get up and I checked myself in a mirror and a stranger looked back at me. I ran into the bedroom and when I checked the closet and dresser drawers, it too was filled with a strangers things.
   I knew then I had to call 911.  And so within  thirty minutes, I was sitting in the emergency room at Dallas Memorial Hospital. When the nurse asked me my name, I said, "Lorna Lee. That's what I was called, but I don't remember."
   "Do you have a billfold in your purse," she asked me.  When I found one in there and opened it, I started shaking uncontrolably, and she ran to find the doctor and I sat in the small curtained-off enclosure and stared at a picture of a brunette, with blue eyes. Someone called Lindy Lewis, from Minnesota!