DOWN GOES WESTPHAL
Be Seeing You
Westphal awoke in his bed. Sammy was there, looking on with concern.
“I was dreaming of kittens,” he told the ghost. “There were dozens of them and they were eating me.”
“I don’t know about no cats,” Sammy told him, indicating all the bandaged wounds on his thighs, belly and chest, “But somethin’ sure as shit was biting da fuck outta you. What was it?”
“I got in over my head, don’t worry about it,” Westphal replied, sitting himself up in bed. “I went over to Steele’s and got dosed.”
He looked down at all the bandaged bites. They hurt like crazy, but they looked clean. Sammy did a nice job of first-aid.
“What time is it, anyway?” Westphal asked.
“It’s early afternoon, Westie,” Sammy replied.
“Early afternoon, then why the fuck you wake me up, Dad?”
“Because when they dropped you off, it was yesterday, Son,” he explained. “I woke you up cuz I know how you feel about yer job.”
“I’ve been sleeping for a whole day?”
“Yeah, kid,” Sammy told him, “A whole day.”
“Shit, man, I gotta go to fuckin’ work?”
“Yeah, if you still want it.”
Of course he still wants his gig at Harborside District. They would all be lost without the money.
“Did you see a package when they dropped me off?” he asked, and then: “And my car?”
“They’re both here, Westie,” Sammy replied. “The car’s in yer spot and da package I put under da sink where yous keeps yer medicine.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Westphal replied with great relief.
He had to get ready for work and needed the extra extras. He asked for the coffee. While Sammy went to put the pot on, Westie gingerly stood up from the bed and made his way over to the bathroom.
He kneeled with a painful grunt and found the bundled package under the sink. God bless, Sammy!
Westphal opened the bubble wrap lined manila envelope and saw the goodies inside. All the powders were labled and the pills as well. And on the top of all the drugs he ordered, Westphal saw a syringe with a note wrapped around it.
He unwrapped the package and read the note: “Take me with you. Save me for later. You’ll need it! Shirk.”
Shirk. Now he was beginning to remember the film and the demon and Shirk. But he was on his feet, with his crazy memories of getting sucked by a beautiful demon. He also had a big, even generous buffet of powerful and dangerous drugs. Coffee was brewing and he still had his job to go to.
So Westphal grabbed some percs and popped them for the pain. Knowing they would make him sleepy, he went to his desk and snorted up some pre-work enthusiasm.
Then he showered, having Sammy re-do his bandages.
When he walked out to the popcan, he thought the bullshit was behind him.
Westphal’s boss, Mr. Whistlebottom, was waiting for him when he walked through the entrance to Harborside District Hospital. Oh, shit.
“What’s up?” asked Westphal as soon as he saw him.
“Let’s go to my office,” he said and Westphal followed him as they wound their way around and down to Mr. Whistlebottom’s office, next to their department in the basement.
We’re always underground, huh Westie?
Once they were in and seated, Westphal let his boss get started.
“You won’t be taking care of Mr. Mandiddle anymore.”
“Why’s that?” Westphal asked, hoping not to show his exultation.
C’mon, Westie, you know why.
“The patient is deceased.”
Westphal felt a punch to his gut, remembering the filthy scrubs he had Sammy burn. He began to wonder why he really did that, instead of washing them.
“Did you need to go over my notes, or?” he let it hang. Mr. Whistlebottom looked at him a moment.
“No,” he replied, “We already did, but you weren’t even here, were you?”
“No,” Westphal said a tad to quickly, “I mean; when did the patient expire?”
Expire. Just like milk gone bad.
“Day before yesterday,” he was told, “but it wasn’t due to his illnesses.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean Mr. Mandiddle did not die of natural causes. He was murdered in a horrific way,” Mr. Whistlebottom stated flatly.
“Murdered?” Whestphal replied, the fear beginning to balloon in him. “Murdered, how?”
The boss picked up a piece of official looking paper. It looked like a coroner’s report. Mr. Whistlebottom read from it. “The patient was strangled to death by purposeful and forceful placement of a foreign object, occluding the trachea, leading to anoxic death.”
“Somebody strangled Mr. Mandiddle?” Westphal asked in a squeak. He nervously shifted his position and felt a panic coming on. “Who did it?”
“The police don’t know yet,” he said, staring at Westphal, watching him begin to shake a little. “Are you alright there, Westphal?”
“Yeah, sure, of course,” he told him. “Umm, uh what was he strangled with?”
“Well now, that’s the really strange part of the story,” he said, “It was with his own diseased rectum.”
“What?” asked Westphal, “Are you playing with me?”
“Not for a minute would I joke about something like that,” he replied, “don’t make that mistake again.”
“Yeah, sure, I’m not joking either, Mr. Whistlebottom,” Westphal tried to explain, “It’s just that I guess I don’t understand how that could happen. I mean I knew he had the necrotizing bug in his rectum, but how could he have been strangled by it?”
“The authorities claimed they found a pair of those long, curved forceps they use for tube placement on the floor, under his bed.”
“Yes, so they initially determined that someone rather strong used the forceps to literally grab onto and forcibly removed his rectum and then, still using the forceps, forcibly stuffed it down Mr. Mandiddle’s throat.”
He shouldn’t have been mean to you.
“Well, uhm, uh – that would certainly do it,” was all Westphal could think to say. He was already thinking about how he could ask if there were any prints on the forceps without ass-squeak here getting suspicious.
“So, that’s why you won’t be taking care of that gem, anymore,” his boss replied, showing just a hint of humanity. But then: “The other longer-term care patient we would normally assign has specifically requested to not be cared for by you.”
“What? Specifically me? Who is it and what did I do to shit in their oatmeal?”
“First, you are not to use that language with me, ever.”
“Yes, you are,” he agreed, getting far too steamed up for just that comment, “Have you taken care of a,” glancing down at another piece of paper he didn’t really need to see, “Mrs. Fussbudget?”
She’s a beauty.
Westphal stared at him a moment, their eyes meeting. Westphal was getting dangerously near to panicking, but sucked it up.
He said: “No, I’ve never taken care of her.”
“Ever been in her room?”
“Not even as part of an Urgent Response Team?”
Why would I lie, why would I lie?
“No, sir,” Westphal replied, eyes starting to twitch uncomfortably, “Never taken care of her in any situation. I have never been in her room, and frankly, before now I doubt if I had even heard her name.”
“Well, that’s what I thought,” he said, putting that piece of paper down and picking up another one. “But the family is quite insistent after she picked out your picture as the one who assaulted her.”
“What happened to her?”
“The police and in-house consul made it clear that I was not to say, just that there is now an ongoing investigation.” He looked closely at Westphal. “They also suggested that you be monitored closely.”
Oh, fat-ass, did you just make the list!
“What the fuck does that mean?” Westphal asked, incredulously.
“What did I just tell you about that kind of language?”
“Just tell me what the hell is going on here, Mr. Whistlebottom.” Westphal demanded, thoroughly red-faced and getting loud. “I suggest you come clean.”
Mr. Whistlebottom was dumbfounded and his own faced darkened. It was with a considerable dose of effort that he kept his cool, Westphal could tell. He almost felt sorry for the paper-pushing fat fuck.
“You are hereby placed on suspension, dependant on the outcome of the police as well as our own in-house investigation.”
“Immediately,” Mr. Whistlebottom replied and stood. “You can go home now. You will be paid 2 hours for coming in. Thank you.”
Westphal waited a moment for more, but that was all there was. He was suspended, without pay, and for what? Just because some wig-wearing old battle-axe that’s behind on her eyeglass prescription picked him out of a group of photos? Are they fucking serious? Well, fuck them, then, he thought, and the horse they all rode in on. I am out of here.
“I guess I’ll just leave then,” Westphal replied and high-tailed it to the office door.
“The hospital will call you to schedule time with the police,” he shouted after Westphal.
“Fine,” he said and opened the office door, where he was met by a large dude in civilian clothes.
“Are you Westphal?” he asked sweetly.
“Yes,” Westphal replied, and even before he could inquire as to what the motherfucker wanted, the dude punched him in the gut and then landed a good one on Westphal’s cheekbone.
Normally, that would have been the end of the fight. Westphal was more of a junkie than a fighter, but he was pissed all the way off.
He surprised even himself, and jumped on the dude and began wailing away on him. He had the dude pinned down and was trying to beat him into the floor when he was pulled off by security. The dude got up, bleeding and all, and got in a solid kick to the chest which spelled the end to the confrontation and Westphal’s employment at Harborside District Hospital.
You ain’t-uh workin’ here no mo’.