The Lady in Blue Ch. 11


I stepped over to the other side of the bed and put my hand on her mothers other hand. "Mrs. Davis, it's a pleasure to meet you. Your daughter is really special to me, too, and I'm glad she likes me. I hope you get better soon."

Lisa smiled brightly at me. "Can you give us a few minutes alone, Ted? I'd like to have some girl talk."

Smiling, I nodded and went back into the hall. Closing the door behind me, I walked back up the hall toward the lobby. There was a fish tank with some tropical fish in the corner so I spent some time watching them swim around.

"They are like us humans," a male voice said behind me. I turned and looked at the elderly man in the wheelchair beside me. He looked to be in his eighties or nineties but his eyes were sharp and clear. "They swim around in circles but never seem to notice. We do the same, walking in the same rut and never seeing that we are in a glass tank."

I raised an eyebrow at him. "Is that a such a bad thing? The fish seem pretty satisfied with their lives."

The man nodded. "And well they should be, but what if someone fails to feed them? Their world changes and they are out of control over what happens. Same thing for us humans. If our world does something we don't expect, many of us just roll over and float to the surface. It's the rare man or woman who can look at the world and see beyond the face presented to us. Even more rare to see someone do something about it."

"That's an interesting theory, sir. What do you see that is going on unnoticed around us?" I asked with a little curiosity.

"I saw you come in with that young woman a few minutes ago. She comes in four or five times a week to visit her mother. Poor woman. I pray for her every day. This is the first time I've seen you around, and that strikes me as odd, considering that you are the second new visitor that poor woman has had today. Is it her birthday?"

That got my attention. "No, I don't think it's her birthday. I've just started dating her daughter and she wanted to introduce us. Who else was here earlier?"

The man shrugged. "I don't know his name, but he was about your age, slim and dark haired. Really dark eyes. They were kind of cold. He had a snotty voice and was trying to boss the nurse around. He wanted something and he should have known better than to harass Nurse Cratchet. The woman is formidable. She set him back on his heels, I tell you!"

I frowned. That sounded like Arthur. Lisa said he didn't give a crap so why would he hang around now? "Did you hear what he wanted, sir?"

"Call me Doc. Everyone does. I was a general practitioner before the time of HMOs. I tell you, boy, those things are the ruination of our society. Costs go up and service goes down, all the while touting how they save money. For who, I ask you? Themselves. The government should do something about them."

Smiling at his feisty monologue, I asked again. "Did you hear what he wanted, Doc? And call me Ted."

He held out an aged hand and gave me a handshake that was more vigorous than I expected. "I sure enough did, Ted. It didn't make much sense to me but I guess I just don't know the whole story. He was looking to get into that poor woman's personal belongings to get her keys. Said he had left some things in her house, and his sister was being a bitch about letting him have what belonged to him. Cratchet wasn't hearing any of that and sent him packing. He made a real stink about it. I'd hoped they'd call the cops. Nothing livens up the day like having the cops show up and arrest someone."

"Does that happen a lot?" I asked with a chuckle.

"No," he replied grumpily. "Not nearly often enough."

I felt my eyebrows rising. "I'll make sure and tell her, Doc. She'll see that he gets put in his place. I don't think she will be too friendly toward him either."

The old man laughed. "Good! That boy reminded me of someone I hated when I was your age. I got over on him though. He stole my girlfriend and left me high and dry. He got what was coming when she got pregnant and he had to marry her. Both of them are still alive and on each other's nerves every day. Thank god I didn't marry that shrew! I'd have been in a mental hospital, or prison, by forty." He winked slyly at me. "I pray for them to have a nice long life together, too. Every day."

I shook my head. "You're something, Doc. Remind me never to get on your bad side. I'll leave you to keep an eye on the place and go see if my girl is ready to go."

He shook my hand and let me leave. As I walked back up the hall, I wondered what Arthur had really been doing here and what he wanted from Lisa's mother's house. The guy seemed a bit slimy. When I knocked at the door, Lisa opened it. "Honey, we need to go."

"Okay," she said. "Let me say goodbye." Lisa bent over her mother and kissed her cheek. "Mom, I'll be back soon. I love you. Goodbye, Ellen." The older woman hugged Lisa and patted her back. When Lisa came back, her eyes had tears in them but she wasn't crying.

* * * * *

I put an arm around her waist and walked out slowly with her. When we got to the lobby, I waved at Doc. He grinned and gave me a thumbs up. In the parking lot, I was looking at the various cars and people more closely. "Someone else came to visit your mom today." I quickly passed on the details as she became more alarmed.

When I was done, she shook her head. "What in the world does he have to gain? All the valuables from her house are in storage, and I have the keys. Hell, I have her keys, too. The nursing home doesn't have any of that. What the hell is Arthur playing at?"

I kept looking around as she talked so I had a lead on the trouble when it popped up. "You can ask him yourself. That is him over there, isn't it?"

She turned to look with me at the ratty looking brown Ford Pinto with a man that fit the description. He was glaring at us from behind the steering wheel, his lank dark hair looking unwashed and dirty. "Shit! It is him! What in the..."

The car started, not with a roar but more with a wheeze. With a clunk, it started out of the parking spot it was backed into and limped toward us. Not the fastest in the world but faster than we could run and he gripped the steering wheel with white knuckles as his eyes glittered with what seemed like an almost mad appearance.

I started running with her to the side of the lot and thought we would make it until the car suddenly roared and shot ahead right at us, accelerating hard. He was going to hit us before we could get to safety!

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