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Authors: Pro Se Press

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BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
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I have no idea who shot me!
Don’t you read the papers, Rick?”


Not in New Haven; I don’t
normally live around here. I came in to see to your well
being.”


Oh…well I was just walking
out of a coffee shop, minding my own business, when it hit me. I
don’t even remember hearing the shot, although some other people in
the area reported a loud bang. I remember feeling some pain and
falling down and people running around—some almost stepping on
me—and then I was in the hospital. I’m tired of telling that story,
so I’m glad you asked now and got it out of the way. I must have
told the police the same thing a hundred times in the past week. I
just want to forget about it and get back to regular
life!”


I’m sorry, Angela. I didn’t
mean to upset you. I couldn’t help being curious. So what does this
regular life you speak of involve? Would there normally be a ring
on that injured hand of yours? Or are you more of a career-now,
marriage-later sort of girl?”


I haven’t had much luck
with either,” Angela said. “I’m single, just graduated school now
at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, and have no idea what I’m going
to do next. I’ll probably end up teaching, not that I want
to.”


Well what is it that you
want to do?” Monroe asked.


I’m an actress at heart,”
Angela said, “but ten years of trying and getting nowhere is too
long. I had to stop.”


Ah…you’re a thespian!”
Monroe said, giving her a smile. “Interesting; I’d like to hear
more about what you’ve done, and I’m sure those ten years you speak
of couldn’t have been all bad. You must have had some little
successes in there to keep you going.”


Well, it had its moments,”
Angela admitted, catching the contagion of Monroe’s smile and
smirking a bit now too. “The first few years were wonderful, before
the pressure to make it into something bigger got to be too much
for me. In the beginning, it was just about the love of
performance, being on stage, figuring out how to forget where
Angela MacIntyre ended and her character began.”

They came across a small
wooden bench behind a clump of trees. They sat and Monroe decided
to keep the subject going, as it seemed to get Angela to open up,
talk more, forget her troubles and speak honestly.


What were some of the roles
you got to play?” he asked. “Anything I may have heard
of?”


I should hope so,” Angela
said, “if you have any clue about the theatre at all.”


Try me,” Monroe
said.


I poked around in
Shakespeare Land of course,” Angela said, “but that’s to be
expected, I suppose. And there was
Summer and Smoke
early
on.”


Ah,” Monroe said,
“Tennessee Williams, always interesting stuff there.”


It was,” Angela nodded.
“That was the first time I felt completely lost in a role, lost in
a good way I mean. That’s the feeling I always hoped for when
trying on a new part. I wanted Angela to go away and someone new to
inhabit my body, maybe even my soul.”


You wanted to provide an
escapist experience for yourself as well as for the audience,”
Monroe said.


Yes, something like that,”
Angela nodded again, smiled sincerely like one who appreciates that
another understands, fully, just what they mean.


So I suppose, in a way,”
Monroe said, “acting is a semi-suicidal occupation. The actor wants
to get rid of him or herself, at least for a while.”


You could look at it that
way,” Angela said.


And you’ve quit seriously
pursuing it now?” Monroe asked.


I couldn’t take it
anymore.”


It must hurt terribly, to
give up on a dream.”


Not as much as you think,”
Angela said. “Maybe…maybe it was only partially my dream. Maybe I
was tricked into thinking it was more important to me than it
actually was.”


Tricked by whom?” Monroe
asked.


Can we change the subject?
Please?”


Am I prying too
deeply?


Yes…no…I don’t know. I’m
not uncomfortable talking about it, not with you at least, but it
saddens me.”


Well I’m glad you’re not
uncomfortable, Angela. I think it’s important for a patient to be
at ease with someone who wants to help them.”


Rick, you’re sounding too
much like a shrink. You’re supposed to be concerned with my
shoulder, not my dreams.”


Do you want me to shut
up?”


No. No, I
don’t.”

Monroe smiled at her.
Connection made, he thought. He made up his mind to continue to
probe her feelings, her hopes, her attitudes toward life and
whatever else might possibly pertain to his seeking information
about Simon Scythe, but he had to pull back a bit, he knew, not dig
too deep too soon. The last thing he wanted to do was set off
alarms in Angela’s head. Secrets would have to be eased out slowly,
not ripped off like a Band-Aid.


And what about you?” Angela
said. “What were your dreams when you were younger? How’d you wind
up in the physical therapy field?”

Good, Monroe thought, she’s
changing the subject on her own, a sign that she wants to keep the
dialogue alive. “It’s a noble profession, don’t you
think?”


We’ll see about that,”
Angela said with a mischievous giggle, “when we find out if you can
get me using this arm again. When do we get to that anyway? Or were
you planning on sitting out here talking to me all day?”


I want you to be
comfortable with me,” Monroe said. “You said you’d prefer a woman
therapist, so I thought I’d give you some time to change your
mind.”


I’m not so worried about it
now. Anyway, I’m halfway convinced you might be gay, which would
keep you from hitting on me, I suppose.”


I hate to disappoint you,
but I’m not gay. Why would you assume that?”


How old are you?
Thirty-five, thirty-six…?”


Just over the border of
forty, actually.”


And not married? You’re
good-looking, in a decent job, so why not?”


Actually,” Monroe said,
making the decision to use some truth to his possible advantage,
“I’m a widower.”


Oh fuck!” Angela piped up,
and then let her voice drop back down to conversational softness.
“I’m sorry. God, I feel stupid now.”


There’s nothing to be
sorry, about,” Monroe assured her. “It simply is what it
is.”


Can I ask what happened?”
Angela dared.


I’d…rather not discuss the
details just now,” Monroe said, not wanting to give himself a
longer list of lies to keep track of since the truth about his
wife’s death was not an option.

Angela stood up from the
bench, took a step forward. “I think we should go back inside. It’s
getting a little chilly out here.”

Monroe rose, began to walk
beside her. “Yes, that’s fine. We ought to get some work done
anyway. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a look at that shoulder
once we get upstairs, see where we stand.”


And if I do mind,” Angela
asked, “will that stop you from looking?”


Not a chance,” Rick said.
“I hope we can move ahead now…now that we’re friends and not just
patient and therapist.”

Angela shivered a little and
upped her pace. The wind had picked up and Monroe could feel its
coldness biting into his cheeks too. They walked back to the front
of the building, leaves crunching underfoot until they left the
grass for the concrete walkway. Monroe was satisfied with the way
the morning had gone so far.

***

 

Returning to her room,
Angela and Monroe found a man inside, sitting on the
bed.


Oh shit,” Angela muttered,
loud enough for Monroe to hear beside her, but inaudible to her
visitor, who rose from the bed to greet them.


Hello again, Miss
MacIntyre,” he said. He was scruffy, balding, Italian-American.
“And you are?”


Richard Madison,” Monroe
said, offering a handshake, “physical therapist.”


I see,” said the man, whose
very essence and posture and whole being suggested Cop to Monroe.
“I’m Detective Joe Tomasi.”

They shook hands and Tomasi
said, with some effort toward politeness, “Excuse us, Mr. Madison.
I have some questions for your patient.”


Yes, of course,” Monroe
said, backing toward the door. “Angela, I’ll be back in a bit.
Goodbye, Detective.”

As he exited, Angela walked
over to the window and stared out. Tomasi stood behind her, his
back to Monroe. Monroe took advantage of the opportunity, slipped
his cell phone out, activated the recording function, and dropped
it into the potted plant that sat by the door to the room. He
slipped out of the room, closed the door behind him, and strolled
down the corridor with time to kill.

Monroe got in the car, drove
out of the lot, and headed down the road that led away from the
rehab center. He found a gas station, filled the tank, made a small
purchase, and drove back to the center. He parked and waited until
he saw Detective Tomasi exit through the front door and drive
away.

Monroe went back inside,
tossed a warm greeting to the receptionist, and took the elevator
back up to the fourth floor. Angela’s door was open and Monroe
entered.


You look upset. What did
the detective have to say?”


The same thing, over and
over again; he came to see me three times while I was in the
hospital and he asks the same questions, to which I have no good
answers.”


So they’re no closer to
figuring out who shot you?”


It doesn’t seem
so.”


I have something for you,”
Monroe said, reaching into his jacket pocket and fishing out a pack
of Newport and a cheap lighter. “Here you go.”


Thanks,” Angela said,
smiling now. “Will you walk outside with me? I may need your hand
to block the breeze.”

Monroe managed to lift his
phone from the planter by the door without her noticing. They went
back down together, walked outside. Monroe cupped his hands around
Angela’s one usable hand as she flicked the lighter and inhaled to
get the smoke started.


We’re going to have to wait
until tomorrow to start on our physical work,” Monroe said. “I have
another patient to visit today and the detective’s visit has almost
put me off schedule. I’m sorry.”


It’s all right, Rick,”
Angela said. “Thanks for the talk earlier, and thanks for this.”
She held up the cigarette between drags. “You’ll be back in the
morning?”


I will, yes.”

 

***

 

As soon as Monroe was again
out of the parking area and back on the road, he placed the phone
on the passenger seat and played back the words that had been
spoken while he had been away.


What do you want this time,
Detective?”


The same as I wanted last
time, Miss MacIntyre. I want to know what the story is behind that
money.”


I told you that was a
personal matter and has nothing to do with what you’re supposedly
investigating, not that you’ve made any progress, have
you?”


Spare me the attitude.
You’re the victim here and I’m on your side. When twenty-five grand
goes missing from a woman’s bank account the same week that woman
gets shot, the instincts of any decent cop are going to tell him
that maybe…probably…there’s a connection. Now what was it: a
gambling debt? Maybe you owed them more than just the twenty-five
thousand and maybe they got pissed off when you didn’t pay the full
amount. Is that why they shot you? Who was it, Miss MacIntyre?
Who’d you owe that money to? I want the whole story.”


There
is
no story! I
keep telling you that and you won’t listen! It was my money and
I’ll do whatever I want with it. Maybe I gave it to charity. Did
you ever think of that? And I don’t know who shot me! Try to come
up with some new questions next time, Detective!”


I’ll be back soon enough,
Miss MacIntyre. Find me some answers by then.”

Monroe heard the sound of
the door slamming as Tomasi left the room. The remaining minutes of
the recording were filled with a few random profanities from
Angela, the sound of her pacing about the room, and what might have
been her fist banging once against the window in anger.

After the recording, Monroe
kept driving. He went right past the motel where he had stayed the
night before, took a side road, and thought as he
cruised.

There was money, there was a
shooting, but the victim had not died. Yet Simon Scythe, if he
really was the one who pulled the trigger, had never, as far as Mr.
Nine had reported, missed before. What if he had not really missed,
Monroe thought. What if Angela MacIntyre had paid to be shot but
not killed? A severe enough injury to put her in the hospital,
require rehabilitation, but not kill; but why would an otherwise
healthy young woman want to put herself through the pain and the
trauma of such an event?

BOOK: Nobody Dies For Free
7.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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