Drake Stephens arrived for the evening shift at about 3:45 PM. This allowed some time to do shift change with Todd until his shift officially started at 4:00 PM. Todd and Drake were in many ways polar opposites. Todd tended to be more rational and didn’t get upset or angry as often as Drake. A few years ago when The House of Hope had a different supervisor, Todd had to physically get between Drake and the supervisor when it appeared that they might come to blows. In many ways he was there to steady Drake when Drake’s emotions got the better of him. Both men were near the same age and had shared some common history but in terms of personality, they were as different as day and night.
Not only were there personalities different they were also polar opposites in their working styles. Todd liked to perform the day to day administrative functions that kept the unit functioning. He was also a stickler for rules.
Drake on the other hand was the creative part of the team. Drake was only happy when he was given almost free reign to do his own thing. He could only tolerate supervisors at best. He hated having anyone supervise or, heaven forbid, criticize his work or ideas for the program. In a past life Drake had been a certified special education teacher while Todd had managed a group home for cognitively challenged men. Both men are professionals and always strive to do the best possible work for their clients.
Drake and Todd would have their disagreements and would butt heads from time to time. Fortunately, they both had a great deal of respect for each other and could usually work out their issues between themselves.
This shift change was the first time that Todd and Drake had a chance to discuss Bret’s death.
“This really makes me angry. Brett’s death was so unnecessary. Here was a client who had all the lumber to make it on his own,” said Drake.
“Yes, but unfortunately he didn’t know how to get rid of his old friends that were nothing but bad news,” said Todd.
“Randy and Derek you mean?” asked Drake.
“Who else?” Derek phoned in today making it sound like he wasn’t aware that Bret had passed away,” Todd added.
Todd filled Drake in about the details of Derek’s phone call. He also mentioned the log book entries relating to Derek and Randy’ activities on the weekend. Todd also reported that Rick was going to give Detective Barnes a call to fill him in on his suspicions about Derek and Randy’s possible involvement in Bret’s death.
Thank You WordPress Followers
I would like to thank all the people who are now following my WordPress blogs (and especially those who click on the “like” icon). I have obviously been doing a lot of fiction writing lately. The rough draft of my short novella, Lake Mariposa is now completed. I will let it sit for awhile before I start revising it. Lake Mariposa is a fictional story about romantic love and growing up in the sixties in Canada. It was a lot of fun to write.
I still have a long way to go with The Cover Up. I will continue to release short, serialized versions of my rough draft. The Cover Up covers a lot of territory including mental illness, political bureaucracies, relationships and has a host of interesting characters. Some of these characters I have yet to invent. That’s one great thing about being an aspiring writer. You get to pull characters out of thin air and plug them into your stories. I don’t have any plan as to what direction the Cover Up is going to take. I just wait for the inspiration to come.
I am also concurrently writing a new novella called The Piledriver. This story is about professional wrestling, a subject that I have been interested in for a long time. The Piledriver also will be released in short serialized editions.
I hope that you enjoy reading some of my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. I want to thank again all those who signed up to follow my blogs and especially those who frequently press the”like” button. Bless your hearts. If you keep reading my stories I’ll keep on writing them.
Keep on rocking,
Ken David Stewart
Todd Duncan answered the phone.”Hello, House of Hope, Todd here can I help you?”
“Hi Todd, it’s Derek, Bret’s friend calling. Is Bret around right now?”
Todd was just about to tell Derek to call Bret at the residents line when it occurred to him, Bret is dead.
“You mean you don’t know yet?” asked Todd, very surprised.
“Know what?” Is Bret alright?” asked Derek sounding shocked.
“No, he’s not. He’s dead,” said Todd.
“Wow, thanks for telling me.” With that, Derek quickly hung up before Todd could ask him any questions.
Todd immediately called Rick in his office. “Rick, have you got a minute?”
“Yeah, sure Todd. What’s up?
“Have you ever met Bret’s old buddy, Derek?” asked Todd.
“Not in person, but Drake’s told me about him. Drake said that he had to kick Derek off the floor a couple of times. He said that Derek and his friend Randy were trying to intimidate some residents into giving them their cigarettes and money,” Rick replied.
“Yeah, the weekend staff all reported that Derek and Randy visited Bret several times during the weekend,” said Todd remembering what he had read in the log book.
“Todd could you check on the last entry in the log book that mentioned Derek or Randy?” I want to know when was the last time they came to see Bret. The time should be recorded in the log book,” said Rick.
“Derek just called the RCW office a few minutes ago. He sounded surprised to learn that Bret had passed away. I was going to ask Derek a few questions but he hung up before I had a chance to ask him anything,” said Todd.
“That sounds very suspicious to me. You mean to say that Derek didn’t ask any questions about how Bret died?” asked Rick.
“No, he didn’t. He was sounded very nervous and in a hurry to hang up. It appears that he didn’t want me to ask him any questions,” Drake replied.
I’m going to Detective Barnes about this. Given the suspicious nature of Bret’s death both Derek and Randy could be “persons of interest”,” said Rick decisively.
Rick phoned the police department as soon as he finished his phone call with Todd.
“We shouldn’t have just left Bret in the stairwell like that,” said Derek getting up from the stained mattress on the floor and stretching his scrawny body. Derek and Randy had just been up for a few minutes. Randy was already putting on the coffee. Derek and Randy roomed together in a very small bachelor apartment in the north end of the city. Their apartment could best be described as a dump. Randy had to pull dirty dishes out of the sink so that he could fill the carafe full of water. Used dishes, pots, pans and cutlery covered the entire kitchen counter. The floor had not been swept in a month and a layer of dust was easily visible across the floor of the apartment. The ugly green paint was fading and was in places peeling off the wall. The ashtrays in the apartment were overflowing with cigarette butts and cigarette burns were evident on the easy chair and the sofa. Derek went over to open a window. The apartment smelled of dirty socks, body odor, stale beer and stale tobacco. Empty beer bottles were piled up nearly to the ceiling along one wall.
“What were we supposed to do?” said Randy sitting down in the dirty, dusty easy chair. He then reached over to the coffee table to find his cigarettes and lighter.
“I don’t know. He was just laying there bleeding and passed out,” said Derek.
“So, were we supposed to find the security guard and get help?” asked Randy lighting up his cigarette. What do you think the security guard would have done if he saw how wasted we were? I’ll tell you what. He would have phoned the cops and you and I haven’t exactly been on good terms with the justice system lately.”
This got a laugh out of Derek.”Yeah, my parole is hanging by a thread and so is yours.”
“Now you’re starting to think rationally my friend,” said Randy. Randy was actually quite articulate for a criminal. He read a lot was he was in jail and even took some adult ed. courses.
“Do you think we could call The House of Hope to see how he’s doing?” asked Derek.
“Be my guest,” answered Randy. I wrote the number for it on the cover of The White Pages.
Feeling very guilty about the way they had abandoned their friend, Derek dialed the number of The House of Hope with a shaky finger.
The weekend at Lake Mariposa had been the biggest adventure that Rick had in his eighteen years on this earth. The rest of the summer was anticlimatic in a way. The simmering passion that Rick and Sasha had that weekend began to slowly but steadily decrease as the last weeks of summer came and went. They still had fun and enjoyed each other’s company as the days and weeks of summer passed. They often walked to the downtown library together, listened to Bob Dylan albums and passed quiet summer evening with Lloyd and Misty in their backyard. On Saturday nights they would often go to River Heights community club to dance and to listened to a local band. They would even go to Memorial Park one or two weekday evenings and hang out with some cool people. But things were changing and Rick knew it. They were no longer lovers. They had become friends. Sasha seemed to be enjoying talking to other guys at the Park far too much. She was starting to talk about returning to California in the fall and how she missed her mom. Rick could see the writing on the wall. His relationship with Sasha would end this summer. It was time that he started to make plans for himself for the fall.
When Todd got back with the box of file folders he handed them over to Rick.
“Thanks a lot buddy. I know I don’t tell you enough, but I really appreciate you, man. If it wasn’t for your administrative skills I don’t know how I’d get along here,” said Rick sounding very sincere.
“Thanks, Rick,” said Todd. “I really appreciate your confidence in me.”
When Rick got back to his office he sat back in his leather and started to think about what he had to do next. He knew that he would have to destroy the evidence. Rick pushed out all of the meds in Bret’s bubble pack into a large manilla envelope. He then took the envelope into his private washroom and flushed all the pills down the toilet. Next he returned to his office and started cutting the cardboard shell of the bubble pack into tiny pieces. He then dumped the remains of the cardboard bubble pack into his empty aluminum garbage can. He then took a lighter out of his sport jacket pocket and lit the little pieces of cardboard on fire. It took only a few seconds for the evidence to burn up. A second later the smoke alarm in Rick’s office went off.
“Damn, why didn’t I think to disable the smoke alarm first!” said Rick to himself.
Todd heard the alarm and came rushing down to Rick’s office.
“Wow, what happened Rick?” asked Todd just as Rick had disable the smoke alarm.
“Oh, I made a dumb mistake. I found an envelope of very old program stats in my file cabinet. The stats had been called into the Health Department years ago so I figured burning them would be the fastest way of getting rid of them. I didn’t think to turn off my smoke alarm first,” Rick stated in way of explanation.
Todd thought that he’d never known Rick to burn old files as a way of getting rid of them. He had usually just used the shredding machine to dispose of old documents that were no longer needed. When Todd got back to the RCW office he went right back to checking the first aid supplies. He needed to take an inventory to see if some more first aid supplies needed to be ordered. As soon as he opened the first aid cupboard he noticed that Bret’s bubble pack was no longer there.
Lloyd, Sasha and Rick all got themselves a coffee and a sandwich when they got to the hospital cafeteria.
“Well, Rick you’ve sure had some excitement with us this weekend,” said Lloyd.
“That’s for sure. I could do with a little less of an adrenaline buzz the next time I go camping with you guys,” said Rick.
“ I’m amazed that you would even consider going anywhere with us again,” said Sasha.
“Ah, come on, you guys are already like a second family to me,” Rick said with a smile.
Lloyd was watching the clock in the cafeteria closely. When the forty-five minutes was up Lloyd told the others that it was time to get back to the waiting area of the emergency ward.
The group waited nervously for word from Dr. Pauls. After about ten minutes he arrived.
“Fortunately, I’ve got good news for you. I think Misty is going to be all right. The results of the brain scan came back and nothing abnormal was found. This is a good indication that there won’t be any permanent damage from Misty’s head injury. She did, however, suffer a mild concussion so I would ask that you keep a close eye on her for the next few weeks,” the doctor reported.
“Oh, praise God!” Lloyd said. Lloyd isn’t a Christian but these were the first words to come out of his mouth.
“Praise Jesus!” said Sasha in a loud voice.
“When can she go home?” asked Rick.
“We’ll keep Misty under observation for the rest of the night and the morning but if she remains stable you should be able to pick her up at about two in the afternoon,” Dr. Pauls answered.
“I better call Mom,” said Sasha. Sasha walked the short distance to the pay phone to call her mother.
“Hi, Mom. I’ve got great news. Dr. Pauls said that Misty is probably going to be all right. He told us that the brain scan did not show any evidence of a permanent brain injury,” said Sasha excitedly.
“Hallelujah! Praise Jesus!” said Sheila almost screaming into the phone. I’ll have to phone all the prayer warriors and thank them for their prayer’s for Misty’s healing.”