Doubles

 

by LaJuan

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

   

The next morning, the Admiral received a call from his XO, Morton.

"Admiral, we found Lee. Tracing the rental car was the key. It was found in Huntington Beach in the library parking lot early this morning. However, there is a problem."

"What is the problem, Chip?"

"He's in the Huntington Beach Hospital, unconscious.  They brought him in last night."

"So, the problem is he's injured?  We could have the Doc take a look at him and bring him back here."

"Huh...  that's not the problem."

"Ok.  So, what is the problem?"

"He was admitted as one of two John Does."

"And?"

"Both of the John Does look alike.  And they are both unconscious."

"What!  I think this I have got to see.  How soon can you meet me?"

"I'm ten minutes away."

"Park downstairs when you get here.  We'll pick the doctor up on our way.  I'm driving."

Knowing the speeds at which his boss drove, Morton cringed at the thought, but knew he had no choice.  "Aye, Admiral."

 

 ************

 

Two hours later, the Admiral pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. Chip Morton was a blond-haired man with light complexion. After the ride with Admiral Nelson, his face was white and full of tension lines. He got out of the car slowly, but was growled at and ordered to move it by Nelson. Doctor Will Jamieson immediately left the car and hurried into the hospital to get information on Crane's whereabouts.  Admiral Nelson and Commander Morton were not far behind.  They caught up with Jamieson at the admittance desk.

"I'm looking for a patient here, admitted last night as a John Doe.  If he is who I think he is, he's my patient.  I'm Doctor Will Jamieson out of Santa Barbara."

The Admiral gave him an odd look, wondering why Jamie didn't give his military rank of Chief Medical Officer.  Maybe because it was a civilian hospital Jamie had withheld the title.  They had picked him up at his home but had gone back to the Institute long enough for Jamie to run in for Lee's records. Nelson figured the good doctor had his reasons and allowed his thoughts to stray to wondering about Lee Crane. The clerk's voice interrupted his musings.

"We have two John Does listed.  Both were admitted last night.  Both are in ICU.  Would you like directions to the waiting room?"

Jamie replied, "Yes, thanks.  Also, I need the names of the doctors for both of the men."

"That would be Doctor Gene Morrison for John Doe and Doctor Kerry McGrew for John Doe II.  Here's a map of the hospital.  Just follow the blue stripe on the floor down this hallway.  When it ends, you will be at the ICU waiting room.  The attendant will help you from there."

Shortly they were in the waiting room and quizzing the attendant about meeting the two doctors as well as seeing the John Does.

Overhearing their comments was a strikingly distinguished lady sitting near the back of the waiting room.  She was a short blonde about fifty-five years. She interrupted the men, "Are you here to see the John Does?"

"Yes. We think one of them is Lee Crane, Captain of my submarine, Seaview.  I'm Admiral Harriman Nelson.  Why would you want to know?"  

"My apologies, Admiral. I'm Betty Hazard, Huntington Beach Library Director.  One of the men is my Assistant Director, Lester Wayne."

"Nice to meet you. These are Lee's crewmates, Chief Medical Officer, Will Jamieson and Commander Chip Morton," as he gestured toward the other men.

Nodding to the men, Betty replied, "It is really remarkable to see the two men. Les has worked for me for five years and I can't tell the difference between the two. My Chief of Police brought me here and even he couldn't point out which was Les."

Gazing at each other, the men were astonished at her remarks.

 

*******************

 

Hearing a squeak of the double doors to the waiting area opening, the four turned to look at the two doctors entering the room.  One was a big man, over six-foot tall, three hundred pounds, with dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes. He introduced himself as Doctor Gene Morrison, doctor to John Doe I.  His companion was a contrast to his height and weight.  She was young, petite, with gorgeous curves, blonde hair and sparkling green eyes.  As she shook hands with all of them, she identified herself as Doctor Kerry McGrew, doctor to John Doe II. Immediately upon seeing her, Morton's eyebrows climbed into his hairline, drawing a chuckle from the Admiral.

Addressing the doctors, Admiral Nelson spoke of his Captain. "We believe one of your patients is Lee Crane, Captain of the submarine, Seaview. He's overdue from shore leave and turned up missing. We traced his rental car to the Huntington Beach Public Library and through calling the hospitals we found you had a John Doe that fits his description."  

Doctor Morrison took the lead in the conversation.

"Gentlemen and ma’am, we have a puzzle here that begs to be solved. Here's what we know so far.  The two men are identical in looks and blood type.  Both suffer from head and hand injuries and are unconscious. One had internal bleeding that has stopped and the other had external bleeding.  One was found in the library parking lot, while the other was plucked from the ocean.  Until they wake up and tell us their names, we don't know which one they are or how and why they were injured.  Now what can you add to this list?"

"Lee Crane's rental car was found in the library parking lot where Lester Wayne works, " mused the Admiral.  "What personal effects did he have on him?"

Doctor Morrison picked up the phone, dialed out and boomed out orders to bring the personal effects of both men to the waiting room. "We will see.  They should have them here soon."

"Doctor, my men and I haven't gotten to see Lee yet.  May we go into ICU and see the two men?"

"Of course, but only for five minutes each.  They are still very ill.  Maybe you can spot something that will help in their identification.  They are in rooms two and three.  Meet us back here in ten minutes with Miss Hazard and we will see what they had on them," replied Doctor Morrison.

 

*******************

 

In ten minutes, two men from Seaview came into the waiting area shaking their heads and muttering statements of disbelief. Will Jamieson had stayed behind to talk to the two doctors for the John Does.  He had brought Lee Crane's medical paperwork with him and he knew until it was determined which man was which, he would have to work closely with the doctors, especially since he was Lee's personal physician. The problem was...he wasn't Les Wayne's.

By this time in the waiting room, the personal effects of the two men had arrived.  Betty was looking through the two bags.   "There is nothing here that I recognized as belonging to Les."

This got the Admiral's curiosity up and he also went over to look through the bags.  Chip Morton followed him closely. "Neither bag has billfolds, keys or jewelry.  I was hoping to find Lee's signet ring. There's nothing here to help us identify them."

Betty Hazard had been watching as the contents of the bags were examined.  "I've been looking for a class ring that Les wears, but I didn't find anything.  Does your Lee have family?"

"He had a mother, but no one else," replied Morton.  "He was adopted when he was two.  He didn't know of his birth parents, only knew that he spent his first years in a Catholic orphanage."

Betty allowed a frown to grace her face.  "Les was adopted from a Catholic orphanage also, and he was two at the time."

The television in the waiting room was on at a low volume.  Chip Morton looked around and saw a uniformed Lee on the screen.  He hurried over and turned up the volume just as another picture of Lee in a business suit was flashed on the screen.  The voice of a woman could be heard as the screen showed the news announcer.  "The two men you‘ve seen are patients at the Huntington Beach Hospital.  They were admitted last night as John Does.  Both are unconscious but are expected to recover from their injuries.  Our researchers have identified them as Captain Lee Crane, commander of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research submarine Seaview and Les Wayne, Assistant Director of the Huntington Beach Library.  At this time, hospital staff and police are not releasing much information on how they were injured or when they may wake up.  This reporter poses the question, "Is this a case of doppelgangers, twins or Memorex?  Check back with us at the 10 o'clock broadcast for further developments."  

Chip turned the television off and gave a piercing glance at Admiral Nelson.  The look was not lost on Nelson.  If the two men had been deliberately injured, the broadcast just sealed their fate.

 

*******************

 

Their assailant, Joe Sands, was also watching the broadcast in his sleazy duplex.  In a fit of rage, he threw the bedside alarm clock against the paper-thin wall.  That action earned him a yell and threats from his next-door neighbor.  Flashing his middle finger toward the unseeing wall, Joe fell to muttering about cats and nine lives.  Throwing himself down onto the bed, he lit a cigarette to calm his emotions as he thought about how to take out these two identical men.  He knew he had to be careful to keep under the radar from both the cops and the Mob.  If only that librarian had not decided to write an article on the Mob and the witness protection program.

Joe had managed to get the Mob mad at him and had turned to the Feds for protection.  Yes, he had turned over a copy of a booking sheet in exchange for entering the witness protection program.  It was quite a bargain; he got to start over with a new identity, a place to live and a job.  But that job soured quickly when he could not cut having a nine to five office job. He was a big man who needed lots of activity to keep from being bored.  When he was bored his mind would return to the fun he had in his past life messing up people. He decided to go back into business for himself doing what he did best in his past life - assassinating others.  As long as he played it cool, neither the Feds nor the Mob bothered him. 

But that's when that nosy librarian came calling.  He had been doing research and had seen Joe's picture with the Mob bosses in some Chicago back issue newspaper articles. Seeing him at the seafood restaurant near the library, the librarian had stopped him at the curb. The man introduced himself as Les Wayne and explained that he was writing an article on the Mob. He asked if Joe knew Bugs McCoy, a well-known Mob boss. With a cautious look in his eyes, Joe denied all knowledge, but when presented with a copy of the newspaper picture, Joe knew this loser was going to be history in a short time.

It was such a shame that his first attempts to kill Les Wayne had not been successful.  "Well, I know where they are and it's just a matter of getting in and finding the two.  It shouldn't take long to finish the job on both of them. Time to go to work," Joe encouraged himself.  He got up, grabbed his car keys and left for the hospital.

 

 

Chapter Four
Chapter One
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