Doubles

 

by LaJuan

 

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

While Joe was preparing to go to the hospital, Dana McClain was doing the same. Her parents had gone to bed early right after the news broadcast.  Dana had seen the pictures of the man she had helped.  Of course she didn't know which one was the one she had found, but it wasn't going to stop her from going to visit him. Leaving a note on the refrigerator telling her parents where she was going, she grabbed her purse and left the house.

She had worked in her younger years as a volunteer candy striper, so she knew her way around the hospital.  Going up to the ICU, she found a nurse that she had known during her youth. "Hi, Ruth."

"Dana! Did you come back to volunteer again? We sure could use you."

"No.  Since Dad's stroke I've had to find a real job, but so far it's only a part-time job in a drug store.  I'm still looking for full-time."

"Hey, I heard there's an opening downstairs in the pharmacy.  They need a full-time clerk with customer experience.  You should apply for it."

"Thanks, Ruth, for the information. I'll do it. Uh...can I ask for a favor?"

"Sure.  What do you need?"

"I was the one who discovered one of your John Does.  I wondered if I could see him for just a few minutes?"

"Well...technically, I shouldn't, but...sure. We have them side-by-side so you will be able to see both of them at the same time.  You can't stay long.  The crown witch of nurses, Mrs. Holder, is haunting the halls on her broomstick tonight."

"I won't.  I'll duck if she comes around," Dana replied with a shiver.

Leading the way, the young nurse took her friend into the ICU and down to the corner where curtains were drawn around two beds.  Opening the drapes, the two women startled Joe as he was attempting to plunge a syringe into John Doe I's IV. Turning to bluff his way out of the situation, he found wide eyes and a beginning scream confronting him. Dana recognized the man immediately and let out a loud scream; "It's him!  It's him.  He's the guy who tried to kill him!"

Her scream was heard at the nurse's station and security was called.  Joe panicked, rushed toward the two women, and shoving them aside, made his escape.  Ruth picked herself up and rushed to John Doe I as Dana went to check on John Doe II.  Ruth knew that her patient was in respiratory distress.  She pushed the call button as she worked to relieve his symptoms.  Dana determined that John Doe II was okay, although still unconscious.  A flurry of hospital personnel rushed in and Dana was told to go to the ICU waiting area.  

She found Betty Hazard there and Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton walking into the room, balancing coffee from the cafeteria on a tray. Sitting down in the corner, she waited for word from Ruth.  Instead, two security guards came in and made their way over to Dana.

"Ma'am, can you give us a description of the man you saw in ICU?"

"He was tall, heavy set, around 300 pounds and gray-headed.  He's wearing a white doctor's jacket with J. Harris on the nametag, black slacks, black socks and black oxford shoes.  He has a simple gold band on his right ring finger and a gold watch on his right wrist."

Turning to his companion, the guard nodded his head. "Dr. Harris just reported his locker was broken into."  Looking back at Dana, he gave a slight grin to her as he continued speaking, "Thanks, Miss.  It's a good thing you were visiting the John Does.  We'll get this description out and also call the police department and share it.  I need your name, please."

"It's Dana McClain.  The police already have my name, address, and phone numbers.  Oh, I hope you find this monster and stop him!"

"We're going to do our best."  The guards turned and left to begin their search.

Leaning against a nearby wall sipping his coffee, Chip Morton overheard the conversation.  Upon hearing "John Does" his ears trained on Dana. When the guards left, he snatched a cup of coffee off the tray and went over to sit by Dana.  Handing the coffee to her he asked, "Did I hear correct? You were visiting the John Does?"

Looking over at the officer, Dana realized that not all of the handsome men have olive complexions with black hair.  Some were blue-eyed with blond hair. "Yes.  I witnessed one of them being beaten outside the library and when I came to see him, I recognized the man who was putting something in his IV.  The security guards are looking for the guy now."

A concerned look came over Chip's face as he looked around.  Spotting his boss, he motioned the Admiral over.  "There's been an attempt on Lee's life or... Les's life."

"What?" bellowed the Admiral.

Looking at the red-faced Nelson, Betty commanded, "Admiral, remember where you're at! Don't send these sick folks into heart attacks, and stop roaring like a lion!"

Gracing her with his acid frown, he lowered his voice to a conversational tone as she stood and grinned at him. "What has happened, Chip?"

Before Chip could reply, Dr. Will Jamieson came into the room.  Looking around, he spotted the group in the corner and came over.  "Okay, here's what I know.  Both guys were targets.  The man that Miss McClain and the nurse interrupted, had two syringes.  He dropped them both as he ran out.  John Doe I had respiratory distress, which started his internal bleeding again.  He's on his way to surgery now.  John Doe II is showing signs of waking up.  It's probably going to be a couple of hours before he's awake enough to be aware of his surroundings.  Admiral, I know both you and Miss Hazard are anxious to see him, but I will caution you to go slow.  Iím working with their doctors and I'll come get you when theyíre ready for you.  Commander Morton, take these people down to the cafeteria and get some food and drink in them."

"Doctor!"

"Admiral, you haven't eaten all day.  I'm your CMO and I'm overruling you.  Now go!"

 

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

 

Two hours later, Dr. Jamieson came back to the waiting room and escorted Admiral Nelson and Betty Hazard to ICU.  John Doe I was in recovery and would be returned to ICU within the hour.  His look-a-like was awake and uncomfortable, but the doctors wanted to wait until the visit was over before they administered pain medicine.  They wanted his head clear so he could identify himself.

The man in the bed watched as Betty Hazard and Admiral Nelson came up to his bed arranging themselves on either side of the bedrails.  He looked at one and then the other and noted the concerned look they both wore.  He saw a man in a doctorís jacket with a green plaid shirt and khaki pants standing just inside the curtains around his bed.  He had already noticed the other bed beside his was empty.  Gazing again at the older couple by his bed, he came to an abrupt conclusion and greeted them.  "Hi Mom.  Hi Dad. Or at least...I hope youíre my parents and you can tell me whatís my name and where I am."

The silence was deafening and was interrupted with the arrival of a gurney being pushed through the curtains.  The orderlies were efficient and fast as they transferred their unconscious patient into his bed.  As they left John Doe II got his first look at his roommate and saw himself.  His skin blanched and his heart monitor sped up.

Dr. Jamieson took over the situation.  "Admiral, Maíam, I need you to wait outside while I check both of them over," he ordered as he ushered them both out of ICU.  "Iíll give you a report once Iím done."

They went back to the ICU waiting room, not talking, but with lots of questions on their minds.  They found Chip and Dana getting acquainted in the corner.  Chip looked up and raised his eyebrows when he glanced at the Admiral.  Nelson replied with a gentle negative shake of his head.  Betty went over to the pay phone and made a call.  "Chief, Betty Hazard.  Thereís been some trouble out here at the hospital.  Yes, it involves both John Does.  A man was found trying to inject something in one of their IVís. No, he got away, but thereís evidence that he was after both of the guys.  Yes, they still have them together.  One of them woke up.  No, he doesnít recognize the other manís boss or me.  Yes, he has three people here, Admiral Harriman Nelson, Commander Chip Morton, and Dr. Will Jamieson.  Oh, and Dana McClain is here. Oh, thank you Dave.  I sure appreciate it."  She gave a short laugh.  "Okay, Iíll bake three dozen when this is over."

Walking back over to Admiral Nelson, Betty sat down beside him.  "Chief Dave Stewart is calling hospital security now to get a report. Heís ordered an armed police officer stationed outside our menís room.  The officer will have you and your men on the visitor list."

"Thanks.  Itís frustrating that John Doe II didnít know either of us.  It makes me concerned about what will happen when his twin wakes up."

"Maybe your doctor will let us know when that might happen."

"Not before morning."  Both Betty and Nelson looked up to see Dr. Jamieson had entered the room quietly.  "The best everyone can do is to go get some sleep.  Admiral, Iím going to stay here tonight to keep an eye on Lee and Les.  The nursesí station should be able to give you phone numbers of close by hotels for you and Commander Morton."

"No!  I wonít hear of that.  There are plenty of rooms at my place."

"Miss Hazard?"

"Frankly, itís Mrs. Hazard.  Iím a widow with my children grown and married.  My house is close by and I have extra bedrooms.  Besides, Admiral Nelson, we need to make a plan of action on what to do if John Doe I has a memory loss also.  I, for one, want Les back."

Looking over at Betty, the Admiral took special notice of the woman.  She was intriguing him.  Behind her, he caught Morton wiggling his eyebrows and a large grin spread across Chipís face.  At the same time he heard a choking noise coming from his CMO above him.  Glancing up, he gave Jamieson a stern look and swung it toward Morton before breaking out in a smile when he returned to Betty.  "Of course, Mrs. Hazard, an excellent suggestion."

She quickly wrote down her phone number and handed it over to the doctor.  "You will be sure to call..."

"Definitely maíam.  If there are any changes on either man, I will call."

Looking at Dana, Betty ordered, "Come along, Dana.  Youíre involved in this too and Iíve got some milk and cookies for you."  Turning to the men, Betty explained.  "Dana was a volunteer in the nursing home where Mr. Hazard was before he died.  He used to insist that she share his cookies with him when I baked him chocolate chip cookies."

Soon all four were at Betty Hazardís home.  While Dana and Chip took over the front deck sampling the chocolate chip cookies with milk, Betty and Harriman Nelson retired to the kitchen to devise a plan of action.

 

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

 

Joe Sands was able to make it out of the hospital without being detected.  He was royally ticked that he had been interrupted in his mission and that he had lost the poison he had planned to put into the IVís of the John Does.  After driving around for a while, he went back to his home and raided his refrigerator for a bottle of beer to down. Wandering from room to room of his duplex, he punched the on button of his television and sat down on his overstuffed chair to drink and watch television.

His mind was on the two men and what would be his next step in wiping them out. As he explored different avenues the ten oíclock nightly news came on.  Side-by-side portraits of Lee Crane and Les Wayne were displayed on the screen.  The woman announcer proudly started her news report.  "At our six oíclock broadcast, we brought you the story of Captain Lee Crane, commander of the submarine, Seaview, and our own Huntington Beach Assistant Library Director Les Wayne.  Both men were admitted to the Huntington Beach Hospital last night unconscious with injuries.  Since then, our roving reporter has learned that an attempt on the life of one of the two men was made tonight. A nurse and a female visitor stopped the attempt, but the assailant got away. No names have been released on the women, nor has the hospital or police released any information about the condition of the two men.  A police officer has now been assigned to protect them.  At the present time, this reporter has not been able to answer my earlier question.  Are Lee Crane and Les Wayne doppelgangers, twins, or Memorex?  Stay tune to tomorrowís six oíclock news for further developments."

Joeís explosive temper exploded and he threw his beer bottle against the wall above the television.  It left a dent in the wall and a streak of beer flowing down to the floor.  Luckily for Joe, his neighbor was out on the town and didnít hear the results of his anger.

 

 

 

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