Doubles

 

by LaJuan

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

 

The next morning, it was decided that Chip Morton would take the Admiral’s car, track down Lee’s hotel room and check with the police department on how long Lee’s rental car would be impounded.  Betty had called the City Manager and had clearance to take a few vacation days off.  She called the library and put her Adult Reference Librarian in charge while she and Les were absent.  She would be driving the Admiral back to the hospital.

Will Jamieson called after she hung up and told them that John Doe I was waking up, but it would be a couple of hours before he would be awake enough to recognize anyone.  Jamieson requested that the Admiral show up in his uniform, to better jolt the John Does’ memories.

Betty and the Admiral walked into the ICU waiting room together.  Dana had promised the night before, when she left, that she would visit the men after she got off work.  Betty had caught the glint in Dana’s eyes when she looked at Chip.  Betty strongly suspected that Dana hoped that Chip would be back from the Admiral’s chores by then.

Betty had the ICU volunteer call the nurses’ station to pass on to the doctors that the Admiral and she were in the waiting room.  Soon Will Jamieson, Gene Morrison and Kerry McGrew came striding into the room.  Will looked at them and started the briefing.  "Okay, he’s awake.  We’re taking him off the oxygen and we’ll have the curtains drawn around his bed.  Other than the hospital staff, you will be the first people he’ll see.  We’re hoping for the best, but we don’t want him upset since he’s just had surgery.  Any questions?"

"Just one.  How much longer will they be in the hospital?"

"Admiral, I’ll let Dr. Morrison answer you."

"Admiral, Mrs. Hazard.  John Doe II would normally be in a regular room by now, but the police have asked us to keep them together for protection.  So we’ll move them to the ICU step-down unit tomorrow morning.  I suspect that John Doe II will be discharged by the end of the week and John Doe I within a few days after that.  A lot will depend on how fast they heal."

"Can we see him now?" requested Mrs. Hazard.

"Of course.  Let's go."

All four went to the ICU doors and Dr. Jamieson hit the button to swing the doors wide.  Striding down to the corner, he went into the curtained area around John Doe I's bed.  As the Admiral and Mrs. Hazard approached the drapes, they heard a familiar voice calling out to them.  Betty heard Les's voice call out, "Hi Mom," as Admiral Nelson heard Lee's voice speaking out, "Hi Dad."  John Doe II had spotted them going into the draped area.  Going through the curtains, Betty saw a silent Les looking at her.  Admiral Nelson, who saw a silent Lee gazing at him, followed her.  Seeing their assistant before them while hearing his voice elsewhere unnerved both.

Once again they arranged themselves on either side of the bed and took turns asking John Doe I if he knew them.  He looked at one, then the other and shook his head no.  "That other guy looks like me and he called you Mom and Dad.  Is he my brother?  Does that make you my parents too?"  

The Admiral and Betty looked at each other knowing that the plans they had made last night would have to be instigated. "No, son, we're not your parents or the other man's parents.  What do you remember?"

Jamieson and Dr. Morrison stood by the curtains listening.  Kerry McGrew had left to check on another patient. John Doe I stared at the Admiral and then looked over at Betty.  "Nothing. Nothing.  The only one who is not a stranger is the guy in the next bed.  What are we, twins?  What do you know about me?  Who am I and what am I to you?"  His voice deepened and his face grew intense.

Dr. Morrison stepped forward.  "I think that's enough for now, Admiral, Mrs. Hazard.  Could you wait in the waiting room?"

The two doctors came into the waiting room shortly afterwards.  "Admiral, at this point, we can't say if their loss of memory is physical or psychological. John Doe II will be released in a few days.  He’ll have to come back to have his bandages changed.  John Doe I will be released in a week.  He also will have to come back for the same reason."

"Dr. Morrison, Mrs. Hazard and I have decided to take one man each back to Lee's and Les's environment to see if that would jog their memories.  If that doesn't work we will switch the men.  Could John Doe II be transferred to the Nelson Institute of Marine Research Medical Center in Santa Barbara under the care of Dr. Jamieson?"

"I think that can be done since he’ll be under a doctor's care.  I want to keep him through today and I'll make arrangements to release him tomorrow."

"We'll make arrangements for transportation for him."

"When John Doe I is ready for release, I'll take him with me," announced Betty Hazard.  "I sure hope he's Les."

"As I'm hoping the other one is Lee," replied the Admiral.

Chip Morton pushed opened the door to the ICU waiting room.  "Admiral, the police released Lee's rental car, so I've turned it back in and settled the charges.  I also tracked down his hotel room and have his luggage in the trunk of your car.  I found his signet ring in his shaving kit."

"Good, so only his memory is missing.  Chip, we're taking John Doe II back to the NIMR medical center tomorrow morning.  Make the arrangements."

"FS1, sir?"

"Yes."

"Aye, sir."  Chip turned away to go to the pay phone across the room.  Minutes later he came back.  "I called the Institute.  Your secretary is taking care of transportation from this hospital to the beach.  Kowalski is flying FS1 in and he’ll meet you and Dr. Jamieson there.  I'll drive your car back."

"Belay that.  You and Jamieson will escort John Doe II back.  I want you to dig into the background of Lee and Les.  Are they twins separated at a young age?  Use the Institute computers, lawyers and researchers, but get me the answer.  I'm going to stay until John Doe I is released."

"Aye, sir.  Also, Lee's secretary reports there's a problem with Lee's sports car."

"What?"  

"The repair shop released the wrong car to her.  It was blue instead of red."

"Maybe Lee authorized a paint job.  Chip..."

"I know.  Look into it.  Aye, sir.  Dr. Jamieson, I've been thinking.  Can we identify Lee from the scar he got when Kruger shot him? What about from dental records?"

"I thought of the scar too late.  The coral tore up John Doe II's side too much to tell and John Doe I's surgery was in that area, so if there had been a scar, it's gone now.  As far as dental records, Lee had good teeth, no cavities, so there would be nothing unique in his dental records to identify him."

"The same with Les.  The library staff teased him about not supporting his dentist right, because he had no cavities," inputted Betty Hazard.

"How are we going to tell these men apart?" quizzed Chip as he rubbed the back of his neck.

"I guess we're going to have to hope they will tell us when we get them back to familiar territory."

"Aye.  I hope you're right, Admiral."  Thinking for a moment, Chip Morton turned to Will Jamieson.  "Can we get footprints of the John Does?  When I was born, the hospital gave Mom a copy of my footprints.  I wonder if we can trace them down by theirs?"

"Good thought.  Let's do it."  The two doctors left and within ten minutes brought back footprints carefully labeled with I and II.

 

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

 

The next morning John Doe II was released and transferred in FS1 to the NIMR medical center.  He showed no recognition of the flying sub or Kowalski.  What was alarming to Chip was that he willingly went to the medical center and settled in fast.

In Huntington Beach, Admiral Nelson stayed with Betty Hazard as John Doe I continued to improve.  As Betty went back to work to verify the library was running smoothly, Admiral Nelson followed her directions to Les Wayne's beach house.  Using Les' house key that was part of his personal effects from the hospital, Admiral Nelson let himself into the home.  The interior was not what he expected from his notion of a librarian.  The walls in the living area were light green, framing patio doors that stepped out on a deck overlooking the ocean.  Trees and large flora plants were scattered throughout the room, along with oriental statues, screens and paintings.  Wandering through the house, he found the oriental influence was reflected in each room.  The study had bookcases filled to the ceiling.  As he browsed the selections, Admiral Nelson noted the excellent selection on naval history.  Realizing that time was getting away from him, he went on to the master bedroom to gather up some clothes for John Doe I to wear. He found on the dresser Les Wayne's class ring, rosary and wallet.  Gazing around the room, he found a popular poster hanging on the wall.  It had to be important to Les as it was framed.  The scene was of an oriental style painting of an ocean wave changing from left to right into a computer image of that same wave.

Looking again at his time, and knowing that John Doe I would be released the next morning, Admiral Nelson took the poster from the wall, closed up the suitcase, and took them out to his car.  Going back to the door, he went in, watered the plants, locked the house and drove away.

 

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

 

That night at the six o'clock news, the announcer returned to her earlier story.  "This reporter has been following the story of duplicate men, Captain Lee Crane of the submarine Seaview and our own Les Wayne, Assistant Library Director, who were found injured and unconscious.  An attempt was made on their lives and they were put under police protection.  Hospital and police spokesmen will not comment on their condition, but a source close to this reporter indicates that both men are healing and are awake.  One of them was transferred to the NIMR medical center in Santa Barbara and the other will be released from the hospital tomorrow morning.  Unfortunately, my question has not been answered, "Are they doppelgangers, twins or Memorex?"

Joe Sand was listening and managed to keep his temper this time.  Going to his closet, he pulled down a leather case containing his high-powered rifle.  Opening it, he verified that he had plenty of ammunition to finish his job.  He needed to scout out the territory, so he put away the case, grabbed his keys and left the duplex.

Driving around the hospital neighborhood, he found what he wanted.  Across the street from the patient drop off and pickup area was a theater.  He parked and bought a ticket for the night's movie release.  It made no difference to him what was showing, as he was more interested in the layout of the building and access to the roof.  He waited until the lobby was crowded and employees were busy with customers, then he made his move to explore.  Quickly he found the hours of operation, memorized the layout and verified the roof access. Going on top of the roof, he used his binoculars to gauge the distance to the hospital door and the right place to set up.  What he found greatly satisfied him and he made his way back through the lobby to the outside doors.  He walked around the building, through the alleyways, and mapped out his egress.  All was ready for the next morning's event.  Getting into his car, he left to get a good night's sleep.  He had important work to do early the next morning.

Joe woke up in a good mood the next day.  He whistled as he went about his preparation for the day's activities.  Soon he pulled on his gloves, picked up his leather case and was on his way to the theater.  When he arrived, he drove around the block and parked his black Chevy on the street behind the theater.  He made his way to one of the back exits, jimmied the lock and went into the darken theater.  Remembering the layout, he went through the lobby and to the exit that led to the roof.  He went over to the side of the roof and verified by binoculars that his target was still in the hospital.  That gave him time to set up and get comfortable. 

An hour later, he saw through his binoculars his victim surrounded by an older woman, man and a cop.  Switching to the scope of his high-powered rifle, Joe controlled his breathing as he waited for his opportunity. Then it came. As his victim lifted himself out of the wheelchair to walk to the waiting car, the policeman stepped back to give him room to stand.  Joe sighted, squeezed the trigger slowly, and anticipated the kick to his shoulder as the explosive bullet sped toward its target and burned into the man's chest.

Wanting to make sure of his kill, Joe shoved a bullet into the chamber, aimed at his victim on the sidewalk and pulled the trigger.  The policeman shoved the older red-haired man down and jumped to protect his assignment.  The second bullet missed its first target and buried itself into the cop's shoulder.  Verifying that there was no movement from his two victims, Joe broke down his rifle, gathered his spent cartridges, and packed his case.  Hurrying back into the theater, he swiftly went back to his exit door.  He slowed down when he went outside and casually strolled to his Chevy and put his case into the trunk.  He started the car and leisurely pulled away from the curb.  He laughed as he drove to the freeway that would began his journey to the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara.

 

 

 

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