Brian’s phone rang. He yanked the receiver to his ear. “You know I’m busy. We’ll discuss this later.”
He slammed the phone down and massaged his temples. After swallowing two aspirin, he shoved Alan Jordan’s file aside and booted up his computer. While perusing Brewster Medical Center’s latest JCAHO evaluation, an incoming hospital email flashed on the screen. Brian scrolled past the multiple messages from his sister-in-law. Luann was a pain in the ass. He’d told her repeatedly he’d take care of Alan Jordan. He’d have to speak to Lynn about her. Brian clicked on the email from the OR department.
Mr. Forbes, we have a problem upstairs in O.R. two.
Shit. What now? Good thing JCAHO is gone. First that bizarre crime scene I had to tap dance around, and now this fucking disaster.
He typed: I’ll be right up.
Great. That’s just what I need. More inane interruptions.
He tossed his pen on his desk, walked to the elevator, and pressed the “up” button.
The doors slid open.
Brian stepped out and looked both ways. His footsteps echoed in the O.R. corridor. He stood at the O.R. desk with his hands on his hips.
“Hello? Come on. Quit wasting my time. Who emailed me?”
Lights flickered in O.R. two.
“What’s going on?”
Brian walked to the O.R. suite and peered inside. He sighed. “Oh, it’s you.” Brian shook his head. “These antics of yours have to stop. I told you I’d let you know when I make my decision.”
“Here’s my decision.”
The steel surgical tray crashed into the side of Brian’s head. The collision exploded in his ears. He stumbled backward. Then came the dart into his neck. His legs turned to rubber; he was going down.
Brian’s eyelids fluttered, opened, and then clamped closed beneath the blinding operating room light directly above him. He tried to roll off the narrow operating room table, but the black rubber belt pressing against his thighs tethered him to it. The Velcro straps pinning his arms crucifix style on the table’s arm boards dug deeper into his damp skin, crackling with every jerk of his arms. He glanced at the IV tubing taped at the inside of his elbow.
The stiff tissue of a surgical mask grazed his cheek. Warm breath flowed from the sides and wafted into his ear.
“No one can hear you. They’re all gone. Now about the matter between us.”
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