By Stephen Halpert
A bandage covered most of my forehead.
The nurse placed her cool hand on the top of my head. “Relax, Magee,” she said gently. “You’ll have a headache for few days but nothing more than that.”
Then Doctor C. came into the room and checked my chart. “You’re quite the hero, Magee. If it hadn’t been for you, your Aunt Bea would have been a goner.” He looked up as Sippi, Raven and Mallory came into my room. “It’s only a shallow flesh wound to his forehead. However he got a bit of a concussion from the bullet as it grazed his scull. I’m sure he’ll be right as rain in a few days.”
I tried to wag my tail, but it was too difficult. Sippi’s eyes were red and puffy. She rushed over to me. Very gently she brushed her hand over my back. “Oh, Magee, you saved Aunt Bee and what has happened to you now?”
Then her cell phone chimed, singing out, “let’s spend the night together.”
She answered it. “Let me get back to you Aunt Bea. I’m just visiting Magee. Thank God Dr. C. patched him up. He says he’ll be much better soon. You have some special treats for him? I’ll tell him and that might make him get better even faster.”
Again I tried to wag my tail. But any time I tried moving any part of me my head hurt. Then I smelled something strange. What was it? I wasn’t sure what it was but my sense of danger sounded its alarm. I whimpered and tried to tell Sippi, but no such luck. “Oh poor baby,” she kept saying. I had no idea what she was thinking. All I knew was that we weren’t in synch.
“Best we let him rest,” Mallory said.
Instinctively I knew not to be alone, at least not right then. The smell got stronger. I heard footsteps outside.
“I’ll buy us lunch,” Raven sounded his usual generous self
I whined, hopeful that Sippi would catch on and not leave me here alone.
“I’ll be back soon, Sweetheart,” she tried assuring me
“I’d like you both to sit in on the inquiry while I question those crazed sisters,” Chief Mallory said. “How long I can hold them is moot. They’ve already talked to their lawyer.”
“But,” Raven said, “aren’t we looking at attempted murder?”
Mallory frowned. “A good lawyer can spring them both before supper, especially with a liberal judge on the bench. Doesn’t feel right,” Mallory said. “But in case you haven’t noticed, Justice is blind.”
“But Magee’s a cop.” Sippi said. “Doesn’t that count for something these days? Doesn’t that mean anything?”
“Maybe once,” Mallory said. “Not so sure what anything might
mean these days. Makes you wonder which side the judiciary’s on.”
Raven leaned in and slid something onto the sheet close by my paw.
“Hang ten, Magee. I’ll be close by. After all we’re partners.”
Then they all left and I was alone. The floor nurse came in. “Humph, I wonder if the doctor ordered a catheter for you?” she checked my chart. I shuddered. I didn’t know what it was but it didn’t sound like anything I would like. Fortunately Dr. C. hadn’t specified one. She hung my chart back up and left.
I stretched under the blanket and tried to relax. I could smell that smell again. It made me uncomfortable. It reminded me of something I just couldn’t put my paw on. Thinking made my head hurt.
I heard the door to my room open. Someone came in and moved closer to my bed. I smelled that strange scent again. I knew what it reminded me of: gunpowder. My senses screamed danger. What to do?
I wasn’t sure what Raven had left by my paw, but surely it was in case I might need to call out for help. As the person that had come into my room crept closer I pressed hard against the object with my paw.
A loud wailing sound screamed from my bed. Whoever it was turned and ran. I heard something clatter to the floor. I began barking, and growling.
A nurse ran into the room. “What’s going on here? Why are you barking?”
I couldn’t very well tell her myself, however Raven, Sippi and Chief Mallory, came into the room right after her.”
“This dog is making a terrible fuss, he’ll wake up all the other patients.”
“Magee doesn’t make a fuss unnecessarily,” Sippi said with a frown, “someone who didn’t belong here must have come into the room.”
“There wasn’t anybody,” the nurse said, then she stopped, shook her head and said, “wait a minute, I did see someone—he must be a new janitor. I thought at the time he had an unfamiliar face.”
I saw the three of them look at each other and nod. “He’s not safe here,” said Sippi. “Let’s find out if I can take him home.”
“Call Dr. C.” Raven said, “If he says he has to remain here in the hospital, I’ll stay here with him and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Sippi smiled gratefully. She put in a call to Dr. C. who confirmed that I needed hospital care for at least one more day. Raven settled himself in the chair next to my bed. ‘Don’t you worry, Magee, we’re partners. I’ll make sure you’re safe.”
“I’m so grateful to you,” Sippi said, “That was a wonderful inspiration you had, leaving that alarm button with him.”
“If you ask me, he’d be better off at home. My suggestion is we take him anyway,” Mallory said. “Besides I wanted you there Raven when I questioned those two women.”
Raven shook his head, “This is more important,” he said. “He’ll be safe here with me, and it’s best to follow doctor’s orders.”
Sippi came over, bent down and lightly brushed the top of my head with her lips. “You be good now and get well fast, Magee,” she said, and she and Mallory left together.