Vernon Arthur Fisher was born in Birmingham, Alabama, he’d hated school and had instead spent most of his time avoiding it. His early childhood was spent mostly in deep trouble at school and when he came home it was no better. If he was lucky his mother would be in a drunken stupor and in no shape to chase the scrawny little boy. If she wasn’t overly drunk it usually meant that she had spent most of her welfare check on booze already but had managed to illegally swap a few food stamps for liquor. Which meant she was still drunk enough to yell and scream and make his life miserable. And God forbid if she should catch the little boy. He didn’t know who his father was and had vowed to himself that if he ever found out who the man was, he’d personally rip the man’s throat out. By the time Vernon Arthur Fisher alias Vaf, had reached the age of 16, he’d had 2 arrests and was on his way to becoming a full fledged criminal. At the age of 23 he decided to leave Alabama since he hated it anyway. The state of Alabama however, didn’t want him to leave, they wanted him to stay in their state and they even offered to pay all the expenses. It wasn’t too strange a offer since they wanted him for 3 different crimes as well as suspicion of murder.
Vaf wanted to go to Miami. But Miami was far too close to Birmingham, so he chose San Francisco for the time being instead. He promised himself that in a few years when things had cooled down a bit he’d go visit Disney World and settle in Miami and steal things from the rich old people who retired there. But in San Francisco, while working his way up from small time jobs, he was caught and put into one of their penitentiaries for a couple of years. In retrospect getting caught and thrown in the pen was probably his best career move ever. By the time he was out of the pen he’d made quite a few very valuable contacts. He also managed to make quite a name for himself and was becoming well known for his ruthlessness. As a little man with a huge chip on his shoulder carried from his childhood, he had a lot of viciousness built up and a lot of things he wanted to prove. The scar that he received while in prison ran from the bottom of his right eye down to his mouth and was from a fight that he’d won. He got 12 stiches and 2 weeks in solitary confinement for that, after all it was self defense. His opponent who was at least 80 pounds heavier and 4 inches taller got a 4 broken ribs and a limp for life.
Vaf graduated from the pen with ‘job’ offers from all around. Nothing permanent you understand but certainly enough to keep a man occupied and well supplied. Then he’d gotten this assignment.
Vaf lay in his hospital bed looking up at the white ceiling and as he glanced around, his small beady eyes noticed the I.V. drip tube. His eyebrows arched as he furrowed his forehead wondering how he was going to get out of this one. He’d noticed that the windows had bars on it and he’d seen enough movies to know that there was probably a guard at the door of his ‘private room.’ He’d have to come up with a plan to get out of here. But he felt really tired, he might as well relax and gain his strength back first. After all he had stopped a bullet in his chest. It was a work related injury as far as he was concerned. He’d better get workman’s comp for this one.
A few hours later he drifted out of sleep awakened by the sound of voices outside. The door opened and Vaf saw a policeman sitting on a chair just outside the door. Then two cops and a doctor walked in. They weren’t dressed like cops, but Vaf knew a cop when he saw one.
* * *
Brinks was taking a very personal interest in this case and had opted to visit the suspect in person. The one Mr. Vernon Arthur Fisher was not too interested in being cooperative. Because, unfortunately Mr. V. A. Fisher understood his rights. “You have the right to remain silent, anything you do or say will be used against you in a court of law, you have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be assigned to you. Do you understand your rights?”
Vaf did, and he was retaining his right to shut up. Brinks wasn’t into this stuff, in the other city, the one he’d left behind many years ago, he would have picked this punk up and shaken his teeth out of him and the punk would have talked, you bet the punk would have talked. But here he was in San Jose, and this was out of his jurisdiction and there was a hospital doctor who had just made plain his dislike of cops to them, and Brinks was sick and tired of this whole mess. The San Jose cop next to Brinks explained very patiently to Mr. Fisher that Mr. Fisher was arrested for attempt of murder which was a very serious rap and if Mr. Fisher didn’t want to add a few more years to his record, he’d cough up the name of the person who’d hired him.
Mr. Fisher wasn’t into all this. He wanted to blow this joint and go to Miami. He wanted to visit Disney World.
The doctor was a one Dr. Massimo Carlucci, at least that’s what his license that had been scrutinized numerous times by some very rude traffic cops said, he went by ‘Mark’. ‘Mark’ was of the opinion that all cops had an attitude problem. He’d decided that guys who’d been beaten up and bullied as kids, joined the force when they grew up, just so they could act tough and get back at the society that had bullied them. And as a result they picked on fine upstanding citizens like him who happened to accidentally make a tiny little error while driving. No, Dr. Carlucci was not too fond of cops. And now he was quite enjoying the fact that these dirt bag cops had to listen to him for a change. He’d made it quite clear that he didn’t care two hoots whose prisoner this man was, as long as he was in the hospital Mr. Vernon Arthur Fisher was Dr. Mark Carlucci’s patient and don’t you ever forget that, because I’ll be watching you. Thus under the critical and watchful eye of Dr. Carlucci, Brinks was unable to accomplish anything and it all added to his frustration with the whole case. This was a moment that the ‘good’ Doctor would re-live with his drinking buddies for a while.
After they left, Vaf lay in bed and watched TV. This was nice. He figured he had a few days, at least, to plan his leisurely escape.
By the next 2 days, Vaf had it all figured out. It would seem that three times a day, an orderly came in and fed him. Twice a day another orderley came in and helped him with a wash and any bodily functions. Vaf would have prefered a female orderly but just his luck he’d only gotten a male so far. Furthermore a nurse looked in twice during the day, to ask him how he was doing, to refresh his drip and to check up on him, and at around midnight, the night nurse would peek in. Vaf had noticed that the cop outside the door had switched 3 times during the day.
Vaf had also noticed that each time a nurse or orderly had come in or left, the cop had barely glanced at the orderly. So the plan was quite simple. Off all the regular male nurses, the night nurse was about the same size as Vaf. At around midnight when the the night nurse came in, Vaf who uptil now had played as though he was too weak to stand, would be waiting for the night nurse, behind the door. No, but that was a bad idea. The nurse might make a sound when hit with the bed pan. Vaf was sure the bed pan would go “boing”. A “boing” would be enough to bring the cop in. And the cop had a gun. All he had was a bed pan that went boing. Vaf hated other people having guns. Specially since they’d taken away his Smith & Wesson .38 special. The other option was to actually pretend to have trouble getting up, and ask the night nurse for help. Once the nurse was within reach and helping him up, he could then take his own time in disabling the man. Vaf looked around the room. The phone had been removed, but a phone jack was screwed into the wall. As luck would have it, the wire to the phone jack ran along the baseboard for a little ways before disappearing into the plaster. Vaf unhooked his I.V. drip, got out of bed and examined the cord. It would do just fine. Back in bed he rehooked the I.V. drip and rehearsed the steps he would have to take. The bandages around his chest would slow him down, but if he had his arms around the night nurse and he had the phone wire in one hand he could easily have the cord around the man’s neck and his chest over his mouth before the man even knew what was happening. He was content that the plan would work, he lay back fantasizing about the Miami beaches and went to sleep thinking about bikini clad women on reruns of Miami Vice.
The two cops returned that day, but Vaf was in no mood to talk. He played sick though he knew that they would soon wise up to his game and make him talk. He would leave for Disney World tonight he was tired of this popsicle joint.
Vaf could hardly contain his excitement as the evening wore on. He watched TV for a while, noticed that Alice in Wonderland was on, but thought it looked like a fantasy written by someone on mushrooms and flipped instead to the news.
By ten o’clock that night he decided to get ready. The first thing was to rip the phone cord out of the wall and tie one end of it to his left wrist. At the other end of the cord he made a loop, so he could grab it easily. Then he looped up the wire and hid it in his left fist. The second thing was to unhook the drip. He didn’t want to get jabbed by it. This time he did so by pulling out the needle from his arm. He then taped the needle down so it looked like it was still in him, but the minute he tugged on it, the tape would peel off, freeing him.
Now he was ready, he waited in anticipation for midnight. As he waited he started making plans for Miami. The fastest way to get there was to buy an airline ticket. He’d have to mug someone and get a credit card or borrow money from a friend. He wasn’t sure which would be easier. Maybe the night nurse would have a wallet and in it a credit card. But that’d be too obvious, they’d pick him up immediately. Did nurses keep their wallets in their nurse outfits? He wondered.
At 11:30 pm the door opened and the night nurse came in. Vaf was taken by surprise, this wasn’t supposed to happen till after midnight. The man who entered the room wasn’t the regular night nurse either. He was bigger and he had a beard. Vaf felt his stomach drop. Damn, if this guy was a substitute and the regular night nurse didn’t show up, he’d be stuck here another day if not more. Unless he risked trying to sneak by the guard despite the fact that this guy was much bigger. The beard could cause problems too. How could the cop not notice that the nurse that went in had a beard, but the nurse that came out didn’t. He wasn’t sure what to do, he feigned sleep. The night nurse came right over to him on the side that the drip was, looked at the clipboard in his hand and whispered. “Mr. er” the nurse squinted at the clipboard “…Fisher. The Doctor said you may be developing some bacterial infection and has instructed us to give you a dose of antibiotics in your intravenous solution.”
Vaf cursed, the bottle of drip was between him and the man. He’d planned that the nurse would come from the other side. The clear side. He’d have to wait.
“Oh whoops” said the night nurse “looks like your I.V. slipped out. Here, we go.” The nurse painfully jabbed the I.V. needle back into Vaf’s arm and then started to inject the antibiotics directly into the tube, bypassing the bottle. Vaf realized that the nurse couldn’t be new because he’d seen the nurse before.
When the nurse was done Vaf decided that it was now or never. He tried to get up, but fell back pretending to be weakened. “Help me sit up” he said in apparent pain. The night nurse came around to the other side, the side that didn’t have the drip. He just stood there watching Vaf for a moment. Vaf repeated himself, but for some reason the nurse continued to ignore him. Vaf tried to get up again. But this time he did feel numb. In fact he couldn’t feel his legs. Vaf started to panic. It felt as if someone had just dumped something very very heavy onto his lower body. Then he started to lose the feeling in his arms. Just prior to the brain damage caused by the stopping of his heart and the lack of oxygen to his brain he had a last thought. He remembered why he recognized the nurse and realized that the beard wouldn’t have been a problem after all. The tall blonde nurse wasn’t a nurse and he didn’t have a beard. Ergo the beard was fake, a small tug and Vaf could have used it. With that Vaf reluctantly went to meet his Maker.