Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
I was taken to the hospital, despite the fact the paramedics deemed that I might not be as badly concussed as they first thought. At the very least, I got a ride in the ambulance and painkilling pills that were very effective.
They kept me in the emergency department in between being taken for X-Rays, and I think something they called a CT Scan. Whatever it was, it didn’t help my claustrophobia. When that was completed, my mother was waiting in the cubicle. Benderby, looking concerned, stood behind her.
After the attendant left, he said, “I’ll be going now. Take all the time you need to recover Sam; I’ll make sure you don’t lose any wages over this. And you can be assured that it will not happen again, and we will get the people who did this.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I’m just glad nothing worse happened to you.”
He said something to my mother in hushed tones and then left. My mother had got over her initial reaction, and a more curious look had replaced the one of fear.
“Tell me you didn’t try to apprehend those thieves yourself, Sam.”
“No, I didn’t. I didn’t know there was anyone in the building until I was hit from behind. I’m not sure what they thought they were going to find there that was of any value, it’s just parts for some of the products built there.”
“People will steal anything for money these days. You should know that. Times are not as good for some. Perhaps it’s not a good idea for you to work there is this is going to happen again.”
“You heard Mr Benderby. He’ll make sure security is improved, and I suspect I was in the wrong place at the wrong time because I don’t normally go into the warehouse itself, that someone else’s purview. So, stop worrying, and go home. I’m fine.”
I wished she would go. I wanted to check if Boggs had been brought in and see what had happened to him. I also wanted to know if the perpetrator was Vince. If it was, Nadia was first on my list for a visit when I got out of the hospital.
It seemed to mollify her concern.
“Mr Benderby said to tell you if you need a ride home, to call this number,” she gave me a piece of paper with a phone number on it, “and a driver will come. He’s been very nice about everything. You will thank him.”
“I will. Yes. Now go home. Get some rest. And stop worrying about me.”
Ten minutes later, I got off the bed and stood. Well, I tried to stand, but my head wasn’t quite ready to accept that it was in command of everything else. It took only seconds for the room to start spinning, and I had to lie down again.
My reconnaissance was going to have to wait for an hour or so.
A nurse came and checked my blood pressure and pulse, both high but not off the chart, and she went off looking concerned.
A few minutes after that an orderly went by with another bed, empty but recently used, and I recognised him as another of the boys Boggs and I went to school with. He was destined for bigger things, but it seems he, too, never got out of the neighbourhood.
He saw me looking at him, stopped, and his expression told me he’d recognised me.
“The same. I’ll be back after I’ve dropped off this bed. Won’t be long. I won’t ask how you are, you must be sick if you’re in that bed.”
True. And it was natural to ask, ‘How are you?’ when you see someone after having not seen them a while, even if you are in a hospital. A weird custom indeed, which occupied my thoughts till he returned.
Angelo had been the smartest kid in our class, and we had all assumed that he would become a doctor, or a lawyer, one of those jobs that made piles of money. He was also the boy whom all the girls swooned over.
Being his friend had benefits.
Unfortunately, Boggs and I, not being the two brightest kids, didn’t register on his friend’s scale. In his favour, he was not a bully like Monty was, but I guess that went with being one of the school’s star athletes, but he did simply ignore us.
Now, it seems the mighty had fallen. It was a destiny that seemed to befall anyone who came from our neighbourhood.
The same could be said for Monty, who got a sports scholarship to further his sporting career, but he too stumbled at the second hurdle, being done for performance-enhancing drugs, and banished to the boondocks from whence he came.
Now, as far as I knew, he was working for the Colosimo’s.
Angelo seemed bright enough. That impression was confirmed when he returned with two bottles of soda and handed one to me.
“Hopefully it won’t kill you,” he said, sitting down.
“Shouldn’t. I’m here because someone hit me over the head.”
Once, in the old days, that might be the case. “If only I could take the bragging rights, but no. I work over at Benderby’s warehouse, and someone broke it. Seems I got in the way.”
“Benderby’s eh? Thought you said you’d die before ever working for them.”
True, we all said the same, in school, as naïve children who hadn’t yet learned how tough the world was going to be.
“Needs must. My mother isn’t getting any younger, and it’s a struggle. But I guess you already know that. You were going to be a doctor, not a trolley pusher.”
His shook his head. “As you say, reality trumps dreams. Education costs, my parents couldn’t raise the money, and, well, I think you know the rest.”
A minute’s silence for the death of whatever dreams we may have had passed.
“Have you seen Boggs. He’s here somewhere.”
“I saw him in ER, didn’t look too good, but I think it was mostly superficial wounds. Apparently, some unknown assailants beat him up. You two still hang out together?”
“Off and on.”
You weren’t with him when this happened.” He nodded towards the bandage on my head.
“No.” but, I thought, it was most likely the same person who inflicted both injuries. Had Boggs set us both up for some reason? It had to do with the treasure, and now Vince was in on the act.
“Does Boggs still go on about that Pirate treasure he reckons is buried here somewhere? I mean, his dad used to bang on about it, and there’s no doubt it got him killed. You reckon someone went after Boggs over it?”
Angelo hadn’t forgotten that even in school, Boggs had said he was going to be a treasure hunter when he grew up, and he had a map that would be the basis of his first quest. That same map he told me was his father’s.
That same map that had got both of us beaten up.
“Is he here, somewhere?” I asked.
“Next ward. Last I saw he was out; they gave him a sedative so he could rest.”
Squawking sounds came out of Angelo’s communicator, and only he seemed to know what it meant.
He stood. “Got to go now. Perhaps we can catch up later.”
© Charles Heath 2019