Episode V: Part VI - The Case of the Nefarious Nephew
The activation switch triggered, the hospital basement double doors slowly opened. Catching sight of a wheelchair creeping its way inside, Lundsten’s first observation was of several IV bags attached to an IV pole, the chair occupied by an unknown patient covered with both a sheet and blanket. Sutton was behind the chair, pushing it through and into the makeshift morgue.
Son-of-a-bitch … that has to be the Barton girl. What the hell is he planning on doing with her? The hospital administrator stepped away from the unconscious Holland, then walked briskly toward Sutton and the occupied wheelchair. He pulled the bedding down and away from the face of the covered patient. “Just as I thought,” he mumbled, a look of disgust crossing his face.
“Say what, doc? I didn’t catch that,” Sutton mockingly asked, a snickering smile appearing.
“What is she doing here?”
“I’ll explain it to you in a minute, doc.”
Lundsten was livid. “She’s sedated. You don’t push a sedated patient around in a wheelchair.”
“Says who?” Sutton barked.
“Per hospital regulations, you idiot.”
A sarcastic laugh followed. “She’s strapped in, doctor Jekyll. Our leading lady isn’t going anywhere.”
“You didn’t answer my question. Why did you bring her down here?”
Before Sutton could answer, the basement double doors opened again. A short, burly figure with a waddling gate resembling that of a penguin ambled into the basement. Wearing a three-piece light brown pin-striped suit, his matching brown wingtips were barely noticeable underneath the ill-fitting trousers, the leg openings dragging the floor with every step.
“Well, if it isn’t Atticus Finch in the flesh,” Sutton sarcastically commented, unbuttoning and removing the white orderly jacket he was wearing.
Greeting his partner-in-crime with a look of contempt, the corpulent Shyner retorted with an angry barrage. “Shut-up, Sutton,” he fired back. “Atticus Finch wouldn’t give a dried-up piece-of-snot like you the time of day.”
Hurrying around the chair with a furious look, Sutton threw the jacket onto the basement floor.
“Knock it off … both of you,” Lundsten shouted.
Wheezing with every breath, the unscrupulous attorney glanced back and forth between the Barton girl and Holland. “We all agreed on how this was supposed to work. And now it’s gone completely off the rails. Why are these two here?” he demanded.
Sutton jumped off a desk corner he was sitting on. With a stern and malevolent voice, he said, “I’ll tell both you clowns why they’re down here. Because I have first-hand knowledge that Holland has been in touch with the cops, and I intend to find out why. In order to facilitate a more successful outcome, both he and my cousin queen bee will be moved to a more secure location. The good news is the three of us don’t know anything about Holland's disappearance. There's no evidence to link any of us to him.”
“And what about the Barton girl, genius?" Shyner proclaimed. “If the authorities come here with a warrant, how are we going to explain her not being here?”
Sutton walked and stood next to Melissa, still slumped and sedated in the wheelchair. “The princess escaped; that’s what we’ll tell them. Right before we leave with these two, she’s to be reported as an escapee, understand? That will give me time to sweat them them both at some empty warehouse before we return her to the hospital. We can then report that she returned ... on her own ... just walked herself back inside like nothing happened. It will bolster our claim to keep her here permanently.”
“And what about Holland?” Lundsten asked.
Sutton grunted a chuckle. “He’ll be taking a long nap with the fishes. Like I said earlier, no one can connect him to us, and he won’t be around later to say otherwise.”
“That’s murder,” Shyner reminded him. “We all agreed that option was off the table.”
“Oh, so you really do know something about the law,” Sutton said with a sneer. "Brilliant legal deduction on your part, Matlock. Well guess what? It’s back on the table.”
“This has gone too far,” Lundsten jumped in. “If murder is part of this scheme, I want nothing further to do with it … do you hear me?”
Sutton snorted a scornful laugh. “Yeah, I heard you … loud and clear.” Walking up to Lundsten, he slugged the hospital administrator in the face, knocking him to the floor. “Now you’ve heard me,” he thundered, standing over the kayoed doctor as he lay sprawled on the cold concrete.
Startled by Sutton’s move to floor Lundsten, Shyner grabbed him by the arm and pulled him away. “There’s no need for this,” he implored. “We all need to take a moment and think about what we’re doing.”
Sutton spun around. “That’s an excellent suggestion, counselor,” he replied with an angry snarl. “Sometimes you actually do give good advice.” He paused. “So that’s what I just did, and now I’m telling you and Dr. Jekyll here that I’m in charge of this operation now. What I say goes … understand?”
Blood trickled down the corner of Lundsten’s mouth, followed by a low guttural moan. Dazed, he placed a hand against the left side of his face, now red and swollen from the blow.
“For Christ’s sake, help me get him on his feet,” Shyner implored, struggling to stoop down and help the semi-conscious doctor pick himself up off the basement floor.
“Get up and get those drugs I asked about earlier,” Sutton shouted, ignoring Shyner. “And bring half a dozen syringes. Be back in fifteen minutes.”
Click to read Episode V Part VII - "MATT DUGGAN - DETECTIVE SERIES"