An assassin for hire meets streetwise Gladys
|Thomas “The Fox” Vandermut sat quietly in the third floor, day-room of St. Luke's Psychiatric Hospital, and peered with great interest out a heavily barred window. As he studied the snow-covered grounds below, he cemented the layout to memory. He would need this information later on when he escaped.
The landscape below looked as lifeless and grey as the sky. It was as if all the color in the world had left.
The endless commotion of fellow patients on Ward-B buzzed loudly in the background. Occasionally, the commanding voice of Head Nurse Deborah, rose above the din. If she had to look for a patient who did not report for meds, she'd track them down so quickly', it could put a bloodhound to shame.
* * *
Thomas was self-employed as a freelance hitman. He got paid serious money for his discretion and service, which he provided for big paying customers. One day while drinking at a local bar, an indiscreet former customer, carelessly described Vandermut as a "SCARY MF". Six days later, the man was found hanging from a tree in his own backyard, A typed suicide note was found in his shirt pocket.
* * *
For the moment, the hitman had managed to get himself committed to St Luke’s Hospital for a good reason. He had come to get close to and terminate an eye witness to a recent assassination he had performed.
Vandermut's current kryptonite was a middle-aged bag-lady named Gladys. Unfortunately for him and her, she had set up housekeeping in one of the other decommissioned railroad boxcars. It was there she heard a commotion and peeked around a corner to witness Thomas dragging a struggling man to another abandoned boxcar, across the yard from her. There she further witnessed Vandermut produce a Glock and shoot the weeping man between the eyes.
Gladys quickly removed herself from the scene and in total panic mode, threw herself on the mercy of the first cop she came across. However, Gladys had apparently been so traumatized by viewing the event, it rendered her virtually non-compos-mentis. The police brought Gladys to St. Luke’s Hospital for psychiatric evaluation. They were hoping the bag lady would soon come out of her fear funk and tell them her story.
This job was not going to be a walk in the park, Thomas considered, but doable enough if he played it right. But first, he would need to get admitted to the flight deck at St. Luke's
To accomplish this task, all Thomas had to do was bathe in some dirt and establish squatter’s rights under a busy city bridge. Once there, he shouted obscenities at the cars passing by. When that didn't work, Thomas upped his game by yelling "Save the Planet", and chucking the roadside trash into the traffic. He has quickly rewarded a ride in a police cruiser to the hospital emergency room and was immediately sent to the psych ward.
Upon completing his first goal, the next challenge for the assassin was getting close enough to the so-called . Not an easy task as Gladys was pretty squirrelly about anyone getting near her.
. . .
"Mr. Vandermut, it is time for group therapy,” head nurse stated.
“I’m not interested,” Vandermut answered shortly.
“I know Mr. Vandermut,” the nurse pouted sympathetically, “However; your doctor has ordered the group as part of your program, so you will attend.”
“I ain't doing it!!” Vandermut shouted.
Although the fake cheerful smile was glued on the med nurse’s face, the steely look in her eyes told Vandermut, he was not going to win the argument. Again, the image of bloodhouds immediately crossed his mind.
“Here’s your meds, Mr. Vandermut.” The nurse said briskly and held out a small dixie cup with some blue pills. In her other hand, was a paper cup filled with water.
“I’m not taking that shit!” Thomas was genuinely getting pissed off, “It makes me feel woozy and I don't like it!
“These pills will keep you from feeling anxious.” The nurse explained patiently.
“Feeling woozy makes me anxious!”
“Mr. Vandermut…” The nurses' tone hardened considerably, “either you swallow the pills voluntarily, or you will involuntarily experience a shot of anti-anxiety medication to your buttock.”
Vandermut glared with stubborn determination at the nurse. She glared back with equal determination. Then it seemed from out of nowhere, four large male interns appeared behind her, to lend assistance if needed, Thomas calculated the odds and prudently accepted the pills.
Afterward, the largest of the interns was assigned to escort Thomas to the group therapy.
. . .
In a stroke of luck for Thomas, the only empty chair in the room was right next to his mark, the bag-lady. Thomas sashayed over and plunked himself down. He favored her with his most dazzling smile and introduced himself as Thomas. The woman stared at him with vacant eyes. His mojo was interrupted by Dr. Rizlas, resident psychologist, who called Thom’s attention to the group activity at hand.
Thomas spent the remainder of the group therapy session dividing his attention discreetly between the group dynamics and the bag-lady who had been steadily giving him the stink-eye for the past forty-five minutes. Unable to stand the discomfort of the woman’s unwavering stare, Thomas smiled thinly and asked the woman why she was staring at him like that.
“Crazy like a fox!”, The woman suddenly crowed excitedly and pointed at Vandermut.
“Gladys, please try to control your outbursts,” the psychologist requested blandly, “Is there something significant you would like to add to the group?”
Gladys looked vacantly around her and then loudly shouted out to the room in general, "Foxy Loxy used a Glocksy and shot the man inside a boxy!” Then she leaped up from her chair and pointed a finger directly at Vandermut, “Foxy did it!”
“What are you saying?” Vandermut blurted with genuine surprise and dismay at the fox reference. He appealed to Dr. Rizlas, “This woman is completely nuts!”
Dr. Rizlas was attempting to take back control of the room. “Gladys, please sit down in your chair." he advised mildly, "If you have something more to say, please do so calmly.”
Gladys solemnly nodded. She took a deep breath and quietly sat back in her chair. She cleared her throat and calmly spoke with great detail about what she had witnessed at the railroad yard.
“I was stepping from out from behind a boxcar and saw this man pointing his automatic pistol at another man. He forced the other man to climb into an open boxcar. The victim was crying and pleading for his life. Then, Foxy just shot the other guy dead bang...right between the eyes!
“You are one crazy lady!" Vandermut protested indignantly, "I've never killed anybody!"
“I can prove it!” Gladys howled with confidence.
Everyone in the group leaned forward in their seats with eager anticipation. Vandermut blanched with fear, feeling like a trapped rat.
“When I observed this man commit the murder, he was wearing a bodybuilder shirt," she stated, "On his right arm, he has an elaborate tattoo of a fox, which starts at the top of his right shoulder and ends at his elbow,
All eyes of the group quickly turned again to Thomas, who in turn had grown very pale.
"Go ahead Doc," Gladys challenged the psychologist, "Take a look and see if I'm making this up."
Thomas jumped to his feet to flee the room. He was quickly and painfully taken down, by the four male staff members waiting in the hallway.
The police were duly notified and in short order, two homicide detectives arrived at St. Luke’s to hear their witness's testimony.
They verified that Vandermut indeed had such a tattoo, as the bag lady had described, and Thomas Vandermut was immediately arrested on a murder charge.
As the police were escorting the handcuffed hitman from the psychiatric unit, he could hear Gladys loudly cackling in the background, “Yup...crazy like a fox!”