Friday, June 6, 2014

Savage 6

"Like a baby stillborn, like a beast with his horn, I have torn everyone who reached out for me"

Adam hummed as he stocked the Coke machine in Glendale Elementary.  He was feeling much better, or much worse.  Dr. Adler had driven him out to the building that had housed Emily's toothpaste ad.

"Would you like something to calm you?"  offered Dr. Adler as the two men stared at a fifty foot high advertisement for Oreo cookies. 

"No thanks", responded Adam, unaware that he'd already been dosed.  "I know it was here, I saw it.  They must have changed it.  She was there", his voice trailed off.  The tall man's broad shoulders slouched forward, hands in his pockets, dejected.

"Well, I'm certain you're certain, Adam.  This has been a long day for you, and you're tired."

"I am tired." Adam agreed, nodding his head up and down. 

The two men drove back to the center with the radio playing, "Like a worm on a hook, like a knight from some old fashioned book, I have saved all my ribbons for thee"

Adam had fallen asleep at the center, this was allowed and even encouraged when the Dr. felt he had been working too hard.  He was vaguely aware of Dr. Adler and male nurses checking on him periodically.  Adam's blurry eyes would open to two fingers resting gently on his wrist, checking his pulse.  "Shhhhh, get some rest, Mr. Savage", Adam closed his eyes and fell back into the billowy murk.

When he finally awoke, Adam lay with his eyes closed and his breathing steady for a long while, he felt the shadows in the room grow longer and a chill setting in as the streaks of sun from the windows retreated into the twilight.  This laying still and quiet was a habit he'd developed as a child in the orphanage, a way to spy. 

He could only hear snippets from the next room, Dr. Adler on the phone.  "Minor setback", in a hoarse but forceful whisper came through to Adam's straining ears, and then "three year contract", and finally "Yes, no, he doesn't know, I moved too quickly, this was bound to happen."

Adam had learned so long ago to watch and wait, and wait and watch, this furtiveness was second nature to him.  After the voice in the next room stopped, Adam slowly sat up and yawned loudly to alert the good Doctor to his awakening.  Adam wasn't sure what Dr. Adler had been speaking about in his sharp whisper over the phone, or who he had been talking to.  For all Adam knew, Dr. Adler was speaking of another patient.  It was in Adam's nature to be suspicious, but not paranoid.  He was a listener and a planner and a doer.

"I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch, he said to me you must not ask for so much"  Adam turned off the radio and sang softly on the way home.  "I saw a woman leaning in her darkened door, she cried to me, hey why not ask for more"

And so Adam was methodically filling the coke machine when he heard a man's voice behind him.  "The boy, Ethan Frame,  went to this school, it would have been two years ago..."  Adam was unable to make out the quieter voice of the mousy secretary the man was addressing.  "I just need a record of his teachers and if you can remember anyone who might have had cause to speak to the boy or deal with him in anyway", another long pause for the quiet secretary and then "I'm not at liberty to discuss the specifics as it isn't a single case at this time, we're treating it as a possible serial."

The secretary gasped loudly enough for Adam to hear.  "Well I think I remember him, only because he was in the office quite a bit for absences, The children need a note from a parent or guardian in order to attend class after an absence."

"May I see Ethan's notes?"  Adam paused, suddenly interested, though he could not think why.  Poor thing, poor little boy, poor Ethan.  Somebody hadn't paid attention and poof, away he'd gone.   

Adam turned slightly to view the small dark man leafing through a series of half crumpled sticky notes.  "These notes are all exactly the same, same excuse, same wording, same everything, and if this handwriting is from an adult I'll eat my socks" said the handsome detective, flashing a disarming smile. 

"Let me see those", the secretary puzzled over the yellow slips briefly, "Well I suppose when we get so many it's hard to pay attention to any patterns from one particular child."

"I suppose it must be." replied the detective in a noncommittal fashion. 

The man flipped open a phone and began speaking almost as soon as he'd turned to walk away.  Adam kept his head down and followed along behind the small figure with his cola rack. 

"Second one, I'm telling you it's a pattern, and the hooker", he heard before the man turned around abruptly, "Say, you think I can swindle a Coke?  I'll get you next time"  The man flashed his million dollar smile, sharp dimples forming on either side of his Cheshire cat grin.

"Sure" Adam replied, deftly prying a can from his dispenser with his great calloused paw and passing it to the small dark man.

"Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free" Adam stood and hummed as the man pushed through the front doors into the bright sunlight.

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