In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, they can be found by clicking the labels button "stuff I made up".

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Chapter Seven - Knowledge and Balance

“Was that man dead?”
Dr. Carlson didn’t say anything for a few moments. His thought was: "Of course he’s dead.”  He started to say just that, but realized how horrified Carol was at the moment.”
“Yes. There’s no way he could have survived the lightning strike with that amount of injury,”
Carol sorted her thoughts as she remembered the distorted view of the man. The steam rising from the burned flesh, and clothes, were what were imprinted more than anything else. She’d never seen anything so horrible and was still in shock.
“You couldn’t do anything for him?”
The doctor was a little amazed at the comment, but knew few were exposed to the human damage he was exposed to almost daily. Whether the injury killed in an instant, or over days, there was only so much a body could stand. Miraculous recoveries did happen, but they were rare, and being shocked by the tremendous power of lightning was almost always fatal. Lightning didn’t just burn the skin. The intense energy burned everything. The doctor’s forensic investigations found the same amount of burns internally, which could take a long time in a house fire.
“No, there’s nothing anyone can do.”
Neither spoke as the doctor thought of the moments before the lightning strike. The amazement of facing someone with a gun had brought him back to the day in the morgue. The feeling of fear and helplessness brought a strong feeling of anger after it was over. He was thinking he would have let the man die, even if there was something he could do.
They rode in silence, while the doctor sorted his thoughts. After a few minutes, he asked: “Can I use your cell phone?”
Carol gave him her cell phone and waited while he looked for a number in his own cell phone. Within a few moments, he dialed and held the phone to his ear.
“Hello, Eric.”
“Hello Doc. You woke me up. What time is it?”
“It a little before midnight. We need to talk.”
“Can’t it wait until tomorrow morning?”
“I’m not at the hospital, and no, it can’t wait.”
“Where are you?” Eric was now wide awake and starting to worry.
“I’m in a car right now, but I can’t talk long. We need to meet.”
Quickly asking Carol which apartments, he repeated the complex name to Eric.
“What apartment?”
“Just come. I’ll be watching for you and find you. How soon can you get there?”
Eric quickly responded: “I can be there in an hour.”
“Good. I’ll see you then.”
After the doctor ended the call, he quickly removed the battery from Carol’s phone. Pulling his own from his pocket, he repeated the move and explained: “Without the battery, they can’t use GPS to find us.”
“Who James?”
“That’s the bad part. I have no idea.”
Within a few minutes, they pulled into the complex. Carol started to pull into the parking place for the apartment when Dr. Carlson spoke: “Pull down further and park in the visitor parking.”
After they parked, Dr. Carlson told Carol: “Get whatever you want from the car. We’re not coming back.”
“All I have is my purse and an overnight bag in the trunk.”
“Make sure you have the apartment key.”
Quickly checking her purse, she pulled the key from the pocket and held it up for the doctor to see. “
“Open the trunk, I’ll get the bag.”
As they walked towards the apartment, the doctor carefully inspected everything to see if anyone was watching, or if anything seemed out of place. Satisfied the possibility of being watched was low, he followed Carol into the apartment.
“Wait here.”
Carol stood at the door while the doctor examined the apartment. After he was through, he went back to the front door and told Carol. “You wait inside. If anything seems out of place, call 911. Here’s your phone. Don’t replace the battery unless you have to. If I come back to the door and say anything other than “It’s me; everything is fine” don’t open the door. Call 911 and start screaming”
Stepping outside, the doctor made a quick glance around the parking area and then went back to the car. Waiting in front, he carefully watched the sparse traffic along the road in front and one car that pulled into a parking spot on the end. Noting it was young woman, with a bag of groceries, he went back to watching the road and drive.
After a few minutes, he noticed a dark sedan pull around the corner into the adjacent parking area. The car slowly pulled through the parking and back out to the road. It soon pulled into the parking area where he was waiting. Stepping further into the shadow under the awning, he carefully examined the car as it approached. When it was close enough to see the driver, he recognized Eric, but not his passenger. Taking a chance, he stepped from the shadows and walked toward the car. He had a feeling Eric wasn’t involved after he acted surprised to hear from the doctor. Hoping he wasn’t making a mistake, he stepped out in the open. Eric saw him and stopped.
Eric stepped from the car, but the passenger remained seated.
“Doc. I don’t know if you realize how dangerous this is, but you need to either get in the car, or we need to step from the light.”
“Who do you have with you?”
“Aaron Johnson. You don’t know him, but he’s one of the good guys.”
“We can go inside. Park the car and come with me. “
After the car was parked, the passenger left the vehicle, also. Examining the man, Dr. Carlson determined he was a stocky black man in his late thirties. Walking up with Eric, he stuck out his hand and said: “It’s good to meet you doctor, but we need to get inside. “
When they reached the door, Dr. Carlson knocked, and spoke: “It’s me. Everything is fine.”
The door flew open, which caused both Eric and Aaron to reach for their guns. Seeing the panicked look on Carol’s face, they relaxed a little, but were still unsure what to think.
Stepping inside, the doctor introduced them both and ended his introduction with: “She’s the wife of my husband-in-law” and winked at Carol.
“I didn’t know you’d ever been married.”
“It was a long time ago.”
“Doctor, Aaron is with the F.B.I.”
This caught the doctor by surprise. What was the F.B.I. doing with Eric?
Aaron quickly spoke: “We have a lot of missing pieces, doctor, and I’m hoping you can fill them in.”
“Before I answer any questions, I want to know about Nick. Did you ever find him?”
“Eric was quick to reply. We did – in the river.”
Dr. Carlson was almost nauseated by the answer. Nick was a friend and the thought of his death was unpleasant.
Eric, noticing the distress on the doctor’s face added: “He’s alive, but he’s in really bad shape.”
“What happened?”
“We found him early on the morning the morgue exploded.”
“It wasn’t an explosion.”
Eric started to ask for an explanation, when the doctor continued: “I’ll tell you about that in a minute. First tell me about Nick.”
“The Coast Guard base officer in charge called me about 4:00 am to tell me they found Nick. Long story short: a work boat crew was untying from the bollards below the highway bridge when something large hit the water. Thinking it was trash, they started to ignore it, when the deck hand saw it was a person. He immediately jumped in a held Nick’s head above water until the skipper could fish them both from the river. They called the Coast Guard, and they called me. Both Nick and I worked with the officer in charge on a drug sting. He remembered me and knew I would want to know. That’s where Aaron came in.”
Dr. Carlson looked at Aaron, who filled in the rest of the story.
“We’d been watching Eric and Nick for the last two months as part of an investigation. We were watching you, too. We followed Eric to the Coast Guard Base and took over the investigation. We were thinking of turning Nick, if he was involved and pressure Eric into telling us all he knew.  During our preliminary interrogation, the explosion – which you now say wasn’t an explosion – occurred at your morgue. We took the bodies as a “courtesy”, which gave us the opportunity to perform our own forensic investigations. We intentionally left your reports for completion to compare to our own. After Nick awoke, and told us the reason he was kidnapped, we realized he wasn't involved, you were probably in danger, and Eric turned out to be in the early processes of a parallel investigation.”
“So, tell me about Nick.”
“No, first you tell us about the explosion.”
Relieved that Nick was alive, the doctor decided he’d forgo the anger and tell them about the events leading up to the thug trying to retrieve the locket.  After he finished, Aaron was the first to speak: “That explains the one body that was never examined by your office.  Our autopsy was almost inconclusive, except for the burns, which were much more involved than the brief amount of time from an explosion. We couldn’t find any explosive residue and the amount of flammables in the room didn’t amount to enough to burn a corpse to that extent. We were still analyzing our evidence; especially the electrical damage. We assumed poor wiring allowed a large conductor to go to ground. From your story, we were wrong”
“And Nick?”
Eric replied: “Nick was tortured and thrown from the bridge to finish him off. Besides being severely beaten, he lost some toes and one eye. The doctors think he’ll recover – if he doesn’t suffer another bought of pneumonia – but it will take a long time. His internal injuries were severe and he lost a lot of blood.”
“Where is he?”
“He’s in a military hospital and constantly guarded. Eventually, we’ll go see him, but not now. We have things to do and this isn’t a good place to be.”
Dr. Carlson, suddenly felt very tired. Everything seemed completely out of control and now he’d involved Carol. Looking at her, he realized she was terrified and his guilt weighed heavily on his thoughts.
“What about Carol? They know her car and they’ll eventually find her.”
“I don’t know, but we were followed from the hospital.”

Aaron immediately spoke: "We were watching the hospital, but you managed to leave without us knowing. The storm played havoc with our equipment. We didn't even know you were gone until you called Eric."

Eric spoke: "What happened?"

The doctor explained what happened, including the lightning strike. 

Both Aaron and Eric were quiet as they digested the information. Neither wanted to say anything about the odds of another lightning strike, but both were trying to find some logical reason for the events. 

Dr. Carlson continued: "The only way anybody knew I left the hospital is if they were at the door, or worked in the hospital. You should be able to check phone records from the hospital at that time and question the two police officers that were in the emergency room."

 "We need to go doctor."

 "What about Carol?"

 "We have safe houses and extra agents."

 Carol, now unwilling to be silent immediately spoke: "I have a life and I'm supposed to meet my husband tomorrow."

"No way. You'll have to make some excuse, and we need to know where he is so we can place an agent to watch him."

"And if I don't cooperate?" 

 "Then I can arrest you for impeding an investigation and hold you as a possible terrorist."

 Dr. Carlson immediately spoke: "Terrorist? What are you investigating?" Aaron paused before speaking, but continued: "Human trafficking."

 Dr. Carlson was quiet, but Carol soon spoke: "I can call my husband and tell him Dr. Carlson took a turn for the worse. He'll understand, but you can't keep me forever."

 "I can't promise anything, but until I make arrangements, I can only insure your safety at a safe house at this time. I do apologize for what I said, but this investigation goes much further than locally. We can't be sloppy at this time."

Gathering what few things they had, they left the apartment, but only after Eric spent a few minutes examining the area. Satisfied they were not watched, he pulled to the door and they left the apartment complex.

As they drove away, Dr. Carlson voiced his thoughts: "Human trafficking? That explains the number 32 tattoo."

"What tattoo doctor?" Thinking about the woman and what the test reports would reveal was all on the doctor had on his mind. He was back to work and focused. 

This time Carol spoke: "What tattoo are you talking about, James?"

Startled, he quickly explained: "I'll have to tell you about that later. I need to talk to your pathologist as soon as possible, Aaron. There are some important things we need to discuss."


  1. I don't know what the hell is wrong with Blogger, but I'll figure it out tomorrow.

  2. You're one h3ll of a writer with a great imagination.