Frank's evening is shot to hell when he finds out that Ralph Penwarren is missing from his room and off wandering around, no doubt causing trouble. Frank had told him to stay in his room, because he'd caused so much trouble during the day. Getting all the spare staff members he can find, Frank divides them into search parties. He's paired up with a young orderly named Matthew.
"So, who is this guy?" Matthew asked.
Frank explained to him who Ralph Penwarren was.
"Oh, him! Yeah, what a prick. Friend of mine was out for a smoke. The old, fat guy's out there, right? Wouldn't give him a light. Like butane's gold or something. Billy went most of his break without a smoke. Had to hotbox it."
"Yet another reason I gave up smoking," Frank replied. "Has he completely alienated the entire staff?"
"Just about. I've heard people bitching about him all day. I'm on a double, Matt explained.
"I wish I knew how he got out. I can't believe no one spotted him."
"Prolly waited until the guard left and took off. I know you had a guy outside, but a man's gotta piss sometime, dig?"
"Yeah. He should have had someone relieve him first."
"Well, if the fat guy was bribing other people, maybe he bribed the guard too? I mean, it's possible, right?"
"That had crossed my mind. I hate to think one of my people would do that."
"Dude, we all have a price. I gotta admit, some guy offers me a hundred bucks to look the other way so he can sneak out, I'd think about it."
"What if he offered you another hundred to get him in his mother's room?"
"No, man. I wouldn't want my kid going through my shit. Hell, I don't want my mom going through my shit, dig?"
Frank chuckled, nodding. "I dig. Me either, as it happens."
"You worried about your porn stash?"
"I got some interesting books when I was in India. I don't think she'd appreciate them much."
"How about your girlfriend?"
"Don't have one of those at the moment."
"I heard you were seeing the new shrink."
"I took her to lunch."
"And breakfast and she fixed you dinner. So, you tap that?" He held out his knuckles for Frank to bump.
Frank gave him an evil eye. "You in the habit of taking a woman to bed that you just met?"
"Neither am I."
"Sorry, dude. That whole ADHD problem, makes me talk too fast for my brain to keep up."
"I have the same problem sometimes." Frank stopped walking at the end of the hall, just before they started down the stairs. "If I were a mean spirited, antisocial sociopath, where would I go for fun?" He looked left and right, shrugging exaggeratedly. "Oh, I dunno," he said in a high, kid type voice. "Gee, whiz, Unca Frankie! I think I'll go to Disneyland!"
The young orderly laughed. It echoed down the stairs. "Come on, boss. He's not that bad, is he?"
"He's a murder victim waiting for a killer," Frank replied as he headed down the stairs.
"Damn. I thought he was just some mean, old, fat guy."
"He's Satan's Hell Spawn."
A strange sound filtered up from the ground floor. Frank held up his fist, using battle signs instinctively. He gestured to the kid to stay where he was and headed down.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes