Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Love Dialogue from Bad Medicine

Bad Medicine is the sequel to Bad Fall, which I shared on my Dellani Oakes blog starting in 2013. (Coming later this year). Frank Atherton is former Army. For the last few years, he's been enjoying the quiet predictability of working as assistant administrator of a large nursing home facility in Ohio. He meets and marries Dr. Marka Ventimiglia and is blissfully happy—until one night when he gets a call from the facility. One of the residents is dead and the police have reason to believe it wasn't old age, but murder, which sent Mrs. Sullivan to her grave.

Frank and Marka arrived at the facility after the police but before the coroner. They walked into the main building and took a left. Mrs. Sullivan's apartment was at the far end, near the fire exit door. Kathy stood in the hallway, holding Mr. Tate in her arms. He was Mrs. Sullivan's neighbor and close friend. Rumor said they were more than friends. Marka went over, hugging him and Kathy.
Hands in his pockets, Frank wandered into the apartment. The police were taking pictures. One of the uniformed officers stopped him a few steps in.
"Is this a crime scene, officer?"
The young man handed him a pair of booties. "Don't touch anything, Mr. Atherton."
"You didn't answer my question."
"Detective Sutherland will answer your questions, sir." He pointed across the room.
A black haired woman in her mid-forties, looked up from her position a few inches from the body. She wore nitrile gloves and paper booties and seemed to be inspecting the dead woman's face.
"Well? Is this a crime scene?" Frank asked.
"I know you don't usually go to all this trouble when a resident dies," the detective said quietly. "Can we talk privately?"
"Yeah." He led her out onto Mrs. Sullivan's patio. "What's up?"
"First of all, I'm Frieda Sutherland. I'm with the state police." She took off her glove, offering her hand.
Frank shook it. "Director Frank Atherton. Called in the big guns, huh? Why are you here?"
"The township department isn't equipped to handle a full scale murder investigation, Mr. Atherton."
"What makes you think it's murder?"
"You don't think her death seems at all unusual?" She took out a notepad and pen.
Gesturing with open arms, he indicated their surroundings. "In case you haven't noticed, this is a retirement facility. We have residents die fairly often. We don't usually involve the police."
"Your assistant called because he thought it was suspicious. She was just at the doctor's office today and declared in perfect health. The doctor said he expected her to live at least another ten years."
"Dr. Kinkaid always says stuff like that."
"But he doesn't usually write it in his notes. Yes, Kenny got the medical record for me already."
That was within his assistant's purview. It annoyed Frank, but he accepted it. "Okay, so the good doctor says she was fine. Not the first time he's been wrong. Won't be the last."
"I think she's been poisoned," Detective Sutherland said quietly. "There's a weird foamy substance under her face. The techs took samples, but I want to take up the carpet before we leave."
"Really? This room was just carpeted two months ago."
"Don't get sticky on me, Mr. Atherton."
"You really think she was murdered? Why?"
"Kenny tells me that Mrs. Sullivan was loaded. She left the majority of her money to her youngest son."
"Her son died last year of cancer."
"I know. The rest of her money comes to the facility. Pull the right legal strings, the facility could get the entire amount."
"Yeah, or nothing. Are you seriously saying that someone here murdered Mrs. Sullivan to get the money?"
Detective Sutherland didn't say anything. She gazed up at him with dark, unblinking eyes.
"What?" Frank took a step back. "Do you think I killed her?"
"You have motive, Mr. Atherton. If you got that money for the facility, there would most certainly be a raise in it for you."

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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