Bakoda’s close friend and shrink Dr. Watt is overwhelmed by guilt because he feels responsible for the brutal death of a high end escort from New York City at the hands of a “Mr. Blue” with a trademark red handled straight razor. Mr. Blue, an enigma on the New York prostitution scene, poses a tangled web of danger, intrigue, and voodoo as Bakoda Pak travels to The Big Apple to exact revenge to salve his friend’s psychic pain.with the help of a gritty New York detective and another beautiful escort, part of Mr. Blue’s stable of exotic women.
“Bakoda, you look quite uncomfortable. Are you all right?” the doctor asked.
“Just a little sore. Not a big deal,” I replied as I shifted a bit on his couch into a more comfortable position.
“You know if you are in pain, I can write you a script. Nothing addictive in limited use, just muscle relaxers and they would have a mild sedative effect.”
“Thanks, doctor, but I’m all right.” I smiled and added, “It only hurts when I move.”
“Well,” he said making his usual vain attempt at humor, “suit yourself ‘tough guy’ out there playing Bruce Willis in those old ‘Die’ whatever movies.”
“Yeah.” I shifted a bit more up against the bolster of the couch and finally found a halfway comfortable position.
The doctor continued in a more serious vein which was truer to his nature considering that he would never have a career in standup. “I almost feel bad about you coming over here in the shape that you are in, but I really need to resolve an issue, so I sincerely appreciate your effort and inconvenience. It is one like the reason that you sought me out for some time ago. I believe,” he paused, adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose, then continued, “well, I know that my negligence got someone killed, killed in a most brutal manner.”
Dr. Watt, a renowned psychiatrist, the living visage of Sigmund Freud, made that statement so matter of factly that I wasn’t quite sure what to say. Finally, I just nodded and said, “Please, doctor, tell me about it and how I can help.” I realized as I was saying it that I sounded just like him.
“Well,” he began, “it happened a few weeks ago, while you were out of town. I know when I call and leave a message if you don’t call back you are gone for a while and that you don’t check your personal calls while you are gone working, so I just waited.”
“Yes, I appreciate that. You know me well and I appreciate that also, but what happened?”
“Well,” he began again, “I went back to New York for a national conference. Lots of lectures by some of the best psychiatrists and psychologists in all fields, my field included. Very stimulating. We’re making a lot of progress in terms of altering mental illness through other means than simply medicating patients which results in often creating other problems. Fascinating, some time I will explain some of the concepts to you.”
I was being patient as I shifted on the couch again and managed to suppress another wince. “I’d be interested, doctor, but for now why don’t we discuss what happened with the person that you said was killed?”
“Oh yes,” he replied as he sat in his chair in the corner of the room with a table between him and I with a lamp on it and a box of tissues. The couch that I sat on was on the adjacent wall. Dr. Watt usually had a pad and pen in hand as he interviewed patients or clients but today he simply sat there his hands folded on his lap, almost pensive.
I waited, and finally, “Well, Bakoda, you know that I love to watch people.”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Fascinating people and what they do or don’t do and why; that is the core motivation of my profession.”
“And you were watching people, in New York, while you were at a conference,” I said trying to nudge him along.
“Well, actually it was while I was sitting in my seat after being boarded at Newark Liberty International for the flight back to Phoenix. I was watching the rest of the passengers file in.”
“It might be selfish but on this trip I decided to move up to a First Class ticket and was satisfied to settle in, look over my shoulder once in a while and watch the last minute boarders try to crush their carry-ons into already overfilled overhead compartments, push by each other in crowded aisles, and step over aisle seated passengers toward assigned middle and window seats. However, I was comfortable, had arranged my three magazines in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me in precise order of my reading, and was scanning the first few pages of Psychology Today, a rather light periodical professionally speaking but somewhat interesting.
“I had managed to get my favorite seating assignment. I had an aisle. The window seat next to me was still vacant, but I knew it would be filled eventually since the flight had obviously been overbooked.
“I looked at my watch. The flight was scheduled for a 10:25 departure and it was almost 10:20 and the chaos of final boarding was in full fury, still the seat next to me had not been filled. A booking mishap? Not probable, I thought, I couldn't be that lucky. Someone had to have purchased a first-class ticket or an elite frequent flyer would certainly be bumped up.
“I was in row 3 and had a clear view of the door. It appeared that an attendant was just about ready to move toward it, preparing to close it for departure when a final passenger came on board.
“She was tall, had a good figure and pretty face, was dressed well, and was black; could have been a model, I surmised. I watched her as she approached and could see something I couldn't quite put my finger on about her; maybe I just sensed it more than saw it, Bakoda. She seemed confused as she looked at the aisle numbers beneath the overhead compartments searching for her row and seat. She wasn't just confused, as someone who was rushed trying to orient themselves. It went deeper than that. I could see, or perhaps sense, some form of frantic feeling there, repressed, below the surface, but just barely.