This is the 59th Instalment in the Murder Squad Detective Joseph Lind Novella series.
Throughout this Series, there have been hints of dishonesty and illegal activities during the Detective’s Undercover cop days when he straddled that thin line between legal and illegal acts. This story brings those hints of duplicity to the fore, highlighting that we all have skeletons rattling around in our own closets .... rattling around in our subconscious.
It also highlights the vagaries of memory and why we would falsely but regally bear the load of guilt for others throughout our lives. How we deal with these guilty thoughts, either trying to live with secrets we do not wish to disclose or facing these fraudulent acts to learn the truth of the skeletons in the closet depends on the strength of character of each and every one of us. Whether we are willing to rattle those bones.
Detective Joseph Lind had to live up to that realisation…to face the ghosts as all of us will one day be asked to pay the piper.
I had the man flu ... really bad. At Death’s door, let me tell you…and I do not want to hear any snide remarks from the Front Stalls!
It was bad enough to force me to the Doctor, who told me I had the man flu ... pretty bad but not fatal at this stage and to suck it up, young man, just let it take its course. Take a spoonful of concrete and harden up!
Just the kind of thing you wanted to hear from a Health Professional ... and I paid good money to get this diagnosis!
I replied that as I was in my early fifties, I was close to the age where the virus could be dangerous. He replied dryly that if that occurred to ring for an Ambulance urgently! He then lectured me about getting the Flu shots when I should have. What with all the publicity surrounding this coming Flu Season, I should have acted at that time, instead of dillydallying about, to be eventually waylaid by its sudden but expected onset!
“I can’t give you a Flu Shot while you have the flu”. He said solemnly. “As a fifty-two-year old man, Joseph, you make a forty-year-old bloke look totally ancient. You’re in good nick, let me tell you. I’m envious of you and I’m just on forty myself! Go home and go to bed. Take a couple of Aspirin if you need them, plenty of fluids ... I’ll give you the rest of the week off. Come and see me next Monday or Tuesday”. He smiled that knowing smile that always worried me.
He was never going to tell me when I was on death’s doorstep.
I doubt any Doctor would!
I guess you can tell, my opinion of Doctors is only a couple of notches above Car Salespersons, Religious Leaders or Real Estate Agents ... don’t ask me to elaborate unless you have several hours to spare.
As he looked at me then shook my hand as I headed for the door, I knew this could very well be my last visit…death beckoned! You could tell by his mannerisms ... and most people die after they have seen their Doctor who had given them a clean Bill of Health only weeks previously!
I drove home, my head so heavy, I thought I was holding it in my arms. Had two Panadol, went to bed, and didn’t wake up until Breakfast time the following day.
“Bacon and eggs for my poor little darling ... ” Tellie cooed from the bedroom door. A sadistic smile to go with the stir. Even your loved ones are sitting precariously on that roost awaiting the day when…she will be disappointed in the meagre amount I leave her ... I must have another look at my Superannuation, I told myself absentmindedly.
I nearly puked at that suggestion. Bacon and eggs!? I had this sudden image of Tellie bending over a large cooking urn slowly stirring the concoction as in one of Shakespeare’s melodramatic thrillers. The concoction a deadly mix of nightshade and other deadly herbs …
As a follow-up, she gave me two Panadol and an orange drink freshly squeezed ... I nearly puked.
“Gotta go, sweet-heart. I’ll drop the girls off at School and go into work ... I’ll ring you around Lunchtime to make sure everything is all right ... ”.
“I need you here, hon…” I pleaded, real desperation in the tone of my voice as you can imagine. I have not been known for my acting skill, so this display was fair dinkum to the core ... no!? Truly, I was not acting as this Flu was real, all right. Too real for this middle-aged man who had every joint in my body letting me know where they were!
How stupid is that!? She was never going to take any notice of my wishes ... here I’d be alone possibly breathing my last breath with no-one around to begin CPR! Notice that!? Women have a way of belittling you even when you are at your lowest … never believing a word that you may utter! She was going to ring me around Lunchtime to see if I was all right! How ridiculous is that? I lift the receiver as I take my last breath! What can she do in that predicament? Tell me to take another two Panadol. God forbid! Why don’t people believe me when I’m in my most dangerous and lowest state. I am so weak with every joint aching, I am incapable of even making it to the toilet, let alone rummaging through our Medicine Drawer to find relief ... with something a little stronger!
It was as bad as the Nurse waking you up in Hospital so she could give you a sleeping tablet!