Dan sat on the couch, slipped his shoes off and called Sanjay.
“Hi Sanj.” He longed to reach through the phone and hold him Now that’s an app to work on.
“Hey, Dan. What’s going on there? I’m gone for less than a week and you get into a fist fight with some asshole.”
“He got the worse of it. Broken nose, busted jaw.”
“How are you?”
“A bit sore but nothing serious. Nothing that won’t get better.”
“You always minimize.”
“Nah, it’s looking on the bright side with one eye.”
He told Sanjay about the brief fight, his eye injury and his assumption that Curtis had been the ultimate cause of what set Kilpatrick off by firing him.
“What a slimy jerk.” Sanjay said.
“So Papoulias wants more of you up there?”
“Whatever. I can be home in a couple of hours.”
“You know I hate anyone fussing over me.”
“Don’t you want a seeing eye queen to lead you around?”
“I’m not that bad.” Laughing hurt Dan’s eye. “What the resort like?”
“Expensive. If I wasn’t being paid to be here I certainly couldn’t afford it.”
“Maybe I’ll come up there?” He was already wondering how to get there? Bus? Train?
“I’d love that but there’s way too much going on here with last minute work.”
“I know I know you feel too self-conscious when I’m around you at work.” Dan flexed his toes.
“It’s the way you undress me with your eyes.”
It was as if their contretemps of a week ago had never happened. This was the flirty Sanjay he had fallen in love with and that love was still there. Maybe marriage wasn’t such a compromise?
“I’m taking the weekend off work to rest my eyes. I’m seeing Dr. Grey, the ophthalmologist this afternoon. A couple of days wearing a blindfold to force my eyes to rest will probably be on order.”
His cell pinged with an incoming call. Call display said it was Sgt. Marks.
“I gotta go. The police are calling me.” He made a kissing sound and hung up.
“You called Mr. James?”
“Yes. Has Kilpatrick has said anything.”
“He insists he has no memory of what happened.”
He told Marks about his conversation with Baxter.
“That make some sense,” Marks said. “But that doesn’t excuse his actions. Neither will being drunk. Assault is assault and he’ll be charged. Now he’s pissed off because he’ll lost a role because of his bandages.”
“While you were at St. Mike’s he’d been taken to Toronto Western to get his nose set. Not a bad break but …”
“When possible we don’t bring both parties in an assault to the same emerg. Sometimes a fight resumes and the triage nurses find that rather distracting.”
“I can see that.”
“Anything else, Mr. James?”
“No I was just wondering, that’s all.”
“How are your injuries?”
“Painful. Like after the dentist.”
“We’ll be in touch if we need to know anything else.”
He undressed in his bedroom, grabbed a bathrobe and went out to the hot tub. As he stretched out in it be felt the aches of his body dissolve. Without thinking he fully submerged himself and felt the eye bandage getting wet.
“Shit!” He jerked his head out of the water. The doctor hadn’t said anything about getting wet. The damage was done now anyway. He pulled at the edges of it and carefully peeled it off his face. He submerged himself again. The hot water felt good around his eye. He’d ice it when he was dry.
He stepped out of the tub, wrapped his bathrobe around himself and dashed into the house. The air was still cool but they used the tub even in winter.
He tried to keep his eyes closed while he dried off but both of them kept blinking open. The right was more fogged than blurred. As if he was looking through a screen door.
He studied his face in the mirror for the first time. Red, puffy and darkly bruised under the eye but not too bad on the eyelid over it. He blinked it open briefly to see it. Blood shot.
How was he going to protect it for the rest of the day? Other than basic bandages there wasn’t anything in the house he could think of. Bandage – bandana. Perfect. He wrapped a polkadot bandana around his eye. So that’s what a gay pirate would look like, he thought as he checked himself in the mirror.
He took an ice cube out of the freezer, put it in a baggie and held it to his cheek bone. Stretched out on the couch he gently rubbed it along the cheek bone and his eyebrow over the bandana. The pain subsided. He wanted to sleep but didn’t want to be late for his appointment.
On his way home from Dr. Grey’s clinic he resisted the temptation to drop in at the Depot. He called to confirm he wouldn’t be back till Monday. The doctor’s staff did another series of examinations of both his eyes. Even took pictures of the insides of them.
There was no internal damage to his eyes or the nerves. It was suggested that he use his vision as little as possible for at least a week. No reading, no movies and sun glasses when out of doors, even on overcast days. The clinic had a line of wrap arounds on hand for him to choose from if he wished. The wrap arounds allowed little light in from any angle. He picked a pair that were photochromic so he didn’t have to worry about taking them off right away when he went indoors.
“I feel very movie star.” He said to the receptionist as he left. After stopping at a pharmacy to get his pain control prescription filled he hailed a cab.
As he went to the house he saw lights on in Sanjay’s room and one in the kitchen. Had Sanj come home?
Once in the house he realized it was the pre-set lighting. He’d fooled himself. There were no landline messages. A couple of texts on his cell.
“All well, boss man. See you Monday.” from Sandy.
“Call me.” from Inspector Warszawa.
Dan auto-dialled him.
“I was by the Depot and they told me what happened. You okay?” Warszawa asked.
“My self-defence training kicked in, so I’m fine. A little bruised not scarred. Kilpatrick will have troubles breathing for awhile though.”
“You nose popped him?”
“Nah. Side stepped and he ran into the wall and nose popped himself.”
“Look, we got another one.”
“Of the Photo Planter?”
“Yep. Weird though. Unnamed parliamentarian comes into office and finds two of them placed on desk.”
“No connection to the other’s that were found?”
“None. In fact other than the photos there is no personal or coincidental connection between any of the them.”
“That is weird. I’d offer to look at them, but I’m to do no looking for at least a week while my right eye recovers from being slammed by that drunk.”
“Sitting around in the dark doesn’t sound that hard.” Warszawa said.
“I’ll call you Monday and let you know how it goes.”
He turned his phone off. He checked the house’s security systems one last time before going up to his room with fresh ice cubes in the baggie.
What a day! In the dark he massaged around his eye the with ice cube. He took one of the pain killers and a couple of the Dozease. Where was the quiet life he once lived?
He woke abruptly from a dream of falling. He’d had that dream often the first couple years they had been living in Toronto. Dreams in which he’d be walking down the street and fall backwards into open air and be unable to stop himself or grab anything to stop his fall. The decent was always fast, so fast he couldn’t catch his breath until he woke up gasping.
He felt around him to make sure he was on his bed and not the floor. Once his heart stopped racing he listened intently. He heard nothing other than sounds from outside, the refrigerator in the kitchen. He rolled to his left side and was jolted by the pain. He’d forgotten about his eye.
He got up, slipped his sleep shorts off and without turning on any lights went to the bathroom. The was enough ambient light for him to see his way easily. He peed.
Out of habit he didn’t flush. The noise would disturb Sanjay.
He stood still at the bathroom door and gazed down the stairs. Was that the shadow of a person the front door window. Or was it his eye? He let his right eye peep open a bit but that didn’t help.
The shadow remained stationary. If it was a person there’d be some movement. Was it the street light through a tree? He crept down the stairs afraid to even breathe.
He checked the monitor feeds at his desk. There was no one. Wait! The was something at the front door. Not a person but a roundish package was on the porch railing. It was casting the shadow.
He had the front door camera scan the area, the street, and there was no one there. No cars either. He turned the porch lights on. The garage camera scanned the porch from another direction and there had been no one in the shadows.
The package was a cellophane wrapped vase with flowers in it. He opened the front door, took the two steps to the rail, gabbed it and darted back into the house. Even though he had checked with the security cameras he was sure someone would dart out of the night to accost him.
He sighed deeply as he leaned against the front door. His feet were cold. His ass was cold. He noticed he hadn’t bothered to put his sleep shorts back on. Now that was worth posting on V-File he laughed to himself.
He put the vase on the kitchen table and pulled the cellophane off to get the card.
“I’m so sorry about everything. Curtis Baxter.”
Dan tossed the note on the counter. At least Baxter didn’t send a bouquet of Black-Eyed Susan’s. It was a little past 3 a.m. Time for a snack. There had to be some cold pizza in the fridge. None! There’s wasn’t much of anything. He’d need to do some grocery shopping. Without Sanjay bringing back various left-overs from work to restock the fridge, it had gotten empty pretty quickly.
Cheese on crackers in the microwave for thirty seconds would do the trick. Not up to Sanj’s standards but Dan never claimed to be a chef, not even a cook, unless you counted being able to turn a microwave, coffee maker or crock pot on.
As he ate in the dark he ran another ice cube around both his eyes. The doctor had suggest he not overly favour the injured one to avoid straining the other even more.
Back in his bed he dropped off instantly.
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