Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 3

The next morning, a woman knocked on the door to Tony's room and before he could answer, she walked in carrying a tray and pulled back the curtain that covered his window, then turned to look down at Tony as he moved to sit up on his bed and stare at her. She didn't seem to care that she had just woke him up from what she could see was an uncomfortable sleep.

She spoke first saying, "Good morning, Mr. Bacic. I hope you slept well."

He looked at her with disdain as he answered, "Call me Connor and no, I didn't actually."

"I'm sorry to hear that," she replied as she picked up an alcohol pad as well as a needle and put her hand out for Tony's so she could wipe down the area on his arm where she planned to draw his blood, then stuck the needle into one of his veins to do so once she finished cleaning the spot on his left arm. "This should have been last night when you first arrived, as we do to all of our patients, but it was obviously forgotten. We need to test your blood for the types of drugs currently in your system. Call it a background check if you will."

"What, in case I'm lying about being a druggy?" he asked mockingly. "Sorry, I tend to result to sarcasm and humor when I'm in this frame of mind. You must be Monika."

The woman pulled the needle back out from his arm as she responded, "No, I'm Amanda Pratt. Monika will be in later this morning. I take it that Jenna informed you who was going to be working with you while you're here?"

DiNozzo nodded and answered, "Yeah, she did. She was very sweet."

"Yes she is," Amanda replied as she put the newly blood filled syringe back down on the tray, then picked up a small plastic cup with a lid, and handed it over to Tony. "I'm also going to need a urine sample, as I'm sure you already know."

"How could I forget," he responded grudgingly. "So, once we're all through here, what exactly is the plan for the day?"

She looked at him and answered, "We'll be serving breakfast and your morning pills to all our patients shortly, then you'll be meeting with Dr. Woolsey to have a talk with him more about why you've come here with us. There will be lunch and dinner later, while in between you'll have the opportunity to get to know some of the other patients here."

Tony smiled when she turned her back again to leave and replied, "Sounds perfect. It's been a pleasure meeting you, Amanda."

She didn't respond as she left the room, leaving Tony alone again as he remained on his bed and stared down at the newly made puncture mark in his arm while he thought back to the last two days, which he had spent getting ready for this undercover job by taking low doses of whatever drugs needed in order to make himself passable as a drug addict. The drugs he had gotten from an old informant back when he had worked for Baltimore PD. He hated doing so, but he needed to be convincing if he had any chance of discovering the truth behind what had happened to Jason King's friend, whom he had told him had come here for help in getting himself clean, then disappeared.

The agent finally got up and began to get ready, as he changed into some clothes he had brought with him in the one bag he had come with, then slowly read over the pamphlets with information about this place and magazines that were placed in the rooms as reading materials for the patients as he waited impatiently for the call for breakfast. When the meal was finally announced, Tony walked out of the room and passed through the halls as he continued observing his surroundings, as well as all of the other patients that passed by him.

Breakfast was about as good as the kind of food the hospitals give out. Tony only ate a little before he gave up and began picking at it, as he didn't have much of an appetite due to the nerves he has been feeling ever since Jason had come to him seeking his help. He then wondered about what his boss and McGee were up to right now, wishing that he could be there with them more than ever.

Amanda and a couple of the other nurses went around the room to give out their pills to the patients that would help to keep them under control and mellow. When Amanda handed him his pills, he put them in his mouth, but only pretended to swallow them as he hid them under his tongue. He quickly spit them out and shoved them into his pocket as soon as she turned her back on him.

"You don't exactly look like the usual people that check in here," one of the patients said gruffly as he walked up from behind him. "What's your name?"

"I'm T… Connor, Connor Bacic," he responded as he looked back at the tall, muscularly built man standing now in front of him. "And you are?"

He smiled and answered, "I'm Walt. Would you believe, this is my third time coming in here? Drug rehab is a joke if you ask me."

Tony tried to get a read on the man as he asked, "If you think this is a joke, then why are you here? Why keep coming back?"

"The first two times was because I was ordered to by the courts," Walt replied angrily. "My problems ended up causing me to go berserk on a couple of cops because I went out of my mind after I lost my job the first time I came here, then I lost my family, my friends, and finally my house so I went out and got hammered and nailed. Had a fling with a couple of prostitutes and got caught so I winded up here again so that I wouldn't have to end up in jail. I'm here this time because I just don't have a place to live and it beats living out on the streets. Besides, I'm still getting drugs and some other things."

"That's nice for you," Tony responded wearily, as he sensed there was something not right about this guy.

Walt spoke up again as he asked, "So, what's your story?"

Tony shook his head and answered, "Mine's not nearly as colorful as yours. Let's just say, my life took a tragic turn for the worst and I dealt with it the wrong way. I just want to get clean and leave this place as soon as possible."

"Yeah, good luck with that," the man replied and then laughed as he began to walk away until he turned back and stared at Tony with a smug look on his face. "Things aren't exactly what they seem here, Connor. You'll find that out soon enough for yourself and when you do, I'll be waiting for you. We'll have ourselves some fun."

"I can't wait," Tony responded to himself as his nerves only grew worse. "Jason, if I live through this, you so owe me one. You can forget about us being even."

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