There’s a fine line between knowing too much and too little. Peter Purdue used to live a simple life. He had a great job. He had a nice car. He even had a loving girlfriend. Please put emphasis on the word “had”. All his life people pretty much told him, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Despite that saying sticking with him all these years, it made him cringe every time he thought of it.
The cream colored remote slipped into Peter’s hand as he felt around for the right button that would help him adjust the hospital bed. After the third or fourth try, he nailed it and arose ever so slowly. A male visitor dressed business casual with a long sleeve button down navy blue shirt and a pair of jeans sat in a nearby chair. The 18” black tube television across the room hummed lowly in the background with sounds from Chicago PD.
“Peter, I just want you to know I really appreciated getting your phone call. This is going to be a huge story,” the visitor said.
Peter turned his head slightly to see him, “You look like shit.”
Nick laughed, “Some things never change. It’s good to see you too pal.”
Even though he Peter was in a nursing and rehabilitation center, he honestly was the one who looked like shit. Nick just didn’t have the heart to say something like that in jest when he knew deep down it was the honest to God truth. Forever a Greek Adonis to him with chiseled abs that had their own abs, Nick barely recognized the shell of his friend that lied before him.
“You know I’m happy to see you! Come on man. How long have we known each other?”
“A long damn time, that’s how long. Since we were kids.”
“Exactly, it makes me very happy to help a friend out. This should be the much needed break that you deserve.”
Nicolas Paoletti and Peter were actually old school chums from back in the day when they attended Thomas Calhoun Middle School in Bishop County, Virginia. Nick was always good to him; a true friend unlike some of the other cow pokes in their hometown. Kids liked to make fun of him all the time because his last name just so happened to be Purdue. The guy could recall pretty much every instance like a fucked up collage in his head. Like the one fine afternoon during recess his sixth grade year, class bully Jason Gray got to him and pinned him against the fence. He threatened to kick his ass every which way from Sunday and made fun of him for not being cool. Every time Peter conjured that memory he was forced to relive the horrid smell of his rancid breath against his skin. Thankfully Nick had come to his aid and hit Jason in the back of the head with a basketball. Naturally it gave the situation a much needed happy ending.
“So, how do you want to do this?” Peter asked. “This may take awhile.”
“Why don’t we start from the beginning? Every great story usually starts from there, am I right?”
“I hope you’ve got plenty of ink then. You have one hell of a story coming your way.”
Nick came from a decent, middle class Italian-American family. He sported good looks; nice brown eyes and matching medium length hair, good posture, he stood about 5’11” and was physically fit. You could say he was a gym rat by modern society’s standards.
Always the one to report things before anyone else knew about it, the guy was a shoe in for a reporter job at The Queen’s Gazette after graduating college. They welcomed their local boy with open arms. Six years in and he still found himself covering kiddy stories like the Bishop County Market Days while others around him where getting to cover the drug busts and robberies. This was the story he had been waiting for.
I took a deep breath, “Do you know where you are Nick?”
“Yeah, I’m in Serenity Springs Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Right?”
“You got it. I used to work here, believe it or not. This was before I became a patient. It was a great job. I worked in the Activities Department as a part-time assistant to the Activities Director. Just enough to keep me busy in between acting gigs. I never thought I’d end up being put in here though. You have to know, it stings me deep down. Some of my former clients are still in this place. I get up and play bingo every once in a while on Wednesday afternoons with them. It’s all monotonous at the end of the day but it’s something to do to pass the time. It beats being stuck in this room doing nothing but watching television. All the while, wondering if she’s out there looking for me. Plotting her next move to come and finish me off for good.”
“Sorry, are you getting to the story? I feel like you’re getting off track. I want to know about Mistress Malevolence. I want to know how the hell you ended up here with both of your knees shattered after she beat you senseless with a baseball bat.”
“In good time, in good time man, I’m getting there. A story like this should be fleshed out. You need all the details. When you've been on the run as long as I have, you develop patience like no man has ever seen."
“Okay fine. Proceed.”
“Let’s take a trip back in time shall we?”…