CURVE BALL

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Chapter Forty-Three

Billy Dee walked as fast as he could from the parking lot, across the street from the hospital. He put his hand on his right side in the hope the pain from being tackled would subside. A street person dressed in a heavy coat with an unshaven face and hair full of grease came towards him and asked for a dollar. He waived him away and went through the sliding glass doors and into the hospital’s reception area. He went towards a large elevated circular desk with the word ‘information’ across its front. When he got there he reached for his wallet and badge. A large black woman with glasses sat behind the console. Her nametag read, “Danasha Davis”. She paid no attention to him. She was talking to someone, but had no phone in her hand. Nor was there anyone else near.

“Excuse me,” Billy Dee said.

There was no acknowledgement. He tried again but louder. “Excuse me.”

The woman jerked her head and stared at him. “Can’t you see I’m talk’n?”

It was only after eyeing her closely that he discovered a well-camouflaged headset.

“Sorry.”

She looked up.

He mouthed s-o-r-r-y. She scowled.

He shifted his weight then leaned on the counter. The reception area even at this time of night was busy. An older woman straggled in with bruises on her face. Two doctors and a nurse passed him one went out the door and two walked to the elevators. His thoughts were diverted by the ever- sharper ache of his injury.

“Now what can I do for you?”

Billy Dee caught the “you”. “What?”

“What do you want?” the receptionist said.

He showed his badge. “A Melissa Stone was brought here by ambulance for gun shot wounds. I need to see her.”

She gave him the look his mother and wife gave him when he said something stupid.

“You want to see Melissa Stone. Uh-huh - hold on.”

He saw her talk into her hidden microphone. She nodded her head a few times and thought she said s-h-i-t with the ‘i’ drawn out.

She then looked in his direction. “Ms. Stone is about to go into surgery.”

“I need to talk to her while she’s conscious--- police business”

I don’t care if you be CPD, KGB, CIA, you ain’t go’in up there.”

“Hell, you saw my badge.”

She gave him an icy stare.

“Listen…”

“What did I just say? Besides, another officer already spoke with her. ”

Billy Dee tried to draw himself to his full height, but the pain from his rib cage brought him up short.

“You hurt too or are you play’n.”

He ignored her question. “What officer?”

“Now I’m suppose to know every policeman who come in here? He had a badge like you, dressed like you, but he be white. Said he was with an investigative unit or something like that.”

He leaned over the counter as best he could and motioned her to come close. “Ms. Davis, I’m not sure that person is a real cop.”

She gulped and her eyes widened. “What you mean?”

“It’s a long story, and there isn’t time. What floor?”

She blurted “7”.

He took off toward the elevators as she called security.

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