“How’d he wind up in the hospital?”
“That,” she said, and he got a glimpse of the nervous fright that possessed her, “is what I’m here about.”
He put the pen down and waited for her to continue.
“Do you know anything about the Journey’s End Motel?” she asked.
“Quite a bit, as it happens,” Preuss said. “I used to be a Ferndale police detective. I can tell you, the Journey’s End is well-known to the Ferndale PD.”
“So you know what kind of place it is.”
“And what you find there. Prostitutes and drug users and every other kind of criminal.”
“The City of Ferndale’s had its problems with it.”
“That’s where my brother was found last week. Unconscious and completely strung out on drugs. The police told me he OD’d.”
“Heroin. They actually found him with a needle in his arm. Heroin! Can you believe that?”
“Opiate addiction is a huge problem.”
“I know my brother. He’s not an addict. He takes care of himself, he eats well, he works out . . . the Journey’s End Motel is not the kind of place he’d want to be seen. Let alone found. You’ll have to take my word for it.”
“When was this?”
“Who found him?”
“The police. The manager of the motel called them when somebody made a complaint about noise coming from this one room. When they checked it, they found Greg on the floor.”
“How’s he doing?”
“Not well. He’s in a coma.”
She began to tear up. She searched through her satchel, but Preuss took a box of tissues from the credenza behind him and placed it on the desk in front of her. She nodded gratefully and pulled one to wipe her nose and dab at her eyes.
“Sorry,” she said. “They’re saying he might not wake up. The police tried that drug on him—”
“Narcan?” The opiate antidote to help an overdosed drug user start breathing again.
“But they said he was too far gone by the time they got there. He was already in cardiac arrest. Now the doctors are saying he might have brain damage from lack of oxygen. If he even survives. I saw him in the hospital, and somebody beat him up, too. He looked so awful.”
“I'm very sorry to hear that. How can we help?”
“I want to find out what happened. What was he doing at that place? How did my athletic, clean-living little brother wind up in the hospital with possible brain damage from an overdose of heroin? How did this nightmare happen? That’s what I’d like you to find out.”
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