Detective Furdus Nosh arranged a meeting with Dr. Pluto Blum in the original restaurant as with their first meeting. They had just placed their order for a light dinner.
“Dr. Blum…” Nosh stopped. “…Dr. Blum I hate calling you that. I’m also uncomfortable calling you Pluto. I keep thinking of Mickey Mouse’s dog.”
Blum smiled. “It’s the story of my life. My friends call me by my nickname–Tad. My middle name is Thaddeus.”
“Pluto Thaddeus Blum. Oh dear, and I thought my name was difficult and forgettable–Furdus Nosh.” She sipped her water. “Okay Tad, I want to begin by telling you a little about myself. I’m a dedicated police officer. Over ninety percent of who I am is involved in the job. It’s not a good balance but it’s what I got–right now. Before I delve into the largest percentile I want to work on my ten percent–me. Okay?”
Blum suddenly noticed Nosh appeared more relaxed and more attractive. “And how do I address ten percent of your earthly existence?”
“Furd is all I can get for a glamorous sounding name.”
Both were smiling now and Blum continued. “You’re doing better than me. I totally identify who I am by my job. I’ve lost all sense of social interaction other than reassuring or presenting negative information to my patient’s family members.”
Nosh took a deep breath. She had changed her clothes and after a quick shower from her busy daytime schedule, had donned a crisp shiny gray pantsuit with a square-cut bodice showing slight cleavage and a lot of freckles. “You don’t have to answer personal questions. As a person and a single woman, I am duty bound by the code of the unattached to ask you–is there or has there ever been a Mrs. Pluto Thaddeus Blum?”
“Furd, you have no idea how many times a year I get asked that question. Every new nurse on the ICU and some older student nurses come on to me because I don’t wear a wedding band. My colleagues invite me to their homes and there always seems to be an unannounced female guest who, coincidentally, is single.” He gave her a disarming smile. “The answer is no. There has never been a candidate for sharing my dreadful name, and there currently are no female distractions in my life.” He sat back in his chair. “Now, fair is fair. It’s your turn for the same question.”
“There was one man I did have affection for. He was also in law enforcement. Up to the time I met him I had a handful of candidates I could use as escorts for mandatory appearance occasions where a ‘male in my life’ was needed to defray what you talked about. My cousins especially were always fixing me up. I couldn’t stand it. I would always wear my 9mm automatic partially visible to scare any such potential mate away.”
“I used my job the same way–sort of.” Blum leaned closer to the center of the small table and lowered his voice. “I would ask about their medical history. I had a one-or-two sentence turn off. I would ask, ‘Have you ever had any asthma, pneumonia, TB, diabetes, thyroid disorder, kidney disease, yellow jaundice, difficulty swallowing or problems with your bladder or bowels?’” He smiled. “The poor woman would try to change the subject but I wasn’t through. ‘Have you ever been out of the country and contracted schistosomiasis, tapeworm, hookworm, guinea worm, trypanosomes, filariasis or AIDS?” He sat back again. “That last bit would get them running away at a full trot.”
They both laughed as their meal was served. Nosh began eating and then spoke as Blum finished his first swallow. “Why do you think Lisa Feldman is regaining her memory?”
“Honestly Furd, I don’t have a solid answer yet. My working diagnosis is that she may have taken some medication or have been given some medication by the person or persons who robbed her that night?”
“What kind of medication would almost stop a person breathing and create a stupor where she sleepwalked to a staircase?”
“Actually there was such a drug on the market some years ago. It was a benzodiazepine sleeping pill which did just that. Users would walk out of their homes and wake up in pajamas several streets away. They’d have no memory of what happened unless they were intensively questioned.” Blum raised his fork to continue. “With Lisa Feldman there was some chemical we haven’t identified yet from Feldman’s blood and urine. It was different from the drugs we gave her to synchronize with the ventilator.”
“When do you think you’ll get the complete toxicology report?” Nosh was a little disappointed with herself for making the quick return to business.
“I don’t know. Tox reports are usually run with known drugs as a standard and whatever Lisa Feldman had in her blood stream was not an FDA-approved product administered by any hospital or clinic.”
“We may find out more from Lisa herself.” Nosh felt her telephone vibrating. “I’ve asked David Swanson, her date the night of her incident, to work on more details about that night. Specifically, we know from what you told us about the red urine occurring during malaria attacks that Swanson was in her room that night.” She paused to pick up her cell phone.
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