My Name is Heath
Sergeant Doreen Pousant waited outside the ICU to talk to the liquor store clerk’s in-hospital doctor. She had met the surgeon several times over the past few years when other patients who were either victims or felons required his surgical expertise.
“Officer Pousant, the store clerk will be moved to a semi private room in about two-hours but you can see him now. He was lucky. The bullet entered the front of his right shoulder joint, missed the lung and went right through his shoulder stopping right underneath the skin.”
“Thanks Dr. Melcher. He didn't by any chance happen to talk about the robbery at his liquor store did he?”
“Not to me. You might ask some of the nurses.” Melcher turned to leave and stopped with Pousant’s last question.
“Was the bullet you removed a .38 caliber?” The notorious ATM felon always wielded a .38 Special revolver but never fired it–until now.
“No. This was an intact metal jacket 9mm. Did you retrieve the cartridge case?”
“Not yet. Thanks.” Pousant let out an audible yawn.
“Doreen you look like you could use an extra night sleep. Both our jobs push us to work more than 12-hours a day. Without rest we're not going to do our job very well.”
“Yeah, thanks for the obvious. I'll catch up with my “Zs” tonight–maybe.” She went through the ICU doors and identified herself to the nursing staff. She sat quietly beside the liquor store clerk in a small armless metal chair and looked at her notes.
Pousant placed her right hand on the clerk's good left shoulder. “Mr….” She looked at her notes again. “… Shaadi. Mr. Shaadi, I'm Sergeant Pousant. We met last night when you were shot.” She shook his shoulder gently.
“Yes. Yes, the police woman.” Mr. Impa Shaadi labored to open his heavy eyelids and turned his head toward Pousant’s voice.
“I need to ask more about what happened. You said there were two people in the store. One was a customer and another pulled out a pistol and demanded money.”
Shaadi murmured a breathy “Yes. Yes it was so.”
“Did the customer say anything?”
“No. He watched while I handed the money in the bag to the gunman.” The pulsing tones of his heart monitor increased in rate.
“The gunman say anything next?”
“Yes. He saw I had pressed the silent alarm button and grew very angry because he had warned me not to do that. I tried to drop down behind the counter and he shot me.”
“What happened next?”
“I heard another gunshot and what sounded like a person falling to the ground.”
“You heard? Did you see anything else?” Pousant looked up from her notes.
“I could not see anything behind the counter. I did not want to get shot again. So I stayed on the floor.”
“So you couldn't see anything. But did you hear anything besides the gunshot?”
“No. Wait… Yes… I heard different voice… the customer. He did speak before the second gunshot.” Shaadi began to increase his breathing rate. “He said, ‘I'll take the money. I was here first you stupid bastard’.”
Pousant wrote everything down. “What happened next?”
“The pain…it was terrible…everything went black.”
“What was the next thing you remember?”
“You. I remember you.”
“The videotape from your surveillance camera was missing. Was there a tape in the camera that evening?”
“Yes. It gets changed every morning at seven o'clock.” Shaadi became fatigued. His pulse rate went down and he closed his eyes.
“I'm sorry but that's all the time allowed given his immediate postoperative condition.” The nurse waved a hand to the exit door.
Kevin read the newspaper account of his liquor store stick up. The reporter theorized citing his source as the liquor store clerk, that a customer who may not have had a permit to carry a gun shot and killed the holdup man in self-defense. Kevin read the news man's bold print direct quote out loud: “The customer bystander fled for fear of a jail sentence violating Connecticut's strict handgun law.”
Kevin laughed and then immediately had a sobering thought. The reporter might have considered that a correct reason but he would bet anything the police did not. The detectives in Prichard were known for their fastidious attention to detail and had a successful high apprehension rate–except in his case. The media had been questioning a female detective, Sergeant Doreen Pousant, and not the puffed up Lieutenant Chief of detectives–Felix Pimple-something. He looked at the calendar taped to his refrigerator and tapped on the circled Friday with his right index finger. Kevin tried not to project a regular agenda between his robberies. Tomorrow was Friday and he would go back to an ATM machine and hopefully catch an isolated ATM user. Tonight he would go early to the AA meeting at St Raphael’s and make sure he had memorable pre-meeting discussions with the smokers and early AA attendees.
“Hello, Heath.” Kevin looked up at the tall 6-foot-six 150-pound shy and twitchy 29-year-old recovering alcoholic.
“Oh, hi.” Heath looked down at Kevin’s 5-foot-6-inch elevation.
“I didn't see you at the beginning of the week. Are you doing okay?”
“Why do you ask?” The Ichabod Crane-like Adam’s apple jerked up-and-down with the four words.
“You know how AA is. It's a fellowship of people recovering from alcoholism by looking after one another. I didn't see you so I'm concerned.”
“I'm here now. I come when I need to.” He moved with his legs working like a flamingo’s through the crowd and left Kevin flat.
Kevin smiled. Mission accomplished. Heath would remember Kevin's presence on Thursday and he would do the same with others tomorrow night after his ATM heist.
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