mysteries and motorcycles
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Unreal McCoy - Chapter 1
Here is chapter one of The Unreal McCoy. It's available on Kindle for only $2.99
Feruary 4, 2000 Both ambulances arrived at the emergency entrance at the same time. Backed up under the marquee like a couple of UPS trucks delivering their wares, icicles elbowing each other for space in the crowded wheel-wells and undercarriages, salt brine obscuring the lettering on their doors. The first gurney to be unloaded held a short, burly man, the victim of a frightening heart attack. From the other vehicle, a younger man of medium build who had been so severely beaten that his features were almost unrecognizable. The younger man had been delivered by a City of Detroit EMS unit, the kind that handles violent crime and murder victims. In the dark early hours of this cold February morning, both men were admitted to Downtown Receiving Hospital in critical condition.
The older man, Giulio Sieli, was stabilized fairly quickly. This emergency room had dealt with countless heart attack situations and the staff had responded like a precision drill team. Within the hour Giulio was resting in the cardiac care unit, his vital functions being electronically monitored and intravenous tubes were feeding fluids into his system. His family, an older brother and a niece, were in the emergency waiting room, alarmed and frightened by the unexpected attack. An intern was feebly trying to assure them that the man would survive. His scolding tone declared his lack of experience in consoling loved ones.
"If he was alive when he came into this hospital, he'll probably be alive when he leaves it. We're very proud of our record here. He'll just have to learn to take better care of himself."
Enrico Sieli, the older brother of Giulio was not very comforted by the insensitive efforts of the intern. "I don't wanna know about probly. I wanna know for sure!" His daughter, Marie, put her arm around her father's shoulder and turned him away from the young doctor. "I'm sure he will live, Pappa. I've been praying to the Virgin Mary since we received the news." The pair made their way to the back of the waiting room where they sat in rigid, uncomfortable, plastic chairs hoping for more encouraging reports from the cardiac unit.
Nobody waited in the emergency waiting room for the younger man. Nobody called to inquire about his condition. Nobody prayed to the Virgin Mary for his recovery. He was anonymous.
"This guy has sustained more injuries in one night than the Packers inflicted on the Lions all last season!"
Dr. Maurice DesJardines had been called in from home in the middle of the night to render his expertise in the field of traumatic injuries. Dr. Desjardines, or "Dr. Mo", as he preferred, was an old time doctor. He even made housecalls for some of his older patients. A man who eschewed the medical vernacular and called a broken bone a "broken bone". Although he was somewhat of a maverick, his skill was widely acknowledged by his peers. His specialty was putting human jigsaw puzzles together, he was the right guy for this job. He was here tonight to repair a brutally broken body. A body without a name. There had been so many like this in recent years that names were not important anymore. This one would require a lot of time to repair and even longer to heal. The list of injuries was a long one: three broken ribs, punctured lung, concussion, two broken fingers on the right hand, one on the left, severely sprained right knee, multiple lacerations and contusions; the damage seemed endless,as if no part of the body had been overlooked. The concussion worried the doctor. So far, there was no sign of a blood clot but the brain swelling could cause all kinds of problems. It could even be fatal. It was almost eight A.M. before the doctor finished his work. The patient remained mercifully unconscious. Shock and trauma would be his enemies, strength and relative youth his allies. He was moved to room 124, the last room in the trauma center. Room 125 was the first room of the cardiac unit.
It seemed to be an ordinary Friday morning at the first precinct in downtown Detroit, the coffee vending machine in the hallway was on the blink again. "Probably some jerk using Canadian coins.", mumbled the vending serviceman as he tried key after key in his futile attempts to unlock the coffee machine door.
"Why don't you just read the number on the lock and see if you've got a key with a matching number?" An impatient voice behind him asked.
The serviceman recognized the voice of Detective Sergeant Albert McCoy and grunted without turning to look at him. He also ignored the advice. After trying four more keys, the lock yielded and he opened the door and pressed a black button inside that woke up a series of electrical relays. After a few seconds of buzzing and clicking, the machine produced a steaming cup of black coffee. The serviceman handed the cup to the sergeant and said. "Consider this a reward for your patience."
" Maybe I should pay you anyway, this could be viewed as a bribe."
" Never happen, lieutenant, I'm just being courteous."
"Sergeant." corrected McCoy as he turned to leave.
"Hey look, just like I said." The coffeeman was holding up the Canadian quarter he had retrieved from the coin slot.
"You'd make a good detective." said McCoy.
"It's still sergeant!"
When Detective Sergeant Albert McCoy sat down at his desk, he found a fresh report on top of the normal clutter. It must have been dropped off by the midnight shift. There was a ring of keys and a note attached to it. The report was about an unidentified white male in his mid-thirties found lying in the roadway of Henry Street just north of the downtown area of Detroit. A cab driver reprted that he found the man lying partially under a parked car about one-twenty or so this morning. He radioed his dispatcher to notify the police and EMS and had stayed with the man until police arrived. The cab driver claimed he had not witnessed the beating. He said that he had just dropped off a fare, turned onto Henry Street and saw the man's legs sticking out from under a parked car. The injured man had no wallet on his person but had thirty-eight dollars in a money clip in a side pocket. There was about a half of a package of Camels in his shirt pocket and a Bic lighter in his jacket.
The officers that responded to the call noticed that there was a fairly new Chevy Blazer parked about twenty yards up the block. There was no one in the vehicle but the engine was running and it was unlocked with the driver's side window rolled down. They shut the engine off, removed the keys, and ran a check on the license plate number. The Blazer was registered to Michael O'Conner, male Caucasian: 33 yrs. Address in the twenty-five thousand block of W. Six Mile Rd. on Detroit's far west side. The physical description of the registered owner was close enough to that of the beating victim that the officers decided to have the Blazer impounded and send the keys along with an explanatory note in the report and let the detectives figure out if there was any connection. That's what detectives are paid to do.
Sgt. McCoy scanned the report almost casually. "This one shouldn't be too tough.", he thought. Probably some "john" from the outskirts of the city looking for some action and ran into some of the parasites who inhabit the seedy neighborhoods that spawn hookers and junkies.
The bitter cold weather of this particular February had done more to suppress street crime than any program the city council or Mayor's office had ever conceived. The hookers and the muggers were still out there, but their customers and victims were mostly hibernating, waiting for milder weather. In slow times like these, Sgt. McCoy enjoyed his job. He would conduct interviews, run background checks, request crime lab assistance, and file voluminous reports. Do all the things that detectives are supposed to do but never have time for. When the "closed" was stamped onto one of these cases, it was usually stamped on a very fat manila folder. And the name of Detective Sergeant Albert McCoy would be on the bottom line.
The attached medical report stated that the victim was still unconscious and was expected to remain that way until the brain swelling subsided, possibly within two or three days. The sergeant didn't like the idea of waiting until the man regained consciousness to ask him his name. After all, amnesia was certainly a possibility in cases that involved head injuries. Time lost now in establishing identity could be time lost forever. He decided to visit the hospital. He asked one of the records officers to run a check on a Michael O'Conner and left the building before receiving a response.
Downtown Receiving Hospital was only a few blocks from police headquarters at 1300 Beaubien, but Sgt. McCoy always drove his police car when going there. The neighborhood was tough and dangerous, even for a grizzled police detective. Today, however, the primary reason for driving was to avoid the biting winds. He parked the car in a No Parking zone and walked into the hospital.
"I'd like to see a patient in room 124. I believe he's listed as unknown male number twenty two." Sgt, McCoy held his wallet open in his right hand so the duty nurse could examine his I.D. card and his detectives shield. The nurse studied the credentials and then referred to her charts. "You may see him if you wish, but I'm afraid that's about all you'll be able to do. He's only been out of surgery for a few hours and isn't expected to be awake for some time."
"I know, but I'd like to see him just the same. It's part of our investigation."
What the detective saw in room 124 was somewhat disappointing, and alarming at the same time. McCoy’s heart jumped into his throat. Two short years ago, he had walked into a room in this very same hospital and had seen an accident victim bandaged in almost the very same way. Only then, it was his own kid brother lying there. Everything was so similar. McCoy wanted to turn and run. He remembered standing there helplessly and watching his baby brother die. He had to put the thought out of his mind. He had to be professional. Painfully, he got back to business.
The man lying dormant and wearing your basic pale green hospital gown was, except for his extensive bandaging, very ordinary looking. He appeared to be about 5' 9" or so and around 170 lbs. to the trained policemans eye. The occasional shock of hair that was exposed through the head bandages was sort of a mousey brown. The lips were badly swollen and partially open exposing what looked like very ordinary and slightly imperfect teeth. The left eye was mostly covered by a surgical dressing put there to protect the eighteen stitches it had taken to close the head wound. The disappointment came when the detective's gaze fell on the patient's hands. The right hand was in a plaster cast and the left was fully bandaged. Identification through fingerprints would be unlikely in the near future. So much for the scientific approach. It's back to old fashioned detective work. Maybe something would develop from the registration check on the seemingly abandoned vehicle that the patrol guys stumbled on last night, and don't forget the often overlooked missing persons reports. They could be a real pain in the ass. All precincts would need to be checked as well as the suburbs as far north as Flint and as far south as Monroe. Checking out all that shit could really bog down an investigation. Maybe he could just wait for the guy to wake up. Maybe he could lay back and see what the guy has to say; it could have been the result of a dispute between friends, even brothers. Maybe he should dig in the spurs and find out what happened, this could be a mob thing, the guy was worked over pretty thoroughly and was found in the right neighborhood. Maybe he's just a good guy who got in the way. Maybe he's a bad guy who got in the way. Maybe it's time for lunch, he thought as he walked out of the room and past the nurses' station.
"Did you find the patient in a talkative mood?" asked the duty nurse.
Posted by The Unreal McCoy ::
4:36 PM ::
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