Stairway to the Bottom - a Mick Murphy Key West Mystery

Stairway to the Bottom - a Mick Murphy Key West Mystery by Michael Haskins

Book: Stairway to the Bottom - a Mick Murphy Key West Mystery by Michael Haskins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Haskins
heard them all and expected a wisecrack. When I tied off the back, she left and another nurse came in and took more blood samples from me. I had a foggy recollection of someone taking blood earlier.
    Finally, a male orderly pushed the gurney with me riding like an ailing invalid from the ER to the elevator and up to a room. He talked small talk and I kept quiet because, like the nurse, he’d heard all the patients’ complaints and, if any, praises. He showed me how to work the remote for the wall-mounted TV—he didn’t have to—after moving me from the gurney to the bed.
    A pretty, petite nurse came in and took my vitals, checked my hook up to the rolling IV unit and attached the blood pressure cup for the mounted monitor. She smiled and told me she’d be off her shift in a few minutes, but would check on me first thing tomorrow.
    The night nurse came in and checked my chart that hung on the end of the bed. She looked at my hospital wristband—when had that been put on?
    “You are?” she smiled with the chart in her hand.
    “Mick Murphy,” I said.
    “First name, please.”
    “Liam, but everyone calls me Mick.” I was proud of myself for remembering.
    “Thank you.” She continued to smile and put the chart back.
    Maybe they taught smiling in nursing school—make the patient feel all is well with soft-spoken words and a smile.
    “Do you need anything?”
    “My memory back.” I tried to match her smile but failed.
    “Dr. Schreiber will be in after six,” she said, as if that solved my problem. “I’m Nurse Palty, if you need me press this.” She pointed to the call-button handle, that was pinned to the bed sheet. “I’ll be in to check on you throughout the night.” Her smile was reassuring. “Dinner will be in about an hour. The doctor didn’t restrict your diet, so you’ll have the chicken,” she said as if I should be honored.
    I guessed the topic of what one could have for dinner was important.
    When would I begin remembering was important to me?
    •  •  •
    Even with the sleeping pill Nurse Palty woke me up to take, it was a restless night. She came in three times to take my vital signs. Dr. Schreiber had been in after dinner and the bottom line was time heals all wounds . My CAT scan showed no damage to my brain. I wondered if that meant I was empty headed. He made me feel better with the news, but I wanted my memory back now .
    Richard Dowley followed the breakfast tray into the room. It was early, way too early, for Richard.
    “What brings you here?” I uncovered my breakfast—only artificial sweetener for the coffee and no hot sauce or real salt for the scrambled egg whites—healthy but tasteless.
    Richard smiled and when the orderly had gone, he pulled a small paper bag from behind his back. He took out two café con leches . You gotta love him in spite of himself.
    “How’s the food?” He handed me one cup.
    “Not as good as this,” I said between sips. “Thank you.”
    “What can you tell me?” Richard sat on the end of the bed, listened to my story of waking up in the mangrove without a memory.
    “Yeah,” he said. “I read Deputy Herrin’s report and talked to Bob Pearlman. He doesn’t think much of you.”
    “It’s a long story about me and the sheriff. Knowing Becky, her report was thorough,” I said and realized I remembered more about the deputy.
    “What’s the smile for?”
    “I remember Becky,” I said. “And I remember not remembering her yesterday.”
    “Your memory is coming back.” He grinned. “Can you tell me what happened?”
    “Yeah,” I said quickly and surprised myself. “I was coming back from Harpoon’s after breakfast and three guys in a van were in the marina parking lot.”
    I told him what I remembered. I remembered the punch to my stomach, the hood over my head and throwing up in it. I remembered thinking I was on Stock Island and I remembered the bee stings.
    “They weren’t bee stings, they shot you with a Taser,” he

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