Loose Ends

The woman donned in colorful scrubs behind the counter at the nurses station stiffens a bit when I approach her. She doesn’t know my face, but she recognizes the authority of my lab coat.

“Good morning, Doctor…?” It’s clear she’s waiting for a name. I give her none. I am not accustomed to explaining myself.

“I’m looking for a patient. Mr. Toomis. What room is he in?”

My abruptness delivers the required response. She pauses momentarily and then, “Uh, he’s down the hall in 234.” She points. “The one with the police officer sitting outside.”

I nod my thanks.

The cop tries to impede me from entering the room. He’s only slightly more challenging to convince. After a quick exchange, I step into the dark room where a fat, balding man lies in bed, hooked to machines.

Removing the syringe from my coat pocket, I inject the contents into his IV. I’ll have less than a minute.

As I push open the doors to the stairwell, a heart monitor beeps it’s sorrowful tone. For one man, the end. For another, a fatter bank account. I leave the lab coat and the empty syringe in the dumpster behind the hospital.

Word Count: 198

[This is my entry into the Flash Fiction Challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner by Roger Shipp. Write a story based on a photo prompt and introductory sentence in 200 words or less.]


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