The Case of the Missing Coat

Lucy entered the hospital through a side entrance to avoid passing the front desk receptionist who might recognize her. She had waited in the dark alley and when the old man entered she briskly tailgated in. She overtook him with a brief nod keeping her face averted. Lucy wore the white coat she had stolen earlier. It looks enough like a doctor’s to do the job. She smiled to herself, when the man barely turned to see who had followed him in. She rushed past him as she imagined a busy doctor might and the man did not question her.

Enter hospital: check.

During the day when Lucy had visited her aunt she had come in through the front entrance so she knew the layout. From having studied the hospital map Lucy knew that her aunt was in the room off the hallway on her left. She turned into the corridor, went through the double doors putting distance between her and shuffling man. Then she slowed and crept along, making no noise in her canvas shoes. The hallway was eerily silent: no creaking ventilators, no whirring equipment. She heard no sound of nurses’ footsteps nor the occasional cough. In the silence, all she could hear was the thumping of her heart – loud as a drum.

Lucy took a deep breath; slow down she told herself. There is no hurry.

Aunty would be sleeping and there was no roommate to worry about. All she had to do was disconnect one wire and creep back out. The hospital was notoriously understaffed and the machines often beeped needlessly anyway. It would be morning before a nurse would come in to check and by then it would be too late and she would be richer by a million cool ones.

Almost there, she thought.

Just then the silence was shattered by a loud squeaking noise. Lucy looked up to see a janitor pushing a cart round the corner at the far end, coming towards her. She recognized his shuffle. This was unexpected but she knew the cleaning staff worked after hours. Nothing unusual. Lucy pushed herself against the wall facing away from him, to give as much space as possible.

“Good evening Doc. You working late tonight?” He said as he maneuvered the misaligned cart the down the hallway towards her.

Lucy nodded and stopped, willing him to pass but he was feeling chatty.

“Haven’t seen you before have I?” he stared, his gaze just below her face.

Lucy had no choice. Not answering would be worse. “Yes. I am new here” Lucy said, walking forward to pass him. Room 234 was only 4 doors down but the janitor had stopped right in front of it.

She couldn’t enter the room now. It would be too risky. Lucy walked past room 234, pretending to look at her writing pad as if reminding herself of the room number she needed to go to.

Lucy was furious. It had to be done tonight. She couldn’t let all her planning go to waste because of a dumb old janitor. Think!

She slowed her steps and finally the janitor trundled his cart past the room, down the corridor through the double doors.

“It’s now or never” Lucy doubled back and soundlessly entered her aunt’s room and shut the door behind her. All was quiet.

Enter room 234: check

Her aunt seemed asleep in spite of the array of tubes going into her body, or probably because of them. Earlier during her visit, Lucy had familiarized herself with all the machines so she would know exactly which one to disconnect. She had decided on the lung machine without which her aunt could not breathe.

Things looked different now; they had rearranged the area. She walked around the bed to the other side, away from the door. It would make getaway a little harder but not a big problem. Lucy was so intent on checking the setup to find the requisite wire that she didn’t hear him walk in.

“Hey doc. I remembered who you are. Doc Knight, right?” It was the janitor.

Lucy faced him. Annoyed she squared her shoulders with authority and said “You are mistaken. And why are you in the room? I will have you reported.”

“She is my friend” he said “and if you are not named Knight then why you got a coat on that says so?”

Lucy looked at the coat pocket.

“My name is Knight and that there is my coat you stole from the closet.”

She had never thought to check. A coat is a coat right?

The janitor was old and Lucy easily knocked him down as she rushed out of the room, into the corridor and out the side door.

Million bucks: later.

Published by neerja2014

aspiring, perspiring, trying: yes. writing: sometimes publishing: tomorrow

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  1. When I started reading this story, I never expected Lucy to be such a ‘bad’ person. In addition, I never expected the ending as you created it. In other words, there were lots of surprises in this story for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I feel there is more in there and I am missing it. I was trying for the unexpected. Two points I did not know how to say: – Lucy is not a ‘bad’ person – young – so she gets away. She may even think she is helping her aunt who is on life support. Second is how hospitals treat end-of life issues. It was too much to get in there so i left it vague. Any thoughts? thanks again.

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