William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Fifty-Eight

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“He’s Condor Nyle,” Alice explained, “the guy who left this compound to Ruth Black in his will.”

Julia frowned.  “But he’s not dead.”

“Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going around. ” Alice hustled Condor Nyle into the back of the van.

“This is the coolest,” Carson said from the driver’s seat.  “You played the archaeologist in Curse of Amenhotep.  Boris Karloff played the mummy.  Isn’t that ironic?”

Condor Nyle tried unsuccessfully to free his bound wrists as they turned onto the road.  “This is kidnapping,” he said, staring at Billy St. Clair’s body on the floor next to him.  “You have no right to detain me.  And no it’s not ironic.  Lon Chaney, Jr. played the mummy, not Karloff, and what is it you find ironic about it?”

“It was Karloff,” Carson said.

“Chaney.”

“Karloff.”

He frowned. “Yes, maybe it was Karloff.  It was so long ago.”

Carson smiled.  “Karloff found himself playing Frankenstein for decades.  Frankenstein was a zombie.  And now you’re a zombie.  Isn’t that special?”

“Ha Ha.”

“Let me ask you a question,” Alice ventured.

“I don’t have to tell you anything,” Condor Nyle spat.  “You have no call to mistreat me like this.  I insist you let me call the police.”

“Is it true you had an affair with Errol Flynn?”

He looked up at her.  “Oh, my dear girl,” he began.  “An affair?  It was nothing of the sort.  When I think about that beautiful man, I remember the years we spent together.  Not openly, of course.  The world wasn’t ready.  But we loved each other until the day he died.”

“And Lionel Barrymore as well?”

“Oh good heavens, no.  He was very ugly.  And about as romantic as a bag of dirt.  Now where are you taking me?”

“That’s a good question,” Carson said.  “What do you say, boss?”

Julia was holding the map close to her face, not looking happy.  “Napa.”

“I dislike Napa,” Condor Nyle interjected.  “Although the wine is superb.  Take me to the police at once.”

“Fine,” Carson said, turning sharply, unexpectedly onto the Sutterville exit.  “Let’s do that then.  Let’s head to the police station.”

“What do you think you are you doing?” Julia asked.

“Trust me,” Carson said.  “Let’s go.  Let’s get some fingerprints.  I’ll even call ahead to have some TV crews there.  Once people hear that you’re still alive, there will be some explaining to do.  How old are you now?  153?”

Condor Nyle fumed.  “Is it necessary to be cruel?” he asked.  “I’m only 117.”

“Well you don’t look a day over 55,” Carson told him.

“I take care of myself.  I eat right, no dairy.”

“Shut up,” Carson told him.

“Why Napa?” Alice asked.  “Why not go to the lab?”

“Because we don’t have a good clue as to who might be lurking at the lab,” Julia said.  “It would not be a good time to run into the police or whoever else might turn up.  And I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Ruth Black or Millicent Sorrows.”

“You think she might come for us still? Why would she?  She has Karen. Why bother with us?”

“Why bother with us?” Julia repeated, looking up from the map.  “You think this is done, Alice?  I don’t think so.  We know too much.  They’re going to need to make their peace with us, or…”

“Kills you, is what comes to mind,” Condor Nyle interjected.  “If you’re lucky, they’ll kill you.  If you’re lucky.”

“Shut up,” Alice and Julia yelled in unison.

Carson’s watch buzzed.

“Dialysis?” Julia asked.

Carson said nothing.

“We need to get you to the Med Center.”

He shook his head.  “I don’t need it.”

“You need it.  I don’t care how good you feel.”

“I don’t need it.”

Alice leaned over the seat.  “What are you talking about?  You could die.”

Carson shook his head.  “I have very little to think about most nights.  Except you.”  He turned and gave her a grin.  “So I’m well attuned to my bodily needs.  And I don’t need dialysis right about now.”

“How long has it been?”

“Three days.”

“No way,” Julia shouted.  “We’ve been through too much together and I’m not going to let you die just because you’re feeling healthy.”

Carson grabbed her hand.  “I don’t need it.  I’m not sure why, but I don’t need it.  I know my body in ways that you haven’t even begun to know yours.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

“We’ll head to Napa for now, then if you need to, we can phone in an emergency to Kaiser’s Napa dialysis clinic, but for now, let’s just head to Napa.  Then I have to try to remember the way.”

“What’s in Napa?” Alice asked.

“Lundt Castle.” She pulled the big key chain from her jacket pocket.  “Rocky has an option to buy.  Anyway, I figure it will be the last place anyone would look for us.  Rocky and Tim will come tonight.  Then we can make a plan.”

“Lundt Castle,” Condor Nyle repeated.  “Take 80 west to 128, then south around Lake Berryessa.  You’ll see it there, it overlooks the lake.”

Julia and Alice turned to stare at him.

“How do you know where it is?” Alice asked.

“Dear girl, I could tell you of the parties they used to throw.  Arthur Lundt loved parties.  Once they even had a dancing bear.  And Grace loved the swan boats.  She drank quite a bit, but she was one of those women who could pull it off.  Those boats were heavy and you had to pedal a lot, but they were something to look at on a summer night, passing back and forth as the band played.”

Julia turned and stared at him.  “I thought it wasn’t supposed to work on men.  Only women, but it worked on you just fine.  You don’t seem to have any brain damage.”

He shrugged.  “Let’s just say I was born with something that most men are not?”

“What’s that?” Julia asked.

“An ovary.”

Carson let out a healthy burst of laughter.  “You’re kidding.”

“It’s not nice to laugh at those who are different from you, young man.  I might have thought you of all people would understand that.”

“An ovary, huh?”

“They removed it when I was thirteen.  And that was the end of it.  It had no impact on my life at all.  None whatsoever.”

“Until you met Ruth Black,” Julia said

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Written by williamdoonan

August 15, 2013 at 10:21 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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