William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Fifty-Nine

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“I’m looking for Julia,” Adam said into the microphone at the gate.

“She’s not here.”

“Is this Rocky?”


“OK, I’m Adam,” he began.  “I was here for the… the monster mash.  Remember, I’m a burley sort of guy, muscular.  Listen, the sporty gay fellow lent me this car so I’m bringing it back, and I need to talk to Julia.”

Adam counted down from ten.  The gate began opening when he reached seven.  He spotted the police car as he drove toward the house.  California Highway Patrol.  Rocky Shannon walked toward him.

“You called the  police?  Adam frowned.

Rocky shook his head.  “Be cool.”

“Born that way, sport.”  Adam slapped him on the shoulder.

“There’s a cop in the house interviewing Tim.  You will say nothing.”

Adam shook his head.  “You called the  police?  “I hate cops, always have.”

Rocky cracked the beginning of a smile.  “I do too,” he said.  “ Julia’s mother called them.”

Adam followed him into the house, where Tim sat across from a cop who had to be close to retirement.

“Damnedest thing,” the officer said.  “I mean, escaped convicts?  The warden up at Folsom Prison said that they didn’t even turn up missing until after you caught them.”

Tim Murphy shook his head.  “I guess it just proves that crime doesn’t pay.”

The officer leaned back.  “I mean how is it that a prison doesn’t even know that there’s been an escape?  You said they didn’t have a vehicle, right?”

“Didn’t see one.”

“Anyway, I appreciate your time.  Do you suppose these three tunneled out?”

“I couldn’t say.”  Tim walked him to the door.

“And they never said a word, any of them?  Not even to tell you to sit down or freeze?”

“Quiet as church mice.  Maybe they agreed beforehand not to speak.  Maybe they had southern accents or something, or lisps.”

“Maybe, sure.  Well, likely as not they didn’t all three have lisps.”

“I guess we’ll never know. ” Tim shook his hand.

“Not at the rate they’re spinning this yarn up at Folsom,” he said, walking out to his car.  “Those corrections fellows can be awfully tightlipped.”

Tim locked the door and stood looking out the window until the police car had driven off.

“You were great,” Adam shouted.

Tim Murphy spun around, his hand reaching instinctively for the holster which, because of the recent visit, was not present.

“Sorry,” Adam said.  “I forgot you didn’t hear me come in.”

“I still might kill you.”  Tim moved into the study to find Rocky.

Adam lumbered in after him and sat gently on the edge of the desk.

Rocky stared at the computer screen.  “This is not good,” he said.

Tim Murphy slid behind the desk.  He stared at the screen and chuckled.  “Somebody needed a court order for that.  What line is the modem on?”

“I just switched to satellite.”

“They can’t get through the encryption.”

Rocky looked up at him.  “Says who?  Do you know anything about encryption?”

Tim shook his head.  “Billy set it up.  He bought it and installed it.”

“Can we include me in the discussion?” Adam asked.

“Phone tap,” Tim told him.

“How do you know?”

“We have a little program,” Rocky said.  “We have a guy who keeps an eye on our things, and that guy just noticed the tap.  And here, we also have all points advisories on my vehicles, all four of them.  Officers requested to call in and to pursue with extreme discretion.”

“Even the pickup truck?”

Rocky shook his head.  “Not the pickup truck.  Looks like they don’t know about the pickup truck.  State police only, no city or county.  Isn’t that curious?  Why would it be state only?”

Adam picked up the humidor and smelled the cigars.  “Because someone at the state level wants to monitor your movements.”

Rocky looked over at him.  “Yeah, I got that.  I’m just trying to figure out why.”

“Because you’re the zombie master,” Adam told him.  “If someone high up really wanted to figure this all out, it would be obvious that you and your wife are the ones to watch.”

Rocky stared at him.

“How about this,” Adam began, “we drive to the hospital in the Audi.  There shouldn’t be state cops on city streets.  Then we’ll switch cars.  They won’t know about my car.”

“I think that’s a plan,” Rocky said.  “We’ll lock the house down tight, right Tim?  Alarms, gate electricity, catapults ready and oil on a slow boil.”

“What about the gay fellow?” Adam asked, “the one who lent me the car.”

“Billy’s dead,” Rocky told him.  “And he wasn’t gay.”

“Says you.  Dead how?”

“Dead we don’t know how, and how dead we don’t know.”  Rocky filled him in on the details Julia had shared over the phone earlier, back when the secure phone still seemed secure.

“Are we going to have some guns or something?” Adam asked.

Tim hoisted a big duffel bag onto his shoulder.  “Oh you better believe we’re going to have some guns.  Do you know how to use one?”

“Not really, but I have one, a little one.  That’s what I used to say about my penis.”

Rocky and Tim stared for a moment.

“OK, hey, that’s why you’re the zombie master, not me.”

“Great.  Hey where are we going anyway?” Adam asked.

“Napa,” Rocky said.  “And please don’t call me the zombie master.  One of the few things we can be sure of is that if there is a zombie master, she is a female.”

“I don’t think so,” Adam said as Rocky keyed in the final alarm sequence.  “I think it’s a dude.  This is some old voodoo thing.  I’ve been thinking it through.  Ruth Black is a high priestess of some sort, but she needs a chemist, a Bizango chemist.”

“What the hell is a…?”

“Some kind of a West African pharmacologist.  Look, they’re mixing up some very old, very powerful recipies.  And my sense is that this is a guy thing.  Ruth Black is the boss of it all, the high priestess.  But she’s got other priestesses who are subordinate to her, like Millicent Sorrows, and young Karen, who’s probably still in training.”

“You’ve been thinking this through,” Rocky noted.

Adam nodded as they got into the car.  “But Ruth Black is in charge because she has a very special Bizango chemist, one who she very likely trained, one who works just for her.  And he’s probably more powerful than any man alive today.”

“What’s so special about him?” Rocky asked as they drove though the gates, then watched in the mirror as they closed behind the car.

“What’s special about him is he’s old.  They get more powerful with age.  Remember that telepathy thing, I think they get better at it over time.  And this chemist is probably older than any other that ever lived.  He’s one of them.  That’s Ruth Black’s secret; she has a Bizango chemist who’s an immortal himself.  A zombie maker who is himself a zombie.”

Rocky shook his head.  “It doesn’t work on men.  It kills men or it rots their brains.”

“See that’s the part I haven’t figured out yet,” Adam admitted.  “He’d have to be a very special man.”


Written by williamdoonan

August 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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