“Peaches and a second cup of coffee got you the Cherooth, Sengazi story but that’s about it. You want more, I get more.”
“What do you want?” Tough question. His list was long. The most important wish was far beyond Dr. Riley’s power to grant, so he stuck with the basics.
“I want Charlie moved off the rotation as my orderly. I want a six pack of snickers bars every week. And, I want a TV of my own.”
“What will that get me?” Doctor Riley asked.
Jorvyn’s voice softened, “The truth about how it all started.”
Doctor Riley nodded slowly. “Is there an orderly you prefer?”
“Parker,” Jorvyn said without hesitation.
“Parker?” Jorvyn nodded. He understood the doctor’s surprise. Parker was a six-six mountain of a man with rich brown skin that always made him crave chocolate when he saw him. He was no brawn head, though, and he didn’t tolerate disrespect, but, he was careful with his strength and size advantage.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Much later the squeak of the food cart woke Jorvyn from his nap. “Chow time, Mr. McKale.” Jorvyn smiled as he sat up. “Mr. Parker, welcome back.” “Good to be back.” Parker flashed him a broad white grin.
The other reason he liked Parker was because the rest of the staff didn’t. They were forever concocting situations that got him in trouble or sent to do the shit jobs. Parker bore it all with a shrug and a smile but there were times when he’d respond a little slower to a dangerous situation if it involved a staff member who’d given him trouble.
“Looks like you won the Parker lottery.”
“Oh yeah, how so?”
“You got me morning, noon, and night when I’m on the floor.”
“Who do I have when you’re not here?” Jorvyn asked.
Interesting but not terrible choice. His first few interactions with Adella had been intensely unpleasant but once she got it through her tattooed head that he wasn’t going to give her crap just because she was a woman she revealed her decent side and they got along just fine.
“Charlie’s not even on this floor anymore.”
Jorvyn thought about doing a fist pump of victory but figured that would raise too many questions.
“Your new Doc asked me,” Parker chuckled, “can you believe that, asked me who should be your orderly when I was off.” Before Jorvyn could respond Parker pulled two items off the cart that weren’t his dinner. “He also asked me to give you these.”
One was a snickers bar, king sized but still just one. The other was an e-reader.
“He said he’s working on the TV but to try this in the mean time.” Jorvyn laughed, then sobered.
“That new doctor might actually be likable.”
“And that’s a bad thing?” Parker asked as he set out the tray with Jorvyn’s dinner on it.
Jorvyn broke the seal on his water bottle and glanced over at Parker. “Seriously, how long do you think Doc. Riley’s going to last in Cornholio’s staff?”
“Current odds are three to one that he’ll be gone before Valentine’s day, five to one Easter and ten to one Fourth of July.”
“Put me down for Easter. He’s too tough to quit inside of two months but smart enough to know a losing battle after three.”
“You got it.”
After dinner and half the snickers bar, the remaining half carefully hidden under his pillow, Jorvyn sat back and flipped the e-reader on. He nearly laughed himself sick. On the reader, along with the obligatory classics and other “safe” reads for the criminally insane was a folder of books and documents dealing with negotiations and mediation.
This doctor was definitely a pip.
The clanging began at far end of the hallway and worked its way towards Jorvyn’s cell. “Good night, monkeys! Sleep tight, monkeys!”
Jorvyn smiled. This guard tandem started early and skipped the midnight check. Across the way someone howled a response. Idiot. The guards whooped in glee. Jorvyn had learned early not to reply to the night guards. The new inmate would soon learn the painful lesson too.
He waited for the noise across the hall to die down. Eventually the sobs became too faint to hear.
Jorvyn laid still a few heartbeats after silence resumed before easing out of bed. He mounded the pillows and blanket in a rough approximation of a curled human shape. It wouldn’t fool even a half assed inspection but it was good enough for those who already didn’t care.
Halfway through the mumbled incantation that would turn his solid gray wall into a not so solid dimensional portal, his door creaked open.
Jorvyn blinked at the sudden light and the two shadows framed by it. His stomach clenched and he fought to keep fear from his features. The sizable self-preservation side screamed for him to jump through the wall, but the rational part knew better. He canceled the portal and turned to face the guards.
“Jorvy, looks like you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion.” Considering he was buck naked that didn’t bode well.