Jorvyn bowed with a flourish. “What can I do for you fine gentlemen this evening?”
“Oh, lots of things. But tonight we’re just here to pass on a message.”
“Fantastic, like a singing telegram?”
Grady, the taller one closest to him, laughed. “No. Not quite.”
“A basket of fruit then?”
“You’re the fruit.” The second one, Burell, said.
“Burell, don’t you ever get tired of playing the nasty side kick for Grady here? You need to branch out some. Besides, you know the prison rules about gay for the stay, don’t you? I mean you were fired from the state penitentiary, right?”
Burell stepped further into Jorvyn’s room and only stopped when Grady put his hand on the other man’s chest. Jorvyn continued as if unperturbed. “I have an imaginary girlfriend out there somewhere crying copious imaginary tears every day. What do you have? An ex-wife, four kids, a rat infested apartment, and a job that hates you almost as much as you hate it. Somehow I think I’m the one better off.”
Grady held Burell back, barely. “Stop, he’s just trying to get you to do something stupid like break his nose or jaw or something we can’t cover up.”
“You know, Grady, there are people out in the world who would love your style of sadism. Why don’t you find a nice masochist to shack up with?”
Grady smiled a smile that made Jorvyn regret he’d ever opened his mouth. “Because willingness takes all the fun out of it.”
In the end, it turned out they’d just stopped by to say “Hi!” from Charlie. Apparently Charlie had a wide variety of ways to say hello – and all of them hurt.
“Mr. McKale? Mr. McKale? Jorvyn!” Jorvyn opened his eyes to gray and white and stench. The gray turned out to be the hard, cold floor he was laying on. The white came into better focus as the fringe of a lab coat. But the stench was all his own.
What happened?” Doctor Riley asked, his hand hovering near Jorvyn’s shoulder but not touching.
“I tripped and fell.” Jorvyn rasped, hating the way his voice broke.
“Bullshit. Did this happen here or there?”
The truth leapt from his lips almost without his consent. “Here.” Jorvyn managed to get his gaze as far as the doctor’s face without moving too much. The coiled rage he found there startled a flinch from him.
He felt the doctor’s hand close around his upper arm and tried to pull away. “I’m getting up, Doc. I’m getting up. I’m not trying to give you crap.” He knew he was babbling and couldn’t stop. “Just give me a minute, just another minute, please. I’m getting up.”
The hand went away only to return with its counterpart as they both slid up under his armpits and lifted. Jorvyn struggled out of reflex but he might as well have been fighting a bear made of steel.
“Stop.” The fury coming off the doctor was palpable, but his voice gentled. “Stop, Jorvyn.”
Jorvyn ceased flailing but he couldn’t stop the near convulsive shaking. He wasn’t certain where the doctor’s anger came from. Was he mad that this had happened to Jorvyn or was he mad that he hadn’t been there to watch? Or was he mad because he wasn’t the one to do the deed? Pride and dignity took a distant back seat where survival was concerned. If he didn’t survive then he couldn’t finish out the Plan and the Plan was the only thing worth living for anyway.
“I can make it worth your while,” Jorvyn whispered.”
“Worth my while to do what?” Doctor Riley asked.
“Worth your while not to beat the shit out of me.”
Doctor Riley went perfectly still. “Is that what you think is about to happen?”
“You’re pissed. Maybe that I’m still alive. Hell, maybe you set me up and Charlie didn’t have anything to do with it. Maybe you actually work for him.”
“Who? Who would I work for that would order this done to you?”
Jorvyn licked his cracked lips. “Forget it. It’s stupid. My head bounced a few too many times off the floor. I don’t know what I’m saying.”
Doctor Riley drew a breath like he wasn’t going to let it go but then exhaled slowly. “I am pissed, very pissed and it’s not at you.”
Jorvyn believed him, despite all his past experience warning him to the contrary, and relaxed. At least until doctor Riley shifted him in his grasp, hooked an arm under his legs and picked him up off the floor. “Whoa!”
“Easy, easy. I’m just carrying you into the bathroom so we can clean you up.”
The movement from horizontal to vertical to horizontal again made his stomach roll. “I’m going to be sick.”
“We’re almost there.”
Jorvyn made good on his threat but managed to wait until the doctor had gotten him over the toilet.
He heard Parker’s deep rumble but couldn’t make out the words. The sequence of events became jumbled after that. There was a wash cloth, cold enough to make him yelp, a robe of some kind, something soft and moist against his intimate areas, which set him to trembling again, then a grape flavored liquid that didn’t taste all that great but stayed down and soothed his stomach, and finally a brief sting in his upper arm. Throughout it all was Dr. Riley’s soothing voice telling he was safe and it would be okay.
The doctor didn’t mess around. After the sting everything became slow, fuzzy, and comfortable. “Good shit, Doc. Can I get a case… to go?” Jorvyn mumbled just before oblivions claimed him.