COMA CHAMELEON REVISITED
Guest Post by George A. Davis
The alarm clock wakes Wade to get out of bed and prepare himself to go to work as a police crime scene technician. He stops for his ritual moment to smile at the photograph of Krista.
A witness protection Marshal secreted the photograph to him long ago. “To help you with your memory of her,” she told him. However, he does not need it, because he will never forget the last moment he captured her loveliness in his memory; furthermore, he never thinks of what she might be doing at the moment, so to always keep that last moment he saw her fresh with him.
He signs in for duty on the midnight shift, that he prefers, and checks his equipment.
“We got a scene,” his supervisor breaks into his concentration.
“What is it?”
“Burned out car with AFT.”
Ill feeling moves through his body. “Why them?” Wade asks. “We never did anything with them before.”
“Their crime scene unit is busy on another case.”
The warehouse was abandoned years ago to let nature cause it to crumble. Wade and another technician moves carefully within a yellow tape border, around a charred car, examining it and the area for clues that when found they record with pen onto notebooks, then take photographs.
Wade goes to the detective supervisor. “There are four charred rifles in the trunk, and it looks that is where the fire began.”
The detective looks over his shoulder and nods his head. Wade sees for the two ATF agents and one of them is Dustin. His drugged-out partner that day unable to do his job that day that let the bad guy shoot him into a coma, and then witness protection made all believe that he was dead. When he woke from it, he found his sober partner and the love of his life a family. He bites his bottom lip, and clenches his left hand into a fist.
“Are you okay?” the detective asks.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“The agents wants the scene for a minute or two.”
“They can have it.”
He walks away so not to let there be any chance of initiating any communication with Dustin. But in an unease manner Dustin’s glance at Wade gets no recognition; it just pushed Wade further away from him.
Wade looks at the stars in a manner that would make one think he is trying to count them. His thoughts are in the past, on Krista’s affectionate come back to me smooches, just before he would walk out the door for work, especially on that day.
“She is doing fine,” Dustin says.
Wade turns and looks at him.
“I’ll tell her I saw you.” He walks away in a slump.
“Wade you got a visitor at the desk,” the supervisor says.
“Who?” He wonders who could it be at this time of night.
“A lady she says she knows you.”
He goes to the lobby. He looks at Krista and skips a breath. She looks the same since the last time he saw her.
“Hi,” she says through her smile.
He uses a thumb to stop tears of happiness. “Hi,” he manages to say.
“Is it alright?” She asks.
“Yes, sure,” he says. “Lets go out back.”
The stars are clear in the sky.
“How have you been?” She asks.
“Okay,” he says. “How have you been?”
“Okay,” she says.
“You look great,” he says.
“So do you,” she says.
“I missed you so very much, everyday,” he declares in a choked-up manner.
“We’re divorced,” she sighs.
“I’m not sorry to hear that,” Wade says in a blunt but surprised manner.
“You shouldn’t be,” she says. She weeps. “After the trial ATF told him that was a DOJ criminal trial and not an ATF administrative hearing, they red flagged him from any supervision promotions. Then, there was always that fog of suspicion that he was more involved in getting you shot because of me. So, he requested a transfer from there. I didn’t want to move, but he was adamant. So, we moved here,” she tells Wade. Then, she says, choked-up. “He did not get what he wished for, and then, it came clear to me I was just a trophy wife to him and everything changed to being real bad.”
“What about your son?” Wade asks.
She says in a sad manner. “He saw our deterioration. It scared him.”
“It has been a long time,” Wade says to stop her tears.
“I thought you kept that name the marshals gave you,” she says.
“After three months, I gave it back to them, and walked away from them.”
“That’s a bad move,” the Marshal said. “That trafficker still has a reach from prison.”
“I really don’t care,” Wade said.
“You shouldn’t think like that; it’s not healthy with that guy still alive.”
Wade sucked in a deep breath and let out with resentment. “You people could’ve let my girlfriend in on it. She would’ve cooperated so long as she knew I was breathing.”
“It wasn’t our call.”
“She was not a relative,” the Marshal stressed.
“I don’t have relatives,” Wade snapped. “She was the only name listed to call in an emergency.”
“She was not listed as a relative,” the Marshal pointed out with agitation. “The government is sorry.”
“Yeah you’re right, the government is sorry.”
“No need to go there.”
“I lost my world because the government is sorry.”
“There are brand new worlds out there just waiting to be found.”
Wade told the Marshal. “I found the only world I ever wanted to be in my life a long time ago, and I didn’t lose it; it was taken away from me, because I got the short end of the draw, a pill popping partner who gets my girl because an attorney is more interested in getting a bad guy weapons dealer.”
“Who tried to kill you,” the Marshal interrupted to remind him.
“That son a bitch might have known where my partner would be before I did.”
“He may have written a false report but that never came to light.”
“He didn’t want money just pounds of flesh.” Choked-up, Wade said. “I want out of here.”
“I’ll get the forms for you to sign, but if you go to El Paso, it would only cause problems for you that you can’t beat.”
“I gave her what she wanted from the bottom of my heart, don’t worry.”
“Here,” the Marshal said. Wade looked at the photograph of Krista. “We don’t need it anymore.”
“I really don’t need it but thanks. I just want my name back so I can get the hell out of here.”
“What will you do?”
“Forget I was ever born.”
“You need to put this behind you,” the Marshal said.
He cried out his anger. “I will not; never will I do that.”
“I stopped here, went to the community college and then got a job as a crime scene tech.”
“Dustin told me he saw you at a scene.”
“I didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to know if you two were still a family.”
“I thought maybe some woman would have taken your mind off me,” she queries.
“No,” he says. “I would only be trying to put her in your footsteps and that wouldn’t be fair to her,” he says. “Do you remember what I said to you in that room long ago? Why, I fought out of my coma?” He asks.
They lean closer to each other. Their fingers, of both hands, twist together into a tight hold on each other.
“Yes,” she says in a soft content manner. “I remember every word.”
He whispers with affection. “It’s our faith.”
“I believe it is so,” she whispers with affection. END
(Original story Coma Chameleon by Kim Newton, episode 303 of In Plain Sight)
George A. Davis born in Philadelphia PA (presently resides in Tampa FL): studied creative writing at The Community College of Philadelphia, retired Federal government employee, and presently write short stories. http://gadavis-writergeorge.blogspot.com