|The Gentle Giant
Author: meixel PM
Written as a one-shot, h/c response for a writer's ficlet challenge. The idea was to involve a favorite supporting character. I chose Lenny Murchison, the psychiatrist. He was a great character with a wonderful sense of humor. T for the teensiest bit of gore...Rated: Fiction T - English - Mike S. & Steve K. - Words: 2,421 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 07-24-12 - id: 8356177
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
a/n - the SOSF characters do not belong to me. Neither does the idea of someone flicking themselves with a knife...that was Fatal Attraction. :) There is no intent of any profit making here. Stories are written for amusement and skill development.
The Gentle Giant
"Two cops and a psychiatrist enter a bar…" Lenny quipped as greeted the two detectives standing in front of Frawley's Pub.
"Very funny," Lieutenant Mike Stone curtly responded. It had been a rough Monday so far, and the weary detective was not in the mood for jocularity. Lenny cast a quick glance over to the detective's younger partner, who rolled his eyes and issued a telling grin.
Dr. Lenny Murchison was usually office-bound, but today he would accompany two of his favorite detectives to speak with the employer of a murder suspect. Despite the circumstance, it was nice to get out for a change. He enjoyed the times when he was able to go out into the field.
"This is Jackson's employer. The owner, John Reed, called when he'd heard about Jackson's wife and her mother. He said that Jackson acted strangely at his last shift. Unusually abrupt with people, rambling, hearing voices," Mike continued.
"And you thought by me speaking with Mr. Reed, I might be able to unearth some magical clue that
will help you profile Jackson and where he might be?" Lenny queried.
"That's the idea, Lenny," Steve Keller agreed as he opened the door to the bar. "We have little to go on. Two dead women and a witness who heard a man yelling as he was running out the side of the house.
The witness didn`t get a good look at the man, but said the shouting was almost incoherent."
"I heard they were stabbed to death?" Lenny asked.
"More like butchered," Mike corrected, a chill ran up his back as he recalled the crime scene the day before. Mike's eye caught a man he assumed to be John Reed and nodded his way. "Mr. Reed?"
"Yes, that's me."
"I'm Lieutenant Stone, this is my partner, Inspector Keller. And this is our departmental psychiatrist, Dr. Murchison. Considering some of the things you told us on the phone, we thought it might be good for the doctor to hear first hand what you had to say."
"Yes, and thank you for coming down here. It would have been hard for me to get away without closing
shop," the bar owner said as he extended his hand in greeting the three men. "Let's grab a corner table and talk. Thankfully,you're here at a slow time, so we shouldn't be interrupted."
Steve pulled out his ubiquitous notebook. "Can you tell me the last time you saw Rodney Jackson?"
"Certainly, he was here for the Saturday evening shift," Reed responded.
Mike nodded. "What type of work does Mr. Jackson do for you?"
"He works in the back as general kitchen help. We're a bar that serves some basic pub food, so he fixes sandwiches, soups, salads, fries and then he does the dishes, and generally keeps things clean."
"How long as he worked for you?"
"About two years."
"And during that time, have you had any problems with him or noticed anything unusual?" Steve continued the questioning.
"Not that I have noticed. He's quiet and he keeps to himself most of the time. We call him the 'gentle giant' around here." Reed added.
"We saw in the description that he was 6'4," Steve offered as he looked at Lenny.
"At least 6'4" - maybe a couple of inches taller. And he's somewhere between 250 pounds and 300 pounds," Reed agreed. "Generally, he's a pretty nice guy, but Saturday night, he wasn't so gentle. He was angry and really rough with some of the other workers. Toward the end of the shift, he was rambling almost incoherently."
Lenny was interested in the personality change. "Did you have any indication of this type of behavior on a prior shift, or was it new on Saturday night?"
Something had to trigger this, Lenny thought. "Does Mr. Jackson use drugs?"
"Not that I'm aware of." Reed looked around thinking about a time in the past which might indicate Jackson had shown he had other problems."
"But do you know for certain?" Lenny pressed.
"No, I don't," John Reed answered.
"It might be good if we talk to some of the others that were here Saturday night," Mike thought carefully. "Are any of those people here now?"
"One of the other kitchen guys, Sam, is here, as well as our regular bartender, Pete. Pete's over there," Reed pointed. "We can take a walk back to the kitchen to talk to Sam," Reed suggested.
Mike looked around the bar. "That sounds fine. Steve, why don't you talk to Pete? Lenny and I will go talk to Sam. If Pete says anything that may be of interest to Lenny, grab him, okay?"
"Got it, Mike," Steve replied as he headed over to the bar.
Reed walked back to the kitchen, followed by Mike and Lenny.
"Sam, these are two men from the police department." Reed finished the introductions. "What can you tell them about Rodney from Saturday."
Sam, an elderly gentlemen with a kind expression, thought for a moment. He never stopped working as he spoke with the men. "Rodney wasn't himself. He had a short fuse and got flustered easily. I tried to get him to lighten up, but he was in a foul mood," Sam said as he wiped the counter.
"Did he tell you if anything was wrong?" Lenny asked.
Sam grabbed the bottle of cleanser and realized it was out. "No, he said I couldn't be trusted. He said I was like everyone else…and then he clammed up."
Sam walked over to a supply closet and opened the door. Rodney Jackson jumped out and shoved Sam to the floor. He then picked up a kitchen knife and swung it at Lenny, slicing his side. The large man moved surprisingly with great speed and ran through the swinging kitchen door into the main bar area.
Lenny grabbed the wound and collapsed on the ground.
"Lenny!" Mike yelled as he reflexively grabbed him while he fell. The senior detective quickly examined the wound. "Hang in there, Lenny. You`re bleeding, but it`s not too bad."
"Go after him, Mike. I'll be all right," Lenny choked out. "He's out of his head and you don't know what
he's going to do next."
Mike glanced at the swinging kitchen door and knew he needed to pursue Jackson. Mike heard a loud crash coming from the other room.
"Mr. Reed, stay back and if you have a phone back here, call an ambulance."
The Lieutenant followed Jackson through the swinging door.
Jackson ran out of the kitchen with the bloodstained knife hidden from view. Steve heard the commotion and turned to face the suspect.
"Rodney!" the bartender yelled in surprise. It was the only identification Keller needed.
"Police! Hold it!" The detective sprinted across the room and tackled Jackson. The collision resulted in a table and several chairs toppling over.
Jackson quickly overpowered Steve by slamming his head into the hard wood floor and straddling him. The
detective struggled to regain his freedom, but to no avail. Jackson immediately brandished the knife as Steve shifted his focus to retrieving his gun.
In response, Jackson grabbed the detective's throat and began choking him with his right hand while tapping the knife onto his own thigh. Steve could hear the suspect mumbling incoherently. "You did her, you…you…I will kill….," followed by ramblings.
The extra weight the man had on Steve only added to his advantage. With his survival instincts in full force,
the detective tugged in vain at Jackson's hand. Seeing the crazed look in Jackson's eyes and feeling his steel grip, Steve realized that the suspect was not in his right mind and his chance of overpowering him was non existent. Still, he fought. It was all he could do.
Mike broke through the swinging kitchen door. The scene instantly terrified him. "Hold it, Jackson!"
"Get out of here!" Jackson yelled as he continued to squeeze Steve's throat. "He cheated with her and he's going to die! I'll kill all of you for what you did."
Mike flinched as he saw the damage that Jackson was doing to his own leg with the blade of the knife. Clearly, he was impervious to the pain.
Stone had to act swiftly, while not further agitating his suspect. "Jackson, back away. He's not who you think he is. Let him go."
With every intention of plunging the kitchen knife into his captive, Jackson reared back with the blade in his left hand.
A loud blast ended everything. Jackson's blood sprayed across Keller, but the detective didn't notice. Instead, he saw the suspect, along with the knife, fall quickly towards him. Fortunately, Jackson's hold on Steve's neck loosened and he quickly moved his head to avoid the blade.
A silence fell over the bar. The sharp kitchen knife pierced the hard wood floor less than two inches from Steve's right ear. Exhaling at this discovery, Steve found it hard to breath under the limp body. He hoarsely
pleaded for assistance. "Get him off of me!"
"Take it easy." Mike assured as he ran to his partner`s side. "Are you all right?"
The room was spinning, and Steve felt a wave of nausea hit. "I'm fine," came the reply.
Mike rolled Jackson's heavy frame off his partner. He gasped as he saw how blood soaked Steve was. "Are you sure you're all right? You are covered in blood."
"It's his," Steve noted as Mike slowly helped him to sit up. Mike saw more blood near the back of his shirt collar. Steve rubbed a spot on the back of his head and felt a warm sticky substance. "Well, most of it."
John Reed popped through the door. "An ambulance is on its way." As he saw the remains of the gentle giant, Reed was shocked. "My God!"
Mike turned to Steve. "He cut Lenny. Got him in the side. I`ll go check on him and be right back."
Hearing this, Steve staggered up and followed his partner to the kitchen area.
The next day….
Lenny lay in the hospital bed of his private room, flipping through a magazine but unable to concentrate on the content. The doctors had informed him that he'd be a patient for forty-eight hours and Lenny was already restless.
Mike opened the door a crack and took a peek in. "You okay for visitors?"
"Absolutely! I have no idea why I'm still here. This was just a glorified paper cut. How's Steve doing?"
"Well, you can ask him yourself," Mike declared as he opened the door all the way to allow his partner through.
"I'm fine," Steve commented hoarsely. "How `bout you?"
Lenny surveyed Steve from the bed. He was dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a ball cap, which was definitely not the normal work attire Lenny was used to seeing as far as the young man was concerned. The t-shirt did nothing to cover the bruises around his neck, however, and the sight of the ugly marks made
Lenny wince. The ball cap partially covered a white bandage on the back of his head. Lenny thought the one word that described Steve's appearance was`peeked'.
"I'm okay. How's the neck? It looks painful!" Lenny observed.
"Well, it`s not too…" Steve started to speak.
Mike interrupted to his partner`s chagrin. "The doctor wants him to limit his talking for now. That said, he expects everything to heal up just fine."
"And the head? He had a concussion, right?" Lenny directed his question to Mike while Steve looked perturbed.
"A mild one. And you know they kept him here overnight to be safe. They wanted to make sure there was nothing else going on inside that head of his," Mike joked.
"Speaking of nothing going on inside his head," Lenny began as he redirected his question to Steve, "what on earth were you thinking tackling a guy twice your size?"
"He wasn't twice my size…" Steve squeaked as he quickly felt the need to defend himself. "Besides, from where I was standing by the bar, I didn't think he was armed. After I heard Pete identify him, I didn't want him leaving the premises."
Mike`s image of Steve pinned down by Jackson was still fresh in his mind. "He had more than 100 pounds
and a half foot on you, at least. Plus he was out of his mind crazy."
Lenny was eager to hear if they had learned anything more on what triggered Jackson`s condition. "Crazy? Hey, that's my area of expertise. What did you find out, by the way?"
"He was a drug user, and had a thing for LSD. Looks like he bought a batch of bad acid. Too bad for his wife and her mother. The ME found the remainder of it on him yesterday." Mike recalled the phone call he
received from Lessing after the Medical Examiner's office searched Jackson's clothing and performed the typical toxicology tests.
Lenny wasn't terribly surprised by the finding. "That's a shame. It's rare to have an extremely violent reaction like that, but it does happen. It triggers paranoia in the user and can really cause problems. That
can happen to anyone. Even to a `gentle giant`, as his boss characterized him."
"Jackson was hiding in that supply closet, right?" Steve managed to choke out. Mike glanced at him disapprovingly as he heard his scratchy voice.
Lenny postulated for a moment. "If he was in a paranoid state, he may have elt that everyone was after him. The bar itself would feel like a safe haven to him, but not the people. That's probably why he was
Mike agreed. "Lenny, if we had known that there was a chance he was going to be there, I wouldn't have asked you to come over. I'm sorry about all of this."
"It's not your fault, Mike. Believe me, it comes with the territory. But the next time you want to meet me at a bar, let's make sure there's some beer and pretzels involved, okay?"
"Lenny, just so you don't develop some irrational fear of bars in the future, I'll take you and Buddy boy here out when you are both recovered. Deal?"
"That will be just what the doctor ordered." Lenny smiled.