Two Blind Men and a Fool
by Sherman Smith
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Earl Crier wakes screaming from nightmares in which his ship sinks in the Arctic in World War II. He has survived but is now blind. He takes refuge in music and in the kindness of Stella. Meanwhile, other veterans return, and their most serious wounds are not always visible.
Chapter 6: Elroy
Elroy lurked near the doorway, a silent predator, and stared with cold, feral eyes at the new orderly. He didn’t care if Henry was a so-called Nisei, a war hero. Hell, he was a Jap and didn’t belong here.
Elroy wanted to nail the bastard, to get something on him he could use for blackmail or better yet to get him fired. If he could get away with it, he would kill the slant-eyed son of bitch. He stared at Henry with a self-satisfying hatred.
Truth was, Elroy really did not give a rip if Henry was Nisei. Elroy didn’t like or trust anyone, the color of their skin be damned. It wouldn’t hurt business any to scorn a Jap, not in this place.
Stella was the one person he could not manipulate, and that festered in his soul, as if he had one. The fact she had taken Henry under her wing only put an extra target on Henry’s back.
The hospital had been easy pickings until she came on board. When any of the patients needed booze, smokes, girly magazines, something other than hospital chow, Elroy was open for business on a cash-only basis. If any of the staff wanted time off, switch a shift, or had a complaint, they paid for it or it didn’t go upstairs.
The doctors were the most profitable. When the high and mighty bastards screwed up — and they did — they paid. That was until Stella showed up. Under her watchful eye, the docs did better, and that had cost him a bundle. If it had been up to him alone he would have taken care of her, but not before she paid with a pound of female flesh.
He shifted his eyes to where he couldn’t quite see her as he felt the blood-lust throb in his corded neck, and below. If it wasn’t for Victor Mann, the hospital administrator, he might have already satisfied the urge.
Mann protected his back and Elroy returned the favor. Victor Mann was a useful puppet for the moment. Fools had limited value. Stella and Henry were two of a kind: dangerous and not to be underestimated. Both to be eliminated.
Mann did not like to dirty his hands with staff issues and had left enforcement to him. That was until Stella had come on board. Try as he might, he had not been able to get anything on the bitch, and now he was about to play hardball.
No, sir, they are not going to screw up a sweet deal, he thought as he watched Henry coddle a patient. Given the chance, every man jack in the ward would gladly carve out his Jap guts with a knife. Elroy held onto that thought. Nahhh, too risky.
Copyright © 2013 by Sherman Smith