Finally, the one who had led me to the van spoke up. “Happy Halloween!”
“What?” Now I was really confused. Halloween was Monday. Last Monday. Seemed a bit late for a Halloween prank.
“The whole thing was fake.” He gestured down the street. The ambulances and police cars were gone. No more flashing lights. “It was part of a TV show pilot…” He shrugged. “You weren’t supposed to be there.”
“Bullshit. His injuries were real.”
Another man spoke up. “They can do amazing things with make up and special effects nowadays.”
I wasn’t stupid. I nodded slowly and smiled. “Sure.” I chuckled a bit for good measure. “Wow. Completely had me fooled.”
“Here.” I was handed a damp towel. The rust color of dried blood stained the white fabric as I cleaned up. It sure smelled like real blood.
My hands appeared clean but I still felt contaminated. I would for a long while…
I handed back the towel and was passed my bag.
“Thanks.” I slung the strap over my shoulder. “Am I free to go?”
I started walking quickly, back the way I had come. I wanted to put as much distance as possible between us. As I neared the place where the body had been, I turned back. The van was gone. There should have been blood on the ground, but it had been cleaned up, somehow, as if the man had never existed. The whole thing had been so surreal…
Then I remembered the business card I had shoved into my pocket.
I fingered the corners to make sure it was still there. No way was I going to pull it out in case someone was watching.
I picked up my pace. They said I wasn’t supposed to go to work. Like they could be trusted. I reached for my phone but realized it was still in their possession. I spun around, then remembered they were gone.
Fine. Maybe I could use the “find my phone” function to locate the bastards. I walked even faster toward the hospital.
Then, again, did I really want to know?
I wondered if it would be a HIPAA violation to look up his name in the electronic health record at the hospital. Probably. But still, I had “treated” him. We had established a physician/patient relationship, right?
Wait. How did they know MY name?
An idea struck me. I watched for traffic as I carefully crossed the street, using a hand to pat just above my left breast.
My fingers connected with a cold piece of plastic. My ID was clipped to my shirt collar. I kept it on a retractable clip so I could pull it out to unlock doors. It would zip back up when I let go.
Well there you go…