It started as a joke. I told Connie I would take care of the kids while she picked REB up at the hospital, thinking Connie would say 'no that's your job'. Instead, Connie loved the idea, and my two older kids agreed with her, saying they wanted me to play with them while mommy went to the hospital. Now I was sitting in my lounge chair watching all three of my children playing in their sandbox thinking back over the past few years...
I had worked long and hard, but now the job was finished. When I had taken the job of building cabinets for Old Man Morris, I figured it would take me about 6 months to complete his library, but after I had completed the shelving in the library, we had a discussion. No, nothing was wrong; he wanted to have the rest of his house brought up to the same standard I was using in the library.
Now, if you are thinking I am an old man, then think again. I was 32 years old; my weight is still steady at 205 pounds at an even 6 feet. I am no ladies man, I only have 29 inch inseams on my pants and I wear a size 48 long suit jacket to make up for the short legs. Don't get me wrong, I only have one suit and one sports jacket for when I go out on special occasions. I lift weights 3 days a week, and ride a bike three days a week.
My cabinetry and renovation work don't come cheap! I use only the best wood and veneer, none of that cheap fiberboard that falls apart. Not only that, but if I can not glue and splice it, I use screws and nails only; no darn staples that pull out or weaken over time.
At any rate, I was extremely happy I had a check for $45,000.00, which was for my time and labor; hence, it was all mine. Well almost, I had spent about $12,000.00 on a new computer controlled specialty wood lathe so I could turn out several poles that were identical. I also had a fair amount of lumber left over, so I was thinking of building my own office.
The best part was I had two contracts to be completed over the next 14 months, which I would not have to start for two months. They were for one of Old Man Morris' friends. The first for his winter house to be completed during the summer, and his summerhouse next winter. Neither house was as complicated as the one I had just finished, which suited me just fine.
"Aw Shit," I thought as I stood on the brake and tried to brace myself before I hit the little Jap number backing out of the driveway four feet in front of me. No, I did not avoid hitting the car. Not only that, but my trailer jackknifed and hit one of the cars parked along the street. When I hit the car, I drove it sideways into the car parked at the curb on the far side of the driveway.
After I shook myself and determined I was in one piece I jumped from the cab of my pick-up and went to see if the other driver was okay.
Now I couldn't help but start chuckling; the driver's window was down and this cute lady was sitting behind the wheel saying "Damn" each time she hit her steering wheel with both hands.
After about dozen hits, I was real concerned and reached through the window and grabbing both of her hands. For a moment, there was a little struggle then she turned to look at me. I do not see how she could have seen me because tears were running out of her eyes at a constant rate, her eyes appeared to be completely unfocused, and mucus was streaming from her nose. Then she tried to jerk loose a couple times and when I would not let loose she fell forward onto my forearms and just started to sob and moan.
That's when this man came running down the driveway yelling, "What the fuck are you doing out of here, slut!"
Then he kicked the front of her car. At that point, he seemed to realize I was there and that she had apparently hit the backend of his car parked on the street. This really set him off. He used more profanity and started around the car parked in front of his car to come at us. I was trying to get my hands free, which now seemed to be locked in a death grip when the police pulled up and asked what was going on.
The man now even with the front of his car was still approaching using profanity on the woman and me when a police officer moved between us asking the man to go get back onto the curb. The man kept approaching shouting obscenities, while the other officer used his radio to call for back up and an ambulance. Then the second officer joined his partner and started to move the man back to the curb. The man resisted then tried to break between them still trying to come towards us, and the officers took him down and cuffed him.
This just increased the volume of noise coming from his mouth, so they dragged him over and put him inside the cruiser with the windows rolled up. This at least reduced the current level of noise drastically. Then the older officer approached us while the younger one started telling people, "The show is over! Please go about your business. Please go home now!"
Meanwhile the older officer asked if I was okay and I told him yes, but it was my truck blocking traffic. He asked if I could move my truck and I told him not at the moment because it is too wedged in and would cause more damage than I had already.
The officer then changed the subject and asked the driver if she were okay. I turned to look at her and realized that while she still had a death grip on my arms, she was aware of her surrounding and was shaking her head to indicate she was okay.
Another cruiser and the ambulance arrived and the EMT came over and talked to her for a minute and she started to relax her grip on my arms. The younger EMT then started to open the passenger side door when she yelled, "No" and latched onto my arms tighter than ever. The older EMT waved the other EMT off and asked her what they could do to help her. She replied "Nothing." The EMT said that they could not leave her sitting in the car. I suggested that she release me and I would walk around and help her out. She released my left arm, which allowed me to straighten for the first time in a while. I grimaced as I straighten up due to the stress of being bent over.
She asked if I was okay and I told her yes, but I was a little cramped from reaching through the windows and then I repeated, "Why don't you release me and I will come around and help her out." The older of the original police officer said he would be happy to take my place while I came to help her. She immediately tightened her grip on my arm and I said, "Hey, he stopped the other guy from getting to us and I will be in there with you in a minute so why don't you hold his hand?"
She looked at my face and I smiled and nodded my head encouragingly. The officer slipped up behind me and slid his arm into the car right next to mine and she slowly switched arms. I climbed over the front of her car so that she would not lose sight of me and went to the passenger door.
By the time I had arrived, the officer was reaching further through the window and she had moved more towards the passenger side. I had to wave the EMT off then I reached in and helped her out. She immediately released the officer and latched onto my arm again.
Once out, I could see the welts and bruises on her arms, legs, and face. I walked her slowly to the ambulance where she allowed the first EMT to check her over. Not once did she release her grip on me, so I draped my other arm around her protectively, which seemed to help her relax just a bit. When the EMT said that she needed to go to the hospital for further aid, she squealed and held on tighter. I reassured her, then I promised I would go with her to the hospital.
The officer at this point asked her who had beaten her; she just pointed at the police car, and the officer muttered that's what he thought. He turned to the other officer and said to read him his rights. The officer said he would arrest him for domestic violence and assault on a pubic servant. Then he added and anything else we can think up on the way to the station. This got a little smile from her, and she asked if I could ride to the hospital with her.
I told her I needed to stay to move my truck. Another police officer came up and said that he had the keys for the cars and could pull them forward, but they would need a tow truck to move the lady's car. This caused renewed crying and I told her not to worry about it, my insurance would cover it. One of the officers started to say something and I just shook my head 'No'.
The first officer asked me for my truck keys, and said he would have it brought down to the hospital. I told him the registration and insurance documents were in the glove box and to help him self. I also extracted my wallet, gave him my driver's license, and told him I appreciated his efforts greatly.
I asked her if she needed anything from her car, she said her pocket book, and the younger EMT went and retrieved it. When she received it, she removed her driver's license and handed it to the officer, who wrote down the information. He returned it to her, saying she would need it at the hospital, and he would call ahead and have a female officer there to conduct an interview.
We then proceeded to the hospital. On the way, after introducing myself as David Grant, I asked her what her name was. She stated that she was called, "REB". I asked her if that was the first part of her name and she said, "No, it is my initials!" Then she refused to talk about herself any more, and I did not force her to.
It has always amazed me that before a hospital will render help; they must know how you are going to pay for it. I guess I need to be poor for a while to see how to get service without all the red tape. At any rate, I finally told them to take care of her and I would cover the bills. Then they started a song and dance that I was not a relative and needed to give them a cash deposit.
At this point, a female approached and identified herself as an officer and asked what was going on. I told her that REB had been laid off and didn't have insurance coverage and they would not take my guarantee to pay without me making a deposit. I added; I think they feel since I am not a relative they are not going to let me go with REB for treatment, and this set REB off in tears and sobbing again.
The officer, to her credit, looked at the admitting nurse and said, "This is an assault case. If you do not get a step on, I will personally arrest you for impeding an investigation! As of now, I will definitely be talking to the hospital administrator about protocol for accident and assault victims!" Then pulled her notebook and made a show of writing the name down of the admitting nurse and asking for her supervisor's name.
Within five minutes, REB was on a gurney and two different doctors were attending to her. I tried to step out, but REB would not release me so I stood at the head of the gurney with my back to REB and looked at the wall. This seemed to keep me out of the way, and make everybody feel better that I was not watching, and allowed REB to hold onto my hand. I do not think anybody realized that with the way the cabinets sat they worked like a mirror, and although I could not see everything in detail, I could tell what was going on. I learned that she had been sodomized and that some tearing had taken place. She had four cracked ribs that on the right side along with swelling over the left eye. There was no other bones damage, but she did have 25 welts on her body from a belt or strap of some sort, a big abrasion around her right ankle, along with assorted small cuts and bruises.
When the medical portion of the exam was complete, the female officer came in and gave me my keys and driver license, and told me where my truck was in the parking lot. She then signed for the evidence bags, stepped out into the hall and gave them to another officer who took it to the crime lab.
She then asked REB if she could ask her some questions. REB nodded, then the officer asked if it would be better if I left, and REB blushed turned her head and asked me too please stay, that she needed my support for this, and she had something to say to me also.
The officer than asked us to please call her Connie. Connie asked REB to describe when, how often and for how long the abuse had been going on. The last two weeks after she had returned home from being laid-off, REB stated. She had been working in a store when it closed its doors due to the death of the owner. The actions of the boyfriend did not add up to me. There had been no instances of abuse, physical or mental prior to being laid-off. Since then it had been constant and severe.
I wondered if there was a connection between the two events and asked, "REB, can you think of any way the two incidents could be related?"
REB said, "The storeowner and I had an affair two years ago, during his separation from his wife, but nothing since then."
Then REB was quiet for a little bit, then added, "About two months ago, I mentioned the affair in passing to my boyfriend who then questioned me for details about it."
The officer said that the death of the owner was under investigation but that she could not talk about that. REB said that was good, because the storeowner had been upset for several weeks and had taken cash from the business several times. Connie then asked if she would be willing to give that statement to the homicide detectives. REB said that she would. I asked REB how she knew this and she stated that she was the floor manager and had personally given the money to the owner and had made the proper notation on the daily cash sheets.
Connie said the interview was over, and did REB know where she was going to stay. REB said no, that her boyfriend had kicked her out of the house and she had no good friends she could stay with and no relatives this side of the Mississippi. I gave the officer my address and said she would be staying there for the next few days anyway.
REB stopped Connie from leaving and said, "About the accident, it was all my fault! I was trying to run away from my boyfriend when I backed right in front of David; he had no chance to stop or avoid me!" Then she continued, "Will I get a ticket or anything?"
"Under the circumstances that you were fleeing for your life or at the minimum to prevent further injury to yourself; I don't think any citations will be issued," stated Connie. Then continued with, "But you will have to repeat to the homicide detectives what you told me today, and most likely you will have a fight on your hands with the different insurance companies involved."
I asked REB to wait a minute that I was going to talk to Connie in the hall. I followed Connie out into the hall and asked if the police had enough to get a search warrant for the boyfriend's house. Connie stated probably but it would take time. I then asked, "What if REB asked you to come in and gather evidence on the beating and rape, would a search warrant even be necessary?"
Connie looked at me in amazement, then walked back into the room, and asked, "REB, would you give us permission to search the house for any evidence of the beatings or rape?"
REB said, "If you give me my purse, I will give you my key to the house."
I interrupted to say, "REB, you need to go back there and get your stuff. Now would be a good time; before your boyfriend gets out of jail, and the police will be there to protect you."
REB looked at me pleadingly and I said, "I will be there to help too."
Connie caught on to what I was doing and said, "Yes, if you are there and invite us in, it will not require us to obtain a search warrant because it is your home and you gave us permission to enter for the purpose of investigating a crime."
I told Connie, "I will need time to take the truck and trailer home but I would be more than happy to meet them at REB's house in say 35 to 40 minutes, once we were released."
"REB, would it be okay with you if I stayed with you, while David takes the truck and trailer home. I promise not to leave you alone!" stated Connie.
About then a doctor came in and talked to us. He stated that because the ribs weren't cracked badly, they were not going to tape them; she just needed to rest for a few days. If they hurt too much, she should come back in. As for the rest of her body, a moderately hot bath today would most likely make her feel better, but to stay out of hot tubs until tomorrow evening, when it would be good to loosen up her muscles and ease the aches and pains from the beating. I told him I would ensure that was done and asked, "When can REB leave?"
He said, "As soon as you pay the bill!" Then he chuckled and said, "The doctor fees had been waived and that several X-rays and meds never made it onto her chart. We would like to thank the both of you for not putting up with the crap in admitting and getting the policy changed."
"Doc, I wish I could take credit for that but I think Connie did that more than anyone!" I stated.
"David, if you had done what they wanted, I think you would not have gotten any money back. Further your speaking up gave me a reason to make of couple calls. The police knew about the situation but couldn't do much until someone complained, or it affected them directly. Incidentally Doc, that nurse will no longer be working in admitting nor will her supervisor!" stated Connie.
"How the heck did you get that done so quickly?" I asked.
"Like I said, the police were aware of it but had no complaints. Therefore, when you provided the verbal complaint I called my boss and told him what I had done, and he called the DA who paid a quick visit to the Hospital Administrator and they did a little horse-trading. To keep us out of the hospital they are going to do a complete internal review of admission policies. In addition, there will be an audit of billing practices by a third party, acceptable to the DA and hospital and any irregularities in the way of over billing will be corrected," explained Connie.
The Doc looked at Connie and said, "Connie any time you need to see a doctor, please come see me! I have special fees for my heroes!" With that said, and Connie blushing, he took his leave.
I said, "Well, I will go pay the bill!"
REB squeaked, "Clothes?"
I laughed and said, "What about them? You look good enough to eat! Why would you need clothes?"
REB started to smile then realized exactly what I had said and turned a bright pink.
Connie laughed and said that she would go and find some scrubs for REB to wear home. As Connie left, I started for the door and REB squeaked again, "Please! Don't go!"
"REB, I can not spend the rest of my life connected at the hip with you. We would both start to hate each other very shortly! Look, see the counter over there?" as I pointed it out, "That is where I am going, and you will be able to see me the whole time. I promise to come right back. Okay?"
"Okay, I am sorry I interfering with your life!" stated REB in a low sorrowful voice.
"No you are not, and I repeat not interfering with my life. I just don't want you to become so dependent on me that you can not go to the bathroom without me there. I plan to help you anyway, I can! So hang in there." Then I turned and walked out of the room.
As I left the room, I almost walked into Connie and she whispered, "Way to go! You have to get her back on her own two feet." Then she entered the room with a cheerful "Hi, the scrubs will be here in a few minutes."
I asked at the nurse's station if they could arrange for me to pay the bill here due to the circumstances. One of the nurses said, "I'll call and if I have to I will go get it personally."
I thanked them much and head back to the room to find that REB was behind the curtain, so I hung out in the hall until they pulled the curtain back.
Connie asked if we were ready to go, and I said as soon as the bill gets here. Just then, the nurse stuck her head in the door and said the Hospital Administrator is here with your bill.
After introduction were complete, Dr. Gray said, "I have the bill and while it seemed that certain parts of it are missing I would be more than happy to accept the amount indicated as being the full amount due."
I accepted the bill and said, "I have to agree that this seems to be a little short but I will be more than happy to pay it and reaching my wallet. I counted out $750.00 and gave it to the doctor. Dr. Gray indicated that the bill was only $650.89 and I said, "I'm sure that you could find a use for the difference, like a Christmas party for the kids stuck in here during the holidays."
Dr. Gray stated that he would see to it personally, and let me know when it was. As we left through the Emergency Room doors, Connie asked why I had given them the added money. I looked at her and said, "I do not want to come in here hurt, and find out I am not welcome. This way, he cut me a deal and saved face all at the same time."
The emergency room doctor came flying out the door after us, he handed me a bottle of pills and said, "Give her one every 4 to 6 hours for pain!" Then he handed me a small envelope and said, "Give her one of these for the next four nights and it will help her sleep!" I shook his hand and he turned and walked back in.
I helped REB into the truck and told Connie I would meet her at the house in 35 to 40 minutes, and she said, "No, I will be following you." I asked her why and she stated that now was not the time or place. It took me a little over a quarter of an hour to get from the hospital to my house.
I parked the truck and trailer in front of the shop doors, opened the one closest to the center. I packed several loose tools from the bed of the truck into the shop and stacked them in the center of the floor. During this time, Connie had been talking to REB. I approached the truck and removed another garage door opener which I used to open the last garage door at the other end of my house.
Leaving the opener behind I walked to the now open garage and pulled out my Lincoln Navigator and asked the women to get in. Connie suggested that REB get into the back and sit in the center where she could see us both while she talked to us. I started for the house REB lived in, when Connie dropped the first bombshell. "I am not really with the police; I am with the Secret Service."
I pulled over and stopped, saying, "Okay, what's going on?"
Connie said, "Please continue driving. We need to get to the house. Others are waiting for us, I will explain on the way."
I got the SUV moving again wondering what was next.
"REB, did you know that over 45 years ago your boss spent several years in prison for making and passing counterfeit money. Now his forgeries were easy to detect but the methods he used to age the bills was exceptional, and he passed his money for several months before we caught him.
The reason I am in town is that we are seeing counterfeit money again; now they are much better and harder to detect, but we can still key in on certain characteristics of the forgery. That was, until about 2 years ago, when all of a sudden two of our four characteristics were corrected, and they have started to age the bills."
"Why are you here then? Were you staking out REB's boyfriend, too?" I asked.
"Yes and no. We had been following the boyfriend because three weeks ago, he deposited $5,000.00 in his bank account and $3800.00 was counterfeit money, which was the first time that counterfeit money had been reported around here. We did not think anybody was stupid enough to just deposit counterfeit money in to their own bank account if they knew about it. So we were following him."
"That led you to me! Right?" asked REB.
"Again, yes and no. We were checking out all of his friends and associates, when we ran a background check on you and found out your boss was none other than an ex-con convicted of making counterfeit money. So we sat back to watch and see what would happen next."
"Then Wednesday, the day before your boss died, we saw him give some money to your boyfriend. Later in the day, your boyfriend tried to buy a money order and when the clerk went to check the bills he was paying with, one of them did not respond to the marker correctly. Your boyfriend thinking quickly just said it must be because the bill was old and gave her a new one, which worked fine. As he was completing his business in the store and the cashier was distracted our agent noted that he stole the pen used for checking money."
"An agent followed your boyfriend back to the house. Later, your boyfriend took about a dozen or so bills outside and burned them in the barbecue, according to the agent who was tailing him. This really confused us and we decided that he had not known what he had been doing so we stopped monitoring him."
"Since then, in talking to your boss's widow we discovered that he had received a 'very scary' phone call later that night, and his widow said that he left for work early the next morning."
I asked REB if her boyfriend had been cussing on the phone the night before she was laid off, and she confirmed it.
"So now we know how her boyfriend came into possession of the counterfeit money and that he was not happy." stated Connie. Then she continued "Two other things that came out in our conversation with the widow. One was that she had no idea he had ever been in jail and as far as she knew he had never strayed from the marriage bed. She did admit that about two years ago they broke up for about two months and she also stated that she still does not have a good reason for that short break-up."
"I thought you said that the counterfeiting was a new thing!" I stated.
"It is new to this area, but it is fairly old. We can get a few limbs here and there but we have not been able to find the manufacturing point. This group seems to be run by pros." stated Connie.
When we reached the house, there were four police officers, a black suburban with Crime Lab written on the door along with two technicians. A discussion was held and it was decided that the tech would enter first and take care of the initial gathering of evidence, and then REB and I would enter and watch them finish up. REB volunteered that the beating and rape took place in the living room, and Head Tech said thanks, they would start in there and let us know when they were finished.
We sat there for about a half-hour; very little talking was done. I had climbed into the back seat and was just holding REB. At one point, she started to sniffle a bit and I asked her if she was okay and she said yes, it just felt good to be held.
Connie reached between the seats and gave her hand a squeeze saying, "Over the years I have seen several rape victims but none as brave as you!" Nothing more was said and we went back to thinking.
About 10 minutes later, REB asked Connie how did they age money? Connie spent several minutes telling us several ways. At the end, she said "That was one of the items that REB's boss would not reveal, and that was why he had received the maximum sentence at the time."
"Connie, from what you have said, I think I might know where they are treating the money!" stated REB
Connie screeched, "What?"
"Well, you have to understand. My boss said that he had been kicked out of his house so I allowed him to stay at my place. He treated me as the daughter he never had and I reciprocated because he was like the father I always wanted. During the whole time, we made love only twice, and that was towards the end and I think we both felt a little guilty about it because we felt like it was almost incest." explained REB, as she gave my arm a little squeeze. I hugged her back knowing this was not easy for her.
After a little pause she continued. "One night there was a problem down at the Laundry Mat he owns. I rode down with him but he had me wait in the car and was back in 10 minutes. What he said though is what is interesting. When he came back, he was agitated and said that if he ever had to hide, it would be in the basement and the only entrance was behind the last dryer. What if they are processing the money down there?" asked REB.
I heard a click and Connie said, "That is the next place I will look. I have your statement on tape and it should provide us with enough data to allow us to get a search warrant. REB you have been exceptionally helpful today more than I can properly thank you for. I am truly sorry that you were dragged into the middle of this. You truly deserve much better!"
REB nodded then started to cry softly; I gave her a hug but got no response. I looked at Connie and she shook her head 'no' so I just continued holding her. After about five minutes REB said, "The SOB wouldn't let me go to the funeral. When I asked and begged he kicked me in the ribs on my right side. God, that hurt. I was chained to the sofa bed in the front room unless I was going to the bathroom or cooking."
"Several times in the past he had tried to ass fuck me but I had told him I wouldn't allow anyone to do that. After the first week, he kept after it saying he would make me beg to be ass fucked. Every time he asked, I would refuse and he would beat me with his old belt. When he would try to mount me, I would get the chain wrapped up in his feet or around my legs, which frustrated the hell out of him. I would end up being whipped again and he would not allow me water or food. After three days, I told him if he would take off the chain and allow me to have some food; I would let him have his way."
REB started to sob harder. I started to rock her a little as I held her. Then she continued, "It was as bad as I thought it would be. The SOB gloated about it and the minute he was finished chained me up and walked away leaving me a lone in the house. When I woke up there was half a hamburger and a glass of water next to the couch, but he was gone again."
"When he returned he had several bottles of liquor with him. He would get drunk try to have sex with me, I would fight him off, then beat me again. Today after he was drunk, I begged him to take me again. After he raped me, he passed out as I hoped. I ran to the bedroom grabbed the clothes that you found me in and started backing out of the driveway." REB ended with a sob.
I hugged her and kissed the side of her neck and rocked her back and forth for a few minutes until she seemed to get it pulled together. Then Connie said, "I know that was tough telling us but now you can heal." Then she held up the recorder and said, 'We can enter this into evidence also. I promise you, he will get some serious time for this!"
One of the police officers approached from the house and said that we could go in now. When we reached the door, the lead crime technician met us and said that they were done with the front room, kitchen, and bathroom. Connie said, "It will only take a few minutes for us to remove REB's personal belongings from the bedroom, would you please be a witness?"
The technician said that he would be more than happy to. REB led us to the bedroom and removed two suitcases from one end of her closet then started emptying her dresser drawers. I grabbed a load of hanging clothes and headed for the Lincoln. When I turned around to head back to the house, there was the other technician and an officer with an armful of clothing. One more trip by the three of us had the closet empty of everything.
I started to open the other closet in the bedroom and REB said "That's the SOB closet."
I pushed the door open and said, "Maybe the belt he used to whip her with was in here?"
The lead technician started to say something when Connie said, "That's right, maybe we should look in there too!"
The lead technician started at the top of the closet and found a shoebox with a picture of a woman's high heel shoe on it and said, "Does this like it belongs to you?"
Connie took the box and slipped the lid further back. It was filled with money, and a pen for checking the money was on top. Connie looked at it and said, "Yes, I agree this seems to belong to you REB. Does anybody disagree?" No one said a word so she put it inside one of the suitcases.
About two-minutes later the lead technician made a comment like, "What do we have here?" and dragged a white trash bag out of the back corner of the closet. It was only half full and the neck of the bag had been sealed with duct tape.
REB said, "I have never seen that before, and I cleaned house the weekend before this all started."
They moved the trash bag to the bed and took pictures of it from all sides. Then the lead technician used a pair of scissors to cut the bag open from the side. He then spread the side a little displaying clothing. The other tech took a couple pictures then the lead tech poked around in the bag for a minute then pulled back saying "This clothing has dried blood on it. We needed to wait and take it to the lab before continuing."
Both technicians did a more through search of the closet and bedroom. REB asked if she could get her computers and books. Connie said, "Based on what they just found, she would prefer that REB waited until the investigation was completed before removing any more items."
I told her not to worry I had a computer she could use. REB looked upset and Connie asked, "Is there something special you wanted?"
REB stated, "Yes, the picture of my brother and his family next to my computer."
We walked into the study; two desks were setup facing each other with bookshelves along the walls behind the desks. On one of the bookshelves, there was a picture, which REB picked up and held against her chest, saying, "I am ready to go."
Once we were in the car, I asked, "Is anybody hungry?"
This caused every one to start laughing including me. I guess it was the realization that today was over and we could take care of life's little normal tasks. For me, I had not eaten since 6AM and it was now after 6PM. This thought brought me up short. REB was still in the scrubs and Connie's day may not be over.
I turned and looked at them and soberly apologized to both women, especially to REB, for not having considered the fact she had most likely not eaten today. At that point, Connie gasped and asked her if she was okay? REB slowly stopped smiling and said, "I'm doing okay, thanks to the both of you. Believe it or not, I would like nothing more than a hamburger, a nice soak in a tub and a good night's sleep."
I said, "I can only think of one place to buy you that hamburger. Have you ever been to "The Bear's Den?"
Both women indicated they had not heard of it, let alone been there. I headed for the Bear's Den, asking them "Please allow me to order and would you like cheese on their hamburger?" They would allow me the privilege, and yes, they wanted cheese.
Now when you pull into the shopping center, you drive to the far end, take a right around the building, drive about a third of the way back and park in front of some dumpsters. Both women were giving me some funny looks as I got out of the Lincoln. Connie asked me if I thought it was safe to park here and I pointed out the two surveillance cameras in the parking lot. I told them I had never had my truck bothered here and I had come here at least twice a week for the last 10 years.
As we entered, the staff greeted me by my first name. We sat at a table towards the back away from the stage area with its little dance floor. Connie said this place is larger and nicer than you would think from the outside. I told her that Bear would come by to talk later, but this place was able to hold 150 people. However, Bear hardly let it get over 100 before he started to turn away customers. I went on to explain that the place didn't start getting busy until after 9 PM.
Mary, the server, came back and asked what she could get for us. I told her we wanted the dinner hamburger with Swiss, Pepper and Sharp Cheddar cheese on it, and to please bring us a pitcher of iced tea. Mary looked at me and said, "What no beer?"
REB spoke up and said she would like a beer, but Connie said, "REB, I think that needs to wait until the pills are finished."
REB looked shocked then said, "Oh I forgot! Today has been so different than the last two weeks I guess I'm still not believing it."
I turned to Mary and said "Thanks, that will be all we need right now."
I watched Mary leave. She did not head for the kitchen, but Bear's office and I knew we would have company soon. I turned and asked REB if she need a pain pill and she said, "No, other than climbing in and out of the car I have not hurt. Maybe I'm just used to it."
Connie looked at her and said, "REB, I think you are still in denial, but let me tell you I have never worked with a braver person."
"I don't know if REB is in denial, but I agree about your assessment about her being very brave. The pain part may be just the mind's way of coping with it, or you may have a very high pain threshold." I stated as I saw Bear walking up to the table.
I stood and said, "Bear you slap me on the back I going to hit you on the nose, you get me?"
Bear gave his booming laugh and said, "Relax, I would not make you look like a wimp in front of these ladies!"
"To hell you wouldn't." I said.
"You mean theses are not ladies?" he asked.
"No Bear that is not what I said!" I replied.
"Oh, then you admit to being a wimp and this is the first time you have ever brought a lady in here." he exclaimed.
"Damn-it Bear knock it off!" I grumbled.
Bear is 6-foot 9 and weighs at least 325. None of it is fat, I know; I work out three days a week with him at the gym. Bear would still be playing pro football if he had not had a career ending knee injury in college. Bear had played center in front of me and I had been sacked only once through the center the whole year and that was the game Bear had been injured in. It was the last game of our senior year.
I looked over and both REB and Connie were laughing. I made the introductions and Bear in his usual suave manner asked, "Connie, why are you carrying that little pea shooter?"
I was trying not to laugh while Connie's mouth did exercises for a moment before she managed to say, "Because I am in law enforcement!"
Bear turned to me and said, "If you are in trouble you could have come to me. You didn't need to get a babysitter."
Bear turned to REB and said, "Really I know David would not be in trouble being he's a wimp so it..."
"Bear! Sit down and shut up! Now!" I said with a raised voice. Darn if he didn't do it.
"Bear, REB here has had a very bad two weeks and we do not need to talk about it right now, okay?" I stated.
"Look, David is my partner and he has never brought a lady in here and I apologize if I did anything to upset you. I was trying to tease David." Bear apologized.
"Bear, there is no reason to apologize, just relax, and let us enjoy your company, okay?" I asked.