The names of the husband wife, and prime tormenter in this story are the same as some you may see in other stories I have posted. These are all stand-alone stories. This is not a continuation of any others with the same character names. I am just too lazy to come up with other names for every story.
Jenny Marie Stephens was a pure, unsuspecting victim. She just didn't know it yet as she studied her watercolor. She was on her third try of the blown-up view of the purple cannas. Jenny was in a unique position as an artist.
Some of the better artists her age had been much better when they were all young, but were making a living at it. At some point, the better ones had come to a stage where they had begun to develop a formula. They were able to use their level of skill to put out large volumes of paintings that were good, but they were not challenging themselves to improve. Just roll out the paintings and collect money.
Jenny, on the other hand, had struggled all her life to improve. She was fortunate to have been married to an older, businessman, who had insisted that she stay home to take care of their daughter. Although it was a financial struggle, she was able to stay at home, exercise, take care of their daughter, and paint. She often made seven or eight black and white sketches, color studies and alternating studies of each subject she was trying to paint.
As a result, finally at the age of forty, she was beginning to get reasonable recognition for her work. She had been inducted into the National Watercolor Society and several other organizations.
Marcel Robidoux was another matter. He had been kicked out of medical school for performing several inhumane experiments. He had been released from an IT consultant's office for some questionable business practices. Never-the-less, he was close to being a genius. The man had gone through college on a track scholarship. He was an Olympic caliber high-jumper, hurdler and 800 meter runner. "The Black Onyx," as he was called was always in the headlines; sometimes for taking indecent liberties with women; sometimes for outrageous wins against nationally ranked competition.
Women were terrified and also drawn to him. For the last few years, he had completely fallen off the radar as far as recognition went. Nobody had seen him for several years. It would be hard to miss this six-foot, six inches tall athletic savage.
People like the Ted Kacznski, the Unabomber, who chose to live in virtual isolation in a 10'-0" by 20'-0" cabin in Montana, Marcel chose to hide in plain sight.
The University Hospital, right in the middle of town was huge. It was the largest single employer in the state, with 20,000 employees. The Hospital was well over a hundred years old. It had grown from a small teaching college to a megalith that covered several city blocks. The state was continually adding space to the building. One day it would be funding a million dollars for a neutron microscope, the next, they had to spend more than that for the space to put it in. The slightest change in air-conditioning currents would blow the specimen off of the slide.
Most large hospitals contain huge areas; even whole floors of unused space so that when technology makes the laboratory or surgery suites obsolete, they can build another on a different floor without shutting down any operations. Marcel was able to find anonymity in the massive medical metropolis, where all is required for acceptance is an identification tag. Nobody knows who you are. They do not recognize the names on the tags; only that you have one.
The complex was forever remodeling, demolishing and refurbishing one part or another of the complex. Workers were moving in and out all hours of the day. Lots of construction work was done at night, so as not to obstruct the daily functions of the hospital.
Marcel was able to go into the general maintenance and facilities department during the night. When nobody was around, he was able to write and issue change orders to construction projects that were underway. Throughout many hospitals, it is common practice to make accommodations for the many doctors that are on the floor for eighteen hours a day. There are suites, with bedrooms, kitchens, toilets, showers and television rooms. The doors are marked with the radioactive sign rather than a tag that lists it as "Doctor's Quarters." The doctors do not want it to be known where they are so they can have some privacy. They can sleep or dictate notes while they watch television.
Marcel had been able to get into the plan files with the AutoCADD Program, make changes and authorize the amounts through change orders. As long as the total for the project did not exceed 5% of the original bid, there were rarely any questions. Marcel was able to portion off the corner of a new laboratory suite for "Future Exam Room."
The space had a number of unusual items. The normally gypsum board walls had 8" studs with 5/8" gypsum on each side. The walls were stuffed with batt insulation. Several inches inside of the gypsum walls, a set of 8" concrete block walls surrounded his special suite. The cells of the block and the space between the concrete were filled with more insulation.
The doors into and out of the suite were an "airlock," with two sets of doors. The hospital floors are sixteen feet from floor to floor, so that large amounts of ductwork, tubing and many other items can be installed above the ceiling.
Marcel was able to walk on framing above the ceilings and peek into all of the other activities and install cameras above the ceilings to see what was going on.
Marcel was also able to break into the computer system of the hospital. By adding just a few cents on to each person's bill, he was able to siphon off large amounts of money into an account of his own. With his run of the computer system, the interstitial spaces above, and phantom additions to empty spaces, Marcel could do any number of things.
Finally one day he spotted Jenny bringing in her daughter for a checkup. Her daughter, Stephanie was in for her checkup. Each year the girls on the track team had to get a checkup before track season started. Stephanie was one of the better sophomores, running the 800 meters in just over 2:00 and the 1600meters in just over 11:00.
Marcel was intrigued with both of the women. Jenny was older, but spectacularly well toned. Her long reddish-brown hair was done in a French braid that cascaded down her back to just below her waist. Her dark, wire-rimmed spectacles gave her green eyes a scholarly look. Her blue, men's, oxford cloth button-collar shirt was starched and tucked into the top of her dark blue Levi Jeans. Her boot-cut jeans broke slightly at the bottom over her black, lizard skin boots.
Her daughter, Stephanie looked like they were almost twins. Her mocha-sun tan was just a little darker than her mother's. Her chocolate colored logging boots were covered at the top by the grey wool socks that were folded down over the tops; just below her knees. Her cut-off Levi shorts had been hemmed and stopped just an inch or so, past her crotch. Her reddish brown hair was braided a couple of twists just above her neck and tied off with a rubber band for a "fish-tail" braid. The braid hung down the right side of her and covered one breast. The other pink nipple seemed to thrust itself innocently through the almost transparent bra give a good suggestion of how big her cantaloupe sized breasts were.
It was a normal exam. The doctor assured her it was just a formality, and the results would be emailed to them the next day.
The following day, Jenny got some alarming news. When she opened her mail, she found that their health insurance had been canceled because of her daughter's test results. Their email said that the doctor giving the exam had found signs of cancer and was referring the family to a specialist. The doctor said that Jenny should come in to visit the specialist and he would go over the results. Jenny was stunned. They barely had money for the insurance the way it was. With any kind of bad news, they could be ruined.
Jenny was near tears when she told her husband, Joe, and asked him to go with her the next day. They had no idea that Marcel had faked the letter about the insurance being canceled. They had no idea that he had intercepted the doctor's email and changed it to include his own name as the specialist for referral.
The next day, when they went into the hospital, the receptionist found Dr. Rubidoux's name in the computer and buzzed him on his cell phone. The doctor came around the corner and introduced himself.
Jenny's blood chilled when she saw the man. She didn't know what to think of him. At 6'-6" tall, she had not ever seen such a tall and athletic black man before. Yet here he was, a doctor who potentially held their daughter's life in his hands. On the one hand, his manners and speaking were comforting; on the other hand, there was something potentially evil in his eyes. He seemed vaguely familiar. She felt she had seen those eyes before; but where?
The doctor escorted them to his office.
"Mr. and Mrs. Stephens, I have reviewed your daughter's x-rays, her blood tests and heart cardiograms. I am certain she has a concentrative heart problem and also some serious blood irregularities. My problem is that your insurance has been canceled and we, as a hospital, cannot afford to give her the treatments she needs.
.... There is more of this story ...