Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Dec. 5
The Health Plan
You have reached the mail box for Dr. John Connelly (using Dr's voice) is not available press pound to leave a message or 1 for an automatic page. If this is an emergency call 911 or zero to speak with an operator (beeeeeep) -Hello Doc, this is me, calling about you know what. Doc you are very late and I never make these kinda calls. I’m gonna page you and I expect a return call within the hour.(hung up) Dr. John Connelly was just coming out of surgery when his pager went off and he immediately checked with his mail box and headed back for his office. While leaning way back in the chair behind his desk, he started staring at the ceiling while trying to figure out what he was going to do about his problem and what he was going to say when he returned the call to L.C. . . .
So after about ten minutes of meditation and gathering himself, he picked up the phone and dialed the number he had called for years but never dreading any conversation ever, like the way he was feeling about making this call. After a few rings L.C. picked up and said - Doc glad ya called me right back, I was starting to worry about ya, look doc you know how I feel about phones so I’m gonna get to the point, you are a month late and that's double. John shouted out what?? -look Doc we've been here before and the only reason I am calling is because we go back over ten years but this is big and you know the rules. So I need you to take care of this today. Look L.C. there is no way I can come up with that today as a matter of fact I'm tapped out. Yeah, I heard that you been going to other people and you are in deep everywhere.
So' since we go back and I know you will make it good, I’m gonna give ya a number to call. Grab a pen, (pause) now this guy helps out guys like yourself. The number is 347 5252, I recommend you call him right now and gimmee a call back after you talk. Oh yeah' Doc let's stay in touch until we get this problem fixed. Ok? - John replied' sure L.C. anything you say. (L.C. said) "Good I'm sure everything is gonna be ok". Then hung-up, John sat back and exhaled real loudly and closed his eyes and shook his head from side to side. Then he envisioned a newspaper article that read Dr. John Connelly was found dead in the trunk of his car in a parking lot at Imperial Beach and is survived by His wife Toni and his two sons Jacob 12 and Larry age 10.
John was totally terrified when he talked to L.C., He knew what he was capable of doing and he didn’t want to do anything to get on his wrong side, but then again how much worse can things be. He was thinking about what he could do to get out of this jam he was in and what bothered him even more was how nice L.C. was to him. He heard of people disappearing for one 10th of what he owed. But 1.5 million is what he owed and he couldn’t raise 750 grand how in the hell is he going to come up with double. He had already mortgaged everything and his bank accounts were empty and credit cards were maxed out. He looked around his office at his wall of achievements as he started tearing when his gaze rested on his latest trophy,” The American Medical Association Surgeon of the year”. He was 43 and was the Chief Surgeon at Rady Children’s Hospital, and was said to be the best Pediatric Cardiologist in the State. He started laughing and "I'm probably the biggest compulsive gambler, Boy I really did it this time" he said out loud.
He was thinking about this past month and how stressful things had been for him and then after finally talking to L.C. and how relieved he was. So he was eager to comply since L.C. was unusually nice about everything and so he called the number that was given to him and a man that sounded just like Joe Peschi in the movie "Good Fella's" answered and said. This is Joe what can I do for ya? John said L.C. told me to call this number and said someone could help me. (Joe said) Oh yeah you dat Doc he told me about, that was into him real big as a matter of fact you,re into a lot of people for a lot of loot. Yeah that's me John said, Ok Doc listen carefully never mention money or names on the phone as a matter of fact this number you just called is dead after this conversation. We have to meet so we can talk about your problem in a private place. Oh yeah Doc nobody is going to hassle ya no more at least until after we meet.
I tell ya what Doc why don't we get the ball bouncing right now; can ya get away for the afternoon? Dr. Connelly replied -Anyplace anytime. Joe said' Right answer Doc, I see we're gonna get along just fine. So meet me at the Fashion Valley Mall, in the parking lot where the trolley stop is at in 30 minutes is that ok wit you? That's great he replied. Good see you there (hung-up) John Connelly did not know what to think but from where he was sitting, this was a blessing. Considering the alternative which losing everything he owned and his new wife of 6 months. He shook his head thinking about what would happen if she found out about his gambling or if anything got back to his superiors. L.C. recommended the guy so it must be legit. When he got to Fashion Valley mall he was excited and nervous and parked the car next to the fence by the trolley stop.
After about ten minutes he got another call from Joe, he said' Hey Doc, think you ought to know I ain't gonna show up, that's not how I operate. I just wanna see if you were on the up and up. First things first, and do exactly what I tell ya to do. Go to your trunk and you will find a black gym bag put your cell phone in the trunk and walk away from the car and head west toward the street and open the gym bag. Did ya understand what I just said? John replied' Yeah but how did you put something in my trunk? I'll explain everything to ya, now let's do this. (Hung up) John got out the car and went to the trunk and sure enough a bag was in his trunk so he put his cell in the trunk picked up the bag and began walking toward the street. The bag started ringing so he opened it and answered the cell that was in the bag. Ok John this is your cell phone and from now on you never go anywhere without it.
Joe said' I bought all your paper from everybody, all three million and some change. Now let me explain what's goin on, oh yeah this is not how I really sound, it's a Joe Peschi voice over, sounds real cool huh'? And my name is not really Joe, anyways I run a business that caters to a very elite and unique group of people and a man with your talents can be very useful to me. - (John Blurted out) I, m not doing anything illegal! Listen John, I just saved your ass. You are broke and you owe me three million, I tell ya what, you just give me my three million and this conversation is over. (John) You know I can't do that- (Joe) Look doc I just need you to give me your time 2 or 3 nights a week for 6 months - that's 500,000 a month after that if you want to stay on fine, if not- you can leave.
So now if it’s ok wit you, I'll tell ya a little about myself and my business. Back in 95, I was a clerk and part-time orderly at a Hospital and my dream was to become just like you. I used to work with insurance companies and do the billing for a group of doctors. Then I saw how much ripping off was going on by the insurance companies, the doctors and the hospitals. So I figured out ways for the doctors to get more money and they gave me little bonuses. Which was nothing compared to what I was bringing them. Anyways I became an LPN then an RN in a hospital. I still was planning on becoming a doctor and then one day I was working with this guy in the Dialysis clinic. He was a pretty rich ol dude and the hospital pretty much catered to the rich or the well insured. Which is pretty much all hospitals anymore, well anyways the guy said I’m sick of this dialysis and I'm tired of waiting for a new kidney. He said, hell I'm rich and worked my ass off all my life and now I got to wait in line for a Kidney this is bulls--t. He looked me straight in the eye and said; “ Hey kid I'll give you 25,000 for one of your kidney's, what do ya say”? I said, I don't think our blood types are the same and besides I wouldn't do it for less than 50,000 - He said; “you gotta deal”.
Yep John, that was almost 15 years ago, since then I have grown considerably. I got the waiting list for everybody in the state. Then I got lists for the everybody in the nation. I ran credit checks and then started finding donors for the folks that could afford not to wait. Then the demands increased and my customers started coming from all walks needing different types of things done from plastic surgery to removing or repairing bullet wounds. You name it, I'll do it, but I charge a lot and nobody knows nuthin about nuthin. I now have about twenty guys like yourself working for me - You are the highest paid mainly because I want you to train my guys. Up until now I would not work with kids but there is a demand and Doc believe it or not' you're the best "kid cutter" in the land.
Now here is the serious part so pay close attention. This is a very serious business and there is no room for error. The people I deal with do not have patience or understand failure. So I am the same way with my people. In your bag is an ankle bracelet which you will wear for the duration of our contract. Tell your wife its part of a study that you’re involved with and that it’s only going to last for 6 months. I will only call on you between 7 PM and Midnight Monday through Friday unless something unexpected comes up. I expect you to be available and there are no excuses. I’m paying you over a hundred grand a week for around ten hours work a week do the math Doc’ "no excuses” . You will wear the bracelet and keep my phone with you at all times.
Your whereabouts will always be monitored and you may be listened too or on camera most of the time. You will not discuss this meeting or what you see or hear with anyone. Doc do not let me down or disappoint me. I know everything about you and your family; I don’t just throw money out there on anyone. So Doc is there any questions? Yes ' I have a few -John Said; How did you find out about me?
That I can’t answer for you, next question? What kind of assurance do I have that you won’t try to black mail me into working and doing things that are criminal?
(Joe) Ok Doc everybody asks that same question. First of all just let me say that I have friends in Law enforcement and most of them think that I am providing a great service.
I got the best equipment and techniques. I got meds that the FDA never even heard of and as far as trying to force a guy to perform at this level – it’s simply not good business. I keep my people safe, secure and happy. (John asked) How do I know that you are who you say you are? Call L.C. and the rest of the people you owed and see if you owe anybody. Aw c’mon Doc asks me the question that everybody else asks. Did I sell my kidney? Hell nooo, I found some stupid kid that wanted to make an easy 20,000 and I pocketed 30,000. Sorry to cut ya off but theres some things I forgot to say. I specialize in parts, people parts, that's my bread and butter and my clients don't want emigrants. They want good ol American parts from people with a medical history that can be traced from birth. Look doc I know this is a lot for you to take in for now, but if you think about it, you are one lucky S.O.B.
While john was still sitting in his office with his door closed he began reflecting on his past and what actually brought him to this point in his life, John Connelly the only son of William J. and Sarah Connelly third generation Irish of St. Paul Minnesota John grew up catholic and went to Catholic schools until high school where he was the starting quarterback for two years until a knee injury ended his football dreams, Then attended the University of Minnesota and Med school then interned at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota and at 6'3' light brown hair green eyes and a very muscular build he never had problems finding a date. In fact he had a quite a reputation with the ladies all over the Clinic, That is until he met Carla Bowen, a Clinical Psychologist also from St. Paul that he fell madly in love with at first sight. Carla had dark Italian features since her mother was from Italy and her father was Irish she had dark hair and eyes with very unusual natural reddish blonde streaks in her hair.
Carla was a very soft spoken woman at 5'8 with a very full and curvy figure. He had to smile to himself even now when he thinks about the times they had in the beginning. She had every man in the building drooling when she walked by. He was 28 and she was 26 when they met and they became inseparable almost immediately. Not only was she breathtakingly beautiful, but was smart, witty and fun to be around. And the sex was (he made a silently blowing sound) even though some days he couldn't get ten words out of her, in the bedroom was another story. He recalled vividly being kicked out of hotels and the police and even neighbors knocking on their doors in the middle of the night. They actually would go camping just so they could be left alone and it was like that all the time until she had Jacob. That's when everything changed, maybe it was because Jacob was ill a lot and needed a lot of her attention or we just got side tracked some-how, but that's when I started the online gambling.
At first it was just something to do to kill time. Then she got pregnant with Larry and I got the position at Rady that kept me working long hours and she stopped working to raise the kids and for some reason we never went camping again and I started betting sports and the track. Even after having two boys she was even more beautiful but was all about the boys and we never found time for each other anymore. In any case Carla went on to become the mother of the year and I became the Surgeon of the year and somewhere along the way we lost touch.
Then there was a knock at the door and Brenda put her head in the door and said in a very concerned and soft voice."Dr Connelly are you ok?" and John looked up and replied "C’mon in I’m ok". Brenda immediately went behind him and started rubbing his shoulders and neck as she had done many times in the past. Brenda said' Ok ol man what's up with you? You’ve been moping around for three weeks now and judging by the kinks in your shoulders and neck I would say something is really bothering you. John immediately gave into her massage and began rolling his head around while replying there's nothing wrong just kinda tired that's all. C'mon john this is me, Brenda I know better and you know what ever is said in here stays in here. This last time you acted like this you were going through your divorce. Then she said while laughing don't tell me that brand new young wife of yours is a bit too much for ya (while laughing).
He started laughing with her and remembered as she kept on babbling more fun at him, the first time he met her, five years ago when he became Chief Surgeon and was interviewing for a an assistant for his new post. She came in after he interviewed about twenty applicants mostly staff RN's and he was tired of the whole ordeal and asking the same scripted questions over and over again and he'll never forget when she came in the office and was very beautiful about 5'3 and slender Mexican American only 23 years old at the time and fresh out of Concorde Career school with her Medical Assistant Certificate.
While reaching for her resume and Certificate she said my name is Brenda Ramirez, and then a toy dinosaur fell out of brief case and rolled near my feet under the desk and she shouted "watch out Doc it might bite you" while laughing and trying to pick it up and I fell out laughing with her and then she went on about her two small sons and how they love dinosaurs especially T-Rex and then went on to say she had to buy them when she saw them and then she said I bought an extra toy and pulled out a toy truck and handed me the remote without missing a beat she began telling me why she would be the best person for the job, anyway '45 minutes later and laughing till my stomach hurt, I asked when she could start. Even though she is almost half my age she had become my friend and mentor and sometimes confidant. But this time I had to keep it all to myself and after about ten minutes of a neck massage and much needed cheering up, she left. I'll never forget when she left the office after the interview the toy truck and remote was in a chair in the lobby with a sticky note with my name on it.
A few days later John got the call from Joe, to go to the U.S.D. (University of San Diego) parking garage lower level and wait for instructions. While waiting a black van with dark tinted windows came up with two guys both wearing obvious disguises a fake mustache and wig under baseball caps and wearing coveralls. John got in and they gave him scrubs a mouth piece and a mask to wear then they went south on Linda Vista and turned right on Moreno then followed that around heading north along Interstate 5 until they came to an 18 wheeled Semi pulled over on the side of the road and actually drove inside the back. Then one of the guys got out and closed the door behind and then I was motioned to get out and put in the mouth piece I was given which changed my voice to sound like Alvin and the chipmunks and he was instructed not to take off my mask or remove it ever.
John was then led into into a fully equipped and ultra modern operating room that had equipment that was totally foreign to him and was being monitored by camera's where three other men wearing scrubs was waiting. After briefly educated about the new equipment he began tutoring on infant surgical procedures. The next few weeks were almost Identical and basically working on Infant cadavers and meeting at different locations such as Fashion Valley Mall, SDSU campus and always using semi's with equipped operating rooms.
After almost a month of basically teaching techniques, Dr. Connelly actually found himself enjoying his work. Dr Connelly got a call from "Joe" on his phone on a Thursday when preparing to leave for another teaching session. (Using the Joe Peschi voice over) Hey doc it's me again and I gotta tell ya' the boys love ya and I been watchin ya work on camera. "Boy oh boy" all I can say is "You Da Man Doc" and I got great news for ya we gonna re-negotiate ya contract an before ya git all excited just listen to what I gotta say- I put ya on the wire doc and I got a new customer and I mean a dude wit deep pockets. And I ain't just talkin bout rich, I’m talkin "Bush-Bin Laden" rich.
Now go outside to the garage and look in the back of your truck . C’mon we can talk while ya walk. Hey doc I gotta tell ya right now and I’m gonna do somethin that I neva ever do. I’m gonna level wit ya; because as of right now both of our lives are gonna change forever. First I gotta say remember when ya asked me how I knew about you. Well doc the truth is I been following you for almost a two years and I’m the one that got those guys to give you all that credit. You know for a fact L.C. woulda held ya at three hundred large. I’m surprised you didn't notice how nice everybody got when you kept on asking for more credit. You really need to stop gambling Doc; you ain't no good at it. Anyway, I needed you, and now more than ever. So doc now it's time for you to get "Wet".
(John reached the car and opened the trunk) John said' I got the bag, now what? (Joe said ) Open it and look inside, John said' whoa what's this for? It’s a half mil and the medical records for this rich prick. John said' wait a minute what's goin on? Hold ya horses doc an let me finish tellin ya. This guy has been cracked twice and now he's runnin on some kinda widget from Sweden and it's not takin. He specifically asked for you and made some real unusual requests and Doc this is the kicker he's payin me ten times your paper. I’m gonna give ya a mill for this one, half now the other half when ya done, also three of my top guns to work with ya. Now I didn't havta give ya nuthin and ya know that’ right? But this one is “special” and there is a flip side to all of this.
This guy is probably the absolute most despicable human being you'll ever meet, His name is Count Vladimir an I ain't sh***n ya and he looks and sounds like Count Dracula. He's a real piece of work doc. He, s a big wig from some s--t hole country near "Serbia and who the hell cares", where the people are so poor they are damn near eatin each other. He made all his money by startin a war an sellin weapons to both sides, kinda like what “W.” did over here. Now he finally realized he can't take all that money with him so he'll pay anything to keep on tickin. He also wants to talk to ya before you crack him. Now this is the really serious part and Doc I promise this will be the last time for this, but I couldn't turn it down.
You can't let this guy die. When you sew him up he's gotta have a pulse or everybody stays in the room. (John shouted very loudly) What do you mean stay in the room?, That's not what I signed up for. I got a family to take care of and I refuse to be involved in this. (Joe replied) Hold it; you's just hold it right there, where was all those thoughts about your family when you was gamblin away your life with L.C.. What you think was gonna happen when you didn't come up wit his money? (John replied) I would’ve figured something out and got money from somewhere else. (Joe said) Seriously Doc think about it, Doc you were screwed and minutes away from a busted knee for starters. Now settle down and get a grip, you can do this. And Doc believe me when I tell ya, I'm just as much at risk as you are. If this prick croaks, I'll be lookin over my shoulder for the rest of my life. So straighten up an listen, the donor is brain dead and on a respirator an ya gonna have both of em in the room. That's right Doc this one is gonna be "hot and wet".
All ya gotta do is replace all the damage stuff with the new stuff and the only reason I told ya all of this in the first place, is because he's gonna have a couple of goons in the room with guns an I don't won't you to start freaked out or nuthin. This is for all the apples Doc. And I'd appreciate it if ya, wouldn't leave the house at all for no reason ok? Now take tommorrow off do ya homework and be ready at eight o’clock Saturday morning and I'll have someone pick ya up .
Now is there anything that's not clear? John said Yes, "I’m gonna need two million!!". (Joe replied mimicking Joe Pesci , Good fella's -verbatim) What!!! You gonna need what!!! You greedy m**f*r!!! I give you a break and level wit ya an you try to muscle me!!! Is that what you doin?? Tryin to muscle me??? answer me you prick!! Are you tryin to muscle me?? John answered "I figure you are makin over thirty mill and I,m taking all the risk" (Then Joe starts laughing real loud) Doc you're my kinda guy, I knew from the beginning that we were gonna get along just fine. Go back in the house an look on the top shelf of your wife's closet, there’s a bag way in the back wit another half Mil, you'll get the rest as soon as this prick howdy doos.- We Good? John said “I’m alright I guess”. Oh yeah Doc don't start trippin and don't worry, it's a piece a cake. (Then Joe hung up)
John sprinted back in the house and went to his wife’s closet and found the bag filled with money and threw it against the bed room wall, then laid on the bed. He just couldn’t descibe the way he was feeling at that moment he had a million in cash and felt sick to his stomach he felt violated, scared, backed in a corner with no way out and then he felt he should tell Toni something. He had the urge to scream but he knew he was being monitored by someone, he wanted to punch the walls but he feared he was also being watched by hidden camera’s he couldn’t call the law or tell anyone anything. And now someone had been in his home, knowing this made him feel uneasy and uncomfortable in his own home the same home that he and Toni picked out together.
Then he thought about what would happen if Toni were to ever find out about any of this, he relaxed when he thought about her and recalled the first time he saw her. It was at a Rady Hospital Fund Raiser, he was wearing a Black Tux and she was wearing a Red Evening gown. Which he found out later on was a very rare moment for her. She never liked to dress up and always wore sweaters, blue jeans and sneakers and an artist Tam. Toni’s Birth name is Antonette Hughes the only daughter of Victor and Marylin Hughes of Connecticut . Victor Hughes was a successful retired Wall Street Broker and Toni was groomed from birth like her mother and grandmother before her, to become a trophy wife for some successful professional. She was almost 6’ tall with long blonde hair and blue eyes she could.ve easily pursued a modeling career. As a matter of fact because she wore a Tam all the time his pet name for her was “ Paris Barbie” .
Her parents were loaded, but she never took any money from them. She was too independent and liked making her own way, she graduated from college with a degree in Art and sold her art and working part-time in order to pay her bills. She also volunteered her time to change the world, from saving animals and being a solid Vegan to saving rain forest and stopping Global warming. Oh yeah she's very opinionated, smart and sometimes very outspoken and I was smitten by her beauty at first sight. She loves her independence and sometimes can be a bit much, yet she's not materialistic at all. As a matter of fact, her prize possesion is her fully retored 1965 green and white Volkswagon Van.
It had been almost two years since John's divorce and Toni was John's first real relationship and they seem to hit it off just great from the beginning and on a "whim' ran off to Vegas and got married after dating for 8 months. The boys are either crazy about her or have a crush on her, they practically worship her and she treats them like her own. Everything was perfect for a long time, until she opened that Art gallery. "The Toni Hughes Collection" in downtown Lajolla, It’s a small 15 by 20 "hole in the wall" that she pays 4,000 a month for' in rent. In three month’s she’s only sold one piece for 1500.00 and she’s there all day till late at night seven days a week.
She thought that since the gallery was a couple of blocks away from the “Children’s Pool” that she would get a lot of tourist to come in, but it’s becoming obvious to her that she’s in way over her head. I personally think her sculptures and Canvas work is pretty good but what do I know about art . Anyway she's always going to network or schmooze to get people to come to the gallery and coming home frustrated and tired. She keeps sayin she'll slow down when she gets the Gallery going, but it dosen't look too good right now especially since we never see each other anymore.
It was around 8:30 while John was working in his basement office, when he heard a lot of noise upstairs and was shocked and pleasantly surprised when he realized it was Toni coming in the house especially since she normally comes home around midnight and usually heads straight for bed room and falls out. He then heard the stereo blaring ( It's gittin kinda heavy) even though they both usually listened to classical most of the time.- this was her as she puts it ( Git ready to party song) then she came into his office and jumped into his lap. Shouting "w'ere in the money" and "Baby everything’s gonna be alright" it was obvious she had already had a few drinks.
I sold all my sculptures, can you believe it? Then she shouted "I got the power!!" along with the song and got up and started dancing. Then she said "get up we gotta go celebrate" then John Replied; Toni you know I can't go anywhere right now. That's "ok "we'll party right here!!!! she shouted and then she said John you are not gonna believe what happened at the gallery!!!, This little Asian guy came in around noon and looked all over the place, hell I thought he was just another tourist comin in from the Children's Beach to look around an not buy anything. He didn't say a word for a long time then out of no-where he asked "Are you the artist? I said "yes" then he said in broken English “I like your sculptures and I own a chain of hotels in China and would like you to make sculptures for my Hotels" - So I looked at the guy and said What? Are you kiddin me then said sure I'll be glad too. Handed him a card and pretty much blew him off. The guy left and came back an hour later with a truck and bought every sculpture in the gallery even my brass works he gave me thirty thousand and ten more thousand as a deposit for more sculptures.
His only request was that I work from photographs that he will send me ' I said No problem" He said that he will take everything I make and guarantee me at least thirty grand a month!!!. Toni screamed I can't believe it!! I get to work at home and hire someone to work the Gallery. John got caught up in her happiness and they grilled steaks and Tofu burgers made a green salad and drinked wine and he did something he had never done before he put two sleeping bags together and they spent the night in the back yard and did a lot of making up for the past few months and fell asleep holding each other while looking at the stars.
Saturday morning at around 8am John walked out of his home and got into a chauffeur driven black Limousine that went south on interstate 5 then east on interstate 8 and then north on interstate 15 to The Aero road turn off heading west to Ruffin road then another left to a tall mirrored building with no markings and a security guard at the gate where they went through the gate and proceeded to go underground to a lower level.
John was later led into an elevator by the chauffer then after going down a few more floors underground he was led into a well lit room or operating room where the patient was waiting with two very large men standing on either side of him and one came up to me and patted me down, nobody had on a mask and no camera's were in the room. Joe was right the patient looked like a cross between Bela Lugosi and Vincent Price in one of their vampire movies only with a blue skin complexion instead of pasty white. Then the man in bed spoke with a heavy Russian accent and said "You are Doctor John McConnell, yes?”Yes" John replied he then said 'I am Count Vladimir Rupert Bresni", you may call me Count Vladimir, yes? John nodded in approval, He then went on to say " I have many powerful enemies and I have to take many precautions to protect myself”. (Then he smiled while saying) Fortunately America is a "Democracy" where if you have enough money you can buy anything or anyone. Then he starts laughing which turned into coughing. Then he said' in a low voice "Doctor McConnell I am in pain all the time".
John responded by saying “That’s because your implant is malfunctioning and you're not getting enough oxygen to your extremities. That will all go away immediately after the operation". The Count then said "I trust you John McConnell" and I would like for you to become my personal physician, I will pay you double your salary and give you mansion with all the beautiful virgins you want .Yes? John smiled and said thanks for the offer but, the count cut him off and said or would you prefer young fat boys instead? John started to laugh but saw that he was sincere and Just said that" All my family is here and there is no way I can leave them. The count sighed and said HHHMMMNNN very softly and said give it some thought, yes?
Doctor McConnell said "I sure will", then the Count said. "Your American newspaper say that I am ruthless dictator. They say I do not care about my people, I laugh when I read this". He starts laughing louder and says. Your George Bush and friends buys election then make deal with Osama. Then George breaks deal with Osama. Osama retaliates and lots of people get killed, George starts war makes money. George makes new deal with Osama and then kills Sadam because he refuse to make deal. Then George starts bigger war and makes lots of money for freinds and self. George then use up all American money on friends and self then Oil goes up and country suffer, George make more money. Then George make movie, blame everything on Vice president, people think George is innocent and poor little George makes more money on movie. Now George not president anymore but American hero that make speech, sell book and make "more money". George worse president, but "best businessman" and your American newspaper says nothing about this.
You know, (he paused) it is sad about Osama, he made one very bad mistake, he should have make deal with the new president, yes? This new African American president Barak Obama is very good president and your American newspaper said soldiers confiscated Osama body then throw in ocean. This is not true, your new president is very good man with class, gave body back to family so that family could bury Osama with respect and dignity. I like new president but like George better, George is lot more fun.
I think I like your "Democracy" too, I think I will get some for my-self. Then the count smiled and then motioned to one his bodyguards who then pulled back a partition that John didn't even realize was there before and on a table was a very large and muscular young black man on life support. Then the Count said “Look at my donor" he is 20 year old African American that was shot in drive by shooting. He is strong as Bull and much larger than me; do you think his heart will fit, yes? John replied it shouldn't pose a problem and yes you were very lucky to get such a physically fit donor. The Count then said when I get his heart maybe I play basketball like Michael Jordan, Yes? ( Then the Count laughs very loudly and again ends with a cough)
Then the count said, Dr McConnell I have been told that this should be a very easy operation for you. My bodyguards are very sad because if I die they can never go home again. So you will do a good job, yes? So I,m tired of being tired, enough talk let's begin. Then John said- "I’m ready whenever you are" and then walked outside the room after putting on his mask and met the rest of the team which was a woman and two other men and they all discussed the procedure and began prepping for surgery while preparing the Count John noticed that he had large gold diamond rings on all his fingers and that at age 62 was still in decent shape, he was once very muscular but was very frail at around 165 pounds.
The operation went smoothly, John did all the removing and replacing himself because he wanted to be sure everything was done to perfection and after about three hours the Count had a healthy heart and all signs were great. The other surgeons were all complimenting John on his performance. John then moved over to the donor to remove all the remaining usable body parts even though one of the others could’ve done this. He felt he should complete the job and prepare everything for transport. While inspecting the rest of the body he noticed the two gunshot wounds in the donors left shoulder and then there was obvious trauma to the head but not a gunshot which he found rather odd so he removed the mask from the donor so he could get a better look at the head wound and then everything went dark.
John raced into his home after exiting the Limousine, headed straight for his office and got on-line. He then typed in the name Kenneth Fowler Jr. on "Sign on San Diego" . At the same time he reached in his file drawer for His file. He saw the file was still there and saw all the hits regarding SDSU starting point guard killed in drive by shooting. It went on to say That Kenneth Fowler Jr. was shot in front of a friend’s house in the Lemon Grove area and that he was a second year student at SDSU and son of the reverend Kenneth Fowler Sr. of The First Baptist Church on Palm Avenue.
John then bolted from his chair tore off the ankle bracelet and threw Joe's cell phone on the floor then ran upstairs where he saw Toni in the kitchen and grabbed her by the hand while placing a finger up to his lips and motioning her to go outside in the yard with him. Then almost pulling her in the back yard to the farthest corner away from the house He asked Toni “who bought those statutes from you"? She replied "What?" with a shocked facial expression- (John with increased urgency in his voice) "Toni I need to know who bought those statutes from your gallery'? (Toni) It was some Chinese guy, why do you want to know?? (John) It's important, I need to know his name (Toni) "I don't know, I think he said Ting Tongping or something like that" Then she said John you're scaring me, what's going on? You,ve been acting real strange lately now you drag me in the back yard and start interrogating me. John look at me and tell me the truth. Are you in some kind of trouble? (John paused and turned away from her and then turned back and said) Toni you just gotta trust me on this one Ok. What was the name that was on the check? (Toni) I didn't get a check, he paid me in cash.
John said (with wide open eyes) Toni I want you to go stay with your parents for a while. Toni replied(cutting him off) John tell me what's going on-(John) I can't talk about it, just trust me and for once just do what I ask.(Toni) Look John “I know what this is all about and I’ve been waiting for you to come to me. I know about your gambling.John said" What"? (Toni) John I’ve been hanging out with your son's more than you do for over a year now, what do you think we talk about? They think your gambling is the reason you and Carla divorced. Now I have almost eighty thousand dollars saved take whatever you need and pay these people. John Hugged her really close and said - No it's not that, it's this program I’m involved with it's just got me on pins and needles. Toni then said "John I’m in the best place of my life right now and there's no way I can leave town. (John realized it was useless, he was trapped). He said OK I’m going to have to make some adjustments at work. I guess I’m just overworked and one of my patients died and it just pushed me over the top.
As John and Toni walked back into the house he was thinking about the first time he met Kenny Jr. it was when he had just started at "Rady" and his father was a volunteer at the hospital and they used to discuss religion during his lunch breaks and that one day when he came in to his office with little Kenny dressed in his football uniform with eyes red from crying. Then Kenny Sr. asked me to give his son a "physical" because he would, nt be able to play in the game that afternoon without it. And they were running out of time. So I quickly gave him a physical and every other physical and check up after that until he turned eighteen.
John wanted out of this predicament, but had no way to call "Joe" and there was no way he could let Toni know what was going on. (Toni said while hugging John) “You know I’m here for you and you can talk to me about anything, I’m your wife and beside you no matter what happens”. John kind of smiled when he thought about Toni offering him all of her savings, if she only knew he had a million dollars in cash in the bottom drawer of his file cabinet he just shook his head and hugged her tighter as they walked back in to the house.
John received a call from Joe on the following Thursday which was the only call since the operation on Saturday. (Joe still using the Joe Peschi voice over) Hey Doc Count Dracula is already up an about and Doc I gotta tell ya everybody wants ya. Since that rich cocksucker ain't blue no more he put the word out on ya. This is bigger than I ever expected, all of a sudden you're like Angelina, Brad, Denzel and Jesus all wrapped up in one package and the word is you performed over a thousand major surgeries and never lost a patient. You're a star Doc an people are lining up to get under your knife. (John) Joe hold it, I got enough and I want out. You can keep all the money and that plus my time should be a lot more than what you invested.
(Joe) Did that creep offer you a job? That m**f*r I specifically told him to leave my people alone, Doc you don't wanna mess wit that guy. I know he was all smiles and grins when ya talked to him. But that F/k/n creep is a real snake in the grass. I gotta tell ya somethin bout this guy an trust me, it's a true story. He once asked one of the members of his staff to have sex wit him and wanted him to include his wife and his 8 year old daughter, of course the guy said no.
So the Count threw this party and invited about 50 people that worked for him and their families. The main course was some type of chicken based stew and after everybody ate the main course. He brought out desert in this huge silver covered platter and sat it in the middle of the table. Then the count said the guy was a traitor and that this is what happens to traitors and picked up the cover off the platter and there was the guys head. Then he said with a big ol smile on his face "he was delicious". The whole place started puking even the guys wife and kid, while the Count started laughing.
Doc I swear that was true story, he'll probably lock you up somewhere. ( John) Joe I'm not going with the Count, I just want out. And I know it was you that bought my wife's statutes.(Joe) So you figured it out huh? Yeah ‘ well I sent the China-Man to her gallery, cuz I knew it would make you happy to have her at home witcha Doc.-(John) Joe I,m wearing an ankle bracelet, and I keep your cell phone on me at all times you come in my house, my office, my car and I removed a heart from one of my own patients without realizing it. I've done everything you ask of me.
But my wife was not a part of this deal. Look Joe I’ve trained your guys and you’ve made well over what you thought you would and to be honest about it, I am not happy with this arrangement at all so take all your money back and give me back my life. (Joe) Boy oh Boy Doc, I'm real sorry to hear dat, this coulda been a real sweet thing for both of us. So here's the deal Doc, I can't keep holdin your hand anymore. This thing has got bigger than both of us. I got five clients all demanding you and willing to pay crazy money. It's like the more money they spend the happier they are. It's show business Doc and this week you are the star. Hell you ain't even gotta operate all you gotta do is show up an hobnob wit em an I'll have one of my boys do the cuttin . So Doc you will work out the remainder of your contract, and you will only work the wet stuff. I already got another Doc that's the best cutter in Sweden to take your place. Damn Doc thanks a lot, I been doin this thing wrong all this time. The money ain't in people parts the real money is in makin people feel priviledged and special.
And as far as your wife is concerned an I gotta be honest here,' I ain't no art critic or nuthin and I think Picasso was one of the biggest scammers of all time, I wouldn't hang his stuff in my toilet. But Doc didja ever take a look at her statues ( John ) Oh yes' I did.(almost apologetically) it is a bit cutting edge and she calls it " The Dark Side Of Disney".) (Joe) You's got dat right Doc they were definitely dark. I had those statutes delivered to my house by the China-man, an when I got home there was about a dozen six foot statutes all covered under white sheets sitting in my driveway. I had my four year ol boy wit me an we could tell they were Disney characters so my boy jumped out the car screaming Mickey Mouse!!, Mickey Mouse!!, so I went over and pulled the cover off of Mickey. All of a sudden my kid starts screaming and bawling his eyes out. I'll be damn Doc' Mickey had a f/k/n hunchback, claws, a mouth like an alligator and a pair of huge female tits.
Doc that wasn't nuthin, Goofey had wood and a big ol hairy ball hangin out from under his shorts. Now Doc I don mean no disrespect or nuthin but I find it hard to believe that your sweet an beautiful wife could create somethin so “hideous an vile”. An ya ain't gotta be Freud to see that somethin is broken or she is bein possessed by her evil twin sister or somethin. Jesus Doc, my kid is still sleepin wit the lights on.
Anyways I took a f/k/n hammer to all of it. And as soon as your contract is up, so is hers. An while I’m still on dat subject, I put the medical records an the rest of ya money in the trunk of your car along with instructions on where you can take it to have it washed. I hope you know better than to try an put all that cash in the bank. Also you are forbidden to give any money to that donors family. I already gave them over a hundred grand in anonymous donations anything more would draw too much heat. Hey Doc here's a thought, why doncha take all that cash ya gonna make an keep buyin ya wife’s art? It oughta keep her home for a long time. An besides, if you don buy it nobody else will.
Doc this is the last conversation like this we gonna have, So let me remind ya again. "I saved your ass" and yeah you famous now meaning everybody knows who you are but nobody knows nuthin cuz you wit me. Nobody will ever approach you at work or nuthin, an you should walk away from this thing wit about 20 mil in cash. Oh yeah I heard about your episode in the lab. You have no idea how hard it is to find donors that fit the clients? I get em wherever I can an for this kinda money they are real choosy an demanding. However your next client is nuthin like Count "Eat your ass" He's a really great guy out of Mexico City, also a filthy rich gazillionaire. He looks like a miniature "Ricardo Montalbaan". That dude from” Fantasy Island”, I swear he looks just like em.
He made tons of money in the telephone business and his ten year old daughter has a bum ticker. It's all routine stuff and just like the last time he wants to meet you first. Doc I know ya gonna bring your "A" game to the show. Oh yeah Doc before I forget. Don't ever pull that stunt that you pulled in the back yard again and I'm glad you didn't say anything to your wife. You only have a couple of months on ya contract so" just do whatcha gotta do Doc", an keep that beautiful wife of yours happy. Again take tomorrow off don't go nowhere an somebody will pick ya up Saturday morning. We good? (John) Yes Joe. ( hung-up)
John spent all day friday lounging around in his Cali shorts and sandals watching Toni, work on another scuplture. Then later he looked over the medical records for his new patient and outlined his procedure. And while sitting at his desk he was thinking about all that cash he had and what Joe had said. He was contemplating actually resigning at Rady and go into teaching or maybe even research after a long vacation. Then he decided to check his telephone messages.
The almost mechanical female voice said. You have one new message please enter your password. Then the voice said On May 27th at 10 am from 619- 544-6212- (A male voice with a heavy mexican accent began) Hi doctor Mcconnell this is Roberto Ramirez the husband of Brenda RamIrez. I,m just calling to say that Brenda will not be coming in to work for a while.(then a long pause) You see, our son Chewey, was killed in a skate board accident at Imperial Beach and died from head injuries an I,m not sure when brenda will be coming back at this point. Services will be held wednesday at the Church of Christ on Juarez an Cinco De Mayo in downtown T.J. Wednesday at 1pm. John was shocked and staring at nothing then his gaze settled on a toy truck and a remote that he had sitting on top of his file cabinet as the female voice on the phone said " If you would like to replay message press one. If you would like to save message press two. If you would like to delete message press three.
End of Messages.