Markoff arrived at the hospital just as dusk was starting to settle over the area. Technically, the sun was still up but the haze from the sand that polluted the atmosphere seemed to have a way of making things darker faster. The lights in the parking lot were coming on just as he pulled his truck into a space.
He’d gotten a call from his wife moments ago asking him to come down in order to help her sort things out. There was something about a fight and the police getting involved. No one had been arrested yet so at least he was thankful that he didn’t need to pay a visit to the bondsman’s office. The hospital was one of the last places that he wanted to be this evening but somehow a trip to the bail bondsman seemed worse.
Markoff had been avoiding the man for some months. He’d had the searchers to deal with, and then the mortgage of his neighbor to pay. The bondsman wanted his money from the bail that he’d fronted for Kinkaid to get out of jail the first time. Without a man to go on trial the courts were refusing to refund it and since the builder was the one responsible for his neighbor the burden had fallen on his shoulders.
Now, if he’d understood what his wife had told him over the phone Kinkaid was back. He didn’t seem to know who he was or recognize any of his neighbors but the man was here in this hospital right now. Part of the reason why Markoff had been asked to come was to speak to him and see if he could jog his memory.
He found Jill waiting for him in the lobby.
“Where’s Myrah?” He asked as he approached.
“She’s upstairs.” The girl said frowning. “She got scratched in the eye and the police still need to talk to her again.”
Jill recounted the story of how they’d come face to face with Kinkaid and how the pregnant girl that he was with had attacked Myrah. Three policemen had been called to break the women up from fighting and by that point the girl had already gone into false labor. Ambulances were summoned to the mall. Everyone was rushed out on stretchers, wheelchairs and gurneys. Law enforcement followed close behind eager to get to the bottom of all of it.
Right now the pregnant woman was downstairs in the emergency room hooked up to a heartbeat monitor having to listen to her baby spasm with each involuntary contraction that she had. She was alone and surrounded by police. Kinkaid claimed to be her husband and was beside himself with worry. Another group of officers were keeping him from her to ask questions and get the man checked out by physicians.
“They think it’s a case of false imprisonment.” Jill said as the builder followed her to the elevators. “The best that anyone can tell is that the police released Mister Kinkaid the same day that he was brought in.”
The two of them entered and the elevator doors slid shut behind them. Markoff waited for her to select a floor. “They didn’t have a record of that?” He asked skeptically.
“They’re still trying to figure it all out.” She nodded.
Pressing the button for the forth floor she leaned against one of the glass walls. She looked very tired. The builder complemented her on her hair.
“Thanks.” She said as they began to ascend above the tiled lobby.
“This all seems like a lot trouble just for kicking an archeologist in the rear.” He joked.
Jill gave a half-hearted laugh. The bell dinged and the doors swung open. Getting out she began to lead him down a brightly lit hallway with artwork hung along its walls. The canvasses were large in size and bore heavy chaotic strokes with thick layers of paint.
“What happened?” He asked as he trailed along behind her. “Did she bail him out and force him to marry her?”
“It get’s complicated when you try to ask questions.” Jill answered. “From what I’ve heard she came along after he was let out of jail.”
“And they didn’t know that he’d been set free?”
“I guess.” She shrugged. “I get the feeling that the arresting officer must have struck him over the head or something when he was trying to get Mister Kinkaid to take a blood alcohol test. They mentioned that he has some problem with violent behavior when taking people into custody. There’s a friend of his who works where they book the inmates at the jailhouse. I think that the two of them panicked and got Mister Kinkaid back out on the streets somehow after they noticed that he was beginning to act strangely.”
“How so?” Markoff asked as he diligently traced her steps around a corner.
“One of the officers that’s here tonight was flirting with me and he let some stuff slip.” She answered. “He said that he remembers Mister Kinkaid being at the jailhouse that day. He told me that after a while he just kept asking where he was and how he’d gotten in there.”
“The guy never told this to anyone?”
“No one cared.” She sighed. “You know how Mister Kinkaid is. He was so belligerent when he came in that everyone just thought that he must have been drunk. That’s why the cop who arrested him did some blood alcohol test.”
“And clubbed him over the head.”
“Probably.” She nodded. “After that he apparently started asking what day it was and getting up in their face with all sorts of really weird questions. He was bleeding from the head. Eventually things got quiet and no one saw him ever again.”
The builder couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “He called me that day.” He replied. “Kinkaid didn’t say anything about getting hit in the head.”
Jill stopped before a set of doors. “It seems like this all happened really fast.” She said as she turned to face him. “I think he was pretty much brought in, given his phone call and then something happened. I don’t know what. They’re being real hush-hush about everything. I probably wouldn’t know anything at all if that guy hadn’t been trying to flirt with me.”
“Is Myrah back there?” He asked motioning towards the door.
The girl nodded. “She’s with Mister Kinkaid right now.” She said seriously. “She’s trying to get him to tell her more about what he’s been doing all this time and why he can’t remember anything. I think the cops were going to arrest her for fighting with a pregnant woman at the mall but now they’ve backed off of on that. They want to know why the girl who was with Mister Kinkaid never reported him as a missing person.”
“Why didn’t she?”
Jill shrugged. “I guess that she was just pregnant and scared.” She sighed. “Apparently, when he got out of jail he found her number in his wallet and called it looking for help. She was the first person that he reached out to so she took advantage of it. I feel sorry for her.”
“Are they legally married?”
“I don’t know.” Jill answered warily. “Myrah’s trying to figure that out right now. She’s still pretty worked up from the fight.”
The builder nodded. “I guess I should go see what I can do.”
Kinkaid had been back for only a few hours and already there was disarray, confusion and mayhem. The man always seemed to leave these things in his wake. Arrest, fights, ex-girlfriends and ex-wives; he was always a person who failed to see the consequence of his actions. Passing through the doors Markoff wondered how his neighbor had managed to get as far in life as he had and what, if anything that they’d have to talk about when he came back to live next door to them.