Susan Spencer felt like her body, tied up in tight knots, was on fire on the outside and filled with ice on the inside. She sweated and simultaneously had chills, ached so intensely that she actually took pain medication (she avoided all meds, as a personal rule), and the thought of food made her stomach spasm in revulsion.
So when her husband Hugo brought in a doggie bag full of mushroom fettuccine, she gagged audibly and reached for the basin by the side of the bed.
“Not really a good idea, mate,” said Lev, who was visiting Susan, as he nodded at the offending white paper bag.
“Right,” said Hugo, and disappeared from the bedroom.
“So,” said Lev, as Susan wiped her face and hands with a damp cloth, and laid back heavily on the pillows. “How ya feeling?”
Roger “Lev” Levinson was Susan’s partner, both of them with the police force. They’d been a team for almost four years and had pretty much seen the best and worst of one another, so Susan puking into a basin wasn’t exactly a shocker.
“I’m great,” said Susan. “Thanks for coming by, Lev. Fuck off.” The scent of cooked mushrooms dissipated as a ceiling fan rotated slowly overhead, but the room still felt warm and stuffy.
“You interviewed that Leep character, the strange one, the one they call Leep the creep, about the shooting,” said Lev.
“Yeah, he didn’t have much to say, Lev.”
“He is the only eye-witness we have.”
“He just said the guy was big and scary, that’s all,” Susan said. “I don’t even know if I believe him. He seemed to be lying, maybe to get attention. Go talk to him again if you want, you have my blessing.”
“I might,” said Lev. “Anyway how long does the doctor think you can skive off? Gonna squeeze out another few days? A week?”
“At the moment I think I’ll probably be dead by tomorrow,” Susan said. “No kidding, Lev. This fucking sucks.”
“Tell Hugo not to bring shit back from the restaurant.”
“Oh, I will.”
“I thought maybe you might get hungry eventually,” said Hugo, appearing at the bedroom door. “Just trying to help.” He went to the bed and kissed Susan on the forehead. “I’m between lunch and dinner prep. Have to get back in a minute. Do you need anything?”
“Thanks babe, I’m ok. Lev can get me some water. I missed you last night. How did the shift go?”
“Actually,” said Hugo, “someone died, right at the dining table. Everyone was pretty upset.”
“A woman, don’t know much about it yet, I was in the back. The staff got her into the lobby; then the ambulance came.”
“Suspicious?” asked Lev.
“Don’t know, aren’t they all? Never happened in my restaurant before.”
“What’s the name of the restaurant again?” asked Lev.
“‘Liquefy’.” said Hugo. “I inherited the name. The food is not all processed to slime. It’s fine dining, man.”
“Please don’t talk about slime,” said Susan. “Get back to work, both of you. I am tired and miserable and want to curl up and die now.”
“Ok,” said Lev cheerfully. “I’ll just get the water, see you Hugo.”
“Ciao,” said Hugo. “Don’t think about slime or dead bodies in the restaurant, my love. You just concentrate on getting better.”
“I’ll kill you as soon as I’m strong enough,” said Susan.
- Image credit.