Curbside Fiction: The Inverse Passenger


This is an ongoing CC Serial; the last installment can be found here.

Louis Broderick was lying in a hospital bed, the mental fog thicker than ever.  All concept of time had been lost; he had no idea if he had been there six days or six weeks.  He was coherent enough to notice the leaves were beginning to fall from the trees, giving him the cloudy idea the amount of time he been incapacitated was considerable.

As Louis lay there, his limbs feeling as heavy as his mind was cloudy, the nurse came in to bathe him.  A tall, shapely blond, Louis wasn’t so dazed as to not notice her physical attributes.  The first time she had bathed him, Louis discovered her level of service was both commendable and unexpected.  Louis was certain such service wasn’t the norm here, wherever that was, so she had to be connected in some way.

“So, Louis, I see your diagnosis is rather serious.  Looks like you’ll be with us a while longer.”  Blurry vision was accompanying his mental fog, although Louis could tell she had a slightly English lilt to her voice.  And her name tag looked like it said Cherise.

Louis mustered all he could to sound coherent.  “So, whaaa d-d-do I ha-ha-have?”

Cherise looked at him.  “Well, my love, you have Ellison-Borgmeyer dysplasia syndrome by proxy.  You sound like you are in pain; let me give you some pain killer.  You had to have your spleen removed, one of your ribs punctured a lung, and you had a ruptured kidney.  We will have to wait on fixing your teeth.  Quite the nasty mishap you had in St. Joe, but that’s what allowed us to find what else is wrong with you.”


As Cherise shot the contents of a syringe into his IV, Louis could feel a heavy fog rolling into his brain.  His last thought was his diagnosis sounded like pure bunk.

Louis awoke some time later.  Having no idea how long it had been, or how long it would be before anyone came back, Louis knew he had to change his situation.  With the mental fog trying to let the sunshine in, Louis knew he had to think fast.  Feeling around on his mattress, he felt the zipper alongside.  Thinking as best he could, he unzipped the mattress cover a few inches.

Hating needles, Louis knew this would be the hardest part.  Ripping the medical tape back, Louis pulled the IV from the bend of his left arm.  He then took the tubing and jammed the needle into the mattress.  Louis figured the mattress would absorb the IV fluid long enough for him to clear his mind and think of a way out of his current predicament.

Putting the sheet over his arm to cover the relocated tubing, Louis catnapped to help the drug induced fog to wear off.

It didn’t last long.  Cherise walked in and noticed the blood from where Louis had removed the IV had seeped through the sheet covering his arm.  She was not pleased.

“Louis, this does it.  It is time to relocate you.  You aren’t going anywhere; I’ll be right back.”

Worried, Louis knew this was a big, steaming heap of bad news.  He wasn’t in any sound condition, so fighting back would be a big challenge.  However, Louis thought, being relocated would give him a clue about where he was.  This could work out well after all….

leavenworth times

Cherise was soon back with a huge, burly raspy voiced orderly who wreaked of menthol.  As they strapped Louis to the gurney and started to wheel him down the hallway, Louis realized his eyesight was nearly back to normal.  Looking around, he saw someone at the nurse’s station reading The Leavenworth Times.  So he was in Leavenworth, Kansas!  It made sense, as it wasn’t too far from where he had wrecked the Thunderbird.  Cherise’s statement about St. Joe now made a lot of sense.

Meandering through the maze of hallways, Louis realized he must be either in the penitentiary hospital or the public hospital.  As he hadn’t seen any waiting rooms, he figured he must be in the pen’s hospital.  Pretty smart, Louis thought.


Soon, Cherise and the orderly were at the loading dock.  Sitting there was a black Cadillac hearse.

Gambling that being docile would get him further away from her cohorts, Louis said nothing as he was loaded up into the rear of the hearse.  Looking around, Louis observed two things.

First, the Cadillac had been sitting there for a while as it was rather chilly inside.  Louis figured his wearing nothing but a hospital gown was only exacerbating the cold.


Second, this Cadillac was equipped like an ambulance in the back, not a hearse.  With the mental fog slowly subsiding, Louis began thinking.

Sitting back for the ride while formulating a plan, Louis knew anything physical would be highly problematic as he had no idea how long it had been since he had even walked.  His mental facilities were coming back, but Louis was getting frustrated at the slowness at which his thought processes were thawing.  His being strapped to this gurney wasn’t helping much either.  While his arms were free, Cherise and the goon had conveniently put the clasps for Louis’s bondage below him, just out of his reach.


Noticing they were heading west out of Leavenworth on Route 92, Louis wondered if they were heading for Topeka.  He resigned himself to riding in this Cadillac; that last time he was in a Cadillac, the Luxembourg Mafia was chasing him around St. Louis.

Louis knew when the time came, he had better think quick.

The rear window gave enough view to observe they had gone through both McLouth and Oskaloosa.  Several miles west of Oskaloosa, the raspy voiced goon turned left onto a gravel road.  Going about a mile, they stopped.

There was a third person there awaiting their arrival.  Louis could hear them talking but could only catch snippets.

Louis heard Cherise say she had been keeping him drugged and happy; one of the other two said they should take the hearse as nobody would question what they were doing with it.

Figuring things were about to change, Louis put what he hoped would be a successful plan into action.  Now, it was just a matter of waiting and hoping.


Suddenly the door opened.  The goon and the unknown third person took out the gurney and dropped it, with Louis still attached, onto the ground.  Both untied the straps that had been holding him in place before they rolled him off onto the ground.

Cherise spoke.  “Louis, it’s time we parted ways.”

Playing dumb – which wasn’t hard as he simply didn’t know what was happening – Louis said, “What the hell is going on?”

Cherise continued.  “You know too much and have gotten too close to some huge dealings.  Your time is over.  I need your hospital gown.”

Louis was dumbfounded.  “I really don’t know what you are talking about and you can kiss my ass.  I’m not giving you this gown.”  It was getting cold and Louis wasn’t liking this idea much at all.  He was feeling quite weak.


Scowling, Cherise silenced the menthol scented goon and the tall, lanky guy they had just met.

“Oh what’s it going to matter?  Louis, the forecast is for snow and freezing temperatures tonight.  That gown can help identify you; you are going to be found with nothing identifiable, so you’ll simply be known as a John Doe.  You will be untraceable.  Boys, take the gown.”

How humiliating.  Louis was now barely standing, buck naked, in front of Cherise and these two goons.  Even more humiliating, it was frigid outside.

As the three loaded up into the hearse, Cherise turned around and spoke to Louis.  “Louis, you are a special person.  Please know this is just business and I do feel this is going to be a huge waste.  Nothing personal.”


Louis just looked at her.  As the Cadillac drove away, Louis began to smile.  He knew it could happen anytime.

Just as the Cadillac was a couple hundred feet down the road, the explosion was deafening.  Louis fell on the ground, trying to avoid getting hit with debris.


Sure enough, a sliver of the hearse fell right in front of him.  Picking it up, Louis smiled and said, “Smoking around open oxygen bottles can be quite dangerous.  It’s nothing personal.”

With the sun setting, Louis stood up and immediately passed out.

To be continued…


Found June 2016, Russellville, Missouri