Over in the Emergency Room, Joanne Kirby was getting ready to receive the incoming shooting victims when she saw Mr. Thomas. She quickly went over to him and told him she had heard about the incident earlier and wished him good luck with that surly nurse and the administrator he ran into earlier. She told him quickly as she had to get going because an officer was shot and he would be arriving soon. She did tell him that it wasn't Dan, and Ken got a look of relief on his face. Then he yelled to her, as she hurried away, that Collin was up in the Step-Down and then she was lost in the sea of doctors and nurses waiting on the ambulances to arrive.
Back in Eli's office, his uncle was reading him the riot act. Simon went on to tell his 'stupid' nephew he had not only harassed and insulted one of the most powerful men in the state, but had also left the hospital open for some very serious monetary damages and low public opinion. Eli still didn't get it, thinking his uncle was 'thee' most powerful man in the county, and wanted them instead to pursue trespassing charges and whatever else they could come up with.
Simon knew he needed to get on top of this debacle in a hurry, so he made a few quick phone calls to the other Directors and the Board lawyer. He explained the situation to them, as best he could over the phone, and so they decided to meet later that night at Simon's home. Before leaving the hospital, Simon Bloomberg looked at Andrew Marshall's business card and then made one last phone call.
Deputy Sheriff Dan Fischer had taken Rodney Costa into custody and delivered him to the evening magistrate, for his arraignment. Since, Rodney was not yet 18, the magistrate ordered the teenager held until a court appointed lawyer could appear with him. In the meantime, Rodney was taken to the juvenile holding area and made to strip and shower and then get dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. Things happened so fast for the boy he didn't have time for things to sink in, but once he was left alone in his jail cell he looked back at what he had done and what occurred in his house and he broke down and cried.
Ken and Andy went back to the house, but they were silent in their own thoughts. Neither had any appetite and they just picked at their food. Ken then called his lawyer Bill Jackson, to let him know what was going on.
Chief knew something was wrong when her 'boy' Collin was nowhere to be seen. She kept bugging Ken with her muzzle but Ken ignored her. S he went to Andy, but all he did was pet her thinking that was all she wanted. Then Chief began to bark and bark and continued to bark as fast as she could. Ken looked at her and she went to him and barked and muzzled his hand once again and finally Ken understood what she wanted.
Ken then looked her in the eye and told her what had happened to Collin. Andy Marshal just sat there dumbfounded as he watched Ken talk to the dog; as if she understood everything she was being told. When Ken finished talking, Chief barked once more and jumped up and put her paws on his lap and licked him a few times and then got down. She went over to the corner and did her 'circle walk around' and then lay down, gave a sigh, and then closed her eyes.
"Ken, what was that all about?" asked Andrew Marshall.
"Andy, you would not believe it if I told you. But, I will try anyway. Ever since I've known Chief, she is like a 'human' who understands what she is told. I know it sounds silly, but she saved me and Ryan from a beating a few years back. Her ability to sort of comprehend and 'think' outside the 'box' is something else but what she did to save me from that rogue FBI agent has garnered my admiration and respect. So, I ... well ... I try to treat her as if she can understand and you saw what she did. How many dogs do you know would act like she just did? I don't care what you think! Chief is a highly unusual dog and I would never think of ever giving her up.
"I was lost in thought there and when she got my attention I knew she wanted to know what was going on. So, I told her; end of story. You can ask Collin and I bet he tells you something similar, or even Ryan, for that matter. Anyway, I am tired but I can't just go to bed right now. I'm going back to the hospital to see Collin. Do you want to come along?"
"Yes, Ken, I was thinking along those same lines. Let's get our coats and go see our boy!" answered Andy.
At the hospital, the Emergency Room had taken care of both gunshot victims and sent both off to surgery. Once things got settled down, Joanne Kirby took her break and went up to see Collin. When she got there, Collin was awake but was silently crying so she went over to the lad and tried to comfort him.
"What's wrong, big guy?" asked Joanne.
Collin looked up to see who it was and said, "I don't understand why he had to hit me like he did. I didn't do anything to any of those boys, but yet they still hate me."
"How many have been doing that to you? Do you know their names?"
"It is a bunch of seniors and a few of their junior friends," replied Collin. "I know some of their names, but Ryan and Conner and Danny know the rest. That kid Rodney had called me 'Richie Rich Kid'. Then he said, 'you are not anything special around here especially to me' and then he reared back and hit me full force with his fist. It happened so quick I didn't have time to react at all. As soon as he hit me, I knew I was hurt and bad." After saying that he began to cry some more and Joanne hugged him as best as she could.
Standing at the doorway were Ken and Andy and they heard everything. They walked into the room and went over to the boy and let him know they were there.
"You came back," said Collin. "I was laying here crying and Nurse Joanne came in to see me. Thank you; thank you both for coming back to see me." Then, just as Collin finished speaking, his eyes began to water some more.
Nurse Kirby moved away from the bedside so Ken could get to his 'boy'. Then the Step-Down Charge Nurse came by to see who was in the room. She and Joanne began to talk about all that happened and the Charge Nurse said she hoped they, meaning Mr. Thomas and Mr. Marshall, could get that other nurse fired, and the sooner the better. Then another person came by with some flowers for Collin and the two nurses let him deliver them.
"Flowers for Collin Wilkinson," announced the man and placed them on the tray table.
Collin reached for the card but couldn't get to it so Ken got it for him.
"Bro, they wouldn't let us see you. Family ONLY! Love Ryan and 'mom'," Collin read the card out loud.
Just then the Charge Nurse stepped up and explained the hospital policy was standard throughout the majority of hospitals. When Joanne agreed with her, Collin accepted the explanation and thanked them. Nurse Kirby's break was just about over so she said her Good-Byes and left Ken and Andy with the boy.
The two men stayed with the teenager for about 30 minutes when they saw he was beginning to doze off. They said their Good-Byes to him then and promised to be there in the morning. Each man again gave him a kiss on his cheek and Collin was fast asleep before they were out of the room.
A couple of miles away, at the home of Simon Bloomberg, the seven Directors of the county hospital met along with their lawyer. As soon as they were all in attendance, their lawyer told them that the meeting could be construed as being illegal, in Accordance with the State’s Open Meetings Act. He told them it they were ever found out they could all be heavily fined and or removed from their positions on the Board. He then told them they needed to advertise the meeting at least three days in advance before more than two of them could meet together.
Some of the Directors agreed with that interpretation and got up and were about to leave when Simon then told him that this was an Emergency Meeting due to the scope of what happened at the hospital earlier that afternoon. Lots of raised eyebrows were seen but then they all sat down at the dining room table and began to discuss what happened.
Simon Bloomberg restated what he knew and was told by Eli and that dippy nurse, Nurse Federer. He went on to explain what Mr. Thomas and Mr. Marshall demanded and that they had five business days to act, or they would. All of the Directors knew who Mr. Thomas was, and even a few of them had been at the New Year's Eve Dance, and so they were in a quandary as to what to do.
One director exclaimed that the nurse in question had other complaints, if he remembered correctly, and that it was about time they got rid of her. Then another director said she belonged to some church cult who made a stink about Mr. Thomas being made the guardian of the boy because he was single. Then another man dropped a bomb.
"Gentlemen, before I came here tonight I had a phone call. And let me tell you it was not a pleasant call and one that I do not want to ever take again. Judge Adam Richards called and wanted to know exactly what happened and what we were going to do about it. He explained that he was the Presiding County Juvenile Court Judge and had 'extreme interest', as he put it, in what happened and why his appointed guardian was refused access to Collin Wilkinson.
"Gentlemen, we do not want to get into a pissing contest with this man, and, neither do we want to piss off Mr. Thomas, the appointed guardian. Let me also remind you all, he is a personal friend of the governor and all of the County Commissioners. Mr. Thomas is also loved by the majority of the county residents for what he did during the storm cleanup. So, if you try to mess with this man you will lose!"
The room was quiet for a few moments when Simon spoke up. "Gentlemen, before they left the office today Andrew Marshall gave me his card."
"Who is Andrew Marshall?" many there asked.
"Well, I was going to tell you that. Andrew Marshall is the primary lawyer for Wilkinson Enterprises. He has been a lawyer for over 35 years."
And before he could go any further someone said," So, who cares?"
Then in a loud and directed voice at the man who said that Simon replied, "I care and all of you better. Andrew Marshall is also the family lawyer for Wilkinson. Does that ring a bell for any of you? That boy up in our Step-Down Unit is none other than Collin Wilkinson. It was he who was kidnapped last summer and his parents killed during his kidnapping. He is now the richest teenager in this state if not the country or even the world. It is said he could be worth up to Three Quarters of a Billion dollars. That's $750 with six zeroes behind it.
"That lawyer is HIS lawyer and he knows more than all of us put together. Also, this ... this rich teenager is responsible for about 3,000 jobs in this state alone so, gentlemen, we need to proceed with caution but we MUST proceed. I recommend we have that Special Session, as he called it, and I think it best be a public meeting. There is no way we can control what happened today at the hospital. I won't be surprised if by tomorrow morning it is the headline in the paper."
The entire room was silent as they let sink in what Simon just told them. Then the lawyer asked if Tuesday was a good day for everyone to have the Special Session and if so he'd take care of the announcements. Hearing no disagreements he said he would take care of it and then he left.
As Ken and Andrew opened the door to the house Chief was sitting there waiting for them. As they entered, and she smelled Collin on them, she began to wag her tail furiously and then she barked just once. Ken took that as her asking where 'is he' and so he indicated for her to jump up and out her paws on his chest. When she had done that Ken scratched her behind her ears a few times and said to her that Collin was okay and he said to tell you Hello and he will see you tomorrow. The dog stood there a few seconds and stretched up to lick Ken's face and then got down and barked one more time and kept her tail wagging.
That night the two men talked about other things besides Collin. When they finally went to bed, Chief didn't sleep with Ken, as she would normally do when Collin is gone. That night she slept up in Collin's room as if she was lamenting he was gone and wanted to be as near to him as she could be. Neither dog, nor man slept well that night. The only reason Collin slept good was because the drugs they had given him were meant to do just that.
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