Get this and get it straight, disease is a sucker’s road, and those who succumb to it end up in the gutter, the hospital, or the grave. It happened like this…
It was a dark and dreary night. One of those kinds of nights where all you want to do is curl up with a good book and a warm cup of joe. The kind of night where any sensible man would be at home, enjoying the warmth of a fire… but that was not my lot. No, I was stuck outside with nothing but a trench coat and a hat to ward off the drizzling rain. Why? Well, it all started with a dame…
Her name was Nancy, or so I was told. It was two nights past when I was holding up a wall at my favorite intestinal joint, sipping a nice, cool drink after a long day of work. I looked over when I felt a soft hand brush against my arm. It belonged to the kind of woman a man would take notice of wherever she went: long-legged, beautiful complexion and dressed to kill in a white fur coat. “Hi there,” she said in a husky voice. “Bartender, get my friend here another of whatever he’s having and one of the same for me.”
“Coming right up there pretty lady,” he replied.
“I’d be careful there sister. I don’t take my nutrients lightly,” I warned, a bit intrigued by the character standing beside me.
“Oh, I never shy away from a strong dose of protein and glucose Mr. Tracer. What do you say we take our conversation to a more… private location?
“Hmm… tempting. But how about you slow down honey and tell me what angle you’re trying to play.”
“Angle? Why Jack! How could you not remember me?” Then, leaning down close into my ear, she whispered, “Careful Mr. Tracer. Feel that metal I have pressed up against your back? I think it might just be worth your while to play along and accompany me to the alley out back. Play it cool now, we don’t want to go alarming any of your nice friends here.”
Left without much of a choice, I abandoned the rest of my drink and followed her advice. It was a short walk to the back door and out into the cool of the night. There was a car waiting just outside the door and a quick nudge in my back told me I’d be better off getting into the vehicle. After making sure I took my place in the back seat, the dame slipped in beside me with a cool smile.
“Hello there Jack,” said a man in the front passenger seat as the car began to move. “It’s so nice of you to join us. I hope Nancy didn’t treat you too roughly, you see, we’re used to escorting more… dangerous sorts.”
“Hm, you could have fooled me. Maybe if you asked nicely, I would have come along. Who are you anyway?”
“Well, we couldn’t take the chance of you refusing Jack. The name’s Mr. T of the secret T Division of the police force. We keep tabs on all of the most dangerous criminals and, once we’ve kicked them out of the city, we make sure that they never come back. We’ve got a little situation that we need to keep quiet and you’re just the kind of guy that could do a little poking around without raising suspicions. You see, we’ve come to suspect that some of our own might have turned against our primary directive.”
“So this is a job offer?”
“Precisely. We’ve been following you for a while now Jack and we were very impressed with how you handled that muscle factory situation. All we need you to do is check into the situation for us and figure out what’s really behind all the strange occurrences that have been happening lately.”
“What’s in it for me?”
“How about staying alive to keep doing what you do best?” interjected Nancy.
“Now, now Nancy. Mr. Tracer’s going to be helping us, so there’s no need to be rough with him. You see Jack, Nancy’s been a bit on edge lately. She’s actually from the CNS department and is the one who brought this whole situation to our attention in the first place. We normally have a great working relationship with the CNS, keeping the streets clean you understand, but lately some of our guys have been loitering a little too long around their stations. Tell him what you’ve heard Nancy.”
“Well Mr. Tracer, I started to get suspicious when I noticed some of our members no longer wearing their white coats. When I asked around, no one would give me a straight answer. Then, I found this in a dumpster,” she said as she drew a small, shredded piece of white coat out of her purse.
“Hmm… what’s so special about your white coats?”
“Well Mr. Tracer, not only are they quite fashionable, they help us do our jobs. But that’s not all, there have been rumors circulating about interruptions in the communication lines, things wearing out quickly, and short episodes of numbness. Everything just hasn’t been working as smoothly lately. I’m nervous Mr. Tracer, what if I’m next? I don’t want to upset the whole balance of things!”
“And you say it’s all just rumors? What happened when you checked into them?”
“Well, when I asked around, everyone said that things were back to normal. Whole limbs have been paralyzed, but then later are back to normal as if nothing ever happened. Think you can help us out Mr. Tracer?”
…To be continued…
Think you know what disease process has caused Nancy’s unease? Care to hazard a guess? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, then follow this link to find out what happens next in The Lady in the White Coat.