The Music in the Painting

Chapter Five

As Bobby and Drew walked towards the atrium Bobby heard a voice call his name when he turned to look in the direction of the voice he was surprised to see that it was Litton Raemer. Gone was the standard monotone, his voice sounded joyful, vibrant and excited.

Raemer, who never ran anywhere trotted up to Bobby for another first. He wrapped his arms around Bobby and hugged him for all he was worth.

"Thank you" bubbled Litton "I saw the Seurat exhibit, it was beautiful. It was unbelievable, how did you know?" He asked, releasing Bobby from his grasp.

"It seemed like something you might like, given your penchant for patterns."

Just then Litton peeked around Bobby and his eyes fell on Drew. "Who are you?" he said guardedly.

"My name is Drew; I’ve just met your friend Bobby."

"You’re pretty," Litton said in a manner befitting a child of five.

"Thank you, you’re very nice to say so." Drew blushed a bit, he offered his hand to Raemer and it was shaken gently.

"You have warm hands," said Drew

"And they’re not sticky!" pronounced Bobby "Raemer you’ve been good. No oranges today?"

Raemer smiled, "No Bobby, I’m being good today. Todd said I couldn’t have oranges in the museum, but there’s a cart outside the lobby that sells Orange Crush, it’s almost as good. I was just going to find Teddy because Todd said we can only go outside in pairs unless you’d like to come with me."

"I’m sorry Litton, I have to get to the atrium and help the other boys set up and I have to see if I can arrange a ride for Drew."

"Okay! " Chirped Litton; "I’ll see you at the concert."

"See you there," the two boys said in unison.

Bobby struck out purposefully for the atrium, he managed four or five steps and then suddenly his heel hit something slippery and he found himself momentarily horizontal; he heard a shriek and then the back of his head hit something very hard and he knew nothing more for quite a while.

Drew had seen Bobby’s feet leave the ground and with the momentum that he carried he instinctively knew he would land head first, he screamed his name and then came the nauseating sound; it was like a bowling ball dropped on concrete. But Bobby didn’t cry out when his head hit the marble floor, he didn’t move at all, the steady rise and fall of his chest was the only outward indication that he still lived. Drew placed two fingers on Bobby’s throat searching for a carotid pulse, it was there and it was strong. Then he lifted his eyelids to see if both pupils were the same size, they were.

"That’s a good sign at least." He thought.

About that time he heard footsteps approaching rapidly.

"What happened here?!" Said a man’s voice.

It was one of the security people.

Drew didn’t answer but instead said:" Let me have your light!"

"What!" The man replied.

"Your flashlight I need it to check his pupils." The man didn’t argue he just handed Drew the penlight and watched as Drew checked one pupil and then the other, "Equal and reactive" Drew said with satisfaction. He handed back the light and told the man that an ambulance was needed.

"Are you sure?" the man asked.

Drew very nearly lost his temper when another voice said,

"If he’s not I am."

Drew checked his anger and said "Dr. Voss I’m so glad to see you, he slipped on something on the floor and landed on his occipital, his pulse is strong around sixty-seven I think. With good respiration, his pupils are equal and reactive."

"Very good Drew," said Dr. Voss now let me in there so I can examine him as well.

Drew slid backward on the floor until he ran into a bench. As he sat there he fought hard to retain his composure, he knew he would be no good to Bobby if he fell apart now. He looked around at the gathering crowd of boys and spotted Litton, looking ashen and near collapse.

Regaining his feet and his senses he went to Litton’s side and put his arm around his shoulder.

Litton turned his face into Drew’s chest and said in a teary voice" He can’t die; he just showed me the world."

"He won’t die" assured Drew "he’s just unconscious."

At that moment Michelle arrived with a large medical kit and Mike just behind him with an oxygen tank.

Dr. Voss looked up and said "Oh good, now we won’t have to wait for the ambulance, would you fish out a couple four by fours please?" the Doctor asked calmly.

Michelle handed him the gauze pads.

"He seems to have a small cut on the back of his head but otherwise I see no signs of a brain injury. We’ll go ahead and get him transferred to Cedars so Drew’s mother can have a peek at him." the Doctor said confidently.

"Who’s in charge of this boy," the Doctor asked loudly.

"That would be me." Dean Rigsby said gravely. "Do you suppose he will be alright?"

"I’m reasonably certain, in clinical terms he’s had his bell rung rather hard." The Doctor said trying to relieve a bit of the concern the Dean was obviously feeling.

The ambulance and fire crew chose that moment to arrive followed by an L.A.P.D. cruiser all pulling up noisily at the entrance and at the same time.

At this point, Mike told Michelle he would go and check in with Leo.

Michelle had said very little while kneeling at Bobby’s side but when Howard had radioed the nature of the problem he had given a long series of commands to his staff that were present in the security cage.

He sent an officer to tell Mike to come inside after helping the gate guard to close and lock the gate with instructions to direct the ambulance and others to the main entrance. He reminded the officer that they were expecting no delivery trucks until after hours when the curator’s staff would crate the traveling exhibit and load it onto a secure transport.

When Mike arrived at the door Michelle explained what was going on and would he mind helping out. "I presume you have your weapon," Michelle said grimly.

Reaching for his belt Michelle took his master key and unlocked the main door of the gun cabinet and withdrew Leo’s Walther. He safetied the weapon inserted the magazine and loaded the chamber, and then he removed the magazine and loaded the loose round that Leo had ejected earlier.

Michelle handed the weapon to Mike and asked him to grab the bottle of oxygen.

He picked up the medical kit and gave a few more commands. He told the desk officer to break out a shotgun and lock all the outer and inner doors of the loading dock. He also instructed the desk man to sound three bells on the house P.A. to alert the curators and docents that there was a security alert.

Once they were on their way to the galleries Mike asked him what was up.

"We have an injured patron on the floor of gallery two and L.A.P.D. Metro was here three days ago to share intelligence about a robbery gang that hits museums. They like to use a diversion like this to get in and then take over; They killed two staff and injured three patrons last month at a private gallery in New York."

"Geez!" said Mike "I understand your concern."

"Good," said Michelle said flatly, "I want you and Leo to stay in the atrium, watch over the kids and let my men know if you see anything that doesn’t scan.

My people know you’re on the floor but not all of them know what you look like. Understand?"

"You got it, Michelle, anything we can do to help."

In the lobby, a uniformed guard guided the ambulance and fire crews to the patient.

Dr. Voss rose and introduced himself to the men and gave a brief outline of the boy’s condition and transport instructions.

While he was doing this one of the firemen knelt beside Bobby and said: "I think he’s coming to."

He placed his hand on the boy's chest and said "Easy tiger, you’re gonna’ be fine," in a soothing voice.

Bobby’s eyes sprang open and he screamed "Nein, Nein, Fasse micht nicht, was willst du? " (No, No, Don’t touch me, what do you want?)

The fireman was attempting to hold him down but Bobby grabbed his free hand with both of his and locked the man’s wrist, the look in the boy’s eyes was positively feral. In the next moment, the fireman found himself on his ass six feet away from the terrified child who had risen to his feet in preparation to flee and just as suddenly began to sag to the floor as he passed out.

In the interval Drew had pressed forward just in time to guide him to the ground. "Du bist sicher Bobby, Du bist sicher" (You’re safe Bobby, You’re safe) Drew cooed repeatedly in the boy’s ear.

Dr. Voss helped lay the boy out and asked the ambulance crew for a cervical collar and a backboard.

While one of the attendants helped the doctor prepare Bobby for transport, the other checked the fireman for injuries, but he had none save his bruised ego. He’d be hearing about this for months.

"I think we found what he slipped on!" said Michelle holding up a piece of orange peel." "Careless damn people, he muttered."

Several sets of eyes turned to Litton who sat on the floor hugging his knees weeping.

Todd walked to where Litton was sitting and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder, Litton raised his eyes to meet Todd’s. "Litton, did you bring oranges?"

"Noooo! Litton protested, you said not to so I didn’t, I wouldn’t, you said it was important!"

"Wait" Drew called out, "Check his hands they’re not sticky, and he doesn’t even smell like orange."

"It’s okay Litton," said Todd "I’m very sorry to have doubted you."

"I’ll tell you who does smell like oranges," said Leo loudly "This fat bastard in the corduroy jacket. " Leo leaned forward and whispered "Don’t you move pal." in a menacing tone. He told Michelle to have a look at the man specifically his glasses.

Michelle complied and thought it odd that someone would wear un-tinted glasses that had no corrective factor. He felt the man’s jacket pockets and found something that displeased him even more than oranges in his museum; it was heavy and metallic and shaped like a pistol.

Michelle raised his right hand so that Leo could see and made the universal gesture for "Gun", almost instantly the fat man felt the muzzle of Leo’s pistol at the base of his skull. Mike had passed the weapon to him discreetly with the single admonition "It’s hot."

Leo knew from that, he would not have to rack a round into the chamber in front of already nervous children and other patrons.

Michelle reached in and removed the pistol from the right pocket of the fat man’s corduroy jacket with two fingers and withdrew an elderly European automatic.

Once he had secured it he handed Leo a pair of handcuffs. Then he raised the radio microphone to his lips. "Number four; are there any Metro people out there with you?"

"Yes sir, at least six that I can see, two with the gate guards, two just outside the lobby entrance and a couple talking to Captain Mac." The officer reported back.

"Would you invite the Captain and the four Metro officers into the lobby, we’re between the atrium and gallery two.

"Oww!" Said a small voice, It was Bobby. "What happened, why can’t I move?" he mewled like a toddler.

Drew bent over so Bobby could see his face and said "Oh good, you’re you again; nice to have you back. Okay, to answer your questions; first you fell and hit your head second your head and neck are immobilized until we can get an x-ray plus you got just a bit feisty, so that’s why you're strapped to the backboard."

Bobby’s eyes grew wide "Did I hurt someone?" he asked in a cautious tone.

"No just a bruised ego, you threw a two hundred pound fireman about six feet. You’ll have to show me how you did that sometime" said Drew trying to lift Bobby’s spirits.

"You’re sure he’s okay?" asked Bobby tensely.

"Ask him yourself "Drew said with a gentle smile. He waved to the Fireman to come over.

Two men approached and one put his hand on the other’s shoulder saying"; it’s okay see, he’s tied down and can’t hurt you anymore." The other fireman said in a distinctly mocking tone as he dissolved into laughter.

"Geez kid, see what you’ve done to me? I won’t live this down for a year!" howled the first fireman in mock angst.

"Are you hurt?" asked Bobby urgently.

"No kiddo, just a sore butt and wounded pride."

"I’m really sorry, I don’t even remember doing it, I must have been very scared," said Bobby.

"Don’t sweat it, buddy, I should have read you better, head injuries can cause some weird stuff to happen. It’s my own fault really." The fireman said as he smiled at Bobby. "What was that anyway?"

"It’s called Aikido, Gino" a sonorous baritone informed him from behind them. Gino turned when he heard the faint Yorkshire accent and distinctive baritone, he exclaimed "Captain Mac!"

"I see you’ve met my grandson, no harm done, I trust?" The Captain said evenly.

"Yeah I did, what have you been feeding this kid anyway?" said Gino backing away so Mac could reach his grandson and speak privately.

"Oh, we just toss him a haunch of raw venison every few days, keeps him keen."

Mac’s eye’s softened when he saw his grandson’s face.

"How’s my little man?" he asked the boy.

"Hi, Grampa!" Bobby cried out and then winced.

"I feel kinda bad, my head hurts and I guess I was a little weird for a while."

"Well you just relax and you’ll be fine in no time at all," said Mac.

Looking up he met the gaze of Drew.

"And who might you be?" Mac asked the boy.

"My name is Drew sir." He replied with a bit of apprehension. "My Mom will be looking after Bobby when he gets to Cedars; I’m going with him to see he gets taken care of."

"Well Bobby, it looks like you’re in good hands. I’ll be along behind you after I talk over a few things with Parker’s Flying Squad, referring to the Metro officers that seemed to be multiplying like rabbits.

"I’ll be waiting outside the E.R. when they take you to your room. I’m guessing they’ll want to keep you at least one night for observation."

Drew nodded in agreement with Bobby’s grandfather "Its standard procedure" stated Drew with conviction.

"And who is your Mother Drew?" asked Mac.

"She’s Dr. Carol Vermeer sir, she’s the chief neurologist" replied Drew with a hint of pride.

"I look forward to meeting her, thank you for looking after my Bobby. I’ll see you both at the hospital shortly."

The gurney started to move towards the entrance and was picked up by four fire fighters and walked down the stairs and out to the waiting ambulance.

The Captain walked back towards the throng of officers that encircled their suspect.