The Key Anthology:
Frankie and Aaron
“He’s alive,” Frankie Jr. said after he’d checked Aaron’s pulse. “Help me get him up so we can get him to the hospital.”
“I don’t think we should move him,” Wanda said.
“Yeah, maybe it’s better to call for an ambulance.” Frankie reached for his cell phone but was stopped by Wanda.
“Frankie, I think maybe Aaron needs to stay here for now. Someone clearly sent Aaron a message and if they think he went to the hospital or snitched to the police, then they might find him to finish the job. We’ve got to get him help in a low-key kind of way. Call Thomas, he’s a doctor. And he’ll come if you ask him. He’d do anything for you.”
Frankie Jr. looked at Wanda with eyes that had something to say, but instead he shook his head and opened his cell phone. “Stay with him. I’ll make this call outside.” He scrolled through names until he found the right one, made the call, and walked outside with his phone held to his ear.
Wanda looked at Aaron to make sure he was OK then ran to the door to eavesdrop. She could hear Frankie Jr’s voice. It was hesitant and shaky.
“Hi, Thomas. Yeah, it’s me and I need help yet again.”
He was pacing outside and Wanda could hear his footsteps as he walked back and forth.
“Thomas, you remember the guy I told you about. Y’up that one. We found him and he’s in pretty bad shape. Can you come look at him? He’s pretty beaten up and we’re worried if we take him somewhere the people that did the beating might look for him to give him more of the same or worse. You’ll come. Thank you, thank you so much. Let me give you the address.”
Wanda raced back to Aaron’s side and checked his forehead with her hand. It was hot so she went to the bathroom sink, grabbed a washcloth and wet it. She placed it gently on Aaron’s bruised forehead which was covered with dried blood.
Frankie Jr. entered the room and closed the door. “I suppose you heard everything when you were eavesdropping. Thomas is on his way. He said not to move Aaron until he gets here.”
“They really did a number on him, Frankie. He even smells like piss, poor guy. You know what I think? I think he told that john of his that he really was going away with you and the john decided to leave him with a souvenir of their time together. It happens. He could’ve killed him and might if Aaron tells anyone about it.”
“I understand, Wanda. You don’t have to keep saying it. I know how to keep my mouth shut when I need to. Hell, even you can do that.”
Wanda got up from where she was sitting beside Aaron on the bed and walked to Frankie Jr. She put an arm around him. “Aaron will be okay. He’s strong and he’s got something to look forward to now. A new life with you.”
“Did you hear that, Aaron?” Frankie Jr. said, then put his hand on Aaron’s shoulder. He could hear a low groan coming from Aaron and saw his swollen eye start to flicker. “Relax. I’m here, so is Wanda and we’ll be here for you. I’ve got a doctor friend coming to check you out.
Right on cue there was a knock on the door and Wanda jumped up to get it.
“Well hello, Dr. Thomas. Your patient is waiting on the bed.” She smiled and saw the doctor smile back with that wide happy grin she loved. The man worked out and it showed. He had a slim build and an ass Wanda thought of as simply perfect. His big brown eyes lit up when he smiled and his chestnut brown hair was always neatly brushed, without a hair out of place. That’s how she figured he must be of “that” persuasion when she’d first met him. His appearance was always too perfect. Just her luck, she thought back then. Thomas was a nice guy with absolutely no interest in her. He only had eyes for Frankie Jr. who only had eyes for Aaron. It made Wanda wish she had a talent for writing since their story would make a great soap opera.
“Hello, Wanda,” Thomas said. “Could you get me another wet washcloth while we try and get these clothes off him.”
“Sure,” Wanda said, and she headed to the bathroom.
Frankie Jr. stood behind Thomas and watched him closely. The doctor had brought some of his medical instruments with him in a black doctor’s bag and had been using them to check Aaron’s blood pressure and joints as well as other things.
“No broken bones or even sprains,” Thomas said. “These people knew what they were doing.”
“Y’up,” Wanda said, entering with a wet wash cloth. “That’s exactly what I said.”
“OK,” Thomas said. “This isn’t gonna to be pretty but Wanda I need you to gently, very gently wash him with that cloth once we remove his clothes.”
The doctor and Frankie began by unbuttoning Aaron’s shirt. They lifted him slightly to remove it, then threw the shirt on the ground.
Frankie tried to fight back tears but it was a battle he lost as the aforementioned tears rolled down his cheek. Aaron’s chest was covered with black and blue spots and bruises. There were some small scrapes and cuts but not much else. They got Aaron’s shoes and socks off easily enough but his pants and underwear were a whole different story. Aaron had shit himself and left a smelly mess to clean up.
“It’s nothing,” Wanda said. I used to volunteer at a nursing home, and in my former occupation I’ve seen much worse. Nothing to do about it but clean him up.”
Frankie Jr. admired her more than ever right now. He’d always thought of her as a very strong person with high morals. Being a prostitute was just something Wanda had to do to survive until she found something, better which she had. Frankie Jr. was glad he’d been able to help get her get out of her former career and knew she’d do well managing his sandwich shop. And with Wanda here he could move and open a new sandwich shop out of town.
The time passed quickly. Frankie Jr. and Wanda did all they could do to help while trying to stay out of Thomas’s way. The doctor had given Aaron a couple of shots and drawn blood. He also gave Frankie Jr. a prescription to fill for a strong pain killer should Aaron need it.
Thomas put his hand on Frankie Jr’s shoulder and looked him in they eyes as he spoke in a soft soothing voice. It was his ‘doctor’ voice. The one he used when talking to his patients. “He’s bruised and battered, Frankie. His face is so swollen that he won’t be able to speak right away. It will take time and he’ll need looking after, but physically he’ll recover. He’s gonna need a close friend by his side, Frankie—a best friend.”
“How soon can he be moved from this dump, Doc?” Wanda said.
“He’s in pain, but he’ll be in varying degrees of pain wherever he is. I’ll write out some instructions on how best to help him. Plus I’ll add the name of a cream that’ll help with the swelling.”
Frankie who’d been silent suddenly spoke. “I’m leaving town tomorrow and taking him with me.”
To be continued.
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