Johnny and Doris – Part IV


“I think we can take him off the ventilator now.”

“Are you sure?”

“Absolutely. He’s breathing on his own…or at least he wants to.”

“Wants to?”

“Are you kidding me? This guy’s a fighter!”

“Well, he certainly came in looking like one.”

“Yeah, I know. How on earth he thought he could take on six guys, I have no idea! His tox screen was clear so I have no clue what was going through his mind.”

“The police questioned the other parties and they just kept saying something about him yelling for someone named Stevie?”

“Well, he’s got no ID. I don’t know but maybe ‘Stevie’s’ a relative?”

“Alright. Call that number, that place…it should be open by now.”


“Hello? Yeah, this is Doris… Who? I think you’ve got the wrong number…or at least the wrong Doris. Yeah? Uh-huh… Okay, okay let me see what I can do. I’ll be over as soon as I can.” Doris had no idea what was going on or why the hospital had called her. And a mugging? All they told her was that some John Doe had been found, barely alive, with her name and the name of the diner scrawled across a piece of paper in his pocket. She had no idea who it could have been but the nurse had been so insistent she felt she had to go. During all her years of service she rarely took time off so Lou was sure to oblige her on such short notice.

“Call Anne. I think she’s at home today,” Doris yelled as she flew out the diner’s front door, the cheerful clatter of its tiny bells lost in the sound of the city.

When she arrived at the ICU desk she asked for the nurse that had called her.

“I’m sorry Miss…Miss…I’m sorry, what is your last name?”


“Yes, Miss Beckstein. We really had no other recourse. His wallet and ID were missing. If nothing more we thought you could at least provide us with identification.” Doris inhaled deeply, “Okay, if you say so.”

They walked down the hall and peered into the window of a private room that looked more like a laboratory than a hospital room. So much equipment! Doris had never seen anything like it?

“Well, here he is, Mr. John Doe.” Doris stiffened at the task proposed to her. Okay, I’m ready, she thought, half consumed with fear, half battling an intensely morbid curiosity. She entered the door and approached the man on the bed.

“Oh my god…Johnny..”

“So you know him.”

“Well, yeah but…”

“Alright, come with me.” They returned to the desk.

“I’ll need you to just fill out these forms…”

“What? Whoa, wait a minute…You said I just had to ID the guy.”

“Well, yes…and now we need you to fill out these forms.”

“Hey, I don’t know this guy. He just showed up at the diner a couple of times.”

“Oh. Okay, just a second. Let me speak with my supervisor.” As the nurse turned away,

Doris called, “Hey, does this guy have a doctor?” This was the real beginning of

Doris and John’s relationship.

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