Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Promises We Keep-Part 07

Part Five: Complication

The attention of the community upon the gang war between the Outlaws and the Hell’s Angels kept the authorities away from me, so I fell away from their notice. I maintained contact with the few of them I’d previously befriended, but that was just to keep up appearances. Instead I turned my attention back to the facts that brought my friend to call upon me, so now I had reason to visit her. When I did, I’d found that she got moved out of the hospital room to another wing of the building due to her condition suffering a severe change. That wing was the hospice wing, and the change was financial; she no longer had any means whatsoever to justify the hospital’s continued attempts to improve her condition, and no law protected her from being denied care, so they cut her off. If not for another law forbidding hospitals to evict indigent patients—which was now the case with her—she would’ve been thrown out to die cold and alone on the curb.

The despair in her eyes was a sight so horrible that it haunts me to this day, and I knew when I sat at her bedside that I was the sole thing left in this world that she could rely upon to do right by her. I saw that, if I was to accomplish my goal, I would have to deliver retribution for this crime of arrogance, but first I needed reliable information. I spoke at length with her, letting her tell the tale as she saw it, which took considerably more time than necessary between the trauma of past and present outrages fracturing her focus and the pain of the body that she suffered as a result of them. I sifted through her words, filtering out those expressing issues other than the immediate one—which I put aside for later reference—and focusing on those involving who condemned her to this fate, how and why.

Now, at this time there was a thing called “insurance”. What people did was to take some of their wealth, commonly in the form of a currency, and spend some of it to purchase a promised service that would cover the costs incurred if a specific sort of event or crisis occurred. Different forms covered different things, and the specifics varied from one policy agreement to another. Common people, like my friend, received health insurance either directly from an employer as part of one’s compensation or indirectly through one’s husband or father because otherwise it was too expensive to purchase as one would a conveyance or domicile. Widows usually had some recourse to coverage from their deceased husband’s insurance, but that was no longer a sure thing by this time. Yet there was a flaw in this scheme.

Insurance providers ran their enterprise as a profit-driven business. In order to maximize their profits, they did everything that they could—regardless of whether or not the authorities would allow it—to deny care to those who bought policies from them. One such provider, which was one of the largest, employed a wicked and vindictive woman I once knew by the name of Mary Redalen. She had attained a position within that provider where she decided who lived and who died through choosing which policy to fulfill and which one to deny, and she denied every policy request put to her. While it is certainly possible for most such people to do such evil things as deny a helpless woman the means that she needs to sustain her life without ever knowing anything whom they victimize, this was not the case here.

When my friend’s policy request arrived at Mary’s desk, as I soon learned, she cackled loudly. You see, reader, these two women met once more—for I was once Mary’s lover, many years before—and I introduced the two as a social event. I’d believed that she forgot about my friends after her failed attempt to kill me, but now I knew that to be false. The uneasy détente between us now fell away, and now I had new reason to fulfill an old vow- but first, I needed additional information.

The provider’s main office was outside of the center of town, far distant from the hospital, and like many such offices it went into a locked-down state after the traditional dinner hour. Yet workers did inhabit parts of that office at all hours, and at this time—like so many others—workers prized their convenience over any security policies. Therefore, gaining access to the building was rather easy to do; I just followed a small group of nighttime workers into the office and then split away when I could get out of sight.

It was not hard, once inside, to find Mary’s place in this office. What was difficult was figuring out what to do once I got to it, as I did not have—nor could I procure—the keys to her files beforehand. Fortunately, slovenly habits worked to my advantage once more; not expecting any such infiltration, she left files out in the open about her work-space. One of them was that of my dear friend, and she left all sorts of detachable notes to it. Many of them, as I said above, confirmed that she knew who this was and did all she could to deny care requests. The troubling ones, however, had contact information to unknown parties with things like “Owes me a big favor” and “Can buy this guy easy”. I copied it all—not easy or quick, as it is a massive file—and slipped out the way I came.

Once safely away from the provider’s office, I began checking on the contacted individuals by way of my police contacts- specifically, I used their resources surreptitiously for this purpose. This is how I learned that many of these gang members, and many others, had policies with that provider; it is also how I learned that she one apprenticed with the authorities as an accuser, and thus encountered key members before reaching leadership status in their gangs. I took a look at Mary’s career since she left public service and joined the insurance provider; several rivals and other complications to her rise suffered convenient and deniable deaths in the period preceding promotions, and she in turn always approved claims by those members or their family.

All I needed now was to somehow produce a direct link between Mary and the two gangs, and that meant proving a viable link between their communications—any contact would fall under obvious business communications between the provider and a client, so the fact that they talked is not itself any crime—and the demise or near-demise of those Mary targeted. It was at this time that I also deduced what this was really about. Somehow I became worthy of Mary’s notice once more, and she decided that I had to go. She knew she could draw me out if she did this. Now the fight began in earnest.

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