P.S.I.--An "Emergency!" Story

Chapter 11--"Don't Have a Stroke, Mike!"

Home | Cast of Characters | Soundtrack | Chapter 1--"I Wanna Be With Her" | Chapter 2--As Mike Lay Dying | Chapter 3--The Three Clues | Chapter 4--A Bullet With Her Name On It | Chapter 5--"Beauty Doesn't Belong in the Ground!" | Chapter 6--Cassie Lou Remembers | Chapter 7--The Video, The Ad, and The Interview | Chapter 8 --The Perfect Wife for a Firefighter | Chapter 9--"Win It For Dixie!" | Chapter 10--Angel in Topboots | Chapter 11--"Don't Have a Stroke, Mike!" | Chapter 12--Waterloo | Chapter 13--Retail Murder | Chapter 14--The Mares | Chapter 15--Notes | Chapter 16--A Homecoming--Sort Of | Chapter 17--PSI Means What Again? | Epilogue | Author's Notes | Gemma's E! Vision in the Monastery | Guestbook

Mike sat next to his alcove bed, arms crossed on the mattress, head down on his arms, crying more seemingly never-ending tears.  The nagging question in his heart and the abysmal lonliness were going to drive him crazy if the case wasn't solved soon--who did it and why?  The "why?" was probably more important than the "who?" at this point.  Life wasn't making sense anymore.  Why Brin?  What did she ever do to anyone?

Her ring started burning him.

The phone rang.  He answered it in the den, and sat down next to the recliner, resting his head on the seat.

"Hey, Mike," the male voice with a distinctly northern accent began.  "This is Joel Ma, that's M-A-H-E-R.  I'm with the colony at Paradise. . ."

A jockey.

"You know the reward is up to a million dollars now?" asked Joel.

"What reward?"

"Haven't you been watching the news or listening to the radio?"


"The winners of the Southland Derby put up their winnings as a reward.  They wanted the world to know that they had nothing to do with Brin's death.  And I think I know who killed her."

"Who?"  Mike couldn't control the tears.  There was something about the name Southland Derby that poked a trident into what was left of his heart.

"I'm about to go to the sheriff with this information, but I thought I'd tell you first.  George Welles has been talking in his sleep in the nap room, saying stuff like "I'm sorry, Brin, I didn't mean to do it.  Can you ever forgive me?  I miss you so much."

"Why'd he do it?"

"I'm not sure myself, but it seems his jealousy over her marrying you instead of him drove him to insanity."

"I know how that feels."

Mike was staring, but at what, he didn't know.

"The whole world's crying with you.  Someone just mentions your name in the jock's room, and three-quarters of the guys are in tears.  She never came over to our lounge after you two got engaged.  That's what tipped us off that something was up with her."

"She tried so hard to keep it quiet. . ."

"That's when George started getting sullen.  And that's when he 'dropped' her."

"Well, that's good."

"No, it's not.  'Dropping' is what we jocks call trying to kill someone in a race."

"WHAT?"  Mike exclaimed, scrambling into the recliner.  His mind flew back to that awful day that prefigured the first Saturday of the present month.

"Yeah, man, that's how some jocks try to knock off others.  Looks like an innocent clipping of heels, which happens on a regular basis.  But with 'dropping,' it's deliberate."

"Did anyone tell the stewards?"
"We tried, but the three we had before these were corrupt and could've cared less about the riders."
"Where are they now?"
"Who knows.  I think they should be sued for incompetence."
"I'll take that into consideration."

"There's someone else here who wants to talk to you."
"Where are you calling from?"
"My place.  Here. . ."
"Hey, Mike, it's Rooster."
"Yeah, George Welles' roomie.  I'm about to turn him in.  I've found a bunch of stuff in his room which is. . .well. . .incriminating."
"So it was jealousy?"
"I think so.  He nearly wrecked the apartment the day she told him to let go of her.  He almost killed me throwing me across the room."
"Everybody's favorite roommate."

"Could I come over and talk to you after I'm finished at the sheriff's office?"
"Please do."
Hours turned into years.  Hurry, Rooster, I've got work in the morning.
A car finally pulled into the drive.  After an offer of hospitality, they went to the den.
"So, what's up?"
"George has been really obsessed with Brin since she began her career in Kentucky.  He talked me into moving my tack, also, when she moved hers here.  He's pestered her for years to go out, and she wouldn't have anything to do with him.  Everybody--George included--could see how you and Brin loved each other.  It was more than he could take.  I found a cassette tape called the "Brin Mix" that had a bunch of songs on it.  The first song was from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. . ."
"And that was. . ."
"If I Can't Have You.  What bothered me the most about it were some of the lyrics--Am I strong enough to see it through/Go crazy is what I will do/If I can't have you."
"I'm almost afraid to ask what else is on there."
"Oh, It's a Heartache; Nights on Broadway; Don't Forget to Remember, just to name a few."
"A few?   How many were there?"
"About a dozen.  He also had sketchbooks. . .I'm not saying that she and George ever dated.  I just think his sketchbooks show the level of obsession that he had sunk to."
Mike grabbed a couch pillow and with a stream of profanity, hurled it at the front door.  Rooster quickly concluded that if he had a choice of being killed by being rolled over by a horse, or being choked to death by a deranged widower, he'd take the horse--it was faster.
"Don't have a stroke, Mike!  Please don't have a stroke."
The jockey had a point.  Mike felt a blood pressure headache coming on.
Brin's ring turned cold.  He noticed the book Rooster held in his lap.  "What's that?" he asked.
"My psychology book.  I'm working toward a degree in psychology."
Mike sat back down.  "The detectives mentioned that it was among her things.  May I see it, please?"

Mike started leafing through it.  He passed a sheet of paper, but when Brin's ring started burning, he turned back to it.  "What's this?"
A note.  In Brin's handwriting.  Addressed to Rooster.  Dated "10/2"--the day she died.
Rooster got up to look over Mike's shoulder.  He read:
"Rooster--George sounds like he's suffering from chronic depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.  You need to get him help ASAP before someone gets hurt--PROBABLY ME!  Brin."
Both men were stunned.  Rooster plopped back down onto the couch.  They sat in silence--for how long, they didn't know.

Call Peaches and Mundelein, Mike heard within.  He obliged.  Mundelein was appalled that he had let something like that get past him.  The detectives came out and retrieved the note, but looked through the psychology book again.
"Why would she leave a note to you in your textbook?" Mundelein asked Rooster.
"That was the safest way to communicate.  George had no interest in academics.  If I had called her, or if she had called me, it would've raised suspicion."
Mike looked at Rooster with a "WHAT?" expression.
"I have all the notes she sent--there weren't that many.  They were all about George--and her concern for the situation.  I'll bring them by your office tomorrow after work," Rooster said to the detectives.
The next day at Station 51, the doorbell rang.  Marco fetched Mike from the kitchen.  "There's a very upset woman in the office, and she won't talk to anyone but you.  Says it's urgent that she talk with only you."
"May I help you?" Mike asked.  A modestly dressed, medium-sized woman with long brown hair stood facing the windows.  He could hear her crying.
"I know who shot your wife," she said.  With her left hand she tossed onto the desk a bag full of ammunition.  On closer inspection, Mike saw "SLIPPERY ELM" on each bullet.  He put his left hand on the desk, his right hand over his heart, and started gasping for breath.
"My name is Sylvia Ramsey.  My husband is George Ramsey the electrician.  I had no idea that he was 'Slippery Elm' the hitman.  I will be divorcing him after I visit the sheriff.  I am so sorry all of this happened to you."
She turned around.  "Are you OK?" she exclaimed as she helped him to a chair.  She then ran to the door to the apparatus floor and yelled for help.
Mike had broken out in a profuse sweat.  He still had trouble breathing.  Cap and the others bolted through the door.  "What's going on here?" Cap demanded.
"I'm Sylvia Ramsey.  I have just discovered that my husband is the hitman who killed his wife," she said, pointing at Mike.
"And my neice," said Cap.
Mrs. Ramsey turned to the desk and motioned to the ammunition.  "There's the proof.  After Mike saw it, he started having trouble breathing.  I think I would, too."
"We're calling the detectives," said Cap.  Johnny and Roy had Mike hooked up to the EKG and on oxygen.  He still looked stunned--and still stared at the bag on the desk. 

Johnny and Roy were taking Mike to the hospital via ambulance.  The paramedics thought perhaps he was suffering from post-traumatic stress--or sympathy pains for Brin--but wanted to be sure.
"How did you find these?" Mundelein asked Mrs. Ramsey regarding the bullets.
"George told me not to clean one particular room in the house, but the dust got so bad, and the kids and I were suffering from it, that I had to.  That's when I discovered a whole . . .lab . . . or. . . something in there."

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