Encounter With A Dual Identity, is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are products of the author’s imagination…
Although, a dual identity can be difficult to prove…
Copyright © 2021 T. M. Watson
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. This short story may not be copied or redistributed without the sole written consent of the author.
Max and Douglas
Encounter With a Dual Identity.
Sometimes, paranoia’s just having all the facts.
– William S. Burroughs
My last living relative resided in a mental health facility. I hated going there, but for Aunt Winnie, I’d visited every Thursday for the last two months. This day was the worst. The medical staff summoned me, telling me her last hours had arrived.
All her affairs had been prearranged. I left that day, with my chin on my chest. As I walked through the hallways to leave, the feeling of being the sole family member…
“Psst! Hey pal! Got a minute?” A voice in a private room doorway. A patient stood there with a wide eyed, distressed look on his face.
“Not really. I…”
“Please. Only a little bit.”
I walked three steps to his doorway he was leaning against. Looking up and down the hall, his head was on a swivel.
“What is it?” I said, not really wanting to be disturbed, or annoyed.
“I need to speak to someone in law enforcement. You gotta trust me.”
“You think I’m a cop?”
“No. Aren’t you a private dick?”
“What? Why would you think that? And the word is detective. Not dick.”
“Right. Anyway, I notice the way you carry yourself. Saw the shoulder holster under your left arm.”
“Quite observant. But, it doesn’t make me a detective.”
“Then why carry your permit in your wallet?”
“How’d you know that?”
“You just told me.”
“Nice trick, Mister. See ya later,” I said, not at all amused. I turned to walk away.
“Wait! Please, you’re my last hope. People are going to kill me.”
I stopped, turned to look at him and scanned the hallway like he was doing. In a whisper, I asked, “Who’s gonna kill you? Pardon me for asking, but are you in your right mind?”
“Perfectly. Name’s Hollister. Douglas Hollister.”
“Okay, Douglas. Tell me your story.”
“Until a little more than a year ago, I ran a hedge fund out of Chicago. Had a handful of investors. Big wigs. We were doing good. Real good.”
A Dual Identity
He quickly turned his head down the hall, just as a nurse approached.
“Show me the goldfish!” He used a different voice when he said it.
“Is he bothering you, sir? He’s harmless, really.”
“No bother. We were just saying hello.” Now, I had to see how this played out.
“C’mon, Max. Leave this gentleman alone.”
“I wanna see the goldfish! The fisheries.”
“We’ll visit the aquarium after your nap, Max.”
“But, the goldfish!”
“Max, not now. Get to your bed. That’s nice. Under the covers now. Good. Here’s some water and your afternoon pill.”
I watched the show. Slack jawed. Was it Douglas or Max?
The pretty nurse spoke to me as she was walking out. “He’ll be okay. He gets stubborn when it’s nap time.”
Behind her back, Max made wide eyes at me, silently moving his lips, beckoning me to enter his private room.
I asked the nurse, “Is it okay if I sit with him a minute?”
“Are you a relative?”
“No. But, you see, I just lost my Aunt…”
“I understand. He seems to like you. Don’t be too long.”
I pulled up a chair to whoever was in the bed. “A dual identity, huh? Are you screwing with me?”
“No. Honest. I need protection!”
“Calm down, Doug. Or Max.”
“It’s Douglas Hollister. Google me. You’ll see.”
“Tell me more.”
“The hedge fund I was in charge of. It tanked. My investors lost a shit ton of money.”
“How much money are we talking?”
“You should see my account in the Cayman’s. Everyone knew it was a gamble. Most of them picked up the remaining pieces they had left and walked away.”
Doug or Max paused to watch the doorway.
“Look. The pill she gave me works kinda fast. I’ll be asleep soon. Two investors, well, I know they’re in the Mob. I recognized them and they’ve found me. There was one yesterday, inquiring at the front desk.”
“Who’s he looking for? Douglas or Max?”
“That’s why he left. He knows my real name, Douglas, but not Max.”
“How’d you get admitted here?”
“My secret, Detective. But, it worked. Just…Google my name.”
“Smart phone is in my car. I’ll check soon as I leave.”
“I can trust you?”
“If you aren’t lying to me.”
Doug or Max fell asleep quickly after he calmed down.
Walking from the room, I rounded the corner, bumping into an orderly carrying a pile of clean, folded white towels.
“Oops, Excuse me, Sir,” he apologized.
“That’s okay. My fault.”
“So, which one did you visit, today?”
“Who did you visit? Max or Douglas?”
“Well, kinda both.”
He smiled widely. “It’s his nap time. Around here, we never know who he’ll be when he wakes up.”
As I walked out the door, I heard, “No!” Followed with the report of a gunshot behind me…