Hospital Fighter Ch.5: Detour
Kilometers and days away from Sergei's garage, I was on my way to another hospital and this time, with intent to raid and hopefully, interrogate a top official to get SOME answers about what's tearing apart the Soviet healthcare system. My sawn-off shotgun was well hidden under my leather jacket, bandolier well disguised to evade police checks. Obviously, my escape produced more vigilant and at times, regular police patrols and check-ups.
DPS GAI (Road patrol units of the Soviet Militia) now carried AKMSUs (compact carbine version of the AKM rifle in 7.62mm; issued to armored vehicle crews and elite units as well) and looked for excuses to pull a guy to the side for an interview. For now, I was not stopped nor questioned by any authorities as I kept to crowds composed of mostly gypsies and traders from North Caucasus nations (Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia) carrying their wares to sell on the local bazaar.
A long bus ride later, I was face to gate with another hospital; this one was further away from the city and was surrounded by derelict factories that had to close due to theft and corruption of higher management. There was also a children's home where mostly underage parents left their unwanted/accidental kids after a night of drinking and partying; the new school and college traditions that have rapidly gained traction. Daytime entry is a moot point since things would be normal then so I had to camp out till night time. Camp in one of the derelict factories that were, at this point, populated by squatters; maybe I can listen in on the word on the street here.
My camping spot had the hospital in view and was a 20-minute walk away; it was indeed, an abandoned factory and my companions were 2 homeless guys; both sharing a single vodka bottle.
"Let me tell you, Dimon, before things fell, I was a theoretical physics lecturer in university"
"I was going to travel, Boroda, see what's on the other side of the world, see the people; you know?"
"Hey" one of them addressed me, "What's your story? We haven't seen you before."
"I am looking for answers," I answered without lying nor giving myself away. "About a guy who stabs cops for fun." Might as well use this opportunity to gather intel on who else got the system nervous.
"Oh, too bad for old Vasya" one squatter replied with a note of sadness, "First someone snatches him; using violence at that, then he is back days later; carrying a very ugly looking knife."
The other squatter interjected, "He totally lost it, we saw him jump a police patrol at night and tear them apart; they didn't have a chance."
"Even OMON got theirs." his partner finished as he defeated the vodka bottle in one swig. "Despite Vasya getting a broken rib."
So the angry old vagrant was seriously injured; meaning I could somewhat spot him if stalked, shame the vagrants dissolved into drunken rants that had no value. I listened on to maybe derive some more value from them since it was a long way from sundown. It was a quiet and boring camp until a few junkies showed up at early nighttime; you can always see a fool from afar as they say. A group of 5 silhouettes, slouched and trembling snuck into the darkest part of where I was sitting.
"Check this out, I scored the green stuff!"
I listened further, they didn't notice me.
"This is the latest stuff from the hospital; they use it in their new projects."
"Awesome, let me have it!"
Green stuff, the syringes I was attacked with, further solidifying my suspicion, the familiar smell of alcohol with extra additions was thrown by diffusion into my nose. Moments later, the 5 silhouettes shot up the drugs and to my shock; all of them suddenly turned to face me; several angry, borderline obsessed eyes staring me down.
"He is not one of us!"
"He knows too much!"
Their voices sounded like someone else was using them as a puppet; a totally different, more psychotic person was the ventriloquist to 5 puppets high on mysterious drugs.
I jumped up and as I practiced, my hand was on the handle of the sawn-off in my jacket; 2 shots would nail 2 and seriously injure others. However, they were just junkies so I took my hands off the gun and taunted them to come closer.
"Got that right, now what else would you add?"
This agitated the junkies. They synchronously sprung onto me for attack only to receive personalised deterrents.
One opened his head on a piece of derelict machinery as I sidestepped away; catching another one in a clinch and using him as a weapon, knocked the others off balance. First one to get up got a roundhouse kick; cutting the junkie down to an unconscious obstacle for his companions. They pushed his body off and with another attempt, they got up and all 3 were angrier hence, desperate and easier to predict. They attacked all at once with weak hits I could easily eat without blocking. Several weak strikes spurred by artificial highs vs a few technical ones later; I contained the threat. The junkies were dead; broken nasal bridges, crushed larynxes, broken necks and leaky foreheads.
Their reaction, while somewhat typical of junkies doing hard drugs for years but, them accusing me of not being one of them; could this mean that the drugs are bought or planted into their circles? The hospital would have to wait since I have to know how this stuff gets on the street; what will my homeless comrades say?
"Dimon! Boroda!" I called out to them, "Come fast!"
I got no response, for a minute, I got worried; did they junkies get to them first?! My walk broke into a run; spotting the entire factory like a human spy plane, expecting the absolute worst and by God, I got it. Busting down a rickety door, I saw Boroda and Dimon hunched in the corner with the former gripping a deep wound and slowly losing touch with life.
"I'm in pain Dimon" Boroda gasped. "Well, this is how it ends, Honored Soviet Professor of Theoretical Physics," he whispered to himself and checked out. Dimon, in deep sorrow, closed his dead friend's eyes with his palm and patted him on the shoulder. "Goodbye, dear neighbor" he sighed.
"Who did this?!" I demanded as empathy woke up within me, "Where did they go?!"
Dimon turned around, revealing his own serious injury; his side was a blood faucet. "A bunch of thugs, offering so-called happiness; Boroda disagreed and they didn't like it; good thing they were terrible shots; it wasn't the first time I played dead to escape!"
"OMON?!" I asked anxiously.
"No, they looked like Baryga's men," Dimon replied, "OMON would be more efficient and make double sure everyone is neutralised."
"Who is Baryga?" I interrogated.
"The local blatnoy authority (RUS: upper echelon Russian gangster) who also has government connections." the sorrowful vagrant replied. "He claims he owns the district and always tries to posture it with his trigger-happy bulls; happiness or a bullet is what they offer."
"I may have run into those who chose happiness." I answered, "Green syringes and screams of not belonging with them."
"Yes," Dimon answered. "Green syringes is what they pushed on us."
There is nothing more I could do for my brothers-in-troubles and they knew it so it's time I got moving. Baryga has connections to the hospitals it seems as he tries to sell the drugs only seen within. I never saw it outside during my streetfighting career nor my normal life; despite seeing many junkies in both.
At this point, I am too far-gone; no chance at normal life, effectively a vagrant with no home so, why not wage a war with the criminal underworld; get Baryga; he will lead me to the bottom of this.
© 2018 Jake Clawson