The mission has been wrong and long and one thing after the other since the very start. My head is ringing like a bell, not as bad as getting shot in the head, but still damn unpleasant.
Bosco is in the next room, TV going on quietly about some disturbance at a local high-rise leading to the arrest of persons involved in a massive smuggling operation. As of yet, the perpetrators of the disturbance were yet to be found.
Of course, they probably hadn’t checked two towns over in the modest hotel with the complimentary pool and breakfast, but they were probably busy.
Hannibal is…somewhere. Probably smoking a cigar. Working out what went wrong and what went right for the mission. Face was most likely scamming us some supplies, looking for a place to have a bit of downtime.
I really need something for my head.
I stagger out of the bathroom after cleaning up. Face and I are in one room, Boss and the big guy in the other. I lean down slowly, trying not to jostle my head as I dig through my medicine bag on the hotel bed.
Thorazine, Xanax, no, already took one of those before the mission…ah. There they were. I pull out the bottle and look hazily at the prescription. I don’t usually take this pill, I prefer the vicodin, but if we need to pack up and move quick, vicodin is a hard drug to work with sometimes. A mild painkiller is better.
Darvocet it is then. Let’s see…
My eyes are fuzzing with the killer headache, but I can still read the label…two pills every four hours. Alright.
I take the two pills dry, then search for some water. I manage to find a bottle a minute later, but I suddenly can’t remember why I wanted it. I put it down, look around the room. It doesn’t look right.
I stumble a little. I need something. I don’t know what it is.
In my confusion and haze, I can hear my brain screaming at me. But I have no idea why, and that is so irritating.
Weariness hits me like a hammer. I didn’t realize that I was going to be so tired after this…this…what did I do today?
I need to talk to someone. About something.
Overdose…I overdosed on something. What’s in my hand?
Darvocet…what is that?
My legs give out suddenly and I hit rough carpet with a loud thump. Whoever is in the next room yells something, but my eyes are closing and I don’t feel anything after that.
Face enters when he hears the thump. It’s probably just H.M. blowing off steam, but they’ve had a hard mission, and part of him wants to make sure his friend is alright.
He finds Murdock passed out on the floor, breathing labored, heart beating erratically, with a bottle of pills in his hand.
He yells for Hannibal and B.A., checks the pilot’s eyes, which have shrunk to pinpoints.
He doesn’t want to believe…how could he have missed this? H.M. had always been the one to let things roll off him, never showed any signs…
Hannibal takes one look, yells to B.A. to bring the van. He helps Face gather up the pilot, and manhandle the dead weight into the van. No words are spoken. Just urgency.
In barely two minutes after the fall, the B.A.’s van is screaming down the road to the nearest hospital.
Time must be passing…I can hear BA, Face…even the Boss, all separate but the same…oh yes. Drug induced coma. I hate those.
I focus in on their voices, but only hear general tones and snippets. Pleading. Threatening. Sad. Worried.
I wonder what mission I was on…to be injured like this…
I open my eyes suddenly and look up at the ceiling. It’s white.
Idly I wiggle my fingers and toes as my body struggles to catch up to my fully aware mind. When it’s passing average, I turn my head and look to see…Hannibal in the chair beside the bed.
He doesn’t look good. His face is stony. He’s so lost in thought he can’t see me looking at him.I jusr watch him for awhile, calm feelings throughout my body. Part of it is drugs…the other part is him.
I must have made a noise, because his head snaps to the side and looks at me, razor sharp gaze. His face contorts and I see relief…and anger.
Why is he so angry?
“Nurse!” He yells out before turning to me again. “How do you feel, son?”
“Like a million, boss.” I say, words having difficulty passing my lips. My mouth is dry. The nurse arrives, gives me water, checks me out, informs us the doctor will be here soon. I blink slowly as Hannibal stares at me.
“Why didn’t you tell us?”
Tell him what?
I ask him this, and his face takes on an odd expression. The doctor comes, then goes after seeing that I was indeed alive.
I ask him again. Hannibal shakes his head, angry, like he was a horse shooing a fly. He gets up, tells me that we’ll have to talk about it eventually.
He leaves then, and I find myself more confused than ever.
“How is he?” Face is the first one to open his mouth. He shook his head at his lieutenant.
“He’s in denial. He’s acting as if he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. He may not. I don’t know how the meds have affected his mind.”
“How’d we miss it?” BA rumbles, arms crossed.
“I don’t know…he had a lot of problems before we picked him up in Mexico. They may just have been waiting to manifest. The human mind is a strange thing.”
“Manifest?! Hannibal…he tried to kill himself. He’s never tried that before. We didn’t even notice he was upset.” Face is full of self loathing. His words reflect a thought no one wanted to voice.
They were his friends, and they didn’t even know he was in trouble.
They file back in after awhile, all of them at once. I’m sure that the doctor would have a fit. I watch them curiously as they shuffled, all of them looking back and forth while they try to find words to whatever it is they need to say.
Face finally clears his throat. “Murdock…buddy…you know you can tell us anything right?”
“Of course I can. It’s you guys.” I say, bemused.
“Well, I know that it’s been tough all around…but we love you, and we want to help.”
“We need to know why you did it. So we can stop it next time.”
“Did…what?” I’ve done a lot of things. I used up Face’s shampoo. I drew a mustache on the bad guy stick figures in boss’s plan. I stole Bosco’s sandwich and blamed it on Billy. But these are normal, no need for the intervention squad or anything…
“Buddy…you can’t just pretend it didn’t happen. It did, we rushed you to the hospital, we took you in. They pumped your stomach, we stayed all-”
“Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Are we talking about the pills?” I butt in quickly.
They nod, turn their solemn gazes on me.
I start laughing. I can’t help it.
Hannibal starts looking angry. “Captain! This is not a joke!”
“You guys thought I wanted to commit suicide. That’s a pretty good joke.” I say, wiping an eye. “Look, guys, I just misread the label. I took too many on accident.”
“Murdock…I know you want us not to worry, but that’s a terrible excuse.” Face said.
I blink at him. “It’s the truth.”
Looking around at them and their disbelieving gazes, I feel a surge of anger. Is this what they thought of me? That I wasn’t strong enough to be just as good as they were? That I needed constant protection?
Did they think I was weak?
My voice turns cold. “Believe me, Face-if I wanted to kill myself, it would have happened. I know more about medicine than most interns, and I could have made it so I couldn’t be saved.”
My resolve melts when I see the hurt looks on their faces. I regret my words.
“I’m sorry…that was harsh. But fellas…why would I do that? I’ve got you.”
“Murdock-” B.A. starts, then the door opens admitting a doctor. He looks at the group quizzically. He then turns to Murdock.
“Mr. Jones, did you know that Darvocet has been recently recalled?”
“No I did not.”
“It was recently determined that the risks outweighed the benefits. Do you take this medication often?”
“No. Very rarely.”
“I see. How much did you take?”
“Label said two pills every four hours. I took two.”
“Were you ailing?”
“Had a bad headache and was very tired.”
“I see. Your story checks out. You had twice the recommended dosage in your system. In the future, please have one of your friends look at your prescriptions for you. The actual dosage is one pill for every four hours. You could have died, Mr. Jones.”
“Yes, doctor.” I can see the dawning realizations on their faces.
“I’m going to prescribe you a different painkiller later. Bring back any excess Darvocet that you have so we can get rid of it.”
“Thank you doctor.” I say winningly as he leaves.
I turn to the others, waiting.
“Well…shit.” B.A. says, blinking. The other two look pretty dumbstruck too. But they start to smile, gather around, talking and joking.
I relax against the bed, tired. Just so long as they understand, it’s fine. I won’t hold a grudge. For now.
But when I wake up again, they are buying me ice-cream.