Brian turned for Olivia’s room again. The food cart caught his eye. It had progressed much further in the brief time he’d been speaking to Tony. Further than it should have, if it had stopped at every room. He used a supporting pillar at the nurse’s desk to hide behind and he watched the driver of the cart.
As men go, this man was unremarkable. Dressed in the traditional white uniform, he had sandy brown hair, was of medium height and stature. Unremarkable. He walked with a straight forward purpose, not hesitant, not careful he might miss something. He neither looked left nor right, nor did he glance at the list hanging on the handle of the cart. Rather, he seemed to be focused on only one room: Olivia’s.
Brian pressed his lips together. Trouble already. He considered his options. He could go around the corner through a connecting hall and come up behind the guy. The cart would be at Olivia’s room by then. Or, and Brian nodded at this plan, he could just step right up to the guy and take care of him, face-to-face.
He waited until the cart approached a maintenance closet. After a brief glance up and down the hall to discern there would be no witnesses, he moved out from behind the pillar, ducked his head and walked toward the cart. As he closed the distance, he moved to the side of the hall as if he were trying to avoid a collision. Just as he passed, the sharp violent smell of the driver breached those of the hospital. At the same time, he heard a low menacing growl and the man straightened to face him.
With no hesitation, Brian shot a quick punch in the driver’s face. Stunned, the man staggered back and Brian moved in. He gripped the man’s opposite shoulder and pushed him around until he was in a choke hold from behind. A cardboard cutout of Santa in his sleigh smiled at him from the opposite wall. The muffled noises of the skirmish seemed loud, so he coughed to cover the sound, hoping it wasn’t enough to bring someone to investigate. As the cart driver scrambled his fingers at the choking arm, Brian dragged him into the closet and held him until he lost consciousness. Lowering him to the floor, he checked the man’s clothes for identification. He found none. He flipped open his phone and called Tony.