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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 17 page 07


“Are you feeling worse, Mr. Vanelli? Tell me what is happening.”

“I can’t breathe.”

A siren blared in the background, the sound getting louder with each beat. The giant came running out with a pill bottle in his hand and Nick came bolting out of the door at the same time. Angie slipped the ring into her pocket and held the old man’s hand as the paramedics rushed over.

The giant motioned her over. “Was he talking to you?”

“Not really,” she lied. “I was asking him about his heart medication. I’m a nurse.”

“Yeah? So what are these?” He handed her the pill bottle.

She studied the label “It’s a medication that relaxes blood vessels, mostly used for the treatment of congestive heart failure.”

“Huh, so he's not bluffing. Okay, I gotta go with Mr. V. now.”

“Can I just say goodbye to him?”

“Make it fast! And if I were you, I would just forget I saw the old guy. And you too,” he glanced menacingly over at Nick. “Understand?” He stepped aside to answer a call on his cell phone.

Angie bent over Vito’s ear and whispered. “You take care, Vito. I’ll follow up with you later.” She smiled for him.

“Don’t forget your promise,” he said feebly. He gripped her hand.

“I won’t.”

The old man seemed to relax a little. Angie left him and went to speak to the paramedic.

“Where are you taking him?” she asked.

“St. Michael’s is the closest.”

“Great. I work there.”

“Hey, I’d give you a lift but it’s against the rules.”

“Sure, I understand.”

The giant forced his way into the back of the ambulance past the other attendant who clearly didn’t want him coming along but the giant clearly didn’t follow rules.

As it happened, Angie was assigned to teach a class of student nurses on that particular date, so that’s the room she went to as soon as she arrived at work. It wasn’t until later in the morning that she got a moment to go back down to the Emergency department.

“Hi Gladys,” she said to one of the staff. “Can you check something for me? An elderly gentleman was admitted around 8:00 probably. His name is Vanelli, Vito Vanelli.”

Gladys checked the computer screen. “Yes, here he is. He didn’t make it, Angie. He’s listed as D.O.A.”

Angie’s heart skipped a beat. “Oh no. Poor guy. Where is his body?”

“The funeral home already took him.”

“Which one?”

“I think it was Bianchi Brothers. Did you know him?”

“No, not really, but thanks for the info Gladys.”

Angie felt a pang of sorrow for the old man and for the son who would never see his father again. She was never one to squelch on a promise so now she had the burden of tracking down the son and passing the ring on. Tomorrow, she thought. I’ll deal with this tomorrow.

The next morning on her way to work, she wanted to talk to Nick to see if he had any more info about Mr. Vanelli or his scary bodyguard, but as she approached the hotel she saw another doorman standing in Nick’s place.

“Where’s Nick this morning?” she asked.

“Got me! He didn’t show up, so they called me in. The manager tried to reach him but he wasn’t answering his phone.”

“That’s strange,” said Angie, “Nick is never sick or late.”

She had a bad feeling, a very bad feeling.