I KILL RICH PEOPLE 2, page 21
While he waited, he took himself out of bed and filled 10ml of pure water into a drip bag then tested the flow by clocking volume dripping from each of the three valve settings. Now he wondered whether adding thiopental sodium in solution would alter the flow rate. He strained to think it through clearly. If it does alter rate, it should be slower, not faster, he reasoned. On that point, if he erred it would be to the safe side.
Bishop opted to set a tee valve and apportion a 2.5% solution into two separate drips to afford more dosage control, but he was only marginally proficient with phlebotomy in the best of circumstances. Now he had to prep the solution, set up the intravenous drip, prep the site, set the needle and valve, administer the dosage, monitor vital signs, and interrogate; three different tasks, each one needing distinct skill sets, and he had to do this without medical support after getting maybe two hours sleep.
He choreographed every step in his head, from mixing the solution to setting the hangers to finding the injection site, prepping the location and positioning every piece on the standing tray, and then he hesitated and went back to his case. He wanted to have adrenalin prepped and positioned.
None of the medical staff interfaced with interrogations. If things went south, Bishop doubted that he would get any medical help. He suddenly wished he had a portable defibrillator and wished also that he knew how to use one.
“Confirming. No food in Cell 22.”
Another camera had to be mounted to replace the broken one. Bishop briskly ordered it done immediately then refused to offer any explanation as to how the original mounting had snapped in half. An hour later, he glanced up at the camera’s green light, and then stepped out of the interrogation room to get to the small bathroom in the hallway. There, he applied an alcohol swab and used it to sterilize a thermometer. He placed the bags measured out with distilled water inside a pot filled with warm tap water to get the liquid up to at 85 degrees before mixing for optimizing the solution. When he returned to the room, Spencer would be situated; the guards were told to fully-strap the prisoner at his torso and have both arms wrapped up to the wrists. Once the needle was in, Bishop was making damned sure that Spencer couldn’t shake it loose.
Slim dropped a thick nylon strap over the hood and straightened it around Spencer’s chest and biceps just like Bishop had instructed. Spencer inflated his lungs and arched when he felt it tightening, but resisting did no good. Bishop motioned for Slim to wait behind him, and then pushed the tray stand closer to the prisoner. Next, Bishop walked the rack alongside.
“The intelligent decision is to play ball today, Sergeant, before this day takes a very bad turn,” he said.
After five seconds, Bishop sharply tilted Spencer backward to open his elbows wide. He then wiped a sterilizing pad across the inside of Spencer’s elbow. Spencer heard the paper torn away from the wipe and felt the cold evaporation. The only other sound Spencer heard was Slim’s wheezy breathing from ten feet away.
Bishop inhaled deeply then inserted the needle and exhaled with relief at finding the vein on his first attempt. He twisted off the syringe, picked up and tore the clear plastic wrapper off the tee-valve, and snapped it into place, pinching Spencer’s skin in the process. Two hanging bags containing the clear liquid, one to each side of the tee-valve; Bishop purged lines and then began the thiopental sodium.
“Moment of truth,” Bishop stated. “You want to keep breathing, capitulate.” His voice had a strained tone that Spencer hadn’t heard before.
“Sergeant, this medication could kill you. I do not want to do this and you do not want to make me do it, believe me.”
Spencer didn’t give a damn.
“Do like I told you,” Bishop instructed the tall guard. “You’re going to see a drop, but if the top number goes below 60 you let me know and you shout it loud!”
Bishop turned his wristwatch around so he could operate the valves with his fingertips while also watching the time, starting with a single valve for an eight-second interval.
“117 over 64,” Slim reported.
Bishop nodded. “Tell me when it is twelve minutes from now,” he ordered, and then glanced up at the green light before turning his full attention toward Spencer.
A burning sensation instantly moved throughout Spencer’s body as a metallic taste accompanied a squeezing tightness inside the back of his throat. Bishop counted out five seconds then shut the valve and watched as the remaining solution inside the line continued into Spencer’s vein.
Spencer’s attention drifted. He shivered his head to regain consciousness, feeling like he was falling asleep at the wheel and concentrating to resist.
Bishop counted fifteen more seconds before commencing. “What’s the number?” he called out.
“89 over 30,” Slim called out.
“How many other snipers are there, Sergeant?”
“I don’t know,” Spencer answered. The question didn’t make sense. Snipers out where?
“Who else was working with you on the Sands Point operation?”
“Was anyone else involved in choosing the target, planning, or any other portion of the operation?”
“What made you choose to attack Morris Levy’s birthday party?”
Spencer twisted and craned his neck forward first to the left and then to his right. He breathed deeply, fighting hard not to fall asleep.
“Morris Levy’s birthday party,” Bishop repeated. “Levy, Branderman, Perlman, Fleish. Why them? All Jewish?”
“Don’t care. Billionaires.”
“Why?” Bishop pressed. “Why billionaires?”
“Controlled Burn,” Spencer mumbled unintelligibly.
“What? What was that? Say it again!” Bishop reached up and shut the valve completely. Spencer was of no use unconscious.
“Con-trol-d bun,” Spencer repeated. His tongue felt huge, as though it was filling his entire mouth. It was the last conscious thought before he passed out.
What’s he saying? Bishop wondered. He swung the laptop away from Slim. BP was steady at 92/58. The mixture was working, but he needed more time before Spencer crashed.
Bishop went into his case and removed a vial of ammonium carbonate crystal; between that and the oxygen, he was determined to revive Spencer before resuming. He rolled an oxygen tank beside the chair, turned the top valve, adjusted to 70%, close to triple the 21% found in sea-level air, then masked the prisoner and looked at his watch. Spencer should not stay out for more than fifteen minutes.
Slim left for a cigarette while Bishop waited. Twenty-two minutes passed before the guard came back and Spencer’s eyelids flickered in reaction to Bishop’s penlight. Bishop removed the oxygen mask and opened the smelling salts beneath Spencer’s nostrils. He shook instantly back to a drunken facsimile of consciousness. Bishop slapped his cheeks and opened the drip valve, knowing full well that repeating the procedure decreased the odds of any good outcome. Thiopental sodium became more deadly each time he turned the valve.
“Sergeant, you were talking about Sands Point, saying a ‘controlled’ something was why you killed the billionaires. Controlled what? Hear me, Sergeant? Controlled what?”
Spencer was underwater. He wanted to go up, but which way was it? His eyes were closed. Why was that?
Bishop slapped his cheeks again, harder this time, and followed with the ammonium carbonate. “Sergeant,” he yelled, “Attention!”
Spencer’s eyes opened wide, his mouth, too, but nothing was there in front of him.
“What’s your name?”
When he didn’t answer, Bishop closed the valve again. Spencer understood that he should know what a “name” means, but the concept refused to take full shape.
Bishop pressed the oxygen mask over Spencer’s mouth, hold
After ninety seconds he repeated the question.
“I need you to think about the birthday party, Johnny. Tell me about the birthday party.”
“Randy says he gets to play with Millennium Falcon ‘cause he’s the guest, only it’s my birthday and I get to. He can have Steve Austin but he won’t.”
Bishop’s voice remained calm. “You’re all grown-up now. You’re a sergeant in the United States Army.”
Spencer turned his head and held it facing to his side. It was ok. Yes.
“You were a sergeant in the United States Army and after that you worked for somebody else. Tell me who else you worked for, Jonathan. Who did you work for after the army?”
“Nobody. Nobody. Nothing.” He started to sob, but stiffened quickly, refusing to let himself cry.
Bishop moved to the laptop to check Spencer’s metrics. BP was stable and climbing. He was coming out of it. Spencer hadn’t been acting; Bishop knew affirmatively what he had suspected all along. Spencer was acting alone. But if APA believed that, he might have just worked himself out of having work. There was more to this than one fact; there was more and he had to make the APA want more. He reached his fingertips onto the valve and opened the drip a third time.
“Controlled what, Sergeant? The attack on Sands Point was a controlled what?”
“Controlled burn,” Spencer enunciated. “Billionaires are killing my country. Killing them before they tear us all apart.”
“What is tearing us apart?” Bishop put his emphasis on “us.” He wanted to ride the current with Spencer, to empathize, to nurture.
“If they own the law, how do we stop them? They take everything, control everything.”
“You killed them to stop what? What were they doing?” Bishop looked back toward the green light, hoping that they were watching this live.
“Somebody has to stop them.” Who else? Why did he need to explain? Why wouldn’t they just know it? Spencer struggled to think. He had something, something from the Captain, floating by. “Freedom comes from opportunities,” Spencer mouthed.
“Why do you kill rich people? Why do you hate rich people? Did rich people do something to you?”
Spencer squeezed his eyes closed, feeling himself free-falling deep into the well of his own memory, falling into darkness. He was far away from the prison. He was there in the hallway with Captain Sam’s Alice and the two most beautiful little girls he had ever seen. He was telling them again that Captain Sam wouldn’t come down from the ward. Every time they drove up to the medical center, the captain refused to see them and then he dropped into a funk or worked himself into a frenzy, talking about how Spencer needed to dissect how power works so he’d “get it,” how a corrupt system wages wars that can’t be won. How assholes that never went near a war zone used war to make themselves richer while he ended up like THIS, shaking two stumps up to rage at God.
Spencer was unaware of the intravenous drip bags and Texas getting louder. Even the tinnitus had ceased.
Alice, Captain Sam’s wife, was there, right there in front of him. They were on the ward. But Captain Sam wouldn’t come out of the toilet. He missed her until he ached, but she was right there and he screamed to Spencer to tell her to fuck off. “Tell her to move on! File for divorce and move on!”
He knew Captain Sam wanted to hold her and touch her and see her and he could never do any of that, not ever.
“I’ll do it,” Alice finally agreed that day. “I’ll stop coming.” Filling out a half-dozen forms and driving a four-year-old and a seven-year-old two hours each way wasn’t something she liked. Who wants to go to a hospital and then to get there, knowing he didn’t want to see his own kids?
“He doesn’t want to be with me or be with our kids. I get it! But I have to hear it from him. He needs to say it himself. I want to see his face and hear him say it,” she said.
“I can’t remember their faces,” the captain whispered after Spencer came back. He could picture his girls dancing in the family room while he lay on the carpet scratching the dog, but he could not picture their faces. He begged, “Jonathan, tell me how they look.”
Then Spencer realized that he had not noticed; he was an expert in fine visual detail, but every truly vivid picture since he entered the military had come inside his brain through a rifle scope.
“You shot two dozen people!” Bishop screamed at him. He cracked his open right hand down across Spencer’s mouth and shouted again. “You shot two dozen! Why?” His left hand followed, leaving a reddening handprint.
“Why?” he screamed. “Talk, goddamnit! Why?”
“No,” Spencer cried. “No.” His head dropped back, motionless.
“Sir, the blood pressure!” Slim yelled. “It’s down to forty!”
Bishop shut the valve and ran around to the laptop. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you watch?!”
“I was watching! It was at 79 and then it changed. It just changed.”
Bishop gripped his fists around the cotton at both sides of the vee at the neck of Spencer’s prison shirt then ripped it open wide. Spencer’s breathing was shallow; he barely inhaled and exhaled. Bishop took a step, looked over the stainless steel tray, searching it frantically until his eyes locked onto the syringe containing adrenalin and lifted the syringe like a dagger, placing his thumb onto the plunger while his left fingers pulled the cover from the three-inch needle.
“Sir, it’s climbing,” Slim called out. “64, no, 70. It’s 73.”
Bishop leaned on the cool wall and rested his forehead against his left arm. The full syringe remained locked in his right fist.
Bishop pored through the interrogation tapes. No connections were going to turn up with stock traders making bank on the attacks and Spencer’s victims; he knew that, and if Jeffers had been watching the tapes, then Jeffers knew it, too. But Jeffers wasn’t going to give him anything. By now, Bishop understood that Jeffers made information a one-way street.
Spencer was a believer. Whether the APA was ever going to accept the truth about that would remain an unknown. Bishop had pumped up his bank account, but he felt no more confident on the inside than he had at that first meeting when Stephen, AKA Red Pants, had upstaged him.
Nobody is ever satisfied with just Lee Harvey Oswald, Bishop knew; that’s the fundamental problem with the lone gunman theory. There always has to be a conspiracy. Money follows events. But if the APA wanted a conspiracy, he couldn’t give it to them. There were no handlers, no Iranians or North Koreans or Russians pulling strings. No domestic terrorist cells waiting in the wings. The attacks were unified by just one thing. Like he said, I Kill Rich People.
If the analysts running through comm data had found something, Bishop reckoned that he would have caught some tell somewhere; these guys weren’t good enough poker players to keep information like that close to their vests.
There was none of the chatter that precipitates attacks and none of the claims for credit that follow. Eight, maybe even nine billionaires, depending on the closing numbers, had been shot dead. Along with the many more victims attributable to the shooter, there were perhaps another dozen copycat victims, plus multiple law enforcement casualties, including the one dead detective from NYPD. None of that meant Al Qaeda or Iran or North Korea or the Russian mafia. But simplicity doesn’t satisfy the imagination and it doesn’t drive future funding.
Up until IKRP, billionaires spent their security dollars on burglary and kidnapping; they didn’t seem to think about anybody shooting them. Spencer was a job creator. He might single-handedly have started a whole new emphasis. Imagine that.
Returning to his true-black Herman Miller
He tapped the keyboard to bring up real-time vitals then stretched the metrics until the graphics box widened. Each pulse showed solid consistency, with digital displays of BP, heart rate, galvanic skin response, that fluctuated within tight, steady bands. Spencer’s cardio function read like a Kenyan Marathon runner. Sleep dep, sensory dep, sensory overload, temp shifts from 130 degrees down to 10 degrees... heartbeat, lung function, GSR, blink intervals; every single measurement followed a spiked pattern across the first four days followed by lesser reaction responses across the next few days until these shifted into reptilian stability for fifteen consecutive days. Asterisks punctuated controlled use of niacin flushes, psychoactive sodium amytral, flunitrazepam, and the sodium thiopental that nearly killed him. No thrashing, no measureable changes, no response to suggestive imagery. They even played his father’s voice to him. Nothing. Like a machine in Energy Saver mode.
That was interesting, but APA wasn’t going to pay $550 an hour for researching Spencer’s equilibrium. Besides, Bishop was already clued into their idea of research, which meant taking a foregone conclusion and finding academic hacks to backfill the blanks that could get them there.
Bishop looked over the metrics and debated phoning the APA line. His job was done. Like it or not, Jonathan Spencer had acted alone. Bishop was convinced of that now. There was nothing exotic or difficult about acquiring sniper rifles; every state except California permitted the sale of military-grade weaponry and the separate conversion kits to take weapons from semi-automatic to full military automatic function were available 24/7 online. The police reports reflected whatever might be called mission intelligence.