Love & Hate – Chapter 20: Shadow

Chapter 20 by Matt Wall

Bobby Bell sighed with relief as he approached the door to Dr. Ed Gold’s office. Beneath his olive green blazer, his shirt was soaked with nervous sweat; so much so, that he was getting quite the chill. His face was pale and clammy, as were his hands. He grinned as he lifted his fist up to knock on the door, but then paused, with a concerned look on his face. What could Dr. Gold ask of him now? Bobby was in his debt and now worked for Dr. Gold. The thought of any kind of work left Bobby with a bad taste in his mouth, but he knew he needed to get it over with.

After a couple knocks on the wooden door, Bobby walked in. “Hello, Ed.”

Ed was standing by the window, smoking a cigar. “Ah! Bobby! Come have a seat.” Ed walked back behind his large desk and sat as he watched Bobby take the chair across from him. “I am under the impression that you took care of your Bava problem.”

“I did.”

“And how was that? Was Sly on his best behavior?”

Bobby nodded. “He was. He wanted me to pass on a message to you.”

Ed’s nostrils flared and his chest heaved. “What is the message?”

“He just said to tell Dr. Stepdaddy, hello.”

Ed snapped his cigar in half on accident. “Damn it! That old prick….” He became lost in his anger and stared off into nothingness. 

Bobby looked around, trying to find out what he was looking at. “Ed? Everything All right?”

“Oh, yes.” Ed shook his head and wiped his eyes. “I’m fine. Let’s get down to business, shall we?”

Bobby nervously sat up in his chair. “Sure thing. What’s the job?”

“It has something to do with your brother, Billy.”

“Billy? What does Billy have to do with anything?”

Ed showed his yellow teeth through his grin. “Let me ask you: Are you tired of living in your younger brother’s shadow?”

“I don’t think I…”

Ed slammed his hand on his desk. “Of course you do! Billy went to medical school, became a surgeon and you became a degenerate and drunkard. You have been a constant disappointment to your mother and the rest of your family and you know it.”

Bobby’s face turned from pale to red. “Fine! What is it that you want?”

Ed leaned back in his chair. “I want what you want. Let’s knock good old Billy down a few pegs.”

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