Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.
The man's essence slipped out of the aging body and into that of a youthful male nurse attending him at his death. The man who had died was Dr. Frederick Dooley. The young recipient of the doctor's soul was Timothy Granger, RN.
Dr. Dooley's field of study was the transfer of the soul at death to its next place of residence, an obscure branch of thanatology. His death was his last and greatest experiment. Dooley had successfully guided his soul into the body of Timothy Granger. His next challenge was to destroy the young nurse's personality while retaining the use of his body. If Dooley solved this problem and was able to find a new host at the time of his next death, he was virtually guaranteed immortality.
Is All Well With My Soul?
The two men inhabited one body. Each was aware of the other's presence, and they could read each other's thoughts.
"Dr. Dooley, what have you done?" asked Timothy.
"I have proven every one of my theories to be true."
"But you are living in me. How can we both coexist in one body?"
"We can't." The doctor attacked the consciousness control center of the brain with powerful electrical impulses that he collected from the body's chemistry. Within seconds, Timothy had gone to wherever it was that souls went after death. Dr. Dooley was the lone inhabitant of the young man's body.
Dr. Dooley gathered all of Timothy's financial assets. He found account numbers and PINs on Timothy's laptop that were not password protected. The young man had not been wealthy, but there was money for Dr. Dooley to live on while making other plans. But he was about to learn that someone else had already made those plans for him.
Don't Spill the Beans
Dooley had done little research about Timothy. The young man was a nurse who kept to himself. That seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. The first time he had his eyes opened to the reality of the situation came with a knock on his apartment door. A man greeted him with a big grin on his face. He wore a tweed suit and carried a briefcase.
"Good morning, Mr. Granger," said the man in tweed as he elbowed past Dooley into the room. "I have some great insurance plans to share with you after our talk last week."
"Insurance?" was all Dooley could mumble.
"Why don't we go out here on your balcony where we can get some fresh air while we talk."
On the balcony, they both sat down on wicker chairs.
"Out here is our best bet for not having our conversation picked up by the cops' bugs."
"Bugs?" Dooley could still do little more than mutter.
"Ok. Here's the bottom line. You are a dead man if you spill the beans to the cops."
"Haha, nice one, Timmy. Just remember what I said. Keep your mouth shut." The man paused. "One more thing. The purchasers want deliveries to continue in spite of the investigation."
The visitor talked more about drop-off times and locations. When he finished, the tweed suit let himself out. Dooley sat on the balcony for a while trying to comprehend what he had just heard. Timothy Granger had gotten himself mixed up in the theft and distribution of stolen goods. There was no danger of spilling the beans to the cops because he had no idea what Granger had done.
Later that same day, a second visitor knocked at Dooley's door. This man wore a black suit and carried a briefcase. The man in the black suit led the way to the balcony indicating they had met like this before.
"You never know when the bad guys are listening." He paused. "Well, I have to say, you really spilled the beans to those detectives last week. You might want to watch your back even closer from now on."
"I spilled the beans?"
"All of them?"
"And then some." The visitor laughed and shuffled his papers. "They know the names of all the suppliers and customers in your network. That information will go a long way in reducing your sentence."
Dooley saw the visitor, apparently his attorney, to the door and returned to the balcony where he mulled over what he had just heard. Timothy Granger had led a ring of rogue RNs that stole narcotics from the hospitals where they worked. The cops had collected enough evidence to arrest him. Granger had told the cops everything he knew about the ring in which he worked. He had even revealed the identities of the people to whom he sold the drugs.
Dooley was going to be tried for Granger's crimes.
Dooley sat in the prison cell he would be occupying for the next fifteen years. The trial and sentencing had not gone nearly as well as his attorney had thought they would. His only opportunity for gaining a new body would be when he was dying. Then he could possess any person present at the moment of his death. But Timothy Granger's body was healthy. It was likely it would live for many years. Dooley lay down and slept into the night.
Early in the morning, while snoring assaulted him from every direction, Dooley sat straight up. The question had hit him from out of nowhere. What is the penalty in this state for killing a law enforcement officer? He already knew the answer. It was the death penalty, and it was his way out of this situation. Dooley had only one concern. What kind of people attend the execution of a cop killer?
© 2020 Chris Mills