Camino Winds (Camino Island, #2) by John Grisham Read Online (FREE)
Jumper explained that he did a lot of work for a law firm that specialized in nursing home neglect, and finally asked the name of her employer. They drank some more beer and it was finally time to leave, either together or separately. Jumper claimed he had a long phone call to make and begged off after swapping phone numbers.
The following day, he called Brittany at work and said he wanted to talk. They met after hours at a pizza place and he bought dinner again. After a couple of beers, he said, “Serenity has fifty facilities in the Midwest and a lousy reputation in the business.”
“I’m not surprised,” she said. “I hate the place, hate my bosses, can’t stand most of my coworkers, but that’s no big deal because most will be gone in three months anyway.”
“Has the facility here ever been sued?”
“Not sure. I’ve only been there for two years.” She set down her beer mug and wiped her eyes. Jumper was surprised to realize she was crying. “Are you okay?”
She shook her head no as she wiped her cheeks with a paper napkin. He glanced around, hoping no one had noticed. No one had. There was a long gap in the conversation as he waited for her to say something.
She said, “You say you work for a law firm.”
“I’m not on their payroll but I consult, primarily in nursing home cases.”
“Can I tell you a story?” But it was not a question. “No one knows this but everyone should, okay?”
“Okay, I guess.”
“There’s this patient on my wing, a girl, we’re the same age, twenty-two, so she’s not really a girl, you know.”
“A twenty-two-year-old woman in a nursing home?”
“Hang on. She was in a bad car wreck when she was a kid and has been brain-dead since she was four. She can breathe on her own, barely, and we keep her alive with a feeding tube, but she’s been gone for a long time. Weighs less than a hundred pounds. You get the picture. Just pitiful. Her family moved away and forgot about her, and who can blame them? Not really any reason for a visit, you know. She can’t open her eyes. Anyway, I have this coworker named Gerrard who’s probably forty years old and is making a career there. A real loser who enjoys being the senior bedpan handler. Loves our patients and is always doing fun and games with them. You gotta worry about a man who’s content making minimum wage with no benefits, but that’s Gerrard. He’s been there for fifteen years and just loves the place. However, I think he hangs around for another reason.”
A pause. “Okay?” Jumper finally said.
“Sex? In a nursing home?”
“You’d be surprised.”
“I’ve heard of it,” Jumper said, though he had not.
She wiped her cheeks again with another paper napkin and took a sip of beer. “Gerrard likes to hang around this girl’s room. I got suspicious a few months back but said nothing. There is no one to trust at the place, and everybody is afraid of getting fired. So one day I left my wing to go to lunch in the cafeteria. I passed Gerrard and told him a fib, told him I was going to Wendy’s to pick up lunch and did he want anything. He said no. Ten minutes later I circled back. Her door was locked, which is against policy and very unusual. But her room adjoins the next one, with a bathroom in between. I had left the other door unlocked and Gerrard didn’t check it. I peeked through the bathroom door and that son of a bitch was on top of the girl, raping her. I started to scream but couldn’t. I started to pick up something and attack him, but I couldn’t move. I don’t remember backing away, don’t remember anything until I got to the ladies’ restroom where I sat on a toilet seat and tried to stop crying. I was a mess. I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t do anything but cry.”