Tuesdays were the best, especially after Craggs had mandated Monday Night Football viewing parties at Professor Thom's two weeks ago. Tom was anxious to get to the office and crow about Peyton Hillis' breakout performance. That guy can sure spike a football. Still, he couldn't get over the disappointing turnout from last night. All those pizza bagels wasted, he lamented, maybe next week I'll just do a hummus dip. These thoughts echoed in his mind as he rode the train into work, blasting "Eye of the Tiger" in his headphones. It's gonna be a good day.
Ley entered the office at 8:47AM, seventeen minutes late. He had been held up while leaving the train station when he stopped to high-five every walk-of-shame he saw wearing a Giants jersey, so the tardiness was worth it. He stripped off his backpack and sat down at his desk next to Petchesky, who had his head in his hands and was mumbling something unintelligible.
"How many Jaegers did you drink last night, Barry?" asked Ley.
"Nnnnnhh," Petchesky replied.
"That's what I thought. Coffee on?"
"Ok ... well, you want a cup?"
Glad I’ve never had a hangover, Ley reflected. "Whatever, dude, I'm having," Tom chirped, standing and stretching his back. "You should take a lesson from yours truly, BP, and have one Moscow mule a night," he averred.
Barry raised his head and glowered at Ley. "He's dead, Tom. Dr. Matt is dead. He's been stabbed in the neck, and he's sitting over there rotting away. Who knows how long he's been like that." Petchesky dropped his head again and groaned. "Nnnnnhh."
Ley was at a loss. He looked around dumbly. "Who's Dr. Matt, dude?"
Barry shot out of his chair, wrenched Tom by the collar, and marched him to the secluded corner where McCarthy sat sprawled. "This is Dr. Matt, Tom. Dr. Matt, meet Tom Ley, the most self-aware sportswriter on the planet. You see, Tom, Dr. Matt writes, or perhaps I should say wrote, a little series called Medspin for us, maybe you've heard of it? Just yesterday, in fact, Dr. Matt advised Jermichael Finley against playing football this season because Jermichael Finley temporarily lost the ability to move his appendages a few weeks back. Ringing any bells?"
"I, uh, well ..." Ley stammered.
Barry released Tom's collar and shoved his face closer to the scalpel protruding from McCarthy's nape. "What the fuck does this look like to you, Tom? It looks like a fucking scalpel through the Doctor's spinal cord. I'm no physician, but I'd guess it's lodged itself between the C3 and C4 vertebrae."
"BEARS!" Tom blurted and spun himself free of Petchesky's grip. Barry was breathing hard now, red-faced and wide-eyed. Tom stared at him with the expression of someone who had just swallowed a wasp.
"Did you call the cops?" Tom asked.
"Not yet," Barry answered, "I got in around 8:00, started the coffee and found him like this. I was paralyzed, couldn't think, and then your bird-brained ass walked in and jerked me out of it."
"We should call the cops, man. Then we gotta get in touch with Craggs. Why would anyone want to kill Dr. Mike?"
"It's Matt, you twit, and I don't want to call the cops until we know a little more about this. Get Reuben and Kyle in here. They're good about this stuff. Maybe we can get an initial idea of what happened, beyond the obvious, of course. I think Craggs would agree: this is no accident."
Ley said, “I don’t like this, Barry. We need to handle this the right way. You remember the Daulerio fiasco, don’t you? His parents still think he’s alive.”
“Fuck Daulerio, and fuck you too, Tom!” Barry roared. “Daulerio wasn’t careful enough and got what was coming. The last thing we need here is an investigation before our ducks are in a row. McCarthy didn’t know squat. You want NYPD and Bloomberg sifting through your dirty laundry? I sure as shit don’t. No, this stays in-house until we know more, man. Now, wake up Reuben and Kyle and get them in here.” He spoke this last part slowly, deliberately, making sure Ley knew the gravity of the circumstances. “I’ll start cleaning up all this blood.”
As Petchesky went to the supply closet, Tom descended to the basement apartment shared by Reuben and Kyle and knocked hesitantly. He could only assume the two of them had been asleep for a couple hours at most, having spent the better part of the night shooting Jack and trading DiffEq war stories.
Reuben answered on the sixth attempt, looking haggard, and sporting what looked like his childhood Mets pajama pants.
“What’s up?” Reuben whispered, squinting.
“We’ve got a situation, Fish,” Tom said, “Barry wants you and Kyle upstairs right now. Dr. uh, what’s his name, Dr. …”
“McCarthy?” Reuben asked.
“Yeah, Dr. McCarthy. He, ah, well something happened. You’ll have to see for yourself.”
“Christ, man, I went to sleep like an hour ago. Can’t this wait?” Reuben protested. He glanced back at his cot before tripping slightly on an empty bottle of Kentucky Gentleman. Sweet Moses why the Gentleman?
“It can’t, Fish,” Ley shot back. “Barry says now. And bring your kit.”
At the mention of his “kit,” Reuben knew this was serious business. “Alright, Tommy, I’ll rouse Kyle and see you in five.”
“Thanks, Reuben,” Tom said. “And one more thing: will you get the spare bleach out of the backup supply closet in there? There’s a ton of blood.”
“Sure, Tom, I’ll get the other mop too.” Reuben considered Ley for a moment, shrugged, and closed the door. Fucking Tuesdays, he thought.