It's Monday morning, 8 am. Rae has opted to take a cab into work again. On a whim (in actuality, Rae really wants to see herself in newsprint), Rae stopped off at a newsstand and purchased a lot of newspapers from the Bay & Napa Valley areas.
Disappointed with the lack of coverage and desiring for her good deed to go noticed, Rae has phoned Amanda Sotherby to tell her of the 'special delivery' at the small winery.
Wearing a pale grey lightweight cashmere pant suit with an ivory colored silk shell blouse underneath, Rae is in her office, sitting on her couch. The couch is covered with the newspapers from the San Francisco and the Napa Valley areas.
She is on the speakerphone with Amanda, who apparently needs a cup of coffee to get her started on Monday mornings.
R: "It's Rae Brennan."
R: "Doctor Rae Brennan. From Matt Slingerland's press conference on Friday."
Amanda: "Yes! Doctor Slingerland. What can I do for him?"
R: "I'm not calling on behalf of Doctor Slingerland. I'm calling on behalf of me."
R: "I was the doctor who delivered the Winery Baby."
Amanda: "Oh! That was you?"
Rae frowns, deeply furrowing her forehead; she can hear papers being shuffled on Amanda's end of the line.
R: "Yes. That was me who delivered the little girl."
Amanda: "My gosh! You really did deliver the little girl! That's not anywhere in the City papers. One of the small Napa papers says, 'Doctor Rae Brennan delivered the healthy baby girl.' Hey, do you have time for an interview for a Lifestyles segment?"
Rae's frown turns to a smile. She is going to get her just desserts after all.
R: "Any time you can make it."
Amanda: "Hmmm, lemme see..."
Apparently, Amanda is tapping a writing instrument on her desk; Rae taps her foot in time to Amanda's tapping.
Amanda: "2 pm? I can get down there by 2 pm. Your office all right?"
R: "That will be fine."
Amanda: "Can you give me instructions on how to find your office?"
R: "Do you know where UMC is?"
Amanda: "Sure do."
R: "Presidio's offices are just across the street. Just go in the double doors and Norman will page me."
Amanda: "Gotcha. 2 pm in your office at Presidio. Hmm, hey, is there a Commons or something? It's such a nice day, I'm thinking an outdoor interview."
R: "Yes. There's a Commons."
Amanda: "All right, then. Gotcha down at 2 pm."
R: "Thanks, Amanda."
Amanda: "Thank you! I know I didn't do too well with Doctor Slingerland's interview on Friday, but he was my rookie interview. Fortunately for me, Doctor Slingerland did very well."
R: "He has got something about him."
Amanda: "Doctor Slingerland is a natural for the camera. His side of the interview went so well that he's going on CNN Health Watch."
Rae is surprised. She slips off her shoes.
R: "Matt? On CNN?"
Amanda: "Yep. California Health Watch. He's going to speak about SARS. His spot is going to air tomorrow."
R: "Where was I when this was going on?"
Amanda: "I think you were delivering the Winery Baby. Along with Doctor Kokoris, Doctor Slingerland filmed the CNN spot yesterday."
R: "Nick Kokoris? What's he got to do with SARS? Matt's the WHO SARS Representative."
Amanda: "WHO thought Doctor Slingerland needed a deputy. They asked Doctor Kokoris."
R: "Well, well, well. So this is what happens when I go off for a weekend holiday."
Amanda: "You'll have your own spot on television. The Winery Baby is making human interest headlines up and down the coast. Seems her mother is a migrant farm worker."
R: "Did you also want to interview Doctor Jules Keating?"
Amanda: "Yes, I would. She had a brief mention in the Napa papers. Can she be there at 2 pm as well?"
R: (smiling) "She'll be there if I have to drag her away from her office."
Amanda: "I'll see you at 2pm. Thank you!"
R: "My pleasure."
Amanda hangs up her phone and Rae clicks off her speakerphone. Rae sits back on her couch, rubbing her feet. Looking out of her office, she spies Matt quickly walking by and calls out to him.
Matt spins on his heel and comes back to her office door.
M: "Good morning, Rae. By the way, congratulations on your special delivery."
Matt smiles at her.
R: "Thanks. And congrats on the CNN spot."
M: "You heard about that?"
R: "From Amanda. She's doing an interview on me."
M: (grimaces) "Ah. Amanda. Our very own ill prepared reporter."
R: "Cut her a break, will ya? You were her rookie interview."
Matt frowns then grunts.
M: "Hmppf. Well, fortunately things are looking up."
R: "If CNN wanted to do an interview with you, you must have made some impression with the media."
M: "True." (he smiles) "Nick came off his rented yacht and we filmed the spot yesterday. That interview went much better than Friday's."
R: "I'll tape it for you."
M: "Thanks, but Jackie has already promised to tape the spot. I'd like to chat, but I've a patient now, and I've a lecture to deliver in a few hours."
R: "What is your lecture on?"
M: "An Internist's Guide to Diagnosing Depression in the Adult Patient."
R: "Wouldn't depression be easy to diagnose?"
M: "Depression is frequently under-diagnosed. People don't like the stigma of mental illness and they don't want to visit a psychiatrist. Moreover, people often don't divulge their symptoms to their primary physician."
R: "I won't hold you, then."
Matt leaves Rae's office doorway. Rae stands up and stretches, then slips her shoes on before going to her desk to begin reviewing the day's patients.
...At that time, just down the hallway, Harriet is chatting with Claire.
Seeing Rae's office door open, Harriet takes her leave of Claire and hurries down the hallway. She stands in the doorway and knocks on the doorframe.
H: "Morning, Rae."
Rae looks up.
H: "Just another quick congratulations on the winery baby."
H: "Nick said you were worried about the shoulder rotation."
R: (shrugging her shoulders) "Big baby. Nearly eleven pounds."
H: "At least she was healthy. If you want, I could use some help in the OB today. I have an overload of patients who are debunking the myth that Tuesday is the most popular day of the week to give birth."
R: "I...I think I'll miss that invite. But thanks anyways."
H: (smiling) "If you change your mind, it will keep your skills sharp."
R: "Why not ask Jules? She's often in the delivery room."
H: "Between patients, she's practicing aloud my lecture notes."
R: "It's a good lecture, really, Harriet. Just not my cup of tea."
H: "I don't know why doctors are so afraid to teach pelvic exams."
R: "It just feels, you know, squeamy."
H: (shrugging her shoulders) "In any event, Matt said you haven't signed up for a practice lecture yet. Do you plan a lecture?"
R: "One has been floating through my mind, yes. The lectures run through summer, so I have plenty of time to think of one."
H: "Sign up with Matt if you plan on giving a practice lecture."
R: (saluting Harriet) "Aye, aye!"
H: "Have a good morning, then."
R: "You too."
Harriet leaves and Rae goes back to looking over the day's patients.
...A few minutes later, Jackie pops her head into the office. Rae is very popular this morning.
J: "Morning, Rae."
Rae looks up.
R: "Morning, Jackie. Wanna seat?"
Jackie comes into Rae's office.
J: "How you feeling this morning?"
J: (smiling) "Heard pregnancy does that to you."
R: "Yep. It's true!"
Jackie sits down on Rae's couch.
J: "Nice couch!"
J: "Hey, now that you're taking a cab into work, can I..."
R: (interrupting) "No, you can't borrow my parking pass."
J: (petulantly) "But Nick said you were going to be cabbing it for a while longer."
R: "Although he is correct--and for your enquiring mind, Nick was the one who persuaded me to cab it for a while instead of renting a car--I plan on resuming my driving as soon as I can get new car keys made."
J: (brightly) "You lost your keys?"
R: "Don't you ever learn? I don't need a detective."
J: (pouting) "I was just asking."
R: (sighing) "Yes. I lost my car keys. Seems I misplaced them after I had dinner in Sausalito."
J: "You were only on half days, correct?"
J: "Where did you go after you had dinner?"
R: "My head was hurting a bit, so I called Nick."
J: "Then the answer's simple: Nick has your car keys."
R: (shaking her forefinger at Jackie) "I saw him put the keys on my hall table. They were still there when he left."
J: (leaning forward a bit; she puts her elbow on her knee and her chin on her hand) "You had sex with him that night? Spill it!"
R: "No." (she stares at a point on her desk and smiles) "Nick was so sweet that night. He came out to Sausalito in a cab and drove me home in my car. I was tired and he hummed along to a Josh Grobin song. Next thing I knew, he was waking me up, and helping me inside. He only stood in the foyer."
J: "He didn't try anything?"
R: (sharply) "Nick and I may have some differences right now, but give him some credit for acting like a gentleman when the need arises."
Jackie leans back on the couch.
J: "No need to get angry."
R: (brusquely) "Is there anything else you need? I have patients today."
J: "No. Just wondered about your parking pass."
R: "Well, it's not for borrowing. Sorry."
Jackie shrugs her shoulders.
J: "That's all right. Can't blame a girl for trying to get a parking pass in this city."
R: (smiling) "Can't blame you either. It takes so damn long to get a parking pass. But mine will be back in use as soon as I get new car keys made."
Jackie stands up.
J: "Jules and I are going to a Chinese buffet lunch around noon if you want to come."
R: "What about the underarms?"
J: "I wish I'd never thought of that program. I know profits are up, and David's happy and all that junk, but still."
Her face breaks into a wide grin.
J: "But fortunately, several of my patients cancelled today. SARS scare. I'm taking advantage of my newfound freedom. You in for Chinese?"
R: "Sure. I can always use more Chinese food."
Jackie snaps her fingers.
J: "Ah! That's right, you were at the press conference on Friday at Chinese Food."
R: "It's certainly the best restaurant in the City....Jackie?"
R: "I need to prepare for my patients. I'll see you around noon, okay?"
J: "Okay. See you then."
Jackie flounces out of Rae's office. Rae frowns a bit, then says aloud:
R: "She needs to get a hobby."
Rae smiles at her words. Norman pops his head in the doorway.
Norman: "Who needs to get a new hobby?"
R: "Jackie. Jackie needs to get a hobby."
Norman: "That's the general consensus. Staring at people's underarms day after day apparently is turning her brain to mush."
R: "Suppose you're right."
Norman: "Moving on to the patients, Mrs Winters is here for her first treatment."
R: "Ah! Yes. Mrs Winters. She's due to start chemo today. I suppose I should run up and make sure she understands what's going to happen."
Norman: "Sorry. She's one up on you. She told your oncology staff how to administer the chemo."
R: (chuckling) "I did treat her father and she came with him to every treatment. I suppose she does know how to administer chemo."
Norman: (snapping his fingers) "I nearly forgot. If you have the munchies, stop off at my desk."
Norman: "Mrs Winters was a dessert chef at one time. She made a huge dessert tray filled with scrumptious chocolates and tarts and whatnot. Better hurry!"
R: "Sounds good."
Norman: "Even Doctor Slingerland is warming up to Mrs Winters."
Rae stands up and moves in front of her desk.
R: "The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
Norman: "That's not entirely true, you know. We like love and attention too, not to mention the intimate moments."
R: "I'm just kidding. Mrs Winter's has had a lot on her mind these last few years."
She goes to her doorway. Norman steps aside to allow her to exit. The two start walking down the hallway.
Norman: "If there are any left, you should try her chocolate truffles."
R: "Gosh, don't tell me about truffles. I could eat about a hundred of them right now."
Norman: "Breakfast wasn't enough for you this morning?"
The two reach the elevators. Rae pushes the button for 'up'.
R: "I didn't eat breakfast today. Morning sickness."
Norman: "According to Harriet's patients, Ritz crackers work wonders."
R: "For me, it's sticky buns. Only thing that I don't upchuck."
The elevator dings and Rae steps on, followed by Norman.
Norman: "You've a strange pregnancy, then."
R: "Conceived under strange circumstances.
Norman doesn't know what to say; he's heard the story. The elevators doors shut.
...Meanwhile, on the ketch that Nick has rented, a toussle-haired Nick is just climbing up through the hatch, balancing in his hand a spill-proof thermal coffee carafe.
The weather is a fine spring day, sunny but a bit chilly and Nick's attire reflects that: he is wearing a soft ivory colored v-neck cotton sweater. A white crew neck t shirt is visible beneath the sweater. Shorts, crew socks and greek sandals round out his breakfast attire.
Reaching the top of the ladder, Nick reaches out and places the carafe carefully on the seat. Going back down the ladder, he pads over to the small galley and picks up a coffee cup.
He has already breakfasted and he's finishing his pot of coffee.
As the yacht has a small freezer (quite the shipboard luxury), Nick purchased a few boxes of frozen blueberry pancakes (Aunt Jemima brand), when he stopped off at the marina's late nite small grocery shop the previous evening.
He also purchased a large plastic bowl of pre-cut summer fruit: blueberries, strawberries, and honeydew melon. Upon finding a supply of kumquats in the produce section, he proceeded to purchase the supply of kumquats on view.
Nick climbs up through the hatch, balancing his coffee cup in his hand. Standing up, he stretches a bit, then smiles. Sitting down on the deck seat, he is just about to pour a cup of coffee when he notices several pairs of the marina's resident mallard ducks floating around the ketch; as always, the ducks are willing to mooch off humans.
"Quack, quack, quack!"
Nick smiles. "Hungry?" he asks the ducks. He goes below deck and shortly reappears with most of a bread loaf.
Breaking the bread into small pieces, he drops the bread over the sides of the boat.
"There you go, duckies! Eat up!" The ducks happily obey.
Wiping the bread crumbs from his hands, Nick finally pours his coffee. Sitting back, he tips his head back to enjoy the early morning sun.
...Meanwhile, back in one of Matt's exam rooms, he is gingerly peeling back a gauze bandage from a woman's left eye. She is wearing a cardigan, tshirt and jeans.
M: "That should do it. There you go...yes. That is looking much better today. Did you make an appointment with Doctor Collette, Linda?"
He puts back the gauze bandage to cover Linda's eye.
Linda: "Yeah. She thinks the scar won't be as noticeable in a few weeks."
M: "I would have to agree. It looks bad now, but you haven't had those stitches removed."
Linda: "That was my next stop."
M: "Yes. Well, have you seen a social worker?"
Linda looks away.
M: "His hitting you isn't going to go away."
Linda: "I know. I just don't want to cause any trouble."
M: "And he hasn't caused you trouble?"
Linda: "I know it looks bad. But he'll improve."
Matt pulls up a stool, and sits in front of Linda. His tone is sympathetic.
M: "No, he will not improve. You need to speak with a social worker. Do you still have the social worker's card Doctor Howland gave you?"
Linda: "No. I threw it away. I didn't want Tristan to find it."
Matt reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a card.
M: "Doctor Howland thought you might throw her card away so I had another ready to give to you."
He offers the card to Linda.
M: "This is Mary Matheson's card. Her office is on the 5th floor. You can stop by anytime."
Linda accepts the card and pockets it.
Linda: "Thanks. Maybe I'll stop by after I get the stitches removed."
M: "That would be a good idea, yes. Now, are you having any headaches?"
M: "Ringing in your ears or double vision?"
Linda: "No and no. My eye still hurts."
M: "That's from the stitches you have under your eyebrow."
Linda stands up.
Linda: "If you don't mind, I do have to get to work by 10."
Matt also stands up.
M: (quietly) "Of course."
He walks Linda to the exam room's door.
M: "Ms Matheson is very discreet."
Linda: "I'm sure she is. I'll look into talking with her. Thanks."
M: "Yes, well. The suture clinic is to your left, down the hall."
Linda: (turning to Matt) "Will the Greek doctor be there today helping the students?"
M: "Doctor Kokoris? No. He's the supervising surgeon. Doctor Kokoris thought it would be a good idea to put med students considering becoming surgeons through a suturing rotation."
Linda: "Ah. That would make sense. The student he supervised was thinking of becoming a plastic surgeon."
M: "He did an excellent job on the sutures. Barely visible to the naked eye."
Linda smiles as best she can.
Linda: "He used a large magnifying glass."
M: "Makes for better sutures. The clinic's down the hall to your left."
M: "Yes. Well, have a good day."
Linda begins to respond but Norman calls to Matt:
Norman: "Phone call! It's urgent! Line two."
M: "Be right there."
He nods to Linda; she walks off down the hall and Matt goes to a phone mounted on the wall opposite the exam room. Picking up the receiver and pressing the button for Line 2, he listens a moment.
M: "All right. It's been longer than five minutes. Did you phone his family?...There's not much we can do if he flatlined and there's a DNR in effect...I know his family wanted to be at his side at the end. How long until the rest of them can get here?...Phone them straight away and page me and Doctor Jordan when they arrive. Thanks."
Frowning, Matt hangs up the phone. Looking up, he sees David standing there.
David: "I gather he died and due to the patient visiting restrictions, his family couldn't be there at the end."
Matt shakes his head.
M: "Not that at all. John McKenna had a DNR in effect. End stage heart failure. I eased up on the restrictions for his family but the ward nurse said most of them went home around midnight. His wife was in the cafeteria when he flatlined."
David: "I've been thinking about easing the patient visiting restrictions to a more...liberal policy."
M: "That would be of great help to my duties. Especially with the maternity patients."
David: "I was thinking of allowing each patient to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to receive visitors."
Matt raises his eyebrows. David continues.
David: "I would want to keep some visiting hour restrictions but I'm thinking of allowing the patients to set their own visiting hours, within reason, of course."
M: "Some of Harriet's patients think it's a grand idea, quite novel, really, to have maternity visiting hours that are amenable to the new parents."
David: "There have been quite a few comments informing us that the idea of allowing the mother and the father..."
Matt interrupts, smiling.
M: "And the mother and mother, and the father, father and surrogate mother."
David: "The idea of allowing the new parents time alone with their new baby. Many of the moms didn't realize that they needed time alone with their newborns."
M: "Bonding time."
David: "Yes. Many of the fathers report better bonding with their newborns. Most of the extended families, naturally, hate the restricted visiting hours. You should read some of their comment cards."
M: "But according to Jules, the newborn hospital acquired infection rate is down by eleven percent."
David: "Quite true. With the reduced visiting hours, the maternity nursing staff are reporting that they have more time to perform general wipe-downs of all the equipment."
M: "That would make sense. Fewer visitors in the maternity ward mean fewer demands made on the maternity nursing staff."
David: "Agreed. Say, when is the CNN spot going to air?"
M: "Tomorrow, 11:30 am. It's called California Health Watch. I don't know how it's going to be edited. Jonealee Timmons was shooting for a ten minute interview, but said the interview might be edited down to four or five minutes."
David: "If it's any help, I called CNN and reminded them that Time magazine has featured SARS on its cover for the May 5th edition."
M: (chuckling) "And Time Warner owns CNN, if I recall my media associations correctly."
David: "Yep. Anyways, your CNN spot is going to be a big help."
Matt motions that he needs to go down the hallway. He begins walking and David stays in step beside him.
M: "I hope so."
David: "Good luck with your lecture later on this morning. I heard Harriet tried to snare Nick for her lecture tomorrow."
M: (smiling) "Yeah, well. He's on leave until Wednesday."
David: "He's quite the surgeon. Although he's pulled long hours these last two weeks, he never seems tired. I thought it was a good thing to give him a four day."
M: "When do I get a four day?"
David: "You have been quite busy being the WHO SARS Representative."
M: "WHO SARS Control Specialist."
David: "Another title change?"
M: "Yes. Again. As of Friday afternoon, Nick's my Deputy SARS Control Specialist."
The two reach Norman's desk. Norman is busy filing medical records away.
David. "Well, when does your patient load lighten up?"
M: "I've some time around the end of the month."
David: "Ah! How about an extended Memorial Day weekend?"
M: "How many extra days?"
M: "So, Thursday to Monday?"
David: "Thursday to Monday it is then. Well, the paper tiger beckons."
Matt: "When is the tiger ever full?"
David: "Never! Have a good day."
Matt: "You too!"
David walks off. Norman smiles at Matt.
Norman: "Did I hear him right? You're getting a five day Memorial Day weekend?"
Matt smiles widely.
Matt: "Correct. Compensation for the extra workload I'm carrying."
Norman: "Lucky you. Hey, have you seen my aviator sunglasses?"
As Norman rummages around in his desk, Matt tries to hide his response by glancing away.
Matt has forgotten to return Norman's sunglasses.
Matt: "Not lately."
Norman: "Ah! Here they are!"
Norman pulls out a pair of aviator sunglasses. Matt is both surprised and relieved. The sunglasses are not the same sunglasses that Matt borrowed more than a week ago.
He watches as Norman puts on the sunglasses.
Norman: "Hey, Clara! Mind the front desk for an hour, all right?"
She comes over to the desk.
Clara: "Where you going?"
Norman: "Blood donation. Be back shortly."
Matt: "Ah! Good of you to sign up. I've scheduled myself for noon."
Clara: "Good choice, choosing right before lunch. Gives you an extra long lunch break."
Walking past Matt, Norman walks out the doors to Presidio, whistling jauntily. Clara and Matt look after him.
Clara: "He's a happy fellow today."
Matt: "He's generally happy."
...Meanwhile, on the rented ketch, Nick has finished his cup of coffee and put the coffee things away. The ducks have scattered to the other boats, where they are being fed what Nick thinks is their fifth or sixth breakfast of the day.
He has just started the motor, and is in the process of backing the yacht out of its slip. He hasn't changed his breakfast clothes but he has put on a pair of aviator sunglasses.
The early morning sun glints off the water in the Bay. The marina's shoreline sports a floral showcase: someone likes bright colors and has planted deep blue and purple flowers in grassy areas. Tulips are beginning to lose their petals but are still brilliant pink, orange and red.
People wave to Nick as he motors his rented ketch. Smiling, Nick waves back.
...A little bit later, just before ten am, Rae is in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and leafing through the latest issue of "O" magazine. Jules walks in.
Rae looks up.
R: "Hello! Quite the weekend, wasn't it?"
Jules: (smiling as she goes to the coffee pots) "I'd say so. Biggest preemie I ever saw."
R: "Did you find out what the mother named the baby?"
Jules: "The papers said she was named Francisca Ramirez."
R: (drily) "Pretty name."
Jules: "Yeah, well if it makes you feel better, I didn't get much publicity either."
R: "Amanda Sotherby's dropping by at 2pm for an interview. Can you make it?"
Jules groans as she pours herself a cup of coffee.
Jules: "Amanda? She didn't do too well with Matt's interview Friday."
R: "Cut her a break! It was her rookie interview."
Jules: (smiling) "Yeah, well, despite all the rookie stuff, Matt did very well on his side of the interview."
R: "That's almost what Amanda said."
Jules: "He's a natural in front of the camera."
R: (smiling; the magazine is open to the "O" list) "Now that is exactly what Amanda said. Are you finally returning his crush?"
Jules: (surprised) "Crush? On me?"
Jules comes over to the table and sits down next to Rae. She looks at the "O" list and sips her coffee.
R: "Come off it! You know Matt had a crush on you!"
Jules: "He's the sperm donor."
R: "I think he thought he was a bit more in your life than than just a sperm donor."
Jules: "He did?"
R: "Yes, he did. He had the biggest crush on you."
Jules: (frowning) "I guess I didn't notice. There I was, newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer at my age. I wasn't thinking much beyond getting my eggs fertilized."
R: "Time is of the essence kind of a situation?"
J: "Kinda like that."
R: (nudging Jules with her elbow) "He's still available."
J: "Don't think he'd want to date me now."
Jules sips her coffee.
R: "Why not?"
J: "I pretty much ignored him after the eggs were fertilized. I mean, we did do lunch one day, and we had a disagreement."
R: "I remember that day. Quite the argument it was."
J: "It was a disagreement, not an argument. He was asking me if I wanted him to pay child support."
R: "You don't want him to pay you support?"
J: "I earn plenty."
R: "But you have medical school bills to pay off."
J: "True. Look, I don't want to go into this right now. Whatever we agree in the child support department is between me and Matt. Period."
R: "All right. Hey, you ready for Harriet's lecture tomorrow?"
J: "It's my first practice lecture."
J: "A bit."
R: "Here, look at this. I was planning on purchasing the etched, hand-blown glasses for my departments secretary's birthday. Think she'll like it?"
Jules peers at the magazine, and sips her coffee.
Jules: "Like it? I think she'll love it! Would you get me a set as well?"
R: "Not so fast, young lady."
Jules: "Awww! Come on! I've been good!"
R: "Nope. Sorry."
Jules: (shrugging) "It never hurts a girl to ask."
The two women chuckle.
...Meanwhile, outside of the lecture hall, Matt is sitting at a small outdoor table. There is a trash can about six feet away from him.
Draining the last drops from his cup of coffee, Matt hears loud clicking noises coming in his direction.
Moving his cup from his mouth, he looks up as an snippy Doctor Terry Howland sits down.
T: (bluntly) "I see you and Doctor Kokoris ganged up on me."
He sets his empty cup down on the table.
T: "You know what I'm talking about!"
M: "Ah. Yes. Your lecture."
T: "Damn right I'm talking about my lecture. The nerve of you inviting Nick to take your place at the lecture hall!"
M: "He is a surgeon and you know as well as I do the practice lectures are open to any physician who wishes to attend."
T: "He did not have to comment on my lecture, particularly in front of new residents."
Matt sighs heavily. Before responding, he takes careful aim, then throws his coffee cup towards the trash can. He makes the shot. Looking back at Terry, he sees she is glaring at him. He decides on the formal approach with Terry.
M: "Doctor Howland, the practice lectures are a form of peer review and peer feedback. Any corrections a physician makes to medical procedures discussed during someone's practice lecture is just that: a correction."
T: "Doctor Kokoris did not have to correct me during the practice lecture."
M: "Oh, but he did! You know as well as I do those practice lectures are attended primarily by new residents. Since the residents are now on their rotations, they need to see medical procedures performed correctly."
T: "I performed the procedure correctly...even if it was on a dummy."
M: "Doctor Howland, everyone makes mistakes."
T: "I see. Then I suppose you won't mind if I attend your lecture and check for mistakes?"
M: "Not at all. It starts in a few. Shall I walk you in?"
Matt stands up.
T: "No thank you. I can find my own way there."
M: "I'll add a seat down near the front."
With that statement, Matt decides it is best to let Terry simmer in her own juices.
Nodding at Terry, Matt walks towards the lecture hall doors.
Inside the lecture hall, a smiling blonde greets Matt as he walks into the lecture hall. She is directing people towards the auditorium.
Blonde: "Morning, Doctor Slingerland. Lecture hall is quite full today."
M: "Morning, Harmony. Can you squeeze another seat in for me? Close to the front, if you can."
M: "Oh, and when Doctor Howland arrives, direct her to that seat."
H: "She's been on the warpath since Friday."
M: "She had a problem with Doctor Kokoris correcting her medical procedure."
H: "But she didn't have a problem when Doctor Jordan made a correction."
M: "Doctor Howland probably feels that Doctor Kokoris's public correction of her medical procedures is tantamount to him saying her diagnoses and subsequent treatments are performed with errors."
H: (smiling) "That must be the internist in you at work."
M: "I suppose that is a long-winded diagnosis of sorts. I do hope you enjoy my lecture. Lunch afterwards, my treat?"
Matt smiles at Harmony and watches her go off to find another chair. He enters the crowded auditorium.
..Just before noon back in Rae's office, the sun is streaming through a colored glass window ornament, casting speckled patterns on her desk. There is a leather writing journal open on her desk.
A fountain pen lies next to the journal.
I feel like a little girl, for I haven't written in a diary since I was 10. Should I call you Josefina? Mathilda? Hazel? Or just Diary?
Regardless of my reason for stopping my childhood diary, I thought now would be a good time to begin anew.
This past weekend, I thought about Nick's advice--he wants me to talk to a therapist--but I find that I really don't think I need a therapist, although I frequently find myself angry when I'm alone.
When I am at work, or when I am with other people, I can hide my anger quite well: I am capable of laughing, and I am more than capable of joking about my pregnancy.
Ha! On Friday, some colleagues of mine were at a Chinese Restaurant and I was snitching food off Nick's plate. I even went so far as to order a second entree! Letty commented that the baby was going to have quite the taste for hot mustard and I joked that I had heard pregnancy makes a woman hungry.
I joked about my unexpected pregnancy. Doesn't that mean I am capable of dealing with the date rape on my own and that I don't need a therapist?
I spent this past weekend at the Lanning's home in Napa. Nick wanted to spend some non-romantic time with me; he's been so sweet. Nick just wanted to be there so I wouldn't dwell on what happened. I declined his offer (although I allowed him to drive me to Napa) because I wanted--no, needed--time alone to figure out what I'm going to do about this pregnancy.
Although I spent Friday night crying, Saturday afternoon brought a rush of good feelings that have carried over to this morning (today is Monday just before lunch time).
You see, on Saturday I delivered a baby at one of the smaller Napa wineries. The baby girl, named Francisca Ramirez, was my first baby since Nick and I were in Honduras three years ago. I delivered a preemie baby to a thirteen year old (the baby came fast, but died shortly after birth, although Nick tried everything he could to revive her).
Sometimes I used to wonder at Harriet's long hours & wonder why she chose to become an OB; she could have chosen to be just a gynecologist and those patients who became pregnant would be referred to an OB.
I chose oncology not only because I was good at determining the type of cancer cells during long hours sitting next to the microscope, but during my residency rotations I gravitated towards regular hours. And you know how absurdly long a new resident's hours are!
I know that I told Sean I gravitated towards oncology because it was the biggest war I could fight but in choosing oncology I felt I could make a bigger difference. Perhaps if I could catch cancers early, I could make a dent in cancer deaths.
And after delivering Francisca, I felt good. but as I watched the mother watching her newborn, I thought about the fetus growing inside me and I asked myself:
--Do I want to continue my pregnancy?
That question is not entirely accurate. If I felt good after delivering Francisca, how can I now say that I want to abort? I will caution that abortion is still an option at this point in my pregnancy.
--Do I want the baby?
Now that question is what I need to answer. I told Detective Rodriquez that yes, I am a newly-single, middle aged childless woman. Yes, I had an affair with Nick and the message Nick interpreted was that I was willing to leave my marriage with Sean to be with Nick (not fair to Nick, who not only moved away from his family in Athens and waited months for me to make the decision to leave Sean, but Nick has been a true gentleman in the past several weeks).
On the other hand, my affair with Nick was not fair to Sean.
But do I want the baby?
I don't know. Although I will have to make a decision about abortion quite soon, I will have more time to decide whether I want to keep this baby. I suppose Robert could file for custody; that is, if he's not convicted. I also suppose that since his wife is not capable of having children, she may want the child.
Did I just write that last sentence? Dean Whittier has made the fact well known around campus that she was born without a uterus (although she has ovaries; Harriet wrote Dean Whittier up in a medical journal article and Dean Whittier has the article framed and it hangs on her outer office wall). She also longs for a child but at 52, her eggs are a bit aged and she'd have to use donor eggs in any event.
So here's where things stand: for now, I'm not taking Nick's advice about seeing a therapist. For the next week, I'll put off having to make the decision of abortion. And I will put off making the decision of keeping this baby.
Oops, here's Jackie ready for lunch. Chinese again...but buffet. I have a longing for crab rangoon and pickles.
Is that a weird craving or what?
...Just after two pm, Amanda, her camerawoman Susan, Rae and Jules are standing in the Commons, across from Anderson Hall. Amanda is just finishing up Rae and Jules interview for her "Lifestyles" segment.
Amanda: "And that wraps up today's Lifestyles. I'm Amanda Sotherby, for Channel 4 news."
Amanda smiles hugely for the camera, holding her smile.
Susan: "Annnnnnnnnddddddd cut! That's a wrap!"
Rae: (brushing her hair back from her face) "It's going to air tonight?"
Amanda: "Yes. Either six or 11. I can phone with the time."
Jules: "Can we get an unedited tape?"
Amanda: "Sure. Susan?"
Susan: "Yeah. I can make copies."
Amanda: "And I can send them to you."
Rae: "That would be great. Better interview this time around."
Amanda: "Thanks. I'm taking a course on interviewing over the summer."
Jules: "You did your research."
Amanda: "But I didn't allow Doctor Slingerland to speak. I broke Rule One: allow your authority to speak."
Rae: "It was your rookie interview."
Amanda: "True. I've always been the first one to speak my mind. Probably why I chose communciations."
The three women laugh. Susan has been looking around the Commons.
Susan: "Amanda! Hey, wanna get that wedding over there for another Lifestyles segment?"
Susan points in the direction of Anderson Hall. Amanda looks in that direction and sees the wedding party just emerging.
Amanda: "Sure. Hey, thanks you two! Get your camera on, Susan."
Susan: "Already have it on."
Rae and Jules nod as Amanda and Susan go towards Anderson Hall. The wedding party sees the camera heading their way and they point, smiling hugely.
R: "Looks like we're not the only ones to get a shot at tv."
Jules: "Seems like Amanda's quite popular around here."
...Over on the rented ketch, now anchored far out in the Bay, Nick is lounging on the deck. He's got a hat drawn over his face and he's fast asleep.
...At the same time, in his office, Matt has the speakerphone on with Officer Mary Skelton.
M: "Yes. Linda Weatherbee is my patient, Officer Skelton."
Officer Skelton: "Was."
Matt looks confused.
M: "Uh, was? Linda Weatherbee is on my patient roster as her new primary physician. I just saw her this morning at 8."
Officer Skelton: "I said was, as in she was your patient...when she was alive."
Now Matt looks shaken.
M: (his voice cracking slightly) "Was alive?"
Officer Skelton: "As in, now deceased."
Matt's hand shakes.
M: "Was it Tristan?"
Officer Skelton: "Tristan?"
Matt: "Her boyfriend, Tristan Meyers. He beat her up five days ago, and sent her to the ER. As her new primary physician, Doctor Howland sent her to me for a follow up."
Officer Skelton: "She didn't report the beating to the police."
Matt: "That's correct. Both Doctor Howland and I tried to talk her into seeing a social worker but even that didn't work. I gave her the social worker's card."
Officer Skelton: "Did you happen to see where she put it?"
Matt: "In her pocket."
Officer Skelton: "We'll check there."
Matt: "I am wondering...how did you get my name?"
Officer Skelton: "The invoice from her office visit. It was in her purse. We found her at work."
Matt: "Ah. Can I ask how she died?"
Officer Skelton: "GSW to the head. Point blank. Not much left of her face. What I called to ask is if she had next of kin listed with her medical records."
Matt: "I can check and get back to you."
Officer Skelton: "That'd be appreciated. Have a pen ready?"
Matt: (picking up a pen) "Yep."
Officer Skelton: "555-9210."
Matt jots down the number on a prescription pad.
M: "I'll get that information to you ASAP."
Officer Skelton: "Thanks for your assistance."
Officer Skelton clicks off her end of the phone. Matt looks at the speakerphone a moment, then hangs up his end of the phone. Tapping the pen on the desk, he thinks a moment, then picks up the phone and pushes the speed dial button for the front desk.
Matt: "Norman? Matt. I need you to pull Linda Weatherbee's medical record and bring it to me ASAP....Yeah. Thanks."
Matt hangs up the phone. He twists his leather chair so he can look out the window.
A few moments later, there's a knock at Matt's door. He turns around to face the door.
M: "That was quick...oh! Letty. It's you. Come in!"
Matt motions for Letty to enter his office; she complies and comes in, sitting down in the chair opposite his desk.
Letty: "Were you expecting Santa Claus?"
Letty: "Ah. I dropped by to ask for some advice."
Letty: "A patient of mine gets quite argumentative whenever I start to ask about his personal life."
Matt: "And you think..."
Letty: "I think he may be depressed. His wife says he sleeps a lot and he's gained quite a bit of weight in the past six months."
Matt: "Why did you think depression?"
Letty: "Sleeping a lot."
Matt: "And the argumentative bit?"
Letty: "Thought he was denying the fact I mentioned he might be suffering depression. Depression is quite common in heart patients, especially those just out of bypass surgery."
Matt: "Depression is quite common in many adults. But did you check for DM?"
Letty: (looking surprised) "Diabetes mellitus? No. I thought Doctor Howland ran that test on him during his annual physical. That's what brought him to me."
Matt: "No one ran a urine diabetes test on him before he went up to surgery?"
Letty: (shaking her head) "Apparently, they didn't. Else they don't consider that test to be a part of pre-op workups."
Matt: "Is he in the hospital now?"
Letty: (nodding) "Yep. He had a bit of a fever so the HMO decided to keep him an extra few days. Can you stop by?"
Matt: "Yes. I have rounds in a few anyways."
Letty: "Room 344. Say, in twenty minutes?"
Norman is standing at the door; Matt motions him in.
Norman: "Here's her file."
Matt: "Thanks, Norm."
Matt accepts the proffered file from Norman.
Norman: "Afternoon, Letty."
L: "Hey, Norman, could you also pull a patient's file for me?"
Matt: "See you in twenty, Letty."
Letty: "Yeah, thanks, Matt. Owe you one."
M: "I'll take ten winning lottery tickets."
At that, Letty chuckles and follows Norman out of Matt's office. Matt flips through Linda Weatherbee's medical record, his forehead furrowing a bit as he reads the rather thick file. Flipping back to the front of the medical file, he writes "deceased" then the date of death on the front of the file.
Flipping back to the page where Linda's emergency contact information is, Matt turns the speakerphone back on. Dialing the number Officer Mary Skelton gave him a few minutes earlier, he listens as the phone rings.
M: "Doctor Slingerland."
Office Skelton: "Thank you for phoning back."
M: "Have a pen?"
Officer Skelton: "Yep."
M: "Mother is deceased as is father. Nearest relative is an aunt down in San Diego."
Officer Skelton: "Her name and number?"
Matt: "Nellie Studdenman. 619-555-2312."
Officer Skelton: "Thanks again, Doctor Slingerland. I may have some questions for you later on."
Matt: "You'll have better luck talking to Doctor Howland. She was the attending physician on many of Linda's ER visits. Linda just added me as a primary physician last month."
Officer Skelton: "Do you happen to have her medical records?"
Matt: "Did you need a copy of her medical records? There's been quite the history of ER visits."
Officer Skelton: "Eventually, yes."
M: "I'll arrange to have copies made."
Officer Skelton: "Thanks again. I'll keep in touch."
Matt: "I'd appreciate that."
Officer Skelton: "Have a good day."
Matt responds automatically.
M: "You too."
Officer Skelton hangs up before Matt can comment it's an absurd saying considering the circumstances. He remains staring at the speakerphone as the dial tone sounds then hangs up.
Swinging back in his chair towards the window, Matt looks out the window again, thinking.
...It's heading towards late evening (nearing ten pm) and dinner is just being served to Letty, Tom, Matt and Harmony.
The foursome are at the Marina Club--the same restaurant where Nick dined on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Having motored out into the bay that morning, Nick skipped dining at the Marina Club on Monday evening; otherwise his late dinner hour would have coincided with his colleagues' dinner hour.
Matt's lunch date with Harmony has extended to dinner. Matt has thought about Linda Weatherbee's shocking murder most of the afternoon and Harmony doesn't want him to dwell on Linda's death. It was Harmony's suggestion that they go out to dinner at the Marina Club. He's doing his best to put on a brave face but in silent moments, he gets pensive and goes quiet.
Although Harmony's a bit young for him (she's only 23), she's brilliant--homeschooled using an accelerated academic program. Matt enjoys her company.
Forty five minutes earlier, Letty and Tom dropped by the Marina Club on a whim and saw Matt and his date Harmony in the bar, awaiting a table. They decided to join the duo, who were tucked into a dimly lighted corner table having cocktails.
Tom is on-call for the evening but he's enjoying a rare night out with his wife.
The waitress has just arrived at the foursome's table with their orders.
Matt is having Black Angus prime rib steak; medium rare and slathered thickly with a mushroom-wine sauce. On the side of the large platter lies a huge baked potato, wrapped in foil but still in his jacket, though his jacket is open down the middle. A large pile of asparagus spears in hollandaise sauce lie opposite the potato.
Tom is having the lobster tail and prime rib combo. Letty is having the variety shrimp platter and Harmony opted for salmon. Like Matt's platter, all of their platters sport huge baked potatoes in their jackets and various veggies: Letty and Tom ordered the succotash; Harmony chose string beans.
The waitress picks up Matt's order and sets it down in front of him.
M: "Now this is a steak!"
Letty: (sipping her wine) "Matt, you should stop by my office tomorrow."
M: (placing his napkin on his lap) "Why?"
Letty: "A cholesterol check. That steak is..." (she smiles as her shrimp platter is placed in front of her)..."rather large."
Matt: "Twenty ounces. I'm a growing man."
The waitress places Harmony's plate in front of her. Her eyes bug out.
Harmony: "Gosh! How big was the fish?"
Waitress: "It's North Atlantic salmon."
A large platter of steak and lobster is placed in front of Tom.
Letty: "Now you, husband, are going to be in my office, first thing in the morning!"
Tom: (smiling) "I had my blood pressure checked last week. Normal."
Letty: "Those bananas seem to be working."
Tom: "Yep. Two a day to help get my blood pressure under control."
Letty: "I'm going to try that trick with a few more of my medication-forgetting patients."
Matt: (to the waitress) "Butter and sour cream, please."
Letty: (placing her napkin in her lap) "I expect you at 8 am sharp, Mister Slingerland!"
M: "Yes, ma'am!"
To emphasize his confidence in his impromptu cholesterol check, Matt slathers his baked potato with butter and sour cream. Harmony prefers her potato plain. Letty and Tom opt for sour cream only.
M: (taking a bite of his steak) "Mmmmm."
L: "I'd say your cholesterol will be about 250."
M: "Wanna bet?"
The foursome laugh; Letty already owes Matt ten lottery tickets. While the others chat, Matt busies himself with his angus steak.
Tom: "So, Harmony. Matt tells us you're in the PA program. Like it?"
Harmony: (putting down her knife) "So far. College has been so different from my homeschooling experience. There, I was the only student for a good part of the school day."
Matt: "Don't homeschoolers have activity programs where they can meet other homeschooled kids?"
Harmony: "Yes. The studies group my parents put me in was great. There were eight other students and a few times a week we got together for language learning, group science projects, writing projects, things like that."
Letty: "Was that an interesting experience?"
Harmony: (nodding) "I did attend public school in the early years."
Tom: "What made your parents yank you out?"
Harmony: "More freedom of choice. Also, I was bored with the slowness of the curriculum. With homeschooling, I could be in an accelerated academics program. Graduated at 15 with half a year's college credit through the CLEP programs. It worked out very well."
Tom: "College level exam placement. It's college credit by examination."
Harmony: "Subjects like American history, literature, chemisty, biology and languages can be taken by examination and college credit given."
Letty: "It's for the 100 and 200 level courses."
Matt: (cutting part of his tender prime rib into several pieces) "So one could skip the first two years of college by taking exams instead?"
Harmony: "Not quite. Each college sets a limit on how much credit by exam they're willing to allow."
Tom: "It's quite a good program. Letty here..." (he indicates Letty with his fork; she is in the process of putting a shrimp into her mouth. She smiles, then the shrimp plunges in)..."She escaped biology and chemistry by taking the CLEP courses. I wasn't so lucky."
Matt: "College chemistry was fun for me, although I had a bit of a mishap in the lab one day."
Letty: "You blew up the lab?"
Matt: (smiles) "Smoked it out. Ended up creating a noxious smelling smoke."
Tom: "How much damage?"
Matt: "About five thousand to clean it up. My father was angry he had to wire me the cash."
Letty: "I did a similar thing in high school."
Tom's pager goes off. He pulls it out and looks at it.
Tom: "Damn! Gotta go. Kitten, could you have this put into in a doggy bag?"
Letty: "Sure! If I don't eat it. What's up in the OR?"
Tom: "A 479."
Tom stands up, leans down and kisses his wife.
Tom: "See you later at home."
He heads towards the restaurant's doors. Letty narrows her eyes as several older women look admiringly at Tom as he walks by.
Letty: (turning her attention back to her dining companions) "Gunshot wound. For on-call surgeons, the OR is experimenting with shorthand phone keypad messages. It was Tom's idea. 479 is GSW."
Harmony: "Another shooting? You know, one of Matt's patients was shot to death today."
Letty: (looking at Matt with concern showing on her face) "Matt, that true? You didn't say anything about it."
Matt: (looking down) "Yeah. Point blank to the head. I just saw her this morning."
Letty: "I'm sorry. That's got to be tough on you."
Matt: "Long-term domestic abuse. He ended up shooting her at work."
Harmony: "They found her boyfriend?"
Matt: "No. I think her boyfriend shot her but the cops can't find him nor do they have a security tape. Seems the murderer erased the video tape."
Harmony: "Erased the security tape? Can he do that?"
Matt: "Apparently whoever killed her did erase the store's security tape. Ironically, she worked at a small video rental shop."
Letty: (shaking her head) "The abuse cases are the worst."
Matt: "Those and child abuse cases."
The waitress stops by with another round of drinks. She places the drinks on the table and indicates Tom's empty seat.
Waitress: "Where'd the other one go?"
Letty: "Emergency. Could you put his dinner in a doggy bag?"
She puts the drinks down on the table and then takes Tom's plate away. Matt chooses to change the subject.
Matt: "Harmony, did you take off a year before college?"
Harmony: (grinning) "Yep. A year of travelling."
Matt: "A gap year. I had one of those. Travelled the world."
Letty: "Tom and I have are going on a freighter cruise of the Pacific."
Harmony: "Now that is something I've heard about."
Matt: "It's a very simple cruise: a single cabin usually has a bedroom and a sitting room. The deck is rather small, but there's often a small pool and a library."
Letty: "You entertain yourself, enjoy the sea, talk to your spouse, write a book or catch up on your reading."
Matt: "Now that you and Tom are going, I'm thinking of taking a cruise back home."
Harmony: "To England from San Francisco?"
M: "I'd plane it to New York and then I'd catch a freighter to Portsmouth."
The foursome continue chatting about small things, obviously trying to keep Matt's mind off Linda Weatherbee's death.
...11:18 pm. Rae has fallen asleep on her couch when the phone rings. Rae mumbles and pulls the blanket over her head. The machine picks up and Nick speaks to the machine:
"It's Nick. Decided to stay on the ketch another day. It's beautiful out here on the water overlooking the Bridge. I dropped anchor and plan to spend the night out on the bay. Dinner was steak I picked up yesterday. I was watching the newspapers this weekend and I didn't see anything about the winery baby..."
Blearily, Rae props herself up on her elbow. Nick continues.
N: "But tonight there was a quick interview on tv with you and Jules. I see Amanda's interviewing technique has improved from Friday, but your interview was cut short after twenty seconds or so. Tom is busy in the OR as there has been another university shooting. That's what pre-empted your interview."
R: (alarmed) "Another shooting? Nick, how bad is it?"
However, Rae has forgotten her machine is on. Nick continues but Rae doesn't get off the couch.
N: "I already phoned in to the OR but they say Tom has things covered. You'll be surprised to know Amanda's the reporter doing the live coverage of the shooting. Anyways, I just wanted you to know I was keeping an eye on the news for you. Hope you're feeling well as you can under the circumstances. See you on Wednesday. Good night."
Nick clicks off the phone and Rae sits upright, pulling the blanket off her lap.
Standing up, she goes over to the television and turns on the tv to Channel 4.
There is live coverage of the shooting and Rae is indeed surprised to see that Amanda is the reporter giving the live report.
She listens as Amanda gives updated live coverage of the shooting; Amanda is doing a better job with live reporting than with prepared interviews.
Spying her cell phone on the coffee table, Rae picks it up then dials a number.
N: "Nick here."
R: "It's Rae."
N: "Did you just get in?"
R: "No. You woke me up."
N: "Ah. Watching the news?"
R: "Yeah. How bad is the student?"
N: "Upper chest wound. Non-fatal. Tom has it covered."
R: "So you're not going in?"
N: "That's right. I'm staying on the yacht."
R: "So you said. It's nice?"
N: (chuckling) "Very.
R: "You still watching the news?"
N: "Yes. The ketch is equipped with a thirteen inch tv, dvd player and stereo system. I don't think she sails the ocean a lot."
R: "Salt would eventually ruin the equipment?"
N: "Salt ruins a lot of things...Did you notice that Miss Sotherby does much better with live reporting?"
R: "Matt was her rookie interview. Amanda may be nervous asking prepared questions, especially if she's prepared the questions on short notice. Heck, she didn't remember my name when I phoned her this morning."
N: "You were only introduced in passing. Even then, you were stuffing egg rolls into your mouth."
R: "I like to think I make a memorable impression!"
N: "You do make a memorable impression. But I would say that Amanda needs to take a course in interviewing. And soon, if she's going to be UMC's pet reporter."
R: "Amanda said this afternoon that she's taking an interviewing course over the summer. And speaking of interviewing techniques, I'm considering giving a practice lecture."
Rae sits back down on the couch, then thinks better of it, stands up and goes to the kitchen.
R: "Haven't decided. There's so many facets of oncology that I don't know what to focus on."
N: "There's some obvious choices, you know."
Rae puts the teapot on the stove and turns it on.
R: "I know. The easy choices: Diagnosing Cancer, Major Types of Cancer, Standard Cancer Treatments."
N: "You could lecture on the unusual cancers, like beta thalassemia."
R: "That's an idea. Maybe I'll do two lectures, one on the basics and one on the rarer types of cancer. What's your next lecture on?"
N: "Techniques in Laparascopic Surgery. It's on Friday."
R: "Have room for me at the lecture?"
N: "I can squeeze you in."
R: "Ha, ha."
R: "A joke, Nick. You made a joke."
N: (sounding surprised; a cork pop sound comes from his end of the phone) "I did?"
R: "Yes. You said you can squeeze me in. Hey, am I on speakerphone?"
N: "Headset. I'm not following you."
(the sound of bubbly pouring comes over the phone line)
R: "Don't you squeeze the laparascope into an inch long cut?"
N: "Ah! Now I get it. The incision is very small, yes. So I would squeeze it in. Ha, ha."
R: "Dry humor, surgeon style. I was never good at jokes. You having champagne?"
N: "Just a single serving bottle. Found it chilling in the wine captain. It looked rather lonely there all by itself so I decided to liberate it."
R: "The owner must like a bit of luxury on his yacht."
N: "Her. It's owned by a her."
R: "Thought you were talking about the boat."
N: "Her too. She cuts quite the line. Double masted, and her trim is painted a soft orange."
R: (smiling) "Orange? Someone painted their boat orange?"
N: "Only the trim. And it's a very pale orange, very muted. Actually, the color looks good with the dark wood. The interior is done all in earth tones: beige, brown, pale orange and red with only a few splashes of yellow."
R: "To remind you of the earth while you're at sea?"
N: "I suppose. In the next slip, the boat's trim is lavender."
R: "I guess blue is rather commonplace. People must want color these days."
N: "Blue is a popular color for boat trim, yes."
R: "Nick, I'd like to chat longer, but I've a full load tomorrow & I'm tired."
N: "I won't keep you. Have a good night."
R: "I will. Hey, thanks for calling."
N: "My pleasure."
Nick clicks off his end of the cellphone as the teapot begins to whistle. Rae turns off the stove. Putting down her cellphone, Rae rummages around in the cupboard for a coffee cup. Pulling a cup out and putting it on the counter, she goes to the cupboard where she keeps a selection of tea.
She opens the cupboards door and is greeted by the sight of her car keys sitting on the shelf.
R: "Damn. How the hell did those get there?"
Shrugging, she places her keys on the counter and selects a darjeeling teabag.
Her tea now brewing, Rae goes to sit at her kitchen table. Looking at nothing, she merely sits and stares into space.