Surprise, Surprise 

It's Wednesday morning, around ten am. Letty and Norman are at Norman's desk. In the waiting area, there are patients waiting to be seen.

Norman: "Tell me what the papers say about Tom."

Letty smiles.

Letty: "They don't say anything because the new Hippa rules went into effect. The news producer thought the station should wait until the student can decide if she wants to go public. Then Tom can get his photo splashed on tv."

Norman: "At least he got some nice photos done."

Letty smiles again.

Letty: "We can always use more publicity photos and Amanda said we'll get some copies."

Norman: "Gonna hang them on the wall of your office?"

Letty: "You bet. Gotta give Amanda some credit for trying to get a story. It wasn't like Tom was going to say no to an interview."

Norman laughs.

Norman: "You knew Amanda's story idea on Tom would be shelved?"

Letty: (smiling)  "Yep. Soon as she asked. Say, is Harriet in yet? Got a patient who needs to see her."

Norman: "No. She called in sick."

Letty: "With what?"

Norman: "She didn't say. Think she might have wanted the day off."

Letty goes to the waiting area where a man stands up.

Letty: "Sanders?"

The man nods.

Letty: "This way."

She indicates the way and Mister Sanders follows her.

A short while later, Matt is standing near Norman's desk, looking over a medical file. Norman is momentarily absent from his desk. 

David comes up ambling up, a pleased expression on his face. 

Matt: "You look like you're happy."

David: "You've done it again, Matt!"

Matt: "Done what?" 

David: "You and WHO. Didn't you hear about UC at Berkeley lifting the ban on summer students hailing from SARS-infected areas?"

Matt nods.

Matt: "A good part of my free time these past few weeks I spent writing numerous letters to the college protesting their overreaction."

David smiles.

David: "Well it worked. The lifted ban made national news. All's well with the world."

It's Matt's turn to smile.

Matt: "All in a days work."

He puts the medical file into the 'finished' basket.

Matt: "Off to my own appointment."

David: "Have a good one."

Matt looks uncomfortable.

Matt: "It's about Linda Weatherbee's murder."

David: (sadly) "I heard that she had seen you for a follow up visit Monday."

Matt: "True. I need to be off."

David: "All right."

Matt walks out of Presidio's front doors, leaving David to stand there looking at Matt's retreating back. Norman comes up to his desk with a cup of coffee in his hand. Setting the coffee cup down underneath the desk's ledge, he comments:

Norman: "David. Top of the morning to you!"

David: "Morning back."

Norman: "Matt off to his appointment?"

David: "Yeah."

Norman whistles appreciatively and indicates that David should look out the front doors. David looks and sees a stretch limousine pull up outside. 

The two men watch with interest as a chauffeur, dressed in full livery with hat, gets out of the driver's side, walks around to the right passenger side, then opens the door and reach in.

Norman: "Wonder who that is."

David: "Could be Jackie's movie star patient."

Norman smiles.

Norman: "I remember him. He faked a car accident to hide his face-lift."

The chauffeur has lifted out three leather weekender bags, and two silver-toned oversize gift bags that are the size of a large piece of luggage. 

Hefting two of leather weekender bags in his hands, he heads towards the front doors of Presidio. 

David: "What is going on?"

Norman: "Dunno. We'll find out quickly."

The automatic doors slide open and the chauffeur walks in.

Chauffeur: "Delivery for Doctors Slingerland and Kokoris, and Mister Norman Drum.”

Norman and David look at each other.

Norman: "I'm Norman Drum. May I help you?"

The chauffeur indicates the leather weekender bags by lifting them slightly, then placing the weekender bags down by Norman's desk.

Chauffeur: "These two are for Doctors Slingerland and Kokoris."

Norman begins to speak, but the chauffeur exits Presidio's offices, and picks up the two oversized gift bags. People have stopped to look at the stretch limo and its cargo sitting on the sidewalk.

David hefts one of the weekender bags. 

David: "Uf! Heavy. Tag says this one's for Nick."

The chauffeur has returned with the oversized gift bags.

Chauffeur: "These two are also for Doctors Slingerland and Kokoris."

He sets the gift bags down on the floor next to Norman's desk.

Norman: "Who are these from?"

Chauffeur: "The donor wishes to remain anonymous for now."

David smiles as the chauffeur exits the doors of Presidio once again, and picks up the third leather weekender bag. He returns inside Presidio's offices.

Chauffeur: "And this is for you, Mister Drum."

The chauffeur holds out the leather weekender bag and Norman takes it.

The chauffeur tips his hat then leaves the offices for the final time. He closes the right side passenger door then walks around to the driver's side, and pulls the stretch limo away. Norman has opened the leather weekender bag.

David: "Does it say who sent all this?"

Norman: "Nope. Just a card: for Norman Drum, the outstanding assistant to Doctors Slingerland and Kokoris. Much thanks and love, D."

David: "D?"

Norman: (shrugging his shoulders)  “Can’t think of anyone I know who would send me this."

David: "That bag is from Tod's."

Norman smiles knowingly.

Norman: "I know."

David: "Now who do we know that rides around in a stretch limo?"

Norman: "Dunno. I could see inside the open door of the limo. There was no one inside."

David: "Jackie is going to love this mystery."

Norman grins.

Norman: "Let's not tell her, okay?"

David laughs as Norman hefts the weekender bag in his hand and goes to the kitchen to look at his goodies.

Right before lunch, Jules is in an exam room with sixteen year old Marnie Brown. 

Jules: "Marnie, you are only sixteen years old. Why do you want implants at your age?"

Marnie looks Jules defiantly in the eyes.

Marnie: (off-handedly) "I want to break into the industry. Implants are like a job requirement. Along with a great body."

Jules: "The industry?"

Marnie: (shrugging her shoulders) "You know, the Industry. Hollywood."

Jules: "You want to be an actress?"

Marnie: "Or a model. Or both."

Jules: (sighing) "There are plenty of small breasted actresses in Hollywood so there's no reason for you to even consider enlarging your breasts."

Marnie: "Small breasted? Small-breasted! My breasts are non-existent! You saw them!"

Jules: "You may think your breasts are..."

Marnie: (interrupting) "My non-breasts."

Jules: "Ok..You may think that your non-breasts are not an asset but there is nothing wrong with your breasts."

Marnie: "I think there is."

Jules: "Will you at least wait until your next appointment to think about it?"

Marnie: "When is my next appointment?"

Jules: "Six months from now."

Marnie: "Why so soon?"

Jules: "You're an adolescent and need more frequent visits."

Marnie sneers.

Marnie: "Like the pelvic exam you gave me?"

Jules: "You came in here today complaining of heavy, painful periods with large clots of blood. Plus you said that you had a pain on one side of your abdomen."

Marnie: (sarcastically) "And that entitles you to hand out pelvic exams like candy?"

Jules: (smugly) "Next time, don't invent complaints in order to get a rush appointment. Then you won't get an exam where you don't want one."

Marnie just tosses her head; her black ringlets bounce on her shoulders like coils.

Jules: "Will you at least wait on the implant decision until six months from now?"

Marnie sighs dramatically. She unbuttons the top few buttons of her blouse and looks inside her blouse.

Marnie: (her voice is somewhat muffled) "Flat as a pancake. I don't even need a bra."

Marnie looks up at Jules, then Marnie buttons her blouse back up.

Jules: "Six months. Please?" 

Marnie sighs again.

Marnie: "All right. Six months. No more."

Jules: "Thanks. I promise you'll have changed your mind by then."

Watched by Jules, Marnie walks out of the exam room and closes the door. Once out in the hallway, Marnie mutters:

“Mom always said to kill two birds with one stone. I’ll just see what Doctor Collette has to say.”

Smiling, Marnie saunters down the hallway, singing a tune under her breath.

While waiting for their lunch orders to arrive, Nick and Rae are chatting about her interrogation by Ellen Etzel on the previous day. 

Not realizing she shouldn't be talking about the case, Nick and Rae are ending a discussion what Rae told him about her interrogation from the previous day.

N: "How were the police able to compare Robert's DNA to the fetus' so quickly?"

R: (sarcastically) "He kindly donated a sample in the other case."

N: "I see."

She shrugs.

R: "And that's how my case hinges on what the jury will think about three things."

She pauses, then grimaces while Nick waits for Rae to explain. 

R: "One, Robert waited until the fetal dna test results were in. Two, he knew the dna test results and and three is most important, Ellen told me. Point three is that Robert knew I would be home that night drinking wine with the girls."

She sips her soda. 

N: "I'm afraid I don't understand that last one. How could point three be so important?"

R: "Robert had never been to my house before, plus he heard me tell Jackie that I had plenty of Chardonnay on hand for our girl's night. He knew I would have drank a few glasses, thus being more suspectible to 'suggestion'."

N: "And Ellen thinks the jury will believe that Robert deliberately waited until late at night to show up at your house, instead of dropping by earlier?"

R: "Yep. Ellen wondered why a person would stop by someone's house at 11:30 pm just to talk about a spousal affair? It's not like we're still in college."

N: (deadpanning) "Although we work at one."

Rae looks puzzled at Nick's statement.

N: "Dry surgeon's humor."

Nick smiles and Rae tries to hide a smile. 

R: "Still, there's Robert, knowing that I'd be at home on that Friday drinking wine with some of my girlfriends. For the first time in our long acquaintance, Robert chooses that night, of all nights, to drop by my home. Further, since that Friday night, Robert has not dropped by my home."

N: "So Ellen Etzel is hinging the case on the jury's perception."

R: "Yeah. She wasn't sure about going to trial until at the veerrryyy end of the interrogation. Ellen's thinking that the jury will believe Robert was taking advantage of a woman."

N: "Don't forget that the City's leading gay newspaper broke the news that electric blue starlights are being passed off as a popular club drink when in fact those drinks have rohypnol added."

Rae looks surprised and spills some soda on her pale ivory cashmere suit. She places the glass on the table and dabs at the spill.

R: "What? When did this develop?"

N: "Someone mentioned it this morning. I have a copy of the paper if you'd like to send it to Ellen. It's in Monday's edition." 

R: "Thanks. I'd like that."

N: "Ellen can use the article as evidence."

Rae nods and smiles but tears slip from her eyes.

R: "I hope so." 

N: "You ok?"

R: "Just hormones."

Taking her purse from the chair next to her, she rummages around in her purse.

R: "Damn, I forgot my cellphone. I need to phone Ellen, see if she knows about this article."

N: "You can phone Ellen when you get back to the office. I forgot my phone as well."

R: "Thanks, Nick. I don't know how to thank you."

N: "Just win this case."

R: "I plan on doing that."

The waitress has brought their lunch platters. Nick's platter is filled with an odd mixture of fried flounder with dipping sauce, seasoned fries , asparagus mixed with chunks of wood-smoked mozzarella and topped off with hollandaise sauce.

Rae: "That is quite an unusual lunch, there, Mister Kokoris."

Nick: (smiling) "It's supposed to be a new version of fish and chips. Get some greens and calcium mixed in."

Rae: "The mozzarella looks good. Mind if I have a piece?"

Nick: "Have one."

He spears a mozzarella piece and slips it onto Rae's plate.

Nick: "Now your meal looks interesting."

Rae is having a six ounce piece of prime rib, roasted potatoes, green beans and what is perhaps the three largest lobster claws even seen by human eyes.

Rae: "Pregnancy is giving me a craving for lobster."

Nick: "So I noticed."

Rae smiles at Nick, placing her napkin in her lap.

An hour later, in Jackie's exam room, Jackie is sitting on a short stool, pinching and pulling on a lady's cellulite ridden thighs. The lady (Miranda Tibbits) is wearing a pair of wide-band paper thongs.

M: (twisting around to see her backside) "Damn mother's genes. Don't you hate looking at women in these thongs?"

Jackie: "Yeah. But I also look at men in thongs as well."

M: "Really? That must be nice."

Jackie: "Not really. But at least I don't use those thin-strip thongs."

M: "That's why I switched plastic surgeons. I hated those thin thongs."

Jackie: "That true?"

M: "Mmm, hmm. I was just uncomfortable wearing nothing but skimpy thongs in his office."

J: "These obviously cover up a lot more."

M: "It's like wearing a bikini bottom. So, can you help these thighs?"

J: "As you said, they are cottage cheese thighs. But lipo will help."

M: "Oh good!" 

J: "You can get dressed now."

Jackie indicates the curtained off area.

J: "Come out into my office area when you're ready."

Miranda nods and goes behind the curtains. 

A few minutes later, Miranda emerges from the curtains. She's slickly dressed in a silk, predominantly pink Pucci print strapless dress and a pair of Stuart Weitzman’s "Sinsation" stilettos. 

The shoes are a bit tight on her feet. Limping slightly, Miranda goes out into Jackie's office, adjacent to her exam room. 

J: "I like the dress."

Miranda: (smiling) "A Pucci. It's a Lucky find."

J: "I'd say. Lucky you found it."

Miranda laughs, and takes a seat across from Jackie. Miranda crosses her legs.

Miranda: "Found it in Lucky magazine. You know, the magazine about shopping?"

Jackie: "I've heard of Lucky but have never read it."

Miranda reaches down and pulls up a Hermes Birkin bag. She pulls out a copy of Lucky magazine.

Miranda: "I just love to shop! Some days, that's all I do. And I love a bargain, although I do buy full price on the good stuff."

She indicates the Birkin bag, then lays the magazine on Jackie's desk.

Jackie: "Thanks. How much did that Birkin run you?"

Miranda sits back.

Miranda: "Plenty. There's a waiting list. It's a good thing my husband sold his Silicon company just before the bubble burst."

Jackie: "Telecom company?"

Miranda shakes her head and re-crosses her legs.

Miranda: "One man software company. Bridgehall Software. Peter sold for big bucks and I've been enjoying my--I mean, our--new wealth ever since."

Jackie: "I invested in the dot com bubble."

Miranda: "Make any money?"

Jackie: "Did but didn't sell in time. Now I'm waiting for the company to come round again."

Miranda: "They'll come back one day."

Jackie: (drily) "Yeah. When Bush leaves office."

Miranda chuckles.

Miranda: "Did you notice that when Daddy Bush was in La Casa Blanca 
the stock market was bad. And when Clinton came in, the market went up..."

Jackie: (chiming in) "But when Junior was elected, the market headed south. Me and my portfolio noticed that phenomenon big time."

The two women laugh. 

Miranda: "Anyways, you've got all the business you can handle now."

Jackie: "That's for sure."

Miranda: "So, when can I have the lipo?"

Jackie flips through her appointment book. She looks up at Miranda.

Jackie: "Two weeks from Tuesday, 9am?"

Miranda: "Sounds good."

She takes out a day planner from the Hermes bag, opens it and makes a note of the day and time. Jackie looks at Miranda's shoes. The shoes are rather tight around the toes. 

Jackie: "Aren't those shoes a bit...high?"

Miranda looks at her shoes.

Miranda: "Yeah. For ordinary walking. But I was driven here today."

Jackie: "Oh."

Miranda looks at her feet then at Jackie.

Miranda: "Can you do some lipo on my big toes? They're a little fat."

Jackie looks surprised.

Jackie: "Lipo on your big toes?" 

Miranda: "Why not?"

Jackie looks around her otherwise empty office. 

Jackie: "Uh, well, truthfully, I've never done lipo on big toes before."

Miranda smiles.

Miranda: "I don't mind being your guinea pig."

In David's office, Letty has just threaded her way past all the gifts strewn about David’s office and sat down.

Letty: (clucking her tongue) “Someone’s been opening presents on the HMO’s time.”

David: “Guilty.”

Letty: “Who they from?”

David shrugs his shoulders. 

David: “The Mysterious D.”

Letty: “I see.  Let me cut to the chase. When do I get my new heart defibrillators?”

David: (looking up from inspecting his new leather bar-tending set) “Soon.”

Letty: (narrowing her eyes) “When’s soon?”

David smiles, then tries to evade giving Letty a straight answer. He shrugs his shoulders.

David: “Soon, as in HMO soon.”

Letty rolls her eyes.

Letty: “That could mean I’d be at the pearly gates before the HMO gets around to buying my defibrillators. Did you tell them I’ve a meeting with Amanda Sotheby from Channel 4 news on Friday?”

David: “That I did. Word hasn’t gotten back yet.”

Letty drums her fingers on David’s desktop.

Letty: “Seeing as how the HMO is so slow, I just might do some spin-doctoring, see if I can do something for my new program before Friday.”

David: “Don’t go over the deep end.”

Letty: (sweetly) “Since when have you ever known me to go over the deep end?”

David: “Lots of times. Any more questions?”

Letty: “Nope. I can see you want to enjoy those goodies this mysterious D sent you. Any idea who she is?”

David: “No. And what makes you think the giver is a she?”

Letty smiles.

Letty: “It’s obvious from the type of gifts. Things a woman would give to a man.”

David: “Well, I’m not the only one. Tom, Norman, Matt and Nick received gift bags as well. Except Matt and Nick received a second gift bag from this D person.”

Letty: (in mock anger)My Tom? Who’s been sending my Tom gifts?”

David; “The mysterious D.”

Letty: (shaking her finger at David) “If I ever lay my hands on her…”

David: “Letty. It’s just presents for hard-working docs.”

Letty: (grumbling) “I didn’t receive any presents.”

David merely shrugs…Letty gets up and starts to leave.

Letty: “By the way, you might want to know you have your fly open.”

Sheepishly, David looks down. His fly is safe and soundly zipped.

David: (automatically) “It is not! Besides, I'm sitting. You can't see that from there!”

Letty: (smiling) “Gotcha!” 

She chuckles as she exits David’s office, leaving David to enjoy his gift bag. 

She’s not really mad that someone sent Tom a leather weekender bag filled with goodies; Letty has a pretty good idea about the identity of the mysterious “D”; the woman has sent other male doctors from around the City gift bags over the past year or so.  She’s not going to let on to her colleagues, though, for the fellas do need something nice in their lives.

For Matt, the strain of running dual jobs during the day—the first job as Internist and the other job as Matt Slingerland, Medical Detective for WHO— and both job stresses are  beginning to show on his face. Nick is exhausted from long hours in the OR; people just won’t stop wrecking their cars and shooting each other up. 

Tom is getting a bit tense from the recent University shootings and he too has been assisting Nick in the OR. Letty is looking forward to using a lot of the gift bag’s goodies; she got a good look at the weekender’s contents and liked what she saw: presents usable by both genders. 

Around the same time, Nick and Rae are in her office. Nick is busy reading the latest issue of Oprah magazine while Rae is on the speakerphone. He knows Rae is not supposed to be talking about the case. 

R: "Ellen, it's Rae."

Ellen: "Hello. Sorry to put you through so much questioning yesterday."

R: "You were doing your job. Now I know just how difficult it's going to be."

Ellen: "That's why I put people on a mock stand."

Rae smiles wanly for Nick's benefit.

R: "Always make 'em sweat."

Ellen laughs.

Ellen: "I've found that making people sweat is more beneficial to their cases."

R: "How?"

Ellen: "You must have blocked the memory of it already. I got out the one small memory that could make this case."

R: "Oh! Yes. Because I had seen Robert in Jackie Collette's office a few days previously and he overheard me telling Jackie I had plenty of wine for that Friday."

Ellen chuckles heartily. 

Ellen: "Yep. That's it: our one small fact. But you can bet your bottom dollar Robert’s defense lawyer will try to play the visit down."

R: "But the jury just might link all three facts together and decide that Robert might, just might have done something he shouldn't have done."

Ellen: "That's what I'm angling for."

R: (grinning) "Judging from your not having mentioned the Blade's story, I presume you are not familiar with the fact that the Blade printed an article on electric blue starlights. 

Ellen sucks in her breath.

Ellen: "Now that I did not know. When did this pop up?"

Rae: "I found out today but the newspaper went out a few days ago."

Ellen: "And that's in the Blade?"

Rae: "Yes."

Ellen: "I can get a copy of that paper. Vendor is right outside."

R: "Think the story can be admitted as evidence? You know, the fact that Robert mixed me an electric blue starlight?"

Ellen: "Have you read the article?"

R: "It's here in front of me." (She shuffles the newspaper to the correct page and reads from the copy.)..."It reads: 

"Sisters Beware! A dangerously new drink known as electric blue starlights, or EBS's, are making the university frat party rounds. But for the unfortunate party girl who is offered an electric blue starlight, this bright blue hued martini has the date rape drug rohypnol added. The party girl often experiences a headache immediately after drinking an EBS and does not remember anything that happens afterward until they wake up, often naked and in an unfamiliar place."

Ellen whistles.

Ellen: "We have an excellent chance of getting the article admitted as evidence."

Rae smiles and Nick gives Rae a thumbs-up.

Rae: "That's what I was hoping."

Ellen: "I'll file a motion to admit this as evidence and we'll see what happens."

Rae breathes a sigh of relief.

Ellen: "Before you start breathing a sigh of relief…"

Nick looks over the top of the magazine and Rae smirks for Nick's benefit. 

Rae: "It's always something." 

Ellen continues.

Ellen: "If we admit this article as evidence, the defense will have access to it and be able to formulate an explanation."

R: "Didn't Robert state in the police interview that he had given me an electric blue starlight?"

Ellen: "That he did. But he can claim he heard the phrase around the campus."

Rae: "So we're out of luck?"

Ellen: "No. I'm just showing you how evidence can be used by both the prosecution and by the defense."

R: "And your job is to convince the jury that by putting the pieces of the puzzle together they spell d-a-t-e-r-a-p-e."

Ellen: "Yep. Thanks for the information."

R: "It's my case. I need all the help I can give myself."

Ellen: "That you do.  Now you know you're not supposed to be talking about the case beforehand, don't you?"

Rae looks guilty.

R: "I do now."

Ellen: "NO talking about the case from here on out."

R: "Will do."

Ellen: "Good. By the way, I heard about the Winery Baby delivery on Good Morning America. Congratulations.

Rae smiles, a genuine smile that crinkles the corners of her eyes. 

Rae: "Thanks. Her name is Francisca Ramirez.”

Ellen: “Beautiful name. I’m going to use your involvement in Francisca's surprise delivery as part of your character defense.”

Rae is surprised.

Rae: “Character defense?”

Ellen: “The defense lawyer will try to make you out to be a sore loser at relationships. With the publicity about Francisca's delivery at the winery, we can show a softer side of you.”

Behind the magazine, Nick tries to hide a smile. 

Rae: “I could use a softer side right now. Know what I did after I left your office? I went home yesterday and fell asleep.”

Ellen: (chuckling)  “They don’t call me Slice n Dice Ellen for nothing.”

It's Rae's turn to chuckle. Nick tries to suppress a laugh so Ellen won't know he's listening in on the conversation.

Rae:  “You’re only a few years out of law school.”

Ellen: “Age ain’t got nothing to do with it.”

Rae: “I know.”

Ellen: “I’ll keep you posted.”

Rae: “Thanks.”

Ellen: “Bye.”

Rae: “Bye.”

Ellen clicks off her end of the phone as Rae looks at the speakerphone. 

Nick: “Glad I could help.”

Rae: “Thanks. I really mean it, Nick. Thanks for everything.”

Nick is just about to respond when…

“Doctor Nicholas Kokoris. Please report to Surgery. Doctor Nicholas Kokoris, please report to surgery.”

Nick: “That’s me.”

Rae: “The never ending job.”

Nick: “It’s challenging and I like it.”

Placing “O” magazine on the couch, he stands up and heads towards the door.

Nick: “Have a good rest of the afternoon.”

Rae: “You too. And don't think I didn't see you smiling behind that magazine!”

Rae picks up her pen and poises it over her open journal.

Nick: "I'll try to hide my smiles from now on."

Leaving Rae writing in her journal, Nick leaves Rae’s office.

Dear Diary:

It's Wednesday after lunch. What did I name you again? Yes, Hazel. I’ll write that next time. Just a short note to let you know that Nick (the dear man) has given me the biggest ray of hope I have yet to see in this case (the pun was intended, Hazel).

Nick told me over lunch about an article in the Blade about electric blue starlights having rohypnol added to them!  Ellen says this is good, solid public evidence. The downfall is that Robert could debunk my joy by saying that he had heard the term around campus and that the drink could have migrated to the Wharf.

But all in all, isn’t that great news? Am I sounding like a teenager or what today?

Sean still doesn’t know and I hope he doesn’t find out for the longest time. 

Ha, ha. When the case is filed, Sean will find out anyways. 

Rae's desk phone rings.

Rae: "Doctor Brennan...sure. Be right up."

Putting down her pen, Rae gets up and leaves her office. 

On his way back from lunch, Matt has taken the roundabout way and he is walking across the Commons when he hears a female voice call out.

Zachariah: "Doctor Slingerland! Wait up!"

He turns towards the sound of the voice and sees new residents Zachariah and Julio hurrying towards him. 

Matt: "Well, this is quite a surprise."

Julio: "We just wanted to thank you."

Matt raises his eyebrows.

Matt: "For what?"

Zachariah: "For giving us such high marks on our rotations with you."

Matt looks uncomfortable. He thinks he knows why these two residents are doing: they think receiving high marks on a rotation means they are favored pets.

Matt: "You earned the marks through hard work. You're doing well on your other rotations?"

Julio: "I am. Except OB. Doctor Lanning said my skills would be better utilized elsewhere."

Zachariah: "Same here. I'm thinking of going into pediatrics. I got really high marks on that rotation."

Matt: (narrowing his eyebrows) "High marks on a rotation don't necessarily mean you are cut out for pediatrics."

Zachariah: (smugly) "Why not? I aced Pediatrics rotation. I received better marks on pediatrics than I did on your rotation."

Julio: "As did I."

Matt: "I see. I did well on my pediatrics rotation as well. But the purpose of rotations are to discover where your interest lies. For example, are you interested in ER medicine?"

Julio: "Not really."

Zachariah: "Me neither. I'm more interested in figuring things out."

Matt: "But the two of you did quite well during your ER rotations."

Julio grimaces.

Julio: "Doctor Howland is quite tough on someone personally, but she's quite fair in her evaluations, even if they’re a bit brusque.”

Zachariah: "She’s a female Simon Cowell.”

Matt: "Yes. Well, Zachariah, you might be more interested in psychiatry or internal medicine."

Zachariah: "I was thinking about becoming a GP."

Matt: "GPs are a dying breed. And you, Julio?"

Julio: "Perhaps surgery. I'm attending Doctor Kokoris's practice lecture this week."

Matt raises his eyebrows.

Matt: "Have either of you done your rotation under Doctor Kokoris?"

Julio: "Not yet. That one comes next."

Zachariah: "I'm scheduled for a plastic surgery rotation, then I get the surgery rotation. I'm not sure I want surgery."

Matt: "A bit squeamish with blood?"

Zachariah grimaces.

Zachariah: "Yeah."

Matt: “I need to get back. You two have a good afternoon, and good luck with your rotation under Doctor Kokoris.”

Julio: (deadpanning) “Heard he’s a real stickler.”

Matt tries to hide a smile.

Julio: “Surgeon’s humor.”

Matt: “I noticed. Have a good afternoon!”

Zachariah and Julio: “You too, Doctor Slingerland!”

Taking his leave of the two residents, Matt strides off towards a back entrance to Presidio’s offices. Matt mutters:

"Zachariah might make a better administrator."

Shortly after Matt's encounter with Zachariah and Julio, Jackie is finishing up with an appointment. Jackie is standing in her exam room adjacent to her office. 

A perky young woman is just finishing buttoning up her shirt.

Marnie: "Thanks so much for seeing me on such short notice."

Jackie: "A lot of patients have cancelled, Ms Princeman, so I have more free time."

Marnie: "Call me Marnie. Do you think implants will help me?"

Jackie: "Yes, if you believe it, then yes, implants will help your self-image."

Marnie smiles as she finishes buttoning her shirt.

Marnie: "Oh, I believe they will help me. I was sooo looking forward to getting breasts when I got my period. My mom is so, like out there."

Marnie indicates an area somewhat far in front of her chest. 

Marnie: "They're all for real, too. Then I found out that while I had periods, I was almost as flat chested as I was when I was eight."

Jackie: (smiling) "Implants can do for you what genetics didn't."

Marnie: "So, how big can I go?"

Jackie: "Small, at first. You can go, maybe, to a 34B."

Marnie: "Super. It's great being eighteen and able to make my own decisions."

Jackie shows Marnie into Jackie's office and indicates Marnie should sit in the chair. Marnie picks up a huge caramel colored suede hobo bag and puts it on her lap. Jackie sits down behind her desk. 

Jackie: "Mother didn't want you to have implants?"

Marnie: "She said I had to wait until I was eighteen. Then I could do what I would with my body. She's still a bit miffed I changed my surname to my father's."

Jackie: "Hey, just curious. How are you going to pay for this op?"

Marnie smiles again.

Marnie: "Grandma gave me a chunk of cash for the big one-eight."

Jackie smiles warmly.

Jackie: "I remember those kinds of gifts."

Marnie: "Hope she likes what I’m giving myself.”

Jackie: "Does she approve of this breast enlargement?"

Marnie: "No. But she can't say how I spend the money now that it's mine. So, when can I have the surgery?"

Jackie flips through her appointment book.

Jackie: "Several patients cancelled their laser hair removal, so I have a block of free time next Wednesday."

Marnie: "Isn't that a bit soon?"

Jackie: "It's next week. Give you some time to reconsider if need be."

Jackie taps her pen on the desk top. 

Marnie: "Oh no. I want to get rid of this flat chest. By the way, how come the other patients cancelled?"

Jackie: "They were a group of corporate women wanting laser hair removal for their underarms. Business meeting came up for them."

Marnie: "Hey! Could I also get my underarm hair removed? That would be a big help in my acting and modelling career. And do you do bikini hair removal?"

Nodding, Jackie pens a note in her appointment book.

Jackie: "Gotcha down for laser hair removal first thing. Then, we'll get the breast implants done."

Marnie: "Great. Thanks a lot, Doctor Collette."

Jackie: "Just doing my job."

Jackie escorts Marnie out of her office.

Jackie: "See you next Wednesday, seven-thirty am. Need to be in early for the laser hair removal."

Marnie: "Seven thirty am. Next Wednesday."

Marnie pauses outside the door to Jackie's office. She takes out a small notepad and pen from her purse, and then writes down:

Wednesday, 7:30 am. Doctor Collette's office. Laser hair removal for underarm, then I get my breasts!

Placing the pen and notepad back into her purse, Marnie smiles at Jackie.

Marnie: "Got it down! Until next Wednesday, Doctor Collette!"

Marnie walks off down the hallway, whistling. Jackie smiles then goes back into her office.

Marnie turns the corner, heading towards Norman's desk and the front doors to Presidio's offices. Marnie passes by Nick and Matt, who are chatting in the hallway.

Just as she is reaching Norman's desk, she bumps into Jules; Norman is not at his desk.

Jules: "Marnie! Got your prescription filled?"

Marnie: "Yes, Doctor Keating."

From her purse, Marnie pulls out a prescription bag and dangles it in front of Jules.

Jules: "Good. Follow the instructions precisely."

Marnie: "I will, Doctor Keating. Have a great day!"

Marnie goes out of the offices of Presidio, leaving Jules to smile after her.

A short while later in one of Jules' exam rooms, with the door open, Leopolodo and Jules are having  a loud argument; Leopolodo's side of the argument is very loud. 

Matt is down the hall quite a ways, chatting with Nick. Both men occasionally look towards the exam room, consternation on their faces. 

Leopolodo: "What did you mean, telling me Alessio had the flu? He's in the frigging hospital, for crying out loud!"

Jules: "Considering his symptoms, the flu was what I thought Alessio had."

Leopolodo: (shouting) "The flu! Doctor Howland thinks it's some kind of tick disease."

Jules: "One thing we know it's not: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever."

Leopolodo: "I know that!"

Jules: (sympathetically) "Alessio is responding to antibiotics."

Leopolodo: "But we still don't have a diagnosis!"

Down the hallway, Matt and Nick pause in their conversation, then the men glance at each other, an unspoken communication has passed between them. At the same time, the two docs move as one towards the exam room. 

Jules: "We are doing everything possible..."

Leopolodo cuts in with a thunderous shout.

Leopolodo: "Who is this we to whom you are referring?"

Jules cowers.

Leopolodo: "Doctor Howland is doing everything she can to get a diagnosis!"

Matt and Nick have arrived at the door to the exam room. 

Matt: (speaking in a gentle tone) "Anything wrong?"

Leopolodo runs his hand through his thick, black mane. His face is cherry red and he's breathing a bit hard. Dark shadows are under his eyes, a result of his spending the night awake.

Leopolodo: (addressing Matt) "Doctor Keating misdiagnosed my son as having the flu."

Jules: (cutting in) "Based on the symptoms the child presented."

Nick: "Didn't he have some sort of tick bite?"

Leopolodo nods.

Leopolodo: "Picked it off a few days ago."

Jules: "The labs came back as negative for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever."

Nick: "That does not mean Alessio has the flu."

Matt: (trying to run interference) "Where did Alessio pick up this tick?"

Leopolodo: "Outside Topeka."

Matt scratches his head.

Matt: "Mister Evangelista, if you would wait here. I need to speak to Doctor Keating outside. Nick, you too."

Leopolodo nods. Jules follows Matt and Nick out the exam room. As Jules shuts the door, she catches Leopolodo glaring at her.

Jules: "What?"

Matt: "Follow me."

The three docs walk down the halway to a recessed nook, where three computers are set up. Matt takes a Clorox wipe and wipes down the mouse, and keyboard of a computer.  He brings up a search engine and types in: ehrlichiosis.

Matt: "It's either malaria or ehrlichiosis."

Jules: "Ehrlichi what?"

Matt: "Ehrlichiosis. From that deer tick."

Nick: "It definitely can not be malaria. That's spread by mosquitos."

Matt: "Did not the deer tick tip you off, Jules?"

Jules shakes her head. 

Jules: "Didn't really register. I wasn't thinking RMSF or other tick borne illnesses."

Matt stands aside so Nick and Jules can read the information about erhlichiosis on the website. 

Jules: (nodding) "I'll pass this to Doctor Howland right away."

Matt: "That would be an excellent idea."

Nick: (pointing to the screen) "What do those symptoms look like?"

Matt takes a closer look at the symptoms.

Matt: "Fever, headache, muscle aches, possible nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and occasionally a rash."

Jules reads next.

Jules: "In severe cases, erhlichiosis causes fever, liver failure, respiratory distress and coma."

Nick puts his hands in his coat. 

Nick: "Some of those symptoms sound like SARS."

Matt looks again at the symptoms.

Matt: "You’re right, Nick. I hope we don't have a panic."

Jules runs her hand through her hair.

Jules: (agitatedly) "I didn't mean to misdiagnose, Matt." (she runs a hand through her hair) "Oh man, if people think there's a SARS case here, pandemonium will break out."

Matt: (in a calm voice) "Jules, this illness is such a newly described illness that many doctors haven't yet learned to recognize it."

Nick: "Can't you put the word out that there's a case of erhlichiosis?"

Matt: "Yeah. Yeah, I can run interference, get a blurb in the paper. Jules, you go back and tell Alessio's father the revised diagnosis."

Jules: "Leopolodo. He'll be sure to calm down when you tell him."

Matt smiles, as does Nick. But Matt remains silent so Nick can do Matt's dirty work for him.

Nick: "Uh, Jules?"

Jules: "Yeah?"

Nick: "You get to deal with the father... by yourself."

Jules groans.

Matt: "We'll leave you to your duty."

Nodding at Nick, Matt begins to walk down the hall in the opposite direction of the exam room. Starting off behind Matt, Nick pauses a moment and turns back to Jules.

Nick: "It's really not that bad, giving another diagnosis to a patient's father."

Jules: (pleading) "Please? Come with me?"

Nick: "Sorry." 

Nick follows Matt.

Sighing, Jules throws up her hands, spins on her heel and goes back to the exam room.

Around 4 pm...It’s quiet in Presidio’s offices. Strange, but not many people have had appointments today. With the number of cancellations in her laser hair removal patients, Jackie has some free time, which she’s using to her advantage. 

Jackie, Jules and Norman are standing at his desk…well, Norman is standing. Jackie and Jules are kneeling on the floor. 

There are two oversized gift silver-toned gift bags on the floor in front of the women—these are the gift bags that were delivered earlier in the day by the mystery chauffeur. The two leather weekender bags have been pushed aside for the moment. 

The gifts have lain unclaimed by Matt and Nick, for both doctors have been busy elsewhere in the offices of Presidio and have not yet had time to stop by Norman's desk. 

One of the gift bags and one of the leather weekender bags has a blue ribbon around the handles bearing a large tag with the inscription, "For Nicholas Kokoris--with Love from D." 

The second gift bag and second leather weekender bag each have a green ribbon around their handles. A large tag bears the inscription "For Matthew Slingerland--with Love from D." 

Jackie is on her knees, about to paw through Matt's oversized gift bag. Jules is silently pawing through Nick's gift bag, grunting with pleasure.

Jackie is reading the maker of the leather weekender bags.

Jackie: “Tod's."

Norman: “Quite a piece of luggage, isn’t it?"

Jackie begins to paw through the large gift bags; Norman tries to stop her.

Norman: "Jackie! Those are for Nick and Matt."

Jackie looks up; there is a watch in her hand.

Jackie: (sighing with admiration) "An Audemars Piguet watch! Norman, do you know how much this costs?"

Norman: "No. Put it back. It's for Matt."

Jules: "Nick has that watch as well."

Jules holds up a duplicate of the Audemars Piguet chronograph watch for Jackie's inspection.

Jackie gasps. 

Jackie: “"A second Audie? FYI: Audemars cost twelve point five grand each."

Jules: (surprised) "For a chronograph watch with a rubber strap?"

Jackie shrugs her shoulders and keeps pawing through the oversized gift bag.

Jackie: "It's an Audemars. What else can I say? Hey! A leather bar tending set! Whoever compiled these gift bags is loaded!"

Rae walks up.

R: "Who got the goodies?'

Jules: (looking up and smiling) "Matt and Nick."

Rae looks at the small pile of items that Jackie has pulled from Matt's gift bag. Jackie holds up an alligator fountain pen.

Rae: "That’s a Vuitton! I think I saw that pen in the December issue of Elle."

Rae goes over to the magazine rack in the patient waiting area and rummages through it. 

Rae: “Here it is!”

She pulls a copy of Elle magazine out; Catherine Zeta Jones is on the cover.

Rae: “December issue…let’s see, Shop is in the back…mens, ah, yes. Yep. Here it is.”

She holds the magazine so Jules and Jackie can see.

Jackie: “I thought most of these things looked familiar."

Jules: "Ditto. It's like someone went and bought the entire Elle Shopping list for men."

From Nick's oversized gift bag, Jules holds up a gift certificate to Berluti's.

Jules: "Know what this is?"

Rae and Jackie shake their heads.

Jules: "It's for custom made shoes. They start at two grand."

Jackie: "Matt got one as well."

Jackie holds up Matt's Berluti's gift certificate. 

Norman: (calling loudly) "Matt! Nick! So good of you two to drop by my desk!"

Jackie, Jules and Rae look guilty.  Norman is standing with his hands on his hips, trying to look stern but grinning. 

Jules and Jackie are still holding the certificates to Berluti's in their hands when Matt and Nick walk up. Jules and Jackie stand up.

Nick: (smiling) "What's this?"

Norman: "Someone sent you and Matt those gift bags. You both came back from lunch through the back door so you didn’t see these earlier."

Matt: (grinning) "If I'd have known I would be receiving gifts, I would have come by here."

Nick: "Who are they from?"

Norman: "The Mysterious D."

Jackie: "The five of you guys have have a secret admirer. Heard David received a leather weekender gift bag as well."

Norman: "He did? David was with me when mine, Nick's and Matt's gifts were delivered. He didn't get any gifts."

Jackie is proud to be the bearer of gossip and her face shows that fact.

Jackie: "David got back to his office after lunch and found a leather weekender stuffed with goodies sitting on top of his desk."

Jules: "Tod's as well?"

Jackie nods. 

Jackie: "Tom got a weekender as well."

Rae: (pouting) "We girls didn't get any secret admirers."

Jules: "And Rae and I helped with Francisca's delivery at the winery."

Rae: "Surely someone would have glimpsed our gorgeous faces on the tv and sent us something, right Jules?"

Rae brushes back her hair from her face. 

Jules: "We should."

Matt: (ignoring the women and addressing Norman) "Tom makes four so who's the fifth?"

Norman: (pointing to himself) "I received a leather weekender stuffed with goodies as well."

Nick: "There's no idea who this D is?"

Norman: "Nope. Nick, you get the luggage with the blue tags; Matt, your leather luggage has the green tags."

Matt attempts to retrieve his weekender bag and gift bag from the ladies. 

Matt: "Hands off now, ladies!"

Rae looks sheepish as she replaces the Vuittion pen into Matt's bag.

Matt: "Mine! Now put it all back."

Jackie, a guilty look on her face, complies.

Jackie: "Aw, I was just looking!"

Nick: "We'll tell you what we received...not!"

Matt smiles.

Matt: "Now that's better, ladies. Time for us gents to see what we got."

He picks up his oversize gift bag and then his weekend leather bag.

Matt: "Careful, Nick! Both these bags are heavy!"

Nick picks up his gift bag, grunts, and then Norman hands him the leather weekend bag.

Nick: "You're right. They are heavy."

Matt: (to Nick) "Long as we’re not the only ones. Well, Nick. Shall we sort through the goodies in my office?"

Nick: (grinning) "Away from prying eyes."

Matt winks at Norman and with a huge smile on his face, he strides down the hallway towards his office. Nick is close on his heels.

Rae: "They could have at least let us finish looking!"

Norman: "It's their presents. Let them have some fun."

Jackie pouts.

Jackie: "We didn't get anything."

Norman: "You're not a man."

Jules: "What's that supposed to mean?"

Norman shrugs.

Norman: (in mock surprise) "You didn't read the card? The card says: for two of my favorite men. Love--D."

Jackie: "I want to know who this D person is!"

Jules: "Can anyone think of who has the cash to give them all this stuff?"

Rae: "Beats the hell out of me."

Jules: "As Jackie said, whoever gave them those gift bags is loaded!"

Jackie: (leaning on Norman's desk) "Norman, keep a sharp eye out for this secret admirer."

Norman: (grinning) "That's not my department. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm on break."

Norman goes towards the kitchen, leaving the three women standing around his desk and chatting.

Surrounded by their goodies, Matt and Nick are in Matt’s office. Two cans of diet Coke with lemon are on the small snack table. Nick is admiring the leather bar-tender set while Matt is on the speaker phone with Doctor Howland.

Matt: “It’s pronounced air-lick-ee-OH-sis.”

Terry: “Got it. Me and med terms were never on good terms.”

Biting back a caustic comment, Nick looks at the speakerphone sharply; there is a lot of things Doctor Howland is not on good terms with. 

Matt: “There are two types: human monocytic ehrlichiosis and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. HME has been found in the southeast and south-central states while HGE has been found in the upper Midwestern, northeastern and previously here in northern California.”

Terry: “And you think Alessio has the HGE version?”

Matt: “The labs will specify which type he has. The types of ehrlichiosis differ in the kind of white blood cells they attack.”

Terry: “Erhlichiosis is a rare disease?”

Matt: “About 200 cases of HGE and around 400 cases of HME have been confirmed. You’ll need to notify both the California State Department of Health and the Kansas State Department of Health. Most physicians don't realize the illness exists.”

Terry: “Why not just notify only CSDH?”

Matt: “Because Alessio was infected in Kansas. They need to know so they can keep track of the illness breakouts.”

Terry: “All right. I'll have the lab look at the slides again.”

Matt: (taking a deep but silent breath before speaking) “The second reason I phoned is that your results came back on your practice lecture.”

Terry: “Oh?”

Matt: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”

Terry: “I flunked.”

Matt: “Not exactly. It’s more like the committee…doesn’t…think you should be lecturing on emergency surgical techniques.”

Terry: “And why not?”

Matt: “Terry, you’re an excellent physician. But lately there have been some concerns about how much workload you’re taking on.”

Terry: “And what does my workload have to do with my lecturing on emergency surgical techniques in the ER?”

Matt: “These lectures are training videos and they are made available in UMC’s medical library for the med students to check out for home viewing.”

Terry: “I know that. Get on with your explanation.”

Matt: “The committee doesn’t want mistakes to be made when the lectures are filmed for real.”

Terry: “There are three takes. You know that as much as I do. Go on. I know there’s more that you’re not telling me.”

Matt: “I see. Since you insist, it’s a unanimous decision that you will have an assistant lecturer when you film the training video.”

Terry: (coldly) “Assistant?”

Matt: “Yes. Assistant.”

Terry: “Don’t tell new assistant will be Kokoris?”

Matt taps a pencil on his desktop.

Matt: “That was the suggestion, yes.”

Terry: “And who suggested it?”

Matt: “Several of the residents; more than a few of the other doctors.”

Terry: “And was Kokoris the selected surgeon?”

Matt: “Yes.”

Terry: “And all this came about because of concern over my workload?”

Matt: “It is a heavy workload you carry right now—and you are a capable physician—but a dose of reality is needed in these training videos.”

Terry: “So I get a surgeon to assist me.”

Matt: “Yes. Surgeons can and do assist in the ER. You know that. Even the famous medical program shows surgeons in the ER.”

Terry: “I don’t need to be reminded. Thank you, Doctor Slingerland.”

Terry clicks off the phone, leaving a dial tone on Matt’s end. Matt looks at the speakerphone for a moment, and then he too clicks off his end of the phone.

Nick: “Glad I didn’t say anything.”

Matt: “She would have taken it harder if she’d known you were listening in.”

Nick: “Were you planning on telling her the results over the phone?”

Matt: “I debated telling her in person but she’s been so agitated lately, not only with you and me, but agitated with a lot of students, residents and other people. I thought the phone would be safer.”

Nick: “And you think there’s something…else wrong with her? I mean, other than her normal, abrasive self.”

Matt taps his pencil on the desktop again, thinking.

Matt: “Her residents say she’s been pale and sweaty as of late. And midway through a tough shift, her face gets red and blotchy and she gets short-winded.”

Nick: “You thinking heart problems?”

Matt: “That’s a possibility.”

Nick: “Will she see Letty for a check-up?”

Matt shakes his head.

Matt: “It's doubtful. Terry’s bullheaded and won’t admit to having a problem.”

Nick: “So in order to discover if she has a problem, we’ll have to wait until something happens to her?”

Matt: (lifting up his hands in a surrender gesture) “That’s about it."

Nick: "Any ideas on a summer camp for special needs kids?"

Matt: "Still working on it. But I was thinking of an art class."

Nick: "Good idea."

Matt: "I've got to dash, but  feel free to stay here awhile and hide from Jackie. I put a spring on the door so it closes and locks automatically.”

Nick smiles, and picks up his can of diet coke. 

Nick: "“Thanks. I’ll do that.”

Matt stands up and heads out of his office. Nick watches as the door shuts behind him. On the door frame, there is a shiny black extra long spring bolted at a slight angle. Nick shrugs and goes back to looking at his presents, being careful not to spill his diet coke on his gifts.

About five minutes later, Matt is standing in the doorway to the laboratory serving UMC. There is a dark blonde hank of hair barely visible over the lab’s back countes. Matt knocks on the door. 

Matt: “Hello? Anyone home?”

The dark blonde head of hair pops up. Matt can see the hair belongs to a woman with the palest ice blue eyes he’s ever seen. 

“Come in, come in! You must be Doctor Slingerland.”

Matt: “Yep.” 

Matt enters the lab and the dark blonde woman comes round the counter. 

“I’m Doctor Beryl Carlyle.”

Matt: ‘Nice to meet you.” 

The two docs shake hands. 

Beryl: “Well, Doctor Slingerland…”

Matt: “Call me Matt, please. We’re colleagues.”

He smiles at her; Beryl smiles back.

Beryl: “Only if you call me Beryl.”

Matt: “Done.”

Beryl: “Seems you’re quite the researcher.”

Matt: “Come again?”

Beryl: “Diagnosing NoCal’s first erhlichiosis case in quite some time. Haven't seen erhlichiosis since I was back in med school in Nebraska. It's quite common there. Wanna see what your bug looks like?”

Matt: “Sure.

Beryl motions towards a microscope at the far end of the lab. She and Matt walk over.

Beryl: “Set this up just for you. Here, take a look.”

Matt peers into the microscope.

HGE as seen on CDCBeryl: “HGE is what you're seeing. It looks like the little guy's got this bug, but we’ll need to draw blood on him about a month for now to be sure.”

Matt: “I’ll tell Doctor Keating.”

Beryl: “Already left a message with her. And with Doctor Howland as well.”

Something on Matt’s face must have been visible to Beryl, for she continues,

Beryl: “Don’t want to violate the new HIPPA rules, but…go easy on Doc Howland. She’s not doing too well lately. That is, in a physical manner.”

Matt: “I figured something was wrong.”

Beryl: “She’s a bit uptight, how shall I put it so I can work around HIPPA? A bit tight in the chest, if you know what I mean.”

Matt pales a bit, then nods.

Matt: “I understand.”

Beryl nods. 

Beryl: “Doc Howland is a real fine physician.”

Matt: “I know. And now that I know she’s under the weather, I’ll look into treating her more gently.”

Beryl smiles. 

Beryl: "“She’ll appreciate that, a lot.”

It’s after 5 pm…most of the staff of Presidio has gone home, but Matt is still in his office, gathering up the gift bag items from the mysterious D.

On Matt’s desk is a copy of Linda Weatherbee’s autopsy report direct from the coroner’s office. It’s not good and the report indicates that Linda was severely beaten just prior to her death and that the cause of death was strangulation, then a bullet to the side of the head.

The phone rings but Matt ignores it; he’ll let the answering machine pick up the phone.

“Matt? It’s Harmony. Thought you might like to stop off for a drink down at the Wharf. You know, get your mind off Linda. I’m meeting some friends down there around 5:30  if you want to stop by for a half hour or so. Nothing attached, I promise. Hope to see you there.”

The phone is hung up on Harmony’s end. Matt sits down on his couch, and strokes his chin. He’s wondering if he should take Harmony up on her offer. Making his decision he strides to his desk, picks up the phone, dials a number and waits.

“Nick? Matt.  Drinks at the Wharf around 5:30 if you want to be there. You can meet Harmony and some of her friends.”

Matt hangs up the phone, then gathers his gift bag and leather weekender bag. Going over to the door, he sets the weekender bag down then opens the door. 

He doesn’t bother to lock the door as the new spring automatically closes the door and he has the door set to automatic lock. 

Keeping the door open with his foot (the new spring keeps the door quite obedient in shutting quickly), Matt picks up the weekender bag, then walks out the door and goes down the hallway towards the garage exit.