----- 2 - LATE -----
The next morning he woke to a blaring alarm at 5:30. He hated mornings. He much preferred staying up late and sleeping in, but his current temp job
didn't permit that. He was required to be logged in by 7:00 AM on the dot, which meant, to his regrettably literal supervisor, 6:45 at the very
He pulled into the parking lot running late - a few too many hits on the snooze button. He glanced at the clock on the dash of his beat-up 1989 Honda
Civic - actually an old, cheap watch of his stuck to the dashboard with a sticky-strip. It said 6:49. He would hear it from Rita when he got in.
Racing through the doors, he was not disappointed. She looked up from the desk in her cubicle, shook her head, and tapped her watch with a stern
frown. He mouthed, "I know, I know" and rushed to his desk to log on, her steely bespectacled eyes following him. As he approached his desk, she got
up and exited the office.
As he settled into his desk, gorgeous nurse Laura walked into the records office, making even the turquoise scrubs she wore look alluring. She was
not wearing a cap or mask yet, so her full, wavy red hair spilled over her shoulders. Looking around, he realized aside from Rita he was the only one
in so far this morning. Laura's blue eyes studied the room in consternation for a moment, then she spotted him and headed straight to his desk.
"Can you help me?" she asked in a velvety soprano. He goggled briefly at her, his heart beating quickly.
"I'll try," he said with a smile. "What can I do for you?"
She pulled out a medical chart in a folder, then laid it on his desk. "Can you find me this patient's records? They're from the old system. Aren't
you guys working on the upgrade?"
He hesitated. They were working on a system upgrade, but he didn't know if he could locate the old records. They could be paper, they could be
microfiche, heck a few of them were even on tape backups. That's what this temp assignment was all about - he was doing data-entry for the hospital,
converting medical records from those formats into the new system.
"Yeah, uh, yes. Sure, I think so. Yeah, maybe," he stuttered.
"If it's a problem," she started with a small frown.
"No! Ah, no problem. It's just that sometimes they're hard to find if they're old. But, if it's there, I'll find it," he declared with more
confidence than he felt.
"Thank you," she said, her smile lighting up her face as she turned and headed toward the door.
"What did she want?" demanded Rita, returning with a refilled coffee mug just as Laura was leaving. He saw the redheaded nurse look back at Rita with
a furrowed brow.
"Just a record from the old system," he reported. "I found it. It only took me a few minutes."
"This hospital doesn't pay you to find records for vapid barbie-doll nurses. If she comes in here again you tell her to go through the proper
channels," she snapped.
He fought the urge to purse his lips at the woman, and shook his head when she turned away from him. Yvonne, another temp who had arrived in the
interim, arched an eyebrow at the exchange, but said nothing.
Later he was taking his break in the cafeteria, his composition book out. He would eat a few bites, sweep the crumbs off his staff paper, and write
feverishly. He only had a few pages left in this book. He'd have to start another very soon.
"This seat taken?" a voice asked.
He looked up, blinking, his mind racing to catch up with the world around him. Laura the redheaded nurse stood there with her lunch tray.
"Ah, no! All yours," he said, gesturing. He tried not to stare as she sat down gracefully to his right.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't get you into trouble. I'm sorry if I did. Rita isn't particularly friendly," she said seriously.
"Oh, well, thanks. You didn't do anything. I'm always in trouble with her - she's always like that."
"Like what?" a small smile touching the corner of her mouth.
"Like someone squeezed lemons into her coffee."
Laura laughed, covering her mouth with the back of her hand.
"She has always been like that, you know, pernicious and frigid. Ever since I arrived here. And she hates me."
"How long have you been here? And why would she hate you?" he asked, surprised.
"Three years. This was my internship for my nursing degree, and now I'm using it to try to get my medical degree. As for why, well, she has her
reasons, I guess," she said evasively.
"You have two degrees already? You must be very intelligent." His own degrees began to seem very inconsequential.
She brushed it off. "I'm willing to do the work, that's all. What are you working on?"
"Oh, this?" he gestured dismissively to the composition book. "Just a piece I'm writing. I'm going to submit it to, ah," he trailed off. A video
, he said in his head, thinking how absolutely juvenile it sounded. "Well, yeah, there it is."
"You write music?"
"Yes, I'm a piano player. I gig and teach lessons, but it's not enough income yet, thus the temp job. I really want to write full time, but you have
to get that break, you know?"
"May I?" she pointed to the book.
"Yeah, sure, of course," he said, handing her the notebook. Her beautiful blue eyes scanned the pages back and forth. She flipped page to page, all
the way to the beginning of the notebook and a back.
"You wrote all
of this? All this music?"
"Well, uh, yeah. It's just my idea book, like a scratch pad. Most of my music is on my computer at home."
"Can I hear some?"
"Well, I don't have any with me right now. I could make you a mix disc," he said hopefully.
"OK!" she said brightly. "How about over coffee? Tomorrow night?"
He was floored. "Y - yeah. Yeah! Great! The shop down the street from here?"
"Sounds good. See you at 7," she said with a smile, taking her tray and heading toward the cafeteria exit. He stared at her departing form, utterly
"It's the musician effect, you know that, right?" Anj said, pulling herself up into another yoga pose later that evening.
"Whatever. Yes, I know that," he said sardonically.
"She's nothing special. Just a groupie. When you make it, you'll meet a hundred girls like her everywhere you play."
"I gotta make it first, Anj," he said.
She flashed him a smile, but it didn't reach her dark eyes. "You will. I have always believed in you," she said, changing positions again.
"Besides, you have me to inspire you."
"Well, at least one of us has confidence."
edit on 5-23-2018 by PrairieShepherd because: Adding part 2