“How did your date go?” asked Myles.
Myles was the whole of the Happy Acres IT department and one of my two work friends. He was smarter than he needed to be, he’d had a brief stint at MIT before burn out and bad debt sent him to community college, but he never acted above the job.
“About as badly as it could have without racking up a death or a felony. I don’t want to get into specifics, but Claire won’t return my calls, May is pissed at me, and I better die two towns over if I want a decent burial.”
Myles took in the information as best he could, it was clear he had follow up questions, but he didn’t pry.
“ Maybe hanging out with May isn’t a first date move? I get you guys vibe, but you are kinda bringing a hyena to a hedgehog party.” said Myles.
Savannah politics aside he had a point, but my romantic history was checkered enough before May that I didn’t think she was hurting my prospects.
“It was a bad scene, but it was never going anywhere. Claire is a regular, decent, person and I’m, I don’t know…an Irregular, indecent, person.” I said.
Myles brought his tupperware to the break room sink and rinsed it out.
“You are being too hard on yourself. You are a decent enough guy, you just make bad choices.” said Myles.
I shrugged. I appreciated the generous interpretation but it wasn’t an issue.
“ I am not making a value judgment, we are just different things that mesh poorly.” I said.
Myles put his tupperware into his insulated meal bag. It fit so perfectly it must have come as a set.
“You could tell that for sure from one date?” said Myles.
“I could tell that from no dates, but sometimes you want to prove a negative.” I said.
Myles patted my shoulder and left the kitchen. I threw out my sandwich bag and crumbs and took the stairs to the ground floor to start my rounds. The argument was loud enough I could hear it from the stairwell.
“Doctor David Seaver, tell him to get his ass down here before I go up there and drag him down.”
A medium tall and muscular twenty something was berating the receptionist. He had cauliflower ears and the scarred head of someone who attracted a lot of bottles. He seemed bad at negotiating but prone to violence. The receptionist, Callie, attempted to lay out the facts.
“Dr. Seaver is not in today, and if he was I would not call him downstairs to be ambushed. If you have an issue with care or billing I am happy to give you our administrators contact information, but if you don’t calm yourself I am going to call the police.” said Callie.
“That prick is fucking my girlfriend. Sarah, she’s a nurse here…and he’s fucking her. So he can either come down here and face me like a man, or I can go up there and beat his ass in front of the geriatric retards, that he should be taking care of, instead of fucking my fucking girlfriend.” said Sarah’s maybe boyfriend.
Sarah was the night nurse and my other work friend. She absolutely was fucking Dr. Seaver, on and off duty, but if she had a boyfriend she’d never mentioned him. We had a security guard but he was either late or avoiding the situation entirely.
“ She told you that Dr. Seaver is not in. Is throwing a tantrum in a lobby really worth going to jail for?” I said.
Sarah’s maybe boyfriend spun to face me. “Are you fucking Seaver?” he asked.
The scrubs might have confused him, but my name and position were clearly noted on my name tag. I tapped it and stepped between Sarah’s maybe boyfriend and the reception desk.
“No, I’m not him and we’re not fucking. To be honest he’s probably out of my league.” I said.
Sarah’s maybe boyfriend stormed toward the locked stairs, gave the handle a few hard pulls, and stalked back to face me.
“Bud, you either get Seaver or I can fuck you up instead.” Sarah’s maybe boyfriend said.
Normally I would not get involved in this type of confrontation. I wasn’t intimidated, I’d lived through enough that getting punched in the face didn’t hold a lot of dread, but if things went far enough south it could be catastrophic. But he was interfering with my rounds.
“Guy, it’s 8:30 PM, they are not paying to keep doctors here 24/7. If you want to assault a medical professional at work, maybe show up before dinner.” I said.
That was a half truth, Happy Acres was top shelf enough that they kept an overnight doctor on during the week, and Nick Seaver was one of them, but he’d give me a ride home when it was raining so I didn’t want to sell him out. He actually wasn’t working today, though. Sarah’s maybe boyfriend pulled a revolver from his pocket. I don’t know guns, but it looked like a stubbier version of the sort cops used on t.v. back in the day. I am terrible at deescalation.
“Do you think I am fucking stupid? Sarah works nights. They are fucking at work. So he works nights too. I don’t care what happens here. I don’t care what happens later. You either open the door and take me to him, or I put one in your head and get the bitch to open the door.” said Sarah’s maybe boyfriend.
I did think he was fucking stupid, but he also seemed comitted to violence. I was aggravated enough to let the veil slip.
“I realize this will make little sense, but I am in my bailiwick in a place where I have specific obligation, and there are old laws that demand action. If you keep pushing this, bad things are going to happen…to a degree that you cannot properly conceive of. And while I think you might have earned that suffering, it will fuck my life up as well, so put your gun away, walk out that door, and do not come back.”
On a day to day basis I am basically a regular guy. Within that, though, there is an otherness that I make an effort to mask, as I am told that it is unsettling. Some people pick up on it. Some don’t. Sarah’s Maybe Boyfriend caught enough that he decided I wasn’t worth a murder charge and left without further word. The receptionist, Callie, rushed to lock the doors behind him. She was great at her job. She was also staring.
“Jesus Christ, Isaac, that was some diehard shit. You seriously scared that guy off with a theater kid speech? How did you not piss yourself?” said Callie.
I couldn’t tell if she was impressed or unsettled, so I told some of the truth.
“Yeah, I’m pretty baked right now and I guess I didn’t really process the stakes. You know?”
She hugged me and we waited for the police together.
Continued in Part 9
Continued From Part seven