The day couldn’t possibly get any longer as the nurse nears the counter to sign out, at least that’s what she is thinking. “Hey, Bailey,” the head nurse calls from behind her as her fingers grasp the clipboard in one hand and a pen in the other, “I hate to do this to you, but we need you to stay for another hour.”
Incredible! Didn’t they realize she was only human? “Please, I really need to get some sleep,” she begins, “I’ve been on the clock for over twelve hours and I came to work straight from picking up my daughter at the airport–spring break, you know.”
“Yeah, I know all about it,” she shakes her head, “but we really need you here. Sorry.” Her superior doesn’t sound sorry, and doesn’t even pause before walking away. The feelings she’s having are irrational, but that doesn’t matter now. Nothing matters but her job, she reminds herself.
The ER doors fly open and the paramedics pull in a loaded gurney and rush past her, down the hall. “Bailey, follow them down there and make sure we’ve got everything ready in the OR. The medics can fill you in on the specifics.”
She rushes to the OR where the men are moving things aside to make room for the gurney. The patient is lying on the bed with bleeding and open wounds amidst purple and red tissue. Where the mouth belongs is a hole where an air tube squeezes inside to keep the esophagus from closing off.
Another nurse pokes her head in the door and one of the men approaches her. They whisper for a bit before he turns around to say, “They say they it’s a streetwalker from the subway. Apparently, she lost her footing–probably drunk or on drugs, I’d say.”
“Thanks for bringing her in,” is her cold response, “There’s nothing more to do until the surgeon gets here than keep her calm and find a vein for the IV.” She begins to search the flesh on the right arm and then the left, with no luck. “Damn waste of life, anyway,” she murmurs, forcing the IV into her arm.
As if in answer to her, the one good eye pops open to reveal a pool of blue, surrounded by the grotesque parasite who owns it. The eye widens and stares at her, as if trying to speak because the only audible noise is the moist gasping of the air hose in her trachea.
“It’s because of vermin like you that my sweet Margo is sitting home alone tonight.” She steps toward the bed, looking directly into the eye that’s watching her when the door pops open.
“All prepped?” the surgeon asks, heading back to the sink, “The anesthesiologist is due any minute. Let’s get this show on the road, kids!”
Approaching the patient again, her hands reach out and grasp the tube supplying the junky with life. She tips it to the side so it sucks against the interior of her throat, cutting off her air. Panic strikes the patient, unable to move due to the straps and her eye grows large in fear. Finally, the singular eyeball quits moving, and stares into nothing. The wheezing stops.
“They found her wallet,” the doctor says approaching the table, “Turns out she isn’t a hooker after all, but some college girl taking the subway to meet her mom for lunch. License says Margo Bailey. Hey, isn’t that your last name?”
Lifting the damaged hand, she can see her daughter’s class ring with her initials surrounding the sapphire, MRB.