I am a good person.
A wonderful person.
I have a rescue dog!
I deserve an award.
It all started the day I went into Admin for my daily snark-fest with “Abby” (Welcome to the cast!). Abby is like me, but with ten times the knowledge, seniority, and natural people skills.
Posed playfully on the cabinets, there is an array of animals, mostly dogs and cat. They are all stuffed and are evocative of actual breeds, the idea being that if someone emotionally vulnerable loses a furry friend, we, if the moment is right, give them a plush replacement.
My favorite is the horse with the plastic buster collar.
This is not to say I don’t covet the giant stuffed dog over Abby’s desk.
“Abby,” I say, after giving the low-down on “Ignorant Pharmacy Lady” (coming soon), “when are you going to give that one away?”
“Him?” she snorts, “Never. You want ‘em?”
My heart slows, my breathing stills. “Do you mean it?
“No, really.” I feel a little excited. “You mean it?”
“Yup. He’s all yours.”
“Yessss. I wonder what I’ll name him.”
Abby says she’s always referred to him as Ike in her mind.
So, for the next couple of nights, I forget.
Every time I go back to Admin, I see Ike and think a little guiltily of when I’m going to sneak him out of the hospital at night after my late shift. Something about removing a large stuffed animal dog that has been a fixture seems to lend itself to the clandestine.
This is our secret, Abby and I.
And Ike’s, though he doesn’t know it yet.
It is like I am removing him from a neglected existence. No one will ever want him! Ever get him! Ever love him like I will!
Two weeks later, I remember at the critical time, mostly thanks to the large word “Ike” written in “tar-ry stool black” on the underside of my left wrist.
“Zounds, Lola!” I cry on the way out, “I have forgotten something of absolute necessity! I will see you again on the morrow!”
Free of questioning eyes, I steal back to Ike’s cabinet top and swipe him. A cloud of dust falls to seal off any chance of a noiseless escape by evoking cacophonous coughing and wheezing sneezing.
I continue my escape in the midst of these involuntary reactions to the material evidence of Ike’s loneliness and despair, zooming off in my car-of-not-so-much-stealth.
The next day, I have a thought.
What if, when she notices, she forgets? What if she was joking? Ike comes to work with me in the passenger seat of my car (no, I did not take the carpool lane….it’s not called that at 2:00 in the afternoon, right?).
I slide into Admin and casually ask Abby what the dirt is.
“I see you finally took him.” She says, not looking up from the collection of scintillating pictures of his cat’s feces one client feels obligated to report on. He does this like any dedicated reporter, tracking the bowel movements to their lair and snapping pictures of PROOF before Rikki can cover them with the provided eco-friendly litter.
I admit that he is out in the car with a set of shades on so that no one will recognize him in case he was breaking parole.
Abby demonstrates how much she misses him by wiping the dust off from the print where he’s been and putting baskets for medical charts on the cabinet above her desk.
I have done a good work today.
I will soon post a picture of the happy pooch and me :)