Story Based on an Overheard Conversation

You should never cut a sandwich with a hunting knife. Not in a car going 80 miles an hour down the freeway. Cat imagined the lectures Dad would give her when she came home. There was no way to hide an injury like this.  She held her arm up over her head, just like Marcus had told her to.

She closed her eyes against the light. Imagine working here every day, she thought. I’d go crazy.

“Does it still hurt?” Marcus asked. Cat nodded and fiddled with the end of the tube tied around her armpit. Marcus batted her hand away.

“Don’t do that,” he said. A man in scrubs passed by the open door. Someone moaned down the hall.

A woman came in and asked a series of questions about the injury. She wrote on a clipboard while Marcus answered. Her nametag read “Rita Nguyen – Licensed Vocational Nurse.” Marcus wondered what hour of her shift she was on.

“What’s taking them so long?” Cat said. “I wanna get stitched up and get outta here!”

“They’ll be here soon,” Marcus assured her. “They––stop!––they’re busy. It’s Friday night.”

She closed her eyes and smiled. “I wouldn’t mind a scar,” she said. “I could be like the Joker, but with my arm.”

“Add to your street cred?”

“Yeah. My nonexistent street cred.”

Rita Nguyen left. A man in dark blue scrubs came into the room. His name tag read “Dr. Severinghaus.” He took Marcus’s seat and began unwrapping the gauze around Cat’s arm.

“Finally,” Cat said. “I was majorly freaking out.”

“We’ll get you home soon, Cat. Don’t worry.”

“I’ll be okay though, right?”

In the room across the hall, a woman muttered something about COINTELPRO. Marcus leaned against the sink and watched Dr. Severinghaus unwrap the gauze covering Cat’s hand.

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