A Summer at Shiloh Grove (Part 6)

On the first of the many training days, Dr. Brum oversaw the process. All front and back-of- house staff were there and were given tours, shown the walking patterns, which Brother V, along with certain others, knew instinctively. The rest that didn’t he assumed were on Dr. Brum’s list of potential failures.

“I’ve never been wrong,” Dr. Brum said to him privately, “but I always hope I am. It is my goal to be able to teach the unteachable. Unfortunately,” he winked like the nurse at Brother V, “some of you may have to pick up slack in the meantime.”

Brother V was ambitious at this point and picking up slack was the only way to climb the rope, so to speak. He was about to say that to Dr. Brum, but Brum had left.

Each of them was given a schedule to report to the medical offices before leaving. Brother V, while not being allowed to discuss this treatment with other employees, told me that he gave blood each time and the more frequent the schedule, the more of that blue pond-drink they gave him. 

He went often enough to understand when the cute nurse worked there, and while he never had any realistic thoughts about dating her - he could never be that forward and the HR within an organization such as this would be a nightmare - he enjoyed her company more than some other older nurses who seemed either bored or bitter. 

His most forward act on this front was to request a schedule change from the receptionist. He made up a story about visiting family and days off and asked if he might swap a day with another day. The receptionist explained that it was unorthodox and the schedules were very specific and Brother V found himself in the position of being the difficult customer. It was a role he had never held before and took on with great discomfort. He asked if she printed out the schedule sheets during their visits and she said yes. He then asked her just to check if there would be an opening on the day of his request and if there was could they just switch that one day? He’d be in her debt and he did not know how he could repay her. He could read in her face that thought-process which he had gone through numerous times. ‘Yes-this-thing-is-possible-but-uncommon-and-irritating-however-you’re-not-going-to-leave-it-alone-so-I-give-up.’ She made a few clicks on the computer, printed him out a new sheet, once she decided to comply with his request she switched back onto smile-customer-automatic-pilot. “Is this what you were looking for?” she asked. It was exactly what he was looking for and he thanked her once and left. He knew from experience that even being thanked profusely by a difficult customer did nothing to ease the anguish that serving them had placed on you.

The work at the restaurant was tiring, and most of the time, Brother V could not place the many faces at the tables. Occasionally there was one that looked vaguely familiar and he would later realize that this face adorned the news quite a bit and he was used to seeing only the one photograph or currently famous video clip. The aides, as usual were more demanding but Brother V found that silly more than anything else. 

He was elated with the success of his changing temperaments and longed to have a meeting with Dr. Brum about it. Such a meeting, now that he was no longer a new hire, would be difficult to procure, but he could do it in time, and the longer he waited, the more evidence he would have to report.

On the day of his selected blood-letting, he noticed his preferred nurse leaving the building. She saw him and waved and he ran to catch up and asked her where she was going. The guards patrolling the compounds did not take kindly to his running. She informed him that this was to be one of her last days in this employment, that her term was over and she had many other things to attend to.

Brother V was distraught and told her about his schedule change, a sudden onset of boldness that he hoped she wouldn’t find creepy. He told her that he found her presence pleasant as opposed to other nurses he named due to their bitterness and boredom. This nurse, we can call her Kelly Q, was flattered and even suggested that after his donation he could meet her in a certain coffee shop. She had a job interview later that afternoon and did not want to dwell at her apartment in the few hours in between. Brother V agreed.

He gave his donation, the receptionist asking him all kinds of questions about his family which Brother V somewhat improvised and then felt guilty about, unsure of how deep this company was investigating him. If anyone understood the importance of privacy, it was the Shiloh Grove.

Kelly Q had a friend at the coffee shop who met Brother V instead. A roommate, or soon-to-be ex-roommate due to the nature of Kelly Q’s work. This roommate gave Brother V a slip of paper that she had never looked at, said that’s where Kelly Q was and that Brother V should head there.

Turns out, it was another coffee shop although this one was at the corner of a suburb. Maybe this shop got busy after people were more traditionally done with work. It certainly wasn’t on a high-traffic intersection and it was all the way across town. Kelly Q was standing by the door when Brother V got in. She was about to leave, she told him. He apologized for not having had time to clean up or change or . . . she stopped him right away and asked if he knew why she was leaving.