‘ No Shleeeeep! No Shleeep!’
The cry startled me so much that I jumped my hot coffee straight into the pants of my brand new employer Dr. Testadura. His face turned red and his pants turned a deep brown where the coffee splashed.
“I am so… so sorry, sir, – I stammered, grabbed a whole bunch of napkins and started to pat him dry.
“Miss Miller, what do you think you are doing?’ the good doctor asked, one split second before I realized I was rubbing his crotch. I froze then I took my hands off immediately. My cheeks were aflame and my mouth was dry.
‘I am going to get cleaned up before the meeting with the Vasoroffs. Try not to do any more harm, ok?’
‘Yes, doctor.’ I murmured.
‘And I need you in my office after you are done with settling in the patients’
‘Yes doctor’ I murmured again and went to throw away the damp napkins.
Mrs. Vasoroff, the source of the culprit cry, was dozing in her wheelchair. As I went past, she grabbed my flower print scrubs.
‘Shleep? I no vant shleep!’ she hissed, sticking her tongue between her gummy mouth and ruby red lips, painted with cracked lipstick. Her eyes were closed. Little shopping bags were hanging from various parts of her wheelchair, and there was a baby doll in her lap. She looked like a wizened mummy makeover gone wrong.
I had a mind to backhand the old biddy right there and then, but it would not do on my first day of work. I was very lucky to even have found this job after the misunderstanding with my previous one.
‘No sleep now Mrs. Vasoroff. It’s art market time.’ I said and wheeled her over to the sorry looking table in the middle of the room. Necklaces made of plastic beads in neon colors, several cheap white embroidered covers, and some surprisingly good imitations of yams, wait a moment… they were yams. Mr. Leung was sitting proudly next to them.
‘5 dolar’ he said ‘You like? 5 dolar’
‘Very pretty, Mr. Leung.’
‘I make. 5 dolar. Take’
‘Later Mr. Leung. Want to stay here Natalia?’
‘Shleep! No shleep for me!’
‘She yell. I scared. Take ‘way’ Mr. Leung said. Then he stuck out his hand and cupped my breast as I was pushing Mrs. Vasoroff away.
“Good meat. Juicy. Yum’ he smacked his toothless gums while I had the second scare of the day. He took his hand off in a blink and grinned from ear to ear. It was not a pleasant grin.
I took Mrs. Vasoroff a bit further away, and left her in a corner. She looked so peaceful. Her rouge stood on her skin like taillights. I made a mental note to speak to the aide who did her makeup.
I looked at the time and made for the doctor’s office. The Vasoroffs were due in any minute, and my job depended on them and the good doctor, whose pants I trashed this morning.
Dr. Testadura was sitting at his desk. He had changed into green scrubs. He signaled for me to come and sit.
‘The Vasoroffs will be here soon. Try not to ruin any more of my pants, ok Miss Miller?’
“Yes, Doctor,’ I answered.
‘Now, I think you are already aware that our establishment is very particular in its elderly care. We cater to every whim of our residents (within reason of course) and we apply the most updated medical care and behavioral methods to their plan of care. Our employees are the best in their field’
He stopped and looked me up and down.
‘I took a chance in hiring you Miss Miller. I think you might actually amount to something one day. Until then, I expect you to work very hard and prove yourself at every moment. I do not take lightly to mistakes, even my own. Are we clear?’
‘Yes, sir’ I said.
‘Good’ he said. ‘Now come here and finish cleaning the morning coffee off’
I went to the other side of the table and kneeled in front of him, sighting resignedly. The real reason why Dr. Testadura had hired me even with my employment history was that I proved to him that I could be very obedient and helpful.
I opened his zipper slowly while he looked on. His face had taken on the look of a very earnest and salivating monkey. Pretty soon, he also started making monkey sounds. I had not got used to the yelps and whimpers yet, and the good doctor never knew how close he had come to having a very painful and unpleasant biting accident.
‘Mr. and Mrs. Vasoroff are here, Dr. Testadura’ the intercom boomed giving me the third scare of the day and Dr. Testadura had the painful biting accident after all.
‘Th-thank you Adele- he managed between whimpers –Show them in a minute. I am wrapping up with Miss Miller right now’
I got up very quickly and fixed my uniform, while he rearranged his clothes and stood up on his chair. I moved on the other side of the office just as Adele opened the door and ushered Mr. and Mrs. Vasoroff in.
‘Welcome’ Dr. Testadura boomed and extended his hand to the couple. Mr. Vasoroff shook it, whereas Mrs. Vasoroff looked at it like she did not know what she was supposed to do with it. Dr. Vasoroff however grabbed her own languid and well-manicured hand and pressed it on his thin lips. She reacted as if a weasel had kissed her hand. From experience, I knew that was what his kisses felt like.
I left while Dr. Testadura talked to them. Adele passed by with a tray of gourmet coffee and teas.
I sat in the day room with the patients for a while, when one of the other aides came over and asked me to follow her.
‘Where are we going?’ I asked as we took the elevator down to the basement and into an unfamiliar room right past the medical equipment storage area.
‘Dr. Testadura needs you’ she said ‘Wait here until he arrives’ and she left.
The room gave me the creeps. It looked like a very sparsely furnished examination room. There was a gurney, a medicine supplies cabinet, and a swiveling chair. One side of the room was mirrored glass.
I sat down and waited for the doctor to arrive. My face looked so bored in the mirror. I shook my hair, stuck my tongue out and tried reaching the tip of my nose. A favorite childhood exercise, which had done wonders to limber my tongue. Then I got off the chair and closer to the big mirror. I could see a big pimple forming on my forehead so I started picking on that. I was halfway to taking out the white head when Dr. Testadura stepped in.
‘Are you ready Miss. Miller?’ he asked.
‘Ready for what, dr. Testadura?’
‘Today you will help me demonstrate to Mr. & Mrs Vasoroff, that our facility is the best place for their beloved mother. They are observing from the other side of the mirror panel as we speak.’
‘What do I have to do, sir?’
‘ I need you to lie down on that gurney Miss Miller. I will strap you down and then bring Mrs. Vasoroff in.’
‘Why do I need to be strapped down?’
‘ I need you to demonstrate that the straps are comfortable and supple on the skin, if we have to do the same with Mrs. Vasoroff.’
I had never heard of such a practice before, but I climbed on the gurney and allowed the doctor to strap me in. He leftt and came back with Mrs. Vasoroff who was crying for ‘Shleep!’ again. Her doll lay forgotten on her lap. When she saw me strapped to that gurney however, she stopped and licked her cracked red lips. It made me uncomfortable and I did not pay any attention to the needle that was stuck in my arm.
‘Ouch!’ I exclaimed
‘You will be finished soon Miss Miller.’ The doctor calmed me down. The last thing that I remember seeing was his reassuring smile.
I came to some time later. My eyelids felt leaden, my mouth parched, and I could not move. I understood that I was still strapped in. I managed to open my eyes. It was so foggy. I could just make out Dr Testadura still smiling.
‘How do you feel Miss Miller?’ He asked and continued without waiting for my answer.
‘As you see, a live donor helps keep the blood fresh, so that your mother will enjoy it to the fullest, and get all the benefits, Mr. Vasoroff. Don’t you think this is a better idea than just provoke her into attacking people and being decapitated by hunters?’
Donor? Hunters? I could not understand, feel, or move anything. My eyes focused enough to see the blood transfusion equipment that linked Mrs. Vasoroff and me. Mrs. Vasoroff was strapped in too, but she was propped up and turned to face the mirrored glass.
‘We will feed her enough blood to keep her functional, but of course not nearly enough for her other activities. I think once a week will probably be enough for her. This way, you can go on with your life, until you find it reasonable to send the dear lady to her next life with honor and dignity.’
‘And I am sure that Miss. Miller will oblige us for at least two weeks, won’t you dear?’
He came near me, winking. He stood between the mirrored glass, and me, long enough to pass a hand on to my naked breast, (OMIGOD, I am naked!) and then moved closer to Mrs. Vasoroff.
‘I hope we have managed to convince you. We can sign the contract whenever you are ready. `
Then I saw a little flicker of movement from Mrs. Vasoroff, right before her straps broke and Dr. Testadura was in her clutches. Her face was buried in his neck. I could hear panicked yelling and running on the other side of the glass and out of the door, but nobody came through. After a while she threw away the doctor’s limp body and came close to my gurney. I was frozen and shivering. She was splattered with blood all over and she was not fragile anymore, even though she still looked as old as time itself.
‘Hmm’, she said and looked me up and down. ’You’ll do.’
She unstrapped me, but I could not move, so she left me where I was and tried to open the heavy door. It would not budge, so she took aim and jumped through the mirrored glass, shattering it and landing into the empty room on the other side. I fainted again.
I came to in a hospital room in a narrow white bed and wearing a white hospital gown. The nurse was fixing my pillows so she saw me open my eyes and asked.
‘Welcome back, Miss. Miller. How do you feel?’
‘Like I was hit by a truck’ I whispered.
‘Good’ the nurse said ‘You have flowers’
Flowers? I saw a big bunch of chrysanthemums on the table by the window. Strange. Who could send cemetery flowers to a recovering patient’s bedside?
‘Want me to read you the card?’ the nurse offered. I was curious so I agreed.
‘Miss Miller,’ the card read ‘I hope by the time you read this card, you will be recovered and on your way. I have just fully recovered myself and I am in need of an aide and day companion for my private employ, since my son and his wife’s unfortunate demise in the Nursing Home fire. Dr. Testadura also perished in the same fire. I think you have the skills and the knowledge to fill this position and the wisdom to accept it. You may present yourself at the following address when you are well enough to fill your position.Sincerely,Natalia Vasoroff’