Chapter 2: Return of the Shay

<- Chapter 1: Shay's on a Plane

This has been a pretty bad day for me so far. Here I am, lying in a hospital bed, covered in bandages where there used to be glass. I don't need to stay overnight, so I'm gonna go back to the hotel soon. Since the meeting was scheduled for today, our flight back is early in the morning.

Honestly, I don't feel like going back up in the air. Landing the first time around was bad enough, but I have to be back to work tomorrow. Being an intern, they make my schedule for me, and I have to stick to it. A few cuts and bruises is no excuse.

February comes in to see how I'm doing. "Hey, how're ya feeling?"

"Pretty good.", I respond, "This really hasn't been a great day."

"I'm glad you're alright. When I saw you get sucked out of the plane, I thought I'd never see you again. I had trouble breathing just thinking about that..."

"Well, the air was also thinner after the pressure restabilized. I'm sure that had something to do with your breathing."

"Oh yeah... Maybe... Well, I was still worried."

"Me too. It's a miracle that I was able to find a mountain with such a smooth slope on my way down."

There's an awkward silence. I get these a lot because I put too many details in what I say, leaving the person I'm speaking to without something to easily respond with. I'm used to it, but most people seem a bit uncomfortable with it.

As she starts biting her lip, I add, "I'm ready to go back to the hotel. They said I don't need to stay overnight."

As I start getting up, she grabs my hand to help me, "Sure, your bags are already there."

Upon arriving at the hotel, I notice how badly Lotek skimped. It's a decent hotel, but they got the smallest room in the place with only one bed for the both of us. It was getting pretty late, so I got ready for bed, while she went into the bathroom to change.

I have to lie here next to the most wonderful woman I've ever met, in the same bed as her, and just sleep, nothing more. Lotek policy forbids any two people who work there from having a relationship.

Her hair is the perfect shade of red. Her eyes are like sparkling emeralds. Her skin is so fair and looks so smooth. Her body is the most beautiful thing I've laid eyes on, and she's got the brain to match. She's perfect, yet forbidden. I find it difficult to fall asleep by her side, but eventually I finally do.

I make the trip back without falling off the plane. I return to work, and right before I get my lab coat my boss comes in.

"Rick, I wanna see you in my office for a sec."

He's a short guy with a bad comb-over. He's a bit overweight, though not too fat, and has a deep gruff voice. I can easily imagine him with a cigar hanging out of his mouth, like in those cartoons, though I've never seen him smoke.

I follow him to his office, wondering if he wants to talk to me about my surviving that first plane ride, or my little suggestion to the investor.

"I heard you took quite a fall on the way to the meeting."

"Yes sir, I fell out of the plane."

"Yet you still made it to the meeting! Late, but you made it! And made quite an entrance I hear!"

"Yes sir, I kinda broke their window..."

"Don't worry about that. They're investors, they've got money to spare! Otherwise they wouldn't bother funding research. Showing up after all you went through though... That shows how dedicated you are. So I'm not gonna outright deny your research project."

"Uhh... Thanks, sir."

"You should be thanking me! It's a ridiculous idea! Catepillar coccoons? We're working with people here, not butterflies! But there's a bit of an issue..."

"What's wrong?"

"Jim's retiring. He gave me his two weeks yesterday when we found out you fell outta that plane. He can't run the project."

"So who..."

"You are! You can do it, right? After all, it was your suggestion, you should have a good idea how to go about it. Am I right?"

"Uhh... Yes sir. Thanks! I'd be glad to run the research project."

"Glad to hear it. You're the first one to run a project after so little work experience, but I think you can handle it. Let me know when you've got all your stuff in order and I'll assign you an intern to help out, got it?"

"Yeah, absolutely."

"Good, here's your key, go get set up!"

As he hands me the key to one of the labs, labeled with it's room number, he's practically pushing me out the door. I'm about to go down to the elevator, when I notice Jim coming down the hall. Since he's leaving and all, I figure I should say something.

"Hey Jim, how's it going?"

Jim looks at me with a totally confused expression, "Didn't you fall out of a plane?"

"Yeah", I shrug, in a kinda bragging way, "A person can survive anything if they put their mind to it!"

"You're one lucky guy, Rick! This old body would never have survived that drop!"

"Nah, you're a smart guy, Jim. You probably wouldn't have even opened the door in the first place, like I did."

"Yeah, well... I can't take much more of this. Too much stress. I've got enough retirement saved up, so I figured it's time to go."

"Well, have fun with all that extra time. I'll see ya later."

"Bye. Good luck with your catepillars!"

I finally head over to the elevators and look at the key. It's the key to room 2B. I head up to the second floor and find room B. It's empty, sanitized and white with a computer in the corner. This is where I'll be working. It's kinda small, but I don't really need that much space. I log on to the computer and start looking up all sorts of info on catepillars. I make sure to order a few specimens to study while I'm at it.

When I booked the hotel, I chose a room with only one bed. It's one of the many subtle hints I've been giving Rick over the years. He never seems to get it, or maybe he just doesn't think of me like that. I know it'd be against hospital rules for us to do anything like that, but they'd never find out. I want Rick any way I can get him.

At least I got to I sit next to Rick on the flight home. I wasn't gonna let him fall off the plane again. I listened to him go on about his coccoon theory. If anyone else had proposed it, I'd have rejected it immediately, but since Rick thought it up, I was sure there was some merit to it. When I got back I was assigned to assist in the E.R.

Chapter 3: Of Catepillars & Men ->


Copyright 2006 Sean Breslin