Grabbing the paint, I set about fixing the spot where her shoulder had brushed against the wet paint and smeared it. It wasn’t as bad as I was worried about, and when I finished, I had just enough time to wash up in the exposed metal sink basin along the wall when the elevator dinged again. I turned toward it to see Dr. Sutton and two other people step off.
“Dr. Sutton,” I said, holding out my freshly dried hand. “Ian Kerrigan. We met outside.”
“Yes,” Dr. Sutton said, shaking my hand. “I recall. Mr. Kerrigan, this is Mr. Jones and Mr. Stewart from the board.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said.
Dr. Sutton had walked away, heading toward the nearly finished area of the offices.
“What the hell is this?” he asked. “Is this the waiting area?”
I braced myself for him to be pointing out the spot that I had just repainted, but when I saw him, he seemed to be gesturing in a vague manner.
“I specifically said that I wanted the waiting room to overlook the outside. The offices could be in the corners. What is this?”
“We thought you would want a view in your office as well,” Jones said.
“I don’t give a damn about my view,” Dr. Sutton replied. “Neither should the other doctors. We aren’t here to stare out of a window. We’re here to work. Fix this. I want the waiting area to have a pleasing backdrop of the valley here. My patients need to have something nice to look at. They’re already dealing with sick kids. Fix it.”
The irritable doctor, having apparently already seen everything he intended on seeing, stomped to the elevator and pressed the button. When the door opened, he got on by himself and started jamming the button to shut the door until it did, riding down alone.
“He seems fun,” Bryant said from behind me.
“A blast,” I said. “Is Shonda going to be really pissed if you’re late getting back home?”
I turned to face him, grimacing.
“Doing demo of everything I just built, helping me rebuild it completely differently on the fly, and then finishing the demo on everything else, kind of late.”
“Ah, man. You’re going to get me killed.”
It was one thing to be covered in wet paint. That was embarrassing enough, and frustrating too, since it meant I was going to have to figure out how to get it off my coat.
It was something else entirely to be covered in wet paint and see Dr. Sutton in that condition. Apparently, he was in a mood today too. Not that he wasn’t seemingly always in a mood of some type, but he was in a specifically surly one today. As I got off the elevator and he got on, he was giving me that look that said he was already drafting the memo I would get about my unprofessionalism in his head.
There were lots of rumors about Dr. Sutton. Some said that he had favorites that he was borderline nice to, like Nurse Deana Killen. Then there were other rumors that he stashed the organs of orderlies who displeased him in those little red coolers he always carried around with him.
That said, he was a brilliant pediatric surgeon and one of the great minds in the field, and as I was reminded daily by the hospital’s general attitude, we were extraordinarily lucky to have him around.
Passive-aggressive impending email aside, I decided to try and make the most out of the rest of the day. My plan was to get out of work around five if I could help it, call my bestie Amanda on my way home, have her meet me there, and then we would make dinner together like we had since college.
Amanda had started in pediatric medicine with me but found a love of dentistry. She was currently working toward her pediatric oral surgery boards while working in a dental office that catered to kids.
I often wondered how she did it. I could deal with all sorts of things, ooey-gooey stuff and pus and blood and bile. But I could never spend my days in people’s mouths. Something about it freaked me out. Amanda, though, she loved it.
Thankfully, things were pretty slow after the diaper fiasco, and I ended up getting out of there a bit earlier than usual. As soon as my feet hit the pavement of the parking lot, I texted Amanda to see if she wanted to come over. She called me just as I hit the button to start the engine.
“Hey, you,” I said as she answered the phone.
“Hey,” she said excitedly. She said everything excitedly. “I was about to text you when you texted me! I can bring over wine if you provide the pasta sauce.”
“Do you mind cheater crap?” I asked. “I have some Ragú in the cabinet, I think.”