The Finality Of Hope
Everyone knew where they were when it happened. The memorable event that would change their lives forever. It was like when people ask you "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?"
This time it was different, a much more personal event to remember. For all time.
Jack McNeil knows. So do much of Chicago Hopes staff when they heard the news.
"Chicago Hope is completely bankrupt." Phillip Watters announced in the hallway. He had chosen the hallway because he knew the traffic patterns of his hospital. Everyone would be in the right place and at the right
time to hear the news.
"What?" Kate Austin said. "How can we be bankrupt? Weren't we bought out just this past year?"
"Yes, but the financial help we recieved from the takeover didnt help us as much as we thought it should. As of now, the money to fund this hospital will run out next week, on Monday." Phillip said, straining to
contain his own emotions. "Consider this your weeks notice." He turned and stiffly walked away.
Aaron Shutt went into his room and locked his door after that. Diane Ladd went into the stairway and sat down. Billy had quit months back but now she would have to look for another job. Whatever would she do?
"God, what I am going to do?" She said to herself. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She stood up. She was about to "yelp" in surprise when someone put a hand over her mouth.
It was Danny Nyland. Or Father Danny anyway.
"Great. I ask for gods help and I get Danny Nyland." Diane said when Danny moved his hand.
"I heard the news." Danny said.
"I don't know what I'm going to do." Diane said on the verge of sobbing. "Billy quit to be a stay at home dad." She smiled at Danny. "Is it too late for me to be a nun?" She joked.
"I dunno. I'm not even a real priest." Danny said taking his collar off.
"What?" Diane said.
"I'm not a real priest. The celibacy thing would kill me." Danny said.
"I am an undercover policeman for the Chicago PD. Technically I'm still a rooky." He said.
"And how is that better than being here." Diane said as they walked down the stairs.
"Job security for one thing." Danny said as Diane walked him out to the parking lot. "Sorry bout that, but its true."
"I'll be fine. I'll just sell my organs before the hospital closes." Diane said.
"Wasnt Austin supposed to go to uranus or something?" Danny asked. "I read about that NASA thing."
"Nada." She shook her head. "Diabetes kept her from going. Shes really mad about that."
"She'll get over it." Danny said. "Hey, if push comes to shove. I can get you a job. Undercover prostitute. What do you think?"
"I think not." Diane said. "I've had a baby Danny. I'm not gonna be that big of a draw!"
"Bye." Danny waved. He drove off, Diane watched him go.
Aaron had fallen asleep on his desk. He woke as the sun was setting. He sat up. There was a 50 page report he was working on sitting on the desk. He looked at it.
"This isnt going to matter anymore." Aaron said. He tossed the report into a trash bin. He then frantically searched his desk.
"Never one when you need one." He stormed out into the hallway. He almost ran into Robert Yeats.
"Dr Yeats do you have a lighter?" Aaron asked.
"Sure." Yeats handed him a lighter. "What for?"
"Oh nothing." Aaron said reentering his room. Yeats looked after him. Aaron lit the lighter and threw it into the trashcan igniting all that he put in it.
"What are you doing?" Yeats said.
"Starting over at square one." Aaron said as the fire grew. The bucket flopped over and the flames gathered at Aarons feet. Yeats grabbed Aaron by the arm and yanked him out of the room. He then grabbed a fire estinguisher and put the fire out. Yeats then rejoined Aaron in the
hall. Aaron stared blankly ahead.
"Aaron you could have been killed!" Yeats said. He gave no reponse. Yeats waved his hand in front of his eyes. "Aaron are you in there? Aaron?"
The elevator bank
Kate Austin stood in front of the elevators. She watched as people left the elevator. She didnt get back on as the door closed to go up another floor. Jack McNeil joined her at the elevators.
"Reminicsing?" He asked her with his cup of coffee.
"Im gonna miss these elevators. Had so much good times in them." She sighed.
"True," McNeil added. "Plus your sex life wont be quite the same without them."
"Thats true, hey!" She said.
McNeil hopped on the elevator. Dr Wilkes was on it as well.
"What do you think you're going to do PCH?" Wilkes said.
"What?" Jack asked.
"Post Chicago Hope."
"I dunno. Just hope for the best I guess." Jack said as the elevator door closed.
"What's happening?" A voice said.
"Chicago Hope is closing." Another voice answered.
"How can that be?" The first voice said again. "Things were fine when I was last here." The owner of the first voice moved out of the shadows. It was Alan Birch.
"This is all what happened when you died. Geiger left. A whole lotta weird things. Unbelievable episodes. Some kind of hitchcock thing." The second voice said.
"Can I change any of this?" Alan asked. "Is the future set in stone?"
"Of course not." The voice answered. "Heres your chance to set things right."
Before Alan knew it he was lying in a bed with tubes in every part of his body. He was breathing through a tube. He opened his eyes. He looked around. He could clearly see Diane and Geiger and Austin standing by him.
"That was a a close call." Jeffrey said. "You almost didnt make it."
"I thought I didnt." Alan said. Jeffrey looked at him. "I had a dream, and you were all in it. I died, and Jeffrey left with Alicia." Alan said. "You married Billy Kronk." He said to Diane. "And you almost became the first heart surgeon in space." Alan said to Kate.
"Thats it. We're lowering your meds ASAP." Jeffrey said. "Vitals are all good. You should be out in a week or two." Jeffrey said. "We got to go." He said. Kate nodded.
"I'm going to stay." Diane said. She turned to Alan as Kate and Jeffrey left. "I was married to Billy Kronk? Was this your dream or my nightmare."
"You had a baby with him." Alan said. "And Danny became a priest."
"Must have been some world you were in." Diane said.
"I have to ask you something." Alan said. "Do you ever think of me and you together?"
"Sometimes." Diane said.
"I'd like to, as soon as I'm on solid foods, would you like to have dinner with me sometime?" Alan said.
"I'd be honored." Diane smiled.