Idiom: 'It's Just Not Cricket' – Something that is unjust or is plain wrong.
"Hey, did you watch the T20 match on TV last night?"
"Some of it. I was flicking channels because of the rain delay."
"Did you see the guy who kept ignoring his girlfriend during the kiss-cam segments?"
"Yeah, I saw that. I felt sorry for the girl. That dude totally embarrassed her in front of all of those spectators. It's just not cricket."
"Hey Eddo!" a voice I instantly recognise calls out from behind me as I search through the shelves of royal-blue coloured scrubs. I'm hoping to find a top that will fit me. No luck so far. They're all too big or too small.
I turn my head to acknowledge my fellow colleague – Registered Nurse Michael 'Mick' Newton – with a sound that is akin to a grunt.
"Know which anaesthetist you're paired with tonight?" he asks, grabbing a pair of large-sized pants from the middle shelf.
"Nah. I haven't looked at the allocation yet. I'll be happy with anyone as long as I'm not working with Aro again."
Mick chuckles knowingly. "Where are all the medium, large, and extra-large tops? There're pants, but no tops," he complains, picking up a 3X large top. He unfolds it and holds it in front of his chest. "How am I supposed to work wearing this? Seriously, I could fit me and Fat Bastard in this thing."
"Looks like they've run out. Probably due to the weekend." I sigh in defeat.
"Evening fellas," Doctor Alice Brandon says in a sing-song voice. Squeezing herself between me and Mick, she squats down and picks up a pair of extra-small scrubs from the tangled pile. She stands and then walks towards the ladies change room across the corridor.
An idea comes to mind and I turn to look at Mick. "We're about the same size. In my locker, I've got some custom-made scrub tops from when I used to work at The Women's And Children's Hospital. You think anyone will have a problem if we wear them?"
Mick shrugs. "They'd better not. Especially if management can't be bothered to make sure we've got enough linen supplies to get us through the weekend." He tosses the tent-sized top haphazardly onto the shelf and we make our way into the changing room.
After dropping my bag to the floor, I open my locker. Reaching in, I grab the scrubs from the hangers. "Which one?" I ask, holding the items out in front of me.
He smiles at my offerings. "Spiderman," he says taking the garment from me. He pulls off his t-shirt and slips the bright red and blue top over his head. Smoothing his hands down the front, he remarks, "These are cool. I wish we could wear this sort of thing all the time instead of the boring blue."
"Yeah, but at least with the hospital-supplied scrubs you don't have to organise for the sewing room to do the laundry," I remind him. I pull on my own black and white top which displays a picture of Spongebob Squarepants on the front.
Once we are both dressed and have stowed our bags in our lockers, we exit the change room and head for the desk in the transfer bay.
Mick picks up the allocation book and grins evilly. "Too bad, man. You're working with Aro again."
I feel my lip curl up in distaste. Working with Aro Volturi is mind-numbing. He's a megalomaniac who won't allow any of the anaesthetic nurses to do much of anything, apart from going to Transfusion to collect blood, signing out drugs of dependence, or sending specimens to the lab. He also has shit taste in music. Some of the nurses don't mind, saying that they get paid the same amount whether they are rushed off their feet or sitting on their bum. Personally, though, I find it boring as hell if I can't do the job I'm trained for.
"Well, if it isn't Peter Parker and Sponge-bath Nurse-pants," Alice says, sidling up next to me and giving me a playful hip bump. "Nice shirts, boys. Which one of you two is working with me tonight?"
"Neither," Mick replies with a laugh. "I'm floating between operating theatres, recovery, and the transfer bay, and Sponge-bath is working with Aro again in theatre one. You've got Jessica in theatre three."
"Bullshit," Alice announces. "Who's the coordinator tonight?"
"Shelly," Mick replies.
Turning on her hot pink clogs, Alice heads for the administration office. Halfway along the corridor, she pulls some change out of her pocket and stops in front of the cold drink vending machine.
I look up at the clock. Addressing Mick, I say, "We've still got twenty minutes. Let's go to the staff room and get some coffee. I slept like shit today, and if I have to sit on my arse and listen to Aro's crappy Italian opera CDs all night, I'll need lots of caffeine to keep me awake."
"All sorted. You're with me," Alice announces, leaning both of her palms on the table in front of me.
"How'd you manage that?" I ask, surprised, but not unhappy with the turnaround of events. "Shelly never lets us swap the allocation without a valid reason."
"Here's a tip: Nurse Cope is a Coke addict. If you ever want to get into her good graces, you just need to buy her a can of Coke. Preferably Coke Zero, but Diet is also acceptable. Let's go, newbie."
I sigh. I've been working here at the R.A.H for over a year – one month less than Alice – and still, she likes to call me 'newbie.'
"Thanks for the info." Standing from the table, I scoop up the bits of the empty Styrofoam cup I was tearing to pieces.
Mick also stands. "I'll see you 'round, Eddo. Any particular time you want me to relieve you for your meal break?"
"Around 3am. I'm going to head over to ICU and see if Tanya and I are still on for tomorrow night."
"Tanya? Which one of the Russian sisters is she again?" Mick asks as we head for the doorway.
"The unmarried one."
"Ah," he replies knowingly. "You mean the pretty blonde one with the big fake boobs."
I give him a pointed look as I discard my rubbish. Mick just chuckles and tosses his own cup into the bin.
"Come on, Sponge-boobs, it's time to go. I need to do the anaesthetic consent for our first patient in the transfer bay. Can you and Mick sign some Fentanyl and Midazolam out of the DD cupboard for me?" Alice asks.
"Yeah sure, but quit calling me 'Newbie' or 'Sponge-boobs,'" I whine as we follow her out into the corridor.
"I'll take it under consideration," she replies insincerely.
"Hey, Nurse-pants! Can you give me a hand to wheel the patient in?" Alice asks, poking her head into the operating room. "Mick is busy signing out drugs with Jess for theatre one."
"Sure thing, short-stuff," I reply, deciding that two can play at the name calling thing tonight.
"That's 'Doctor Short-Stuff' to you," she retorts with a laugh, not at all fazed. "Show some damn respect for the badge."
I follow Alice to the transfer bay, and on rounding the corner, I'm surprised to see a familiar face.
"Oh, no! Not you again," our first patient of the night moans as soon as he sees me approaching the bedside.
"I could say the same about you," I retort. "Are you stalking me, Jake?"
"Hardly. I just turned 18, so now they make me come to this hole instead of the kids hospital."
"You two know each other?" Alice asks.
"He was a frequent flyer at The Women's And Children's Hospital. When I worked there as an EN, I sat in on a few of his operations. Due to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta, I swear there isn't a bone left in his body that he hasn't broken at least once."
"Pfftt. Exaggerate much." Holding up his left middle digit, he adds, "I haven't broken this one yet."
"Is that so? Keep giving me the finger, and I can quickly rectify that situation," I joke, and then we laugh.
"So, when did you leave the kid's hospital?" Jake asks.
"Beginning of last year. I finally finished my RN training and scored a grad position here. I was planning to go back to the kid's hospital after my graduate year, but they didn't have any full-time jobs for anaesthetic RNs at the time so I stayed."
He nods in understanding. "Well, it's good to see a friendly face." Jacob smiles, but I can see that underneath the outward bravado lies a scared young man.
"Okay, you two, reunion time is over. We've got a roomful of people waiting to get this case started." Alice then proceeds to disengage the brakes on the wheels, and we push and pull the bed towards theatre three.
Once Alice and I have sedated and intubated Jacob Black, the rest of the emergency operating staff swing into action. Lauren and Angela, the scrub and scout nurses, open up their trolleys and start counting instruments. Jasper, the second scout nurse, helps Carlisle Cullen, the Orthopaedic Consultant, to don his sterile gown and gloves. Normally Carlisle wouldn't be here at this time of night, but given the complexity of Jacob's case, he had been asked to come in.
The last person to enter the operating room is James Doolan, the on-call Orthopaedic Registrar for tonight, and I have to suppress the urge to groan out loud. Doctor Doolan (AKA Doctor Douchebag) is the most conceited son-of-a-bitch I've come across. I first met him years ago when he was an intern at the kid's hospital. He wasn't too bad back then, but as he has advanced through the roles of Resident Medical Officer, and then Registrar, his ego has expanded accordingly.
Once everyone is gloved and gowned, and the operating field has been draped in sterile linen, the case begins, so that Jacob's fractured neck of femur can be repaired.
Twenty minutes into the surgery, the muffled sound of a ringing mobile phone can be heard.
"Would someone get that for me?" James asks, looking up from his work and stepping away from the sterile field. He is staring pointedly at Angela.
In response, Angela's eyes narrow. James is renowned for leaving his phone in the front pocket of his scrub pants which means that if it rings, one of the scout nurses has to reach in under his sterile gown to retrieve it.
Since Jasper has momentarily stepped out of the room to fetch a replacement diathermy pen, it's up to Angela to do it. I swear James does this shit on purpose. It's been rumoured that he goes commando under his scrub pants. Resigned to doing her duty, Angela starts to make a move to round the table, but I decide to spare her the inconvenience and embarrassment.
"Stay where you are, Ange. I'm closer. I'll get the phone for him," I say helpfully.
Before James can protest, I squat down next to him and carefully lift the lower hem of his surgical gown. The phone stops ringing, but nevertheless, I retrieve it from his pants pocket using two fingers to prevent myself from unintentionally going to second base with him. The phone chimes to indicate that a voicemail message has been left. I look at the screen.
"There's a voicemail message; do you want me to retrieve it for you?" I ask, standing up and backing away.
"Who from?" James asks.
"Doesn't say; there's just a local number."
"Okay, check the message for me."
I hit the voicemail icon and listen to the computerised introduction telling me when the voicemail message was left. Then I hear the sexiest female voice start speaking.
"Hey, Jamie, it's me. Can you call me back? I need to speak to you urgently. Preferably inside the next ten minutes. I'm calling from work, but you can call me back on my mobile. Talk to you soon; I hope. Bye."
"Well?" James asks expectantly, breaking me out of my aural induced daze. "Who was it?"
"Um… they didn't leave a name. It was a woman. She said it was urgent and that you should call her back within the next ten minutes. She said you could reach her on her mobile phone, but didn't leave a number. Do you want me to hold the phone up to your ear and replay the message?"
He nods. "Yeah, thanks."
I choose the replay option and position the phone so that James can listen to the message. Once the message ends, he pulls his head away from my palm.
"Go into my contacts list and look for Isabella Swan. Call her for me and ask what is so important that I had to return her call right away." Turning his concentration to Jake's hip, James reaches for a surgical pack and presses it into the wound to soak up the blood.
"Okay." I step away to do as he asks.
Taking my seat next to Alice at the head of the operating table, I scroll through his list of contacts and find the name I'm looking for. I hit the number and then listen to the call as it tries to connect. Jasper re-enters the operating room with the new diathermy pen, and he opens it for Lauren. Lauren reconnects the monopolar pen to the lead before securing it to the sterile field with a towel clip to prevent it from falling to the ground again.
Just when I think the call is going to go to a message bank, a breathless sounding voice answers. "Jamie?"
"No. This is Edward Masen. Jamie, I mean Doctor Doolan, he's operating right now. He asked me to call you back. Your message sounded urgent," I explain.
"Oh… right. Okay. Can you ask him if he's free to go out with me tomorrow night?" Isabella, the woman with the sex-voice, asks.
My eyebrows shoot up in a mixture of incredulity and irritation. This was the emergency? She calls at 10:30pm on a Sunday night to ask Doctor Douchebag on a date?
"Um… hang on."
I don't want to play phone relay to organise someone else's love life, so I stand and indicate to James that I wish to hold the phone to his ear again. He nods and steps back from the table.
"Bella?" After pausing to listen to what the woman has to say, he replies unenthusiastically, "Yeah… I suppose." Listening again he sighs loudly in exasperation before saying, "Alright. I'll ask. Look, sweetie… I can't really talk right now. I'm in the middle of a case. If I get any takers, I'll get Edward to send a text… Okay. I gotta go. Bye."
I disconnect the call and step away to take my seat next to Alice. I reach back to the desk that houses the laptop, printer, and various pieces of operating room documentation and place the phone on the desk.
"What was that about?" Doctor Cullen asks as he cauterises some small bleeders with the diathermy pen.
"Through her new job at The Advertiser, Bella's scored some tickets to the T-20 Big Bash game between the Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder tomorrow night. She wanted to know if I can go with her. She also said to ask if I knew of anyone else who might like to watch the match. She's got two more tickets, but she needs to know in the next few minutes or else they'll go to one of her other colleagues. So… are you and Esme free tomorrow night?"
Doctor Cullen shakes his head. "I'm afraid not. It's Esme's birthday and we're going out to dinner."
James looks up at Jasper. "What about you, Jasper? You free?"
The expression of surprise on Jasper's face is obvious, even though the surgical mask covers most of his features. "Yeah, I'm free. I'd love to go."
"You got a girlfriend you can bring along?" James asks.
"No," he replies.
"What about you, Edward?" James asks, picking up the oscillating saw. "You want to come along?"
Ordinarily, I'd jump at the chance to go to the cricket for free, but I shake my head. "No can do. I have a date tomorrow night."
"Who with?" Jasper asks, looking at me with curiosity.
"One of the nurses from the ICU. We're going to The German Club. Adelaide Soul City is on," I explain as I reach up to change over the empty IV flask for a new one.
Lauren gasps. "Oh my God. That's the night when they play 'dad music'."
"Shut up! It's not dad music," I say defensively. "It's Northern Soul, and the music is way better to dance to than that shit they play at Red Square or HQ."
Behind her surgical mask, Lauren fake-coughs, "OldManDancing," and then she fakes another cough before bursting into giggles as Jasper and Angela laugh at her joke.
"It's only 'dad dancing' if you're doing it wrong," I retort. "What you call dancing is just people getting drunk or stupid on ecstasy and jumping up and down."
"Well, is anyone else interested?" James asks, looking at me strangely before sweeping his gaze around at the other members of staff in the operating theatre.
"I'll go," Alice chimes in.
"Really?" James sounds surprised.
"Yeah. I've got nothing else on."
"Okay… Edward?" James asks.
"Can you send a text to Bella for me? Let her know Jasper and Alice will be joining us tomorrow night."
With the new flask of Hartmann's Solution hung, I reach for the phone on the desk.
I look up at the clock impatiently. It's twenty-past-three and I'm starving hungry. Just as I think about making a move towards the phone on the wall, to see what's keeping Mick, he enters the room and heads towards me.
He looks at me apologetically. "Sorry. I was supposed to relieve Jess for her meal break at two-thirty, but the patient became severely hypothermic. The case got abandoned and then we were both stuck with helping Aro to get the patient over to the ICU."
"What was the case?" Alice asks.
"Big flame burn. Sixty percenter. Self-immolation." Mick shudders, and I wince in sympathy.
"Did Jess get her break?" I ask.
"Yeah, that's why I'm late for yours."
I hand over the details of the case to Mick, which has almost wrapped up – a simple terminalisation of a severed ring finger. I exit the room and after washing my hands thoroughly at the wash trough, I head for the change room and retrieve my lunch box from my locker. I then leave the operating suite through the blue automatic doors and head around the corner. Walking past Coronary Care and the Burns Unit, I head for the step-down section of ICU.
Using my swipe card, I let myself in. Casting my gaze around the bay, I'm unable to see Tanya, so I head to the reception area. On rounding the desk, I see two nurses – one whom I'm vaguely familiar with and another I've never seen before.
"Hey," I say with uncertainty, as the two women look up at me from their paperwork. "Where's Tanya allocated tonight?"
The nurse, whom I think is called Lucy, answers, "She was looking after the guy in bed 30, but now she's on carer's leave. She left about three hours ago to take care of her niece and nephew."
"Has something happened to Irina?" I ask in concern for Tanya's older sister.
"She got admitted tonight with appendicitis. They're going to operate in the morning. You're Edward, right?" I nod. "Tanya said you might drop by. She told me to tell you that she'll have to cancel your date. Irina's husband can't get back from overseas until Tuesday, so Tanya has to take care of Jane and Alec until he returns. Before leaving, she asked me to get your phone number so she can contact you. She thought she had your number, but when she went to send you a text, she couldn't find it."
"It's okay; I'll just send her a message." I pull out my own phone to bring up her name, but then I realise I don't have her number either.
It's weird. I could swear we had exchanged numbers at some point last week before we decided to go out on a first date. Reaching for a scrap of blank paper, I write down my name and number. Lucy promises to text it to Tanya in the morning, and I thank her and leave to return to the operating suite.
On entering the staff room with my lunchbox in hand, I make myself a cup of coffee and head for one of the empty couches. I turn on the TV and using the remote, I attempt to find something the slightest bit interesting to watch while I eat my sandwiches and fruit.
Halfway through my meal, Alice enters the staff room followed by Jasper, Lauren, and Angela. They all head over to the kitchen area to make themselves some coffee. With her cup in hand, Alice takes a seat next to me on the couch.
"You look like someone kicked your puppy, Sponge-bath Nurse-pants," she says, picking up the TV remote and muting the sound of the annoying infomercial.
"Do I?" I ask, surprised.
"Either that or it's just your resting bitch-face. What's up?"
I shrug. "I'm just tired. This is my fourth night shift, and I didn't sleep well yesterday due to the heat and humidity." Alice nods in understanding. "Plus, my date just got cancelled."
"Aww, that's a shame," she replies before taking a sip of coffee. "Well… I'm all set for a night at the cricket." She grins.
"Yeah. You have a date with Jasper," I tease.
I lean in close to her and speak quietly. "I see the way you look at him. I swear your eyes lit up as soon as he said he didn't have a girlfriend."
"No they didn't."
"The lady doth protest too much methinks," I reply.
"Shove it up your arse, Shakespeare." Alice swats me with a backhanded blow to my bicep.
"That tickled, pipsqueak." I then stage-whisper, "Hey, here comes your boyfriend now."
Jasper approaches to sit on the couch that is situated on the other side of the coffee table from us. With a groan, he collapses into the cushions. Looking to Alice he says, "I was wondering… do you want me to pick you up tomorrow night, Doctor Brandon?"
The usually unflappable Alice blushes. "Yeah, that would be great, and please, call me Alice."
As Alice and Jasper trade contact numbers and addresses, I turn my focus back to the TV. James and Carlisle enter the staff room, make themselves a cup of coffee, and then take a seat at one of the tables nearby.
With so few people in the room, their conversation can be easily heard.
"So where are you taking Esme tomorrow night?" James asks.
"Jolleys Boathouse. I don't think much of the service there, but it's Esme's favourite restaurant. She loves the outdoor dining area with the view of the River Torrens, and their tea-smoked duck."
"You might want to rethink that outdoor booking. With the cricket on next door at Adelaide Oval, the crowd gets pretty rowdy during the one-day and T20 matches."
"Bugger. I didn't even think of that," Carlisle laments. "Looks like I should have taken up the offer of those tickets after all."
Alice stands and picks up her empty cup from the coffee table. "Don't even think that you can change your mind now. You snooze you lose. Those tickets are ours, Cullen," she calls out as she walks past their table.
"That's okay, Alice. I wouldn't dream of it. Besides, you're probably better company for Bella than Esme since you are closer in age."
Alice nods in agreement as she pours herself another cup of coffee, but I suspect she has little interest in Doctor Doolan's girlfriend when she can have a legitimate excuse to hang out with Jasper.
"Speaking of Bella," Carlisle begins, "how did the move go on Friday?"
In response to the question, James groans. "Okay, I suppose. Although her shit is still sitting around in boxes all over the house, and she's driving me nuts with how much time she spends in the bathroom. I swear I could clone her or knit a beanie just from all of the hair that clogs the shower drain."
Carlisle chuckles. "They say you don't truly know someone until you start living under the same roof."
"Isn't that the truth? Seriously, she exhausts me," James complains. "I never realised just how young and energetic she is. Sometimes I want to hide under the bed to get away from her. I'm starting to think that having her move in was a mistake."
Jasper and I catch each other's gazes and look at one another in confusion. Hearing Doctor James Doolan complaining about his apparently younger live-in girlfriend in such a way makes me want to smack him up the side of his head. It also makes me want to find the poor girl and shake some sense into her. Last year, James was the runner-up in The Golden Speculum award – the award for the doctor who has scored the most points by sleeping with other members of staff.
Yeah, I know… An award for being a man-whore – so gross. When I first heard about the award, I couldn't believe that such a thing existed, but according to Alice, it's true. There really is a plaque on the wall in the bar on level 8 – a bar that is only open to medical staff.
Bedding a nurse scores the lowest points due to the vast number of nurses in the hospital. Bedding a Professor or Consultant scores the highest. Doctor Esme Platt, one of the Plastics registrars, officially won the award for 2014 because she slept with Carlisle. Esme and Carlisle got married just after Christmas. On hearing she had won the award at the staff New Year's Eve party, she was horrified and adamantly declined the title, or so I heard.
I look up at the clock and note that my break is over. After collecting my lunch box and disposing of my rubbish, I head out of the staff room.
"Thank God that's over," Lauren says with a yawn as we shuffle like zombies towards the multi-storey car park at the back of the hospital. "I think I could sleep for a week."
The last operation was a complicated multi-trauma case. A drunk driver had ploughed into a pedestrian near the Victoria Square tram stop just as she was crossing King William Street on her way to the Hilton Hotel. She was a mess.
"Yeah, I hate nights," Jess says. "By the time I acclimatise myself to day shifts, I'm allocated nights again."
"I don't mind them every now and then," Angela replies as I push on the door and then hold it open to allow the girls to pass.
As we enter the car park, we all say our goodbyes and then separate as we veer off towards our own vehicles. Alice and I walk down the ramp that leads to the underground parking bay.
"I hope you have fun with Doctor Douchebag and his girlfriend tonight," I quip as we head for our cars. I see Alice has parked her brand new, metallic-red Mazda3 in the far corner next to my crappy, old white Commodore.
"Yeah, I hope she's nice. Although there must be something wrong with her if she's dating someone like him."
"Well, according to James, she's as hairy as a sasquatch," I joke.
Alice bursts into laughter and thumbs the key fob to unlock her car door. When she calms down, she says, "Seriously though, why would any woman in her right mind date a man-whore like James."
"I dunno. Maybe he's got a huge co-"
"Ew. Don't be a pig," Alice says, interrupting me by giving me a shove.
"Get your mind out of the gutter, pervert," I retort as I aim my own fob at my car. I have to hit the fob six times before I finally hear the click of the lock. "I was gonna say huge collection of cricket memorabilia."
"Yeah, right," she snorts. "Anyway… I'll see you in a few, Sponge-bath. Have nice days off."
"You too, half-pint," I call back.
The golden speculum award at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (R.A.H) is real…
This is a short story inspired by a YouTube video.
Disclaimer - I don't own the rights to any of the recognisable characters from the Twilight Saga franchise. I'm just borrowing SMeyer's characters to fulfil a constant need to place them in ridiculous situations for my own sick pleasure. I own the stories I've written and a shiny, metallic-red 2014 Mazda3 (such a pretty car). Plagiarism is uncool, so don't be a copy cat.