I came out of the patient bathroom on Halloween night feeling pretty. I always felt pretty, but dressing up like Marilyn Monroe and getting to give all the kids candy made me feel even better. I liked this place a lot.
Everyone was dressed up, as Power Rangers or Teletubbies; it was just something you played along with at a children’s hospital. If some little kid was forced to be in the ER on Halloween, the least we could do is rot his teeth out.
My red stilettos clicked loudly down the hall, and the zit-faced med students turned to wink at me teasingly. I just turned away. Halloween was madness. I facilitated madness quite often.
I picked a clipboard off a rack outside a curtained-off room, and marched right in.
“Hey, honey, I’m Marilyn. What’s your name?” The older boy slumped in the roller bed looked confused, his eyes completely lost. He could’ve been too old to even be in tihis wing of the hospital. But I did at least notice the bandage around his arm, with a small red stain leaking onto the white.
Very rarely do people show up in the ER on Halloween unless they’ve been doing something stupid.
“Nathan,” He said shortly, in a small voice.
“Cool. One of my best friends growing up was named Nathan. He lived around here. Most Nathans are nice. You must be cool.” This kid looked at me like I was on drugs. I started giggling.
“What’s the prob, sweetie?” I asked, spinning around in the roller chair so my dress flew up a little bit. I giggled. Okay, maybe I was mentally on drugs.
His roommate or boyfriend or whoever must’ve drove him in spoke up, “Nathan got jumped coming out of the library. One of the guys had a knife.”
“Fuck.” I said quietly, and the both of them looked fairly shocked. Probably some of them boys from the Christian churches.
“Alright. Damn, now I gotta get a cop in here. Why you make me do this crap, honey?”
“You say that like there’s worse things you do every other holiday.” Nathan cracked a grin. I rolled my eyes.
“Look at me compared to the rest of the little praying mantises here, what do you expect?”
“Praying mantises? What? People your age actually call them that now?” I narrowed my eyes at him.
“None of that ‘people my age’ shit. I’m not even old enough to be your momma. But they got it locked up tighter than ugly nuns. Old bitches.”