One morning Officer Malloy was walking his beat downtown when he spotted a young Twinn looking intently at the contents of a window. He knew that windows and youngsters do not really go down well together and decided to nonchalantly sidle across and do some investigating.
The window was full of puppies and it was obvious that she was captivated by what she saw.
“Hullo there young lady. What do you find so interesting in there?”
“Hullo Officer. I was just looking, I enjoy window shopping and it helps me to pass the time. I saw these cute puppies in the window and wondered “How much is that doggie in the window?”
“The one with the waggly tail? I don’t know, but puppies are a big responsibility. Why do you have so much time on your hands in the first place?” he asked.
“I don’t really have anywhere to go Officer, my family has just moved into this area and I don’t know anybody around here. I was hoping to find some work here to earn money so that I could study further. My family is very poor and I just can’t afford to go to college at the moment. I also have many brothers and sisters and I have to help look after them too. Jobs are so scarce when you have no real skills.”
“What did you wish to study?”
“I always wanted to do something to help other Twinns and not have to wander around aimlessly looking for answers. At one point I wanted to be a police Twinn too and I went and filled in the papers but didn’t think was tall enough. “
“Well, to be a police Twinn the height requirements are 23 inches.”
“Oh, but what if I don’t make the grade?”
“Well, police work is not just about walking the beat and catching bad guys, its a lot about public relations and paperwork. It’s something you can do or can’t do. Its a calling rather than a profession.”
Officer Malloy was all to aware of the problem that faced so many young Twinns. “Well, I will tell you what you can do; meet me here tomorrow morning and you can come with me to the Continuum and we can see if they could use any help there, until you can find out what you want to do with yourself.”
“That sounds wonderful Officer, I would love to go with you.”
“And, I will help you go through that application for the police and if you like I will submit it for you after you have met the Twinns at the Continuum, there may be a position vacant for you there and you can work at it until they accept you for the academy or you change your mind.”
Officer Malloy handed the Twinn half of his doughnut, “Oh, and you must like doughnuts if you want to become a police Twinn too.”
The two parted company, agreeing to meet at the same place the next day.
Meanwhile, back at the Continuum, Meko was in the operating room. For some unknown reason there had been a large influx of patients coming to the sickbay for surgery, and even the Continuum’s own Penny had been compelled to return for another head transplant. Carlisle was standing by with the instruments, and Blackie was doing what he could to soothe the patients with purrs and head rubs. Meko carefully checked everyone’s vital signs with her new red stethescope.
“Carlisle,” said Meko, “I think I am going to need someone else to help me with all these patients. I wish Jane hadn’t moved on.”
“I know,” said Carlisle. “You need someone with hands, Meko. The trouble is that everyone is so busy these days now that spring is here.” He carefully placed an old sock into the cone that was used for anesthesia.
I’ll just have to do the best I can,” Meko replied, heading off into the garden.
“Good luck,” said Carlisle.
First Meko headed to the vegetable garden where Carin and Taryn were toiling away, with a little help from Cavendish, who was in charge of finding a good station to listen to on the radio (he kind of missed the BBC but did not want to admit it!). “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow,” sang the girls along with the song on the radio.
Meko arrived in the garden. “Hi girls,” she called.
“Meko,” said Carin, “How is Penny doing?” She and Taryn were very concerned about their friend and fellow Emma.
“She’s holding her own,” said Meko. “I think she will be fine, don’t worry. Carlisle is with her. I’ll let you know as soon as she is out of surgery.” Meko looked around at all the plants and seed packets. “It looks as if the two of you have a big job ahead of you.”
“Yes,” said Taryn, “We have tomatos and peppers and onions and we are going to plant popcorn and pumpkins and beans later on. It will take longer without Penny but I think we can manage. Harmony is coming later on to help plant the beans because they are her favorite.”
“I especially like the little onions,” Meko commented. “Makes me hungry for hot dogs.”
“Or just regular dogs,” joked Cavendish. “There’s nothing tastier than a good schnauzer, with or without onions! By the way, you girls forgot to tell Meko we are also going to plant radishes.”
“And this year we are hoping we won’t get any mutant ones,” Carin said with a grin.
“I am looking for somebody to help me in the operating room,” Meko said, “but I can tell that the two of you have your hands full. I’ll keep looking. Have a good time planting.”
“We will, and if you need us later on we’d be glad to help,” Taryn said. “Bye Meko. Tell Penny we are thinking of her!”
Meko continued on her way and spied Candace and Jessie in the yard.
“Hi Meko!” called Candace. “We are doing our nails. Come on over and pull up a chair and I’ll do yours for you.”
“We got a new kind of nail polish, Twinkle Pink,” Jessie commented. “It has glitter in it. I think it will look great on 04 skin like you and I have, Meko.”
“No thanks,” said Meko. “I am glad you girls are using your sunblock,” she added, spying the bottles on the table. “Would either or both of you be interested in helping me in the operating room today? I have a lot of patients right now.”
“Oh no, sorry, Meko” said Jessie earnestly. “I am afraid I faint at the sight of Goop. I wouldn’t be any help at all.”
“Oh Meko,” said Candace, “I just could not wear those ugly scrubs you wear. No offense.” She shook her blonde curls. “And my hair would never fit under one of those shower cap things. Why it would crush all my curls.”
“I understand,” said Meko. “Thanks anyway.”
Meko heard shouts and music as she came around the corner. Courtney and Bethany were working out a routine on the balance beam.
“Looks good, Courtney,” said Bethany. “Oh, hi Meko.”
Courtney wobbled a bit but kept her balance.
“I am looking for some volunteers to help me in the operating room,” Meko said. “Would either of you be interested?”
“Oh Meko, we would but we promised to get this routine done today and it is only barely underway,” Courtney explained. “We have hours more to go. Sorry. We could come in later on after we take our showers though.”
“We’re practicing for the summer Olympics,” Bethany explained. “You have to work for hours and hours to get good enough to enter.”
“I understand,” said Meko. “Thanks anyway.”
“You’re welcome,” Bethany replied. “Tell Penny we are thinking about her and hope she is better soon.”
They both jumped back up on the beam as Meko departed.
“Knit three, purl five” said Wendy to Libby. “That’s it, Lib, I think we have it now.”
Meko had to laugh to see Wendy and Libby under what seemed like miles of knitting. “What in the world are you girls doing?”
“Wendy was making a sweater for the new Cookie and I think it got out of hand,” Libby chuckled.
“I had to get Libby to help me. I am going to turn it into a bedspread for the new Cookie instead,” Wendy confided. “I heard we don’t have a body for her after all.”
“That is true,” said Meko sadly, “But I am hoping we will get one soon. Meanwhile Leah is taking good care of her.”
“It must be awful to be paralyzed like she is,” said Wendy seriously. “I feel sorry for her. Those of us who are posable don’t know how lucky we are till we meet someone who is not.”
“I am going to go check on her now,” said Meko, deciding not to invite Wendy and Libby to assist her as they seemed to be wrapped up in what they are doing.
“Tell her we said hello,” said Libby. “Now what was that, again,Wendy, knit five and purl three?”
Early the next morning, Jackie was still at home in bed in the little room she shared with her sister, Sandy, dreaming of her new opportunity at the Twinn Continuum.
Sandy was getting ready for work – she had a job selling produce at the local Farmer’s Market. “Wake up, Sleepyhead,” she called, setting her shoes on the bed as she prepared to take off her chicken slippers.
“Oh wow,” said Jackie, popping up, “Did I oversleep? I don’t want to be late on my first day.”
“No, it’s only 6 a.m.,” replied Sandy. “I wish the Farmer’s Market didn’t open so early. If the Continuum has two jobs, tell them about me.”
“I will see what they have to say,” said Jackie. “What should I wear?” she asked Sandy excitedly. “I want to make a good impression. I don’t want to be too formal or too casual.”
“Jackie, we only have a few outfits between us,” sighed Sandy, sitting on the end of the bed and putting on her sneakers. “I don’t think you need to worry. From the sound of it they have all different kinds of things for you to do. Why don’t you wear my new jeans and a nice T-shirt?”
“Oh, Sandy, do you mind?” Jackie knew that Sandy had bought the jeans from money she carefully saved from her job after handing most of it over to her parents to help support the family. “I’ll be very careful, I promise.”
“I know you will,” said Sandy, hugging her sister. “Have a good time, Squirt. I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes.”
Jackie quickly got dressed and had a wash then dashed off to the bus station where she arrived just as Officer Malloy came around the corner, munching a chocolate covered doughnut. He was pleased to see that she had come, it could be that she had a genuine interest in finding a place for herself in society and he would do his best to help her. The pair of them chatted as they walked, sharing a box of doughnuts and some very bad vending machine coffee.
Eventually they reached the Continuum, and paused by one of the many benches scattered here and there around the grounds. “I don’t know where to send you first,” confessed Officer Malloy. “There are so many Twinns who need help.”
Annette had just returned from a trip to an out-of-town greenhouse and was not aware of the crisis in the sick bay. She was busy unloading some of her purchases when she overheard Officer Malloy’s comment. “I can use her,” she piped up. “Why don’t we do it alphabetically and start with A?”
“That’s fine with me.” Officer Malloy introduced Jackie to Annette. “You will learn all about gardening from Annette.” His two way radio crackled out a message. “I’ve got to get going – some idiots are stealing books from the library.” Officer Malloy shook his head at such a blatant expression of stupidity. He waved at Annette and Jackie as he strode away. “The flowers are really looking good today. Keep up the good work!”
Annette and Jackie waved back. “And nary a mutant radish in sight either,” joked Annette. “What do you know about flowers, Jackie?”
“Not a whole lot I’m afraid,” Jackie admitted. “I do have sisters named Rose, Pansy, Petunia, and Marigold, though.”
“Well, that’s a start,” Annette replied. “We’ll start with these yellow flowers. Now this is a daisy and it’s called Hello Yellow.”
“I have a sister named Daisy, too,” said Jackie. “I am just glad there isn’t a flower named Jackie.”
“Well,” Annette said, “We do have a Jack-in-the-Pulpit and it is one of my very favorites. I’ll show it to you later. We’ve got to get these in the ground before they dry out. The quality of the soil is very important, some flowers like loamy soil, some prefer clay, and others like sandy soil.”
“Gee, I have a sister called Sandy too.”
“That is very botanical family you come from Jackie. I am sure you will make a great gardener.”
Back at the sickbay, Meko was finishing her rounds and stopped by the bed of the paralysed Cookie. Leah was sitting by her keeping watch. The bed had been brought out into the yard so that Cookie would get as much fresh air as possible. Meko discovered that Carlisle had also come out to check on the Cookie. Meko checked her pulse while Carlisle counted her respirations.
“She was whispering again earlier,” reported Leah. “She said she thinks her name is Jane.”
“That is strange, the sooner we get her a body and back on her feet again, the better. I must meet with Kimmie and see what we can do, there is such a backlog of Twinns in need of surgery that I don’t know how I am going to cope. We must stabilise her so long and schedule her repairs for tomorrow, I am sure I can get somebody to help me then. Everybody is just so busy at the moment. Keep a close eye on her Leah, and let me know if there is any change. I have a meeting with Kimmie this morning to discuss the situation. Carlisle, I need your input too, can you come along? there should be some of your favourite chocolates.”
Meko and Carlise met with Kimmie in the garden.
“Kimmie, I am at wits end. Ever since Jane left I have not had a chance to get anything achieved. There is just so much work to do, and with summer on its way there will be even more! I don’t know if I can keep up with treating the sick Twinns and helping those who are in need of surgery. That new Cookie is in a bad way, I need to get her a new body and back on her feet, she is my major concern, but I don’t have anybody to assist in the operating room, either, and there are eight patients waiting.”
Kimmie sighed, she had The Book of the Twinns in front of her, “I know how you feel Meko, Jane was a great help to me as well, I have never seen The Book of the Twinns in such a complete state. She just helped out wherever she went, and Annette said that she was missing her too.”
“Maybe you girls need some chocolate,” commented Carlisle, checking out the snack dish.
“No, what we need is a new assistant and some chocolate!” Meko replied.
“It seems as if Jane was an assett to us all and I am sure she is doing great things where she is now. It’s strange but since she has left I keep on finding out how helpful she was and how much effort she put into everything. I have seen many Twinns come and go but she really left her mark on the Continuum.”
“We need to find somebody to replace her though, there is too much to do.”
“At the moment I really need someone to help out with some of the admin and filing,” Kimmie continued. “I know Harmony is also moaning that since Rory has been promoted she is also bogged down.”
Wendy’s voice came from outside “And I can always use help with my knitting!!!”
“And the croc camp is in need of somebody to assist in the lecture hall and obstacle course.” Carlisle said from the now empty snack dish. “And we need somebody who can fill the snack dish too.”
“And the kitchen needs a few more hands to help with serving,” Cathy said, leaning out of the window.
“….And….. and… and…. ” A chorus of Twinns added their needs.
“There must be somebody out there,” sighed Meko. “But till she arrives I’d better get back to sick bay. Come along, Carlisle, at least you can hand me the rubber bands.”
“Sure,” said Carlisle, “Though the term ‘hand’ doesn’t really apply to me, Meko.”
Kimmie chuckled as she packed up the dishes and The Book of the Twinns and headed back to her office. As she came around the corner she noticed someone new working with Annette.
“Hi Annette, who is this?”
“Her name is Jackie,” Annette replied. “Jackie, this is Kimmie.” The two Twinns shook hands. “Officer Malloy brought Jackie to us this morning. She wants to give us a hand with our work. She has a big family and is looking for odd jobs to help support them.”
“Great!” said Kimmie, pleased. “Jackie, tell me, where do you think your strengths lie?”
“Well, I have always wanted to help other Twinns. I don’t really know what talents I may have but I’ve had a lot of experience taking care of my younger brothers and sisters.”
“Meko is really anxious to find someone to help in sick bay,” Kimmie said. “Annette, do you mind if I take Jackie away from you for now? Meko has eight patients plus the poor paralyzed Cookie that Leah is helping to tend.”
“No, go ahead,” said Annette. “I will go see if Taryn and Carin are done with the veggie garden and maybe they will help me with the flowers.”
Kimmie took Jackie to the sickbay where Meko was struggling to cope with all the Twinns that needed surgery.
“Meko, I have brought you somebody to assist, meet Jackie, Officer Malloy asked if we could use her around here. I know that you need help urgently.”
“Hullo Jackie, I am pleased to meet you. Unfortunately we have a lot of work here at the moment and I need you to get stuck in immediately.
Never one to dawdle, Meko put Jackie right to work. Meko had already accomplished the preliminary gluing and was now removing the rubber bands and handing them to Carlisle, who was putting them in the box. Jackie was thinking how painful rubber band therapy must be. A Lois was standing by, waiting for her turn to be treated. Meko handed Jackie a hospital gown. “As soon as I get these bands off put the gown on Lois and stand her on her head,” Meko instructed.
“Even with the rubber bands off they have to stand on their heads?” Jackie asked, eyeing a nearby Ariel who reminded her of one of her sisters.
“Yes,” said Meko. “The procedure requires a 24 hour period of complete rest standing on one’s head.”
“Wow,” said Jackie. “I had no idea that surgery was so complicated.”
“It will be better now that you are here, the patients can get very scared if they are not helped through the procedure, it can be very stressfull.” said Meko. “Thanks for helping us, Jackie.”
“Yes, thanks,” said the Lois, sleepily.
“Oops, this one is waking up,” Meko said. “Carlisle, better get the anesthesia cone.”
Carlisle stuck another sock in the cone, “And when they wake up they have terrible headaches as well, but within a few hours are as good as new.”
Carlise showed Jackie how to hold the cone over the patient’s nose and mouth.” Take a deep breath Lois, and count to 100.”
© DRW, JE Sturgis 2005-2018. Moved to blog 05/09/2015