It was much later in the day that things started to wind down at the Continuum, Harmony, her paperwork filed under “Pending” was out in the garden, ready to plant her little patch of scarlet runner beans. Annette had bought her two plants in town, but Harmony always liked to plant the actual beans. She noticed, pleased, that Carin, Taryn, and Cavendish had already put up the sections of trellis for the beans to climb on. “It is very relaxing to be out in the garden and not behind a desk,” said Harmony to herself. “Just like Jack and the beanstalk. I wonder if I could trade these for a cow or even better, an assistant,” she giggled. “No, I really do want to plant them. I just am not the cowgirl type!”
Jackie had just finished for the day and was now walking homeward after her long day in the sick bay and her feet hurt, but she was pleased that she had been able to make a difference in the lives of so many Twinns. She heard the name “Jack” and paused and listened in to what Harmony was saying.
“I wish I could get a new assistant,” said Harmony. “This paperwork is driving me mad. And it would give me some time to do some more interesting missions.” Her most recent case was investigating why some of the girls’ scrunchies had come up missing. It turned out that Katie and Paris had taken them for a science project investigating how far a scrunchie could fly if you shot it at someone, and which thickness and design flew the best.
Jackie overheard. “I wonder if Sandy could help her,” she said to herself. “I wonder if I should talk to her.” But feeling shy, she headed on to the bus stop instead. Rounding the corner she bumped into Office Malloy who was doing his rounds.
“And young Jackie, how is it going? you look like you had a very busy day today.”
Jackie told Officer Malloy how she had helped out in the garden and in the sickbay, “I am bushed Officer Malloy, but you know what? I am enjoying it thoroughly. I don’t think I am going to join the police force yet. I think my place is here at the Continuum, they have a lot to teach me and I have much to learn. Don’t submit my application to the academy yet, I may just become a nurse instead.”
He laughed, “Somehow I knew you were going to say that. Have they offered you a permanent place yet? or will you move on once you have completed what they need you to do?”
“I don’t know, I guess that’s for them to decide, but if they make me an offer I will seriously consider it. Then I can help my family until we can get back on our feet again.”
Office Malloy was pleased that things had turned out well for Jackie and he walked her to the bus stop where Sandy was waiting for her. “Goodbye Jackie, I expect I will see you again soon. I have to pass the Continuum every day on my patrol so will pop in and see how you are doing”.
Jackie and Sandy compared notes on their day, and Jackie showed Sandy the hospital bracelet that Meko had given her. “I overheard Harmony talking about needing an assistant Sandy, I will ask her as soon as I see her again and see if you can’t come along and help at the Continuum too. After all, the farmers market is just not working out for you.”
Two weeks later Jackie was back in the recovery room at the Clinic, checking on a new batch of Twinns who had just had surgery. It would soon be time to take off the rubber bands and put hospital gowns on them. Meko had loaned Jackie a set of scrubs and Jackie felt very official. She looked around at the various Twinns. “Rosemary, Catherine, Cookie, Caitie, Denika…” she said to herself. “Too bad, no Ariels this time.”
“Caities are better,” piped up a little voice from down near her ankles.
Jackie just chuckled. Two of her sisters (Petunia and Pansy) were Caities and she knew how they were. “I’d better get the anesthesia cone for you,” she replied. “You’re not supposed to be awake yet.”
“Caities hate to waste time sleeping,” replied the Caitie. “Especially upside-down.”
As Jackie went to get the cone, she thought about her sister Sandy and the scene at the bus stop that morning. To her little sister’s dismay, Sandy was setting off for Arizona. The job at the Continuum for Sandy had not worked out because the very day after Jackie began her duties Harmony was called away for a conference on “Filing in the Modern Era.” Therefore Jackie had not been able to talk to her about having Sandy work as an assistant. Meanwhile Sandy was recruited by a grateful customer at the Farmer’s Market who had endowed a scholarship at a university in Arizona. Sandy was to go to study Chapeaugraphy, a subject she had always wanted to explore. She was very excited. “I’ll even let you wear my chicken slippers while I’m away,” she teased Jackie.
“But I will miss you. And I was hoping we could work together. I know this is a good opportunity for you, though,” said Jackie, sadly.
“Why don’t you ask them if Rosie can help with the office work,” Sandy suggested. “She is old enough to have a real job instead of just babysitting the little kids.”
“But she’s so shy,” Jackie replied. “She hardly says a word to anybody.”
“Maybe it will help,” Sandy said, as she saw the bus coming up the street. “And after all, you don’t really need to be chatty to succeed as a clerical assistant.”
“That’s true. I’ll talk to her about it,” Jackie said, giving her sister a hug and trying not to cry. “Goodbye Sandy. Keep in touch.”
“I will,” said Sandy, feeling rather teary herself. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back in no time with a diploma in hand. And just think, no more piling up peaches or plucking chickens for me!”
Jackie was thinking about how much she would miss her sister when Meko came into the room with Cammie. “How is everyone doing, Jackie?”
“Pretty well, except the Caitie woke up and I had to give her some more anesthesia,” Jackie replied.
Cammie smiled. She was a Caitie too. “Caities hate to waste time sleeping.” Cammie was there because she loved to build things and she had invented a new compression chamber where six Twinns could be treated at once after their surgery. “How are the Twinns in the chamber doing?”
“They seem fine,” Jackie reported. “They are all sleeping, anyway.”
Meko took the pulse of one of the girls. “Her vital signs are stable,” she reported. “Cammie, I think this is going to be a great help to our work.”
“Then I will get busy and build another one,” Cammie said. “I can see you have more patients than we expected.” She headed out the door, whistling an old Croc Camp song.
Meko had been visiting the office. “I put in a requisition for more gowns,” she reported to Jackie. “And Harmony is back so you can ask her about your sister.”
“Oh, Meko,” said Jackie, dissolving into tears, “She left for Arizona to go to the university to study Chapeaugraphy.”
Meko hugged Jackie. “Don’t worry, Jackie, she’ll be back. I know it must be hard to send her off, though, when you were so close.”
“She suggested I ask my sister Rose if she would like to work with Harmony,” said Jackie, recovering. “Do you think Harmony will still need an assistant? I mean, she probably learned a whole lot at the conference and maybe she won’t need anybody.”
“Believe me,” said Meko, who had been to plenty of conferences and knew how little one really learned from them, “She will need an assistant. Now let’s get busy with these gowns.” After years of nursing, Meko knew that keeping busy was the best antidote to being sad.
“Thanks, Meko,” said Jackie, wiping her eyes. Even though she had worked with Meko for two weeks she was still a bit in awe of her. “I have never seen your hair down before. It is really long. I wish I could get mine to grow that long.”
“I have to keep it braided or tied up to do surgery,” Meko explained. “Fortunately it doesn’t matter so much in post op. Now where did I put my stethoscope? I hope Carlisle didn’t take it again to see how the radishes in the garden are doing!”
© DRW, JE Sturgis 2005 – 2018. Moved to blog 06/09/2015