It was a fine day at the Twinn Continuum, and Meko declared that even though it was somewhat windy, it was a good day to do minor surgery in the open air operating room. Her first patient was Alice, who had requested an eyelash transplant. Jasmine, Janine, and Elspeth were waiting their turn; Elspeth wanted her wig fastened more securely and Janine and Jasmine wanted Meko to pierce their ears so they could wear earrings. As they waited, they were sitting on a bench and reading the old magazines and back issues of the MT catalog that the clinic always seemed to accumulate.
Unfortunately the anesthesia cone could not be used during eyelash surgery because the patient had to keep her eyes wide open so the new lashes could be attached. Therefore Alice was awake. Teri was assisting with the surgery and Carlisle was posted by the box of eyelashes.
Meko had recruited Cavendish to come and read to the patients, as everyone loved to hear his British accent. Unfortunately he had decided to bring his favorite book, Victorian and Later British Poets, because previously Meko had asked him to read from Little Women and Cavendish felt that his audience deserved more dignified material. He cleared his throat. “The Kraken” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson,” he announced. “Below the thunders of the upper deep, Far, far beneath the abysmal sea,” he began.
Just then Sally arrived at the clinic. “Good morning, everyone,” she said. Sally often stopped by the clinic because Meko usually kept chocolates in a dish on the reception desk.
“Sorry, Sally, we only have pretzels today,” said Pat, who was serving as receptionist and keeping the charts up to date.
“I’m trying,” said Alice, “but you don’t know how hard it is for me to go all this time without talking!”
“Just do your best. I’ll be finished soon,” laughed Meko.
“I am thinking of getting a transfer over to the Tumbling Twinns,” Sally announced, taking a pretzel just on general principles. “I wanted to ask your opinion of whether or not I should go.”
“His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep, the Kraken sleepeth,” intoned Cavendish.
“Cavendish, what is a Kraken?” asked Pat.
Cavendish looked up from his book. “I think it is some kind of animal. Evidently he lives under the sea.”
“Maybe it is a kind of croc,” suggested Carlisle. “Sally, if you think you would like to go to South Africa, you ought to give it a try. We would miss you, though.”
“Just think of all the chocolate we’d have for the rest of us,” joked Teri.
“I am worried because Brenda is over there so they already have an Emma,” said Sally with a sigh, as she chose another pretzel.
“You know the old saying, if one Emma is good, two are better,” Meko pointed out.
“I thought that saying was about Caities,” said Pat.
“No, it is about Berkeleys,” Alice insisted. “Right, Teri?”
“Well, I have heard it said about us Berks,” Teri admitted, “but mostly it is the Cookies who are always saying that if one Cookie is good, seven or eight are better.”
“Some people feel that way about pretzels, too,” said Pat, as Sally took a third. “But isn’t there some kind of legend that Emmas need to be in even numbers?”
“I have heard that,” said Sally, “but Brenda is the Astonishing Brenda and I am just plain old Sally. What if she doesn’t want me to come? I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.”
“Every Twinn is astonishing in his or her own way, whether it’s in your name or not,” said Carlisle. “Don’t worry, Sally. I think you and Brenda would get along just fine, and as long as the Bossman likes you, that is what counts.”
“Faintest sunlights flee about his shadowy sides; above him swell huge sponges of millennial growth and height,” read Cavendish dramatically.
“The plot of ‘The Kraken’ is really heating up,” whispered Teri to Meko, who just smiled.
Kelani came into the clinic. “Hi everyone,” she said. The Twinns and crocs all called their greetings to the Hawaiian Twinn. Kelani had recently had some surgery on her arm and had come for physical therapy. “I’m here for my therapy, Meko.”
Everyone lined up and Kelani was just demonstrating the first movement when they heard the unmistakeable rattle of Randy’s wagon.
“There he hath lain for ages and will lie, battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,” read Cavendish, totally oblivious to the background noises.
Everyone else rushed over to find that Randy and Peter had brought the new Pearl who had recently come to the Continuum. She did not have an official name because she was destined to go to the Tumbling Twinns. But the girls had given her Lily Su as a temporary name.
“Lily, what happened?” Meko asked anxiously.
“I was getting dressed this morning when something snapped and I couldn’t feel my toes anymore,” said a very distressed Lily Su.
“Get Lily fixed, I can wait,” said Alice, jumping off the bed. The boys gently moved Lily to the bed. Teri took Lily’s blood pressure while Meko examined her.
“It doesn’t look good,” said Meko solemnly. “Lily, I’m afraid your spine has become disconnected.”
“Oh dear,” said Lily Su. “Can it be fixed?”
“Yes, but I think the best thing to do is to give you a whole new body. I have learned in cases like this that it is best to do immediate surgery. Don’t worry, Lily, you will be good as new in no time.” Meko squeezed Lily’s hand. “I am afraid we will have to clear the clinic and you girls will have to wait for your procedures. Teri, go check our body supply and pick out a nice 02. Carlisle, please set up the anesthesia cone. Pat, would you go find Jane and tell her I need her help?”
“Of course, right away, Meko,” said Pat, though she was a bit disappointed at missing some of the hula lesson.
“Don’t worry, Pat, we will wait for you,” promised Kelani. “Meet us out by Carlisle’s reflecting pond. Alice, you come, too. Don’t worry, Lily, I have been in surgery twice and once you get the anesthesia cone you don’t feel a thing till you wake up and you’re better again.” The girls all added their encouragement to Lily as they headed out so Meko could have a sterile environment.
Alice had checked the mirror and realized that Meko had finished her lashes. She gave Meko a quick hug on the way out. “Thanks, Meko. I look like my old self again!”
“Just wait till you get the bill,” joked Meko. “Only kidding, Alice. You’re welcome.”
“Do you want me to continue reading?” asked Cavendish politely.
“Cavendish, I know everyone is anxious to hear how the Kraken comes out and how he can eat seaworms while he is asleep, but I think it is probably best that we discontinue for now. I’ll need to concentrate on this surgery.”
“I understand,” said Cavendish. “When I was in the foreign service we often had to make last minute changes in our plans so I am accustomed to adjusting what I am doing at short notice. I will mark the passage where we stopped so I can begin again the next time you do minor surgery.”
“Thank you, Cavendish.” said Meko.
As Cavendish left the room with his book in his mouth, Carlisle joked to Meko, “Maybe we can eliminate the anesthesia cone and just have Cavendish read Tennyson to our patients.”