|Midnight Shift Ch. I
by Caresse Mandylor ©
"Good morning. Dr. Prospero's answering service. This is Caresse. How may I help you?"
"I want you to get the doctor for me now. Right this minute. It's an emergency."
This guy sounded like he was at least eighty. At first I used to panic when calls like this came in, but over the last three years I have learned that to the elderly, almost everything is an emergency. Probably just constipation.
"Calm down, sir. Let me get your information and I will page the doctor. Your name?"
"Your phone number?"
"Lady, I ain't got all night. I need the doctor now!"
"Well, how is the doctor going to reach you if you don't give me your phone number?" Don't these people realize that the longer they struggle against your questions the longer it takes to get the message out?
Finally he gave me his phone number.
"And what is the problem you are having this morning?"
"I told that doctor not to give me any blood pressure pills that would keep me from getting a hard on. I need him to call in the correct ones this time."
"I'm sorry sir, but Dr. Prospero doesn't fill prescriptions after hours."
"What?! But this is an emergency!"
"I understand, sir. The doctor does say that if you have an emergency you can always go to the nearest hospital. Otherwise I would be happy to give him your message Monday morning when he returns to the office."
Click. The phone went dead. Guess he didn't like my answer. He must have gone down to Stewart Avenue and bought a piece and now couldn't avail himself of her services. Gosh, I have been in this business too long. When did I turn so cynical? But it was a funny thought.
Dr. Prospero, huh? Must be a new account. I haven't seen it before. Good thing the instructions were written clearly on the boardcard where I could read them and talk at the same time. Someone in setup has finally gotten a clue. It's eerie though. Why do I picture boxer shorts?
"Good morning. Dr. Brannigan's answering service. This is Caresse. How may I help you?"
"Why did you page that quack doctor instead of Dr. Brannigan like I TOLD you to do?"
"I need to speak to Dr. Branigan and Dr. Brannigan only!"
"Then you will need to call Monday through Friday from 9am to 6pm. After hours, Dr. Harris is on call for Dr. Brannigan and capable of handling anything we give her."
"Listen here, bitch. My wife is having a motherfucking emergency, goddamnit!"
"Sir, if she was actually having an emergency then you would have been more than willing to talk to the doctor."
With a husband like that, no wonder the poor woman is ill. It's a good thing I don't pay attention to myself or I would discover how truly obnoxious I had become.
The doorbell? At one o'clock in the morning? It can't possibly be a door to door salesman.
I hit the button on the speaker and asked, "How may I help you?" I spend my life saying that phrase.
"This is Dr. Prospero. I am here to pay the start up fees for my account."
"Doctor that is usually done during office hours. I don't have access to accounting."
"Wilma told me I could come anytime."
Smart girl, that Wilma. I keep getting yelled at for not locking up when I'm working alone and they invite anyone over.
"Just a moment, sir."
I hopped out of my station and headed down the hallway until the front doorknob was in my grasp. Part of me felt really self-conscious about opening it but in the back of my mind I envisioned yellow boxer shorts and heard voices, "Psst. Hey, Caresse. What's in the fridge?"
Prospero from the erotica writer's list I help moderate on the internet. Dr. Prospero. No way! The very last marble of intelligence has finally fallen off the precipice of my sanity.
When I opened the door I was surprised at how young and beautiful the doctor appeared, not to mention tall and built. (On closer inspection, quite well-endowed.) He was still dressed in one of those nifty white lab coats and had a smile that made it worth working the 9pm to 7am shift. Wow, if doctors have started looking this good, then maybe I need to get sick more often.
"Hello, Miss. I'm Dr. Prospero. I was at the hospital all night in surgery and appreciate you letting me pay the bill now. I know it must have made you nervous opening the door for a complete stranger at this time of night."
"That's okay. I'll go get the key and lay your check on Wilma's desk. She'll see it first thing Monday morning."
He followed me to her office and I removed the key from its secret hiding place right in front of him out of sheer spite. She shouldn't have told the guy to come at this hour of the night. The only reason she did it was because her keyboard had recently been destroyed by a greasy substance getting in the keys. She denied everything and I may or may not have inadvertently mentioned the almost daily KFC fried chicken buckets that piled up in the garbage can next to her office. My mother always told me that my southern temper would get me in trouble someday.
"Is it busy now? I was wondering if you could give me a tour. I'm curious as to how my phones are being answered."
"Sure. No problem." It's not like I have anything else better to do. Just my job. But he sure is cute.
Maybe I should show him the stats room first. Accidentally lock us inside. It would be morning before we were rescued. I could think of plenty of ways to while away the next couple of hours in that tiny little room.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
"I'm sorry, sir. I have to answer the phone."
Running into the boardroom, I didn't notice him follow me as I placed my headset over my ears and pressed the talk button.
"Good morning. Whispering Pines Memorial Gardens. This is Caresse. How may I help you?"
"Yes ma'am. I need to know how much your apartments run."
"I'm sorry, ma'am. This is a cemetery."
"You don't have any apartments?"
No, but there is a nice plot at the back entrance. One time fee for permanent residency.
"No, I'm sorry. You have the wrong number."
Dr. Prospero asked about the call and when I told him he wondered, "Do you get calls like that all night?"
"Usually. But this is nothing. Come during the full moon and bring popcorn. You're in for a show."
I noticed him giving my legs the eye and couldn't help crossing them in a way that used to make my ex-boyfriend go wild.
"Does the dress code normally let you wear shorts that short?"
"I'm the only one here. I can answer the phones naked if I want to."
"If you are answering my phones naked then I will be a much happier man. Heck, I probably won't even fuss if you call me at this hour of the morning."
I have loved a good flirt for as long as I can remember and this guy seemed perfectly willing. Pourquoi pas? Discretely kicking the powercord up under my terminal I knocked it smack out of the socket hence turning the computer off.
"Ooops. Sorry. Unplugged it again. Just a second."
I slid out of the chair and onto my knees, bent over forwards and gave a couple of darn good wiggles, if I do say so myself, in the denim daisy duke shorts my ex-girlfriend, Kayla, had given me a week or so before she moved out of state. Kind of a going away present in reverse.
"Do you wear underwear?," he asked, obviously being able to see the answer from the position I was in at his feet.
"No, why should I? What purpose do they serve?"
"My kind of girl."
I stood up and faced him, well the best I could, with him being at least a foot taller. He smiled down at me with a naughty boy grin that he was apparently a master of and I felt a blush begin to cover my cheeks with its warmth. "I have some cheesecake and Merlot in the car if you're interested? I'm sorry. I changed it to strawberry shortcake. Your favorite."
"It is you. The man I have been flirting with from the computer writing group."
"I said I fantasized about Mr Macho types in boxer shorts raiding my refrigerator while I slipped a hand inside... You sent that card for my birthday a couple of days ago with all the cute little messages that have been going through my mind. But how did you know where I work?"
"You made no secret that you work for an answering service and not long ago I was checking the group messages and saw yours about a conversation with a hospital administrator after a lightening storm. An associate happened to come by and read it over my shoulder. He told me his service had a power outage that outlasted their emergency generators that same night. I asked what service he used and stopped by last week. I knew the moment I saw Caresse Mandylor on the time card wall that I had to have an account with your company."
"Good morning. Martin's Plumbing Company. This is Caresse. How may I help you?"
"I need a date."
"Well, I can't get you a date, but I can catch a plumber for you."
I looked over to Dr. Prospero to make a snide comment about the caller and was stopped by his fingers caressing my lips before pulling the mouthpiece out of the way and giving me an electrifying kiss. I had never kissed anyone in a lab coat before and it was kind of exciting. Slowly, I moved my fingers up his arms, thinking "Wow he must work out," and placed them at the nape of his neck, feeling the crisp lab coat at my wrists. Mmmm. His lips felt so good on mine. They knew just what I liked as if we had been kissing for a lot longer than a few minutes.
Our descent to the floor was impeded by the wires attaching me via headset to the computer, but he made short work of them, unplugging me from the base. Oh, making love wearing nothing but my headset. Interesting... Never thought of it before.
To Be Continued...
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