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The Waiting Room

~ Chapter Forty

Screwdrivers and Secret Ingredients

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A new day. And as always, things returned to normal...or as normal as the Room could be. Mort saw with disgust as Chico unwound himself from the nearby chair that the screwdriver had returned.

That’s how it always was in the Room. If “he” doesn’t think it, doesn’t do it…then everyday reverts back.

“Sorry Chico, old pal.” Mort told his canine companion as Chico waddled over for a morning pet. Mort touched the screwdriver protruding from the dog’s head.

“I really thought you’d be good as new.”

Chico gave Mort’s hand a lick then went off exploring the rest of the Room, unfazed that the tool had returned.

How long had he been here? He wondered. Not as long as some as he glanced over to Hanson. He watched as the young cop held a discussion with Pvt. Lerner. They seemed to be having a difference of opinion over the Vietnam War.

A body crossed Mort’s line of vision and he let his eyes follow as he watched Glen heading for the bedroom. Mort checked his watch. Right on time. He knew that in a few hours the screams would come, and like always, everyone would ignore them. Just like clockwork.

His attention was caught by two of the men, standing side by side, looking upwards to the top of one of the bookcases. He let his mind wander a bit as he tried to imagine what the two had in common. Didn’t matter, he thought, what Spencer and Barrie were discussing. He had better things to think about and opened his laptop.

Mort’s stomach growled. He realized that Sam had not delivered breakfast. Where was that boy?

He yanked open his top drawer to find an opened bag of Doritos. He frowned at the prospect of chips for breakfast but it was all he had at the moment. He filled his hand and stuffed his mouth, letting the crumbs fall into his lap. He brushed his hands together, sprinkling even more crumbs over himself. The chips' saltiness made him thirsty but to his dismay there was nothing to drink.

He sighed and rose from his desk, heading for the kitchen, knowing that there was a cold Mountain Dew in the fridge with his name on it.

He pushed the door to the kitchen open and was not surprised to find Sam standing over a pot simmering on the stove. But he was surprised to see Sparrow right next to him. Mort’s entrance had startled them both. Sam quickly hid his hands behind his back; Sparrow nonchalantly took one step back away from Sam.

Mort frowned, his brow knitted behind his glasses as he shuffled into the room towards the fridge.

He kept his attention on Sparrow and Sam as they watched him move across the room, not saying a word. As he walked past they both turned as to keep facing him. Sam still had his hands hidden.

Mort opened the fridge and found the Mountain Dew. Grabbing the cold can he let the fridge door swing shut by itself. He popped open the top and took a long hard swallow.

When he brought the can down he saw that Sam and Sparrow still had not moved.

“What? Are you two posing for Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum or something?” He asked as he started back towards the kitchen door.

“Eh, no, no” Sam answered. “Just fixing a little breakfast. I know I’m running behind. But it will be out shortly I promise.”

Sparrow remained silent.

“Yeah, well” Mort motioned to Sam “that better not be another secret ingredient behind your back. I think I’m allergic to whatever you’re putting in the food.” Then pushed himself past the door.

Sam and Sparrow waited a few seconds, making sure that Mort would not return unexpectedly. When they were sure the coast was clear they turned back to the pot, and Sam dipped out a bowlful of hot, creamy oatmeal.

He then pulled out the packet from his back pocket and ripped it open, dumping the contents on top of bowl contents. Sparrow watched with devious delight as Sam stirred in the fibrous product until it was well blended into the oatmeal. Once done, he handed the bowl to Sparrow who held it up like a precious gift.

“Bon Appetit, Mr. Rainey!” Sparrow said, flashing a gold-filled smile.


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