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liamc2

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Posts posted by liamc2


  1. I'll extend it a little further and say smartphones in general are the culprit. We have them all the time (which is fantastic as I have OneNote and a bunch of textbooks on mine, super useful for study on the go). Google is super convenient on that platform for locations/transport schedules etc., but it's a gateway for further conversation distraction...

     

    Wife and I have recently made a "no multitasking" rule as we both found ourselves reading random stuff on our phones in commercial breaks one night...and then we weren't even watching the show. I would look up from what I was reading and occasionally share a random factoid from the article/cat picture/facebook page I had on my screen and she would do the same. No conversation or anything. It was really quite sad. 

     

    I was forced to use an old brick phone for a while when my 'droid died. Suddenly I was in that weird T9 text world (muscle memory is an amazing thing BTW) and I didn't like it. I would actually call instead of text. I actually became massively more engaged in my environment. Moments of boredom or lulls in large group conversation didn't have me immediately looking for something interesting on my screen.

     

    ...and the second I had a replacement phone from a friend I went back to the old habits that found me on the couch with my wife with neither of us talking, just staring at two tiny screens while a 50 inch screen showed something we didn't even care about

     

    /shudder.


  2. Honestly I wouldn't mind getting back on board with an RPG. It's been years since I wrote with others (and honestly, years since I wrote). I existed in a different sphere to the rest of the more active oldies, but it would be nice to get some creative outlets happening again, even if it's just a page or two a week. 


  3. There must be something in the water. I was in the middle of doing a series of flashcards and memorisation and thought "I should really see how the OB is going"

     

    So, Here I am again, a couple years later. It's nice to see a handful of the original crew are still lurking (forgive me if I don't recognise the avatar name changes ^_^;;) and apparently thriving off the boards. It's strange to think that it's almost been 13 years since I first signed on and how much we've all grown and changed. Not to mention how much the internet has changed. Weird.

     

    Anyhow. I finished up working full time in a Nuclear Pharmacy (now it's just the odd call in job when desperate for cash) and I was admitted into med school. Just prior I proposed to the most wonderful woman on the planet and she agreed to share lives with me. We've been married for a year now and we're doing great. Dirt poor, which blows after I had a few years earning good money for a graduate science position, but I know my chosen path is to be a Doctor and a Radiologist at that. In the end it's worthwhile. Life is good and apart from a hospital scare (turns out I may have spherocytosis) and a bunch of stress with my then fiance and I going long distance through it (she's American and chose to live in Australia with me), I feel pretty blessed to have life turn out the way it did.

     

    Coming back here and checking in is almost like returning home. I may even lurk a bit more before the study guilt crushes me again!


  4. [font="Arial Narrow"]Well the anthology has always had its up and downs with reviews and constructive criticism...but this is the website that got me writing in the first place. Aaand the people here nudged me enough to improve my writing (and hopefully keep on improving).

    I just can't stay away for long :)[/font]

  5. [font="Arial Narrow"]

    Well you know, we come and go. I've just been poking my head in here and debating whether or not I want to start posting some story ideas again.

    Looks like OB is still around for all of us. It's been a long time and I've been OB unfaithful (in my defence I've been a little busy these past few years and am going to continue to be busy) but it's like a safe harbour in the intertubes...

    How the hell are we all? :D[/font]

  6. [quote name='PWNED']
    [I]
    Does this mean that we are all hackers for aobut 5 or 6 years?[/I][/QUOTE]

    [FONT="Papyrus"]Well when you think about it, kids generally rebel in their own way. Considering technological advancement [and how long the internet has been around], it's only natural for teens to be "rebellious" online.

    I remember reading this article years ago when I was in that 5-6 year period at high school. Back in the day when we used to be able to use MS Frontpage to figure out someone's Hotmail Password XD. It's obviously a joke article, but when I think of the things we used to get up to with the most silly of tools...there is an element of truth to it.

    [SPOILER]Ha! Just remembered a friend of mine managed to "hack" the school phone system through acquiring all of the extension numbers and wreaking havoc in classrooms everywhere. Most amusing[/SPOILER][/FONT]

  7. [quote name='Katakidoushi'] Your point of view, my friend, is the problem with american cinema.[/QUOTE]

    [FONT="Papyrus"]Shame I live in Australia.

    I probably should have been a bit more clear. I'm not saying that this will be a good movie. I'm saying it will be mediocre and will appeal to the common person. Bread and Circuses [SPOILER]to use a quote almost out of context[/SPOILER]. I think it's sad that they've changed things so much to appeal to a broader spectrum of people, especially considering how phenomenally successful the original DB+DBZ was with so many generations.

    The movie will work for the people funding it. It may be entertaining, it may be bland in comparison to the original anime, it may be bog standard action with all the boxes ticked...but is it really something to go foaming at the mouth over?

    The fan response I've seen for this teaser trailer on other sites is really quite embarrassing. I don't understand why people are so over the top about it that they feel they need to curse producers and Hollywood back to the dawn of time. IF you don't like the direction of something, fair enough. Stick to the original, you still have your imagination.

    Many things are being made to movies now, so roughly 1/3 of the cinema audience is going to be upset or offended over how their favourite tale is going to be handled. That's how imagination works, that's why books and comics work and appeal so well. We're allowed a little artistic license. Movies take away that artistic license and put it into someone else's hands, so things will be different.

    Just because a producer or art team have taken this different [sometimes completely different] take on something doesn't mean that they've slapped you in the face and destroyed hollywood forever.

    People need to lighten up. It's not your money they're spending, nor are you gambling a sizeable chunk of equity on a producer's ability to draw in a good return. Yes, I don't like it when people take shortcuts [Explosions and sex appeal over solid Plot], but it doesn't mean it's going to hurt me, I can always choose not to watch it.

    Like it or lump it, this is what DB will look like. There's nothing that you can change about it. Movie is done and in post production. Done. Finished. Before the angry mob lashes me to a pyre and applies the flaming torches, chillax. Just reading youTube comments on the trailer from "fans" whinging about how it looks is enough to make the most rabid among us cringe in shame. By all means express your voice and opinion, but so that it seems that you sleep with a Goku Doona and debate the religious symbolism of the Dragon Balls and Goku's Afterlife and Reincarnation...

    I can guarantee that, six months after the movie is released and on DVD, you won't even care anymore.

    Chillax and pick up a good book. Life goes on.
    [/FONT]

  8. [FONT="Papyrus"]I'm sorry, but if you take the trailer from the perspective of someone who's never even heard of DB before, this is rather impressive. The trailer is set up like any other [admittedly empty and plotless] big-earning "blockbuster."

    If I switched off my DB memories, the inner teen in me is thinking "man, that movie looks so [i]awesome![/i] Flash cars, guns and things exploding and creepy bad guys!"

    Sorry folks, but if the marketing campaign keeps up as well as this trailer shows [and they stop pointing out who the characters are], then this may be a modest earner. It won't be anything major because the internet is trying to kill it, but I think we have a "winner."

    If you doubt me, the first thing that popped into my head while watching it was "Agent Cody Banks." Similar market. Hell, I'd even watch this hack movie...on DVD...simply because it's something mindless and inoffensive [unless you're a hardcore fan].

    Face it, it's DB for crying out loud.

    Any change is an improvement.

    [/FONT]

  9. [SIZE="2"][FONT="Papyrus"]Personally I'm appreciative of more formal clothing. After wearing jeans and a t-shirt for the past three years of University, I've become more appreciative of the world of business suits and shirts.

    If I had a choice [and the weather weren't so warm] I would wear my tailored Fletcher Jones black suit, Pelaco white shirt and a rather snazzy tie all the time.

    As I'm getting older, I'm starting to appreciate dressing professionally. I've had a number of meetings and engagements where such attire is required, and I think it rather suits me.

    Granted, I'm still happy as a pig in mud to kick back in jeans, a t-shirt and a pair of thongs on my feet. [/FONT][/SIZE]

  10. [SIZE="1"][quote name='Rachmaninoff']The Golden Compass. I saw it because I was curious (there was a fuss over people trying to get it banned here) but ended up disappointed in it. The actual movie started out fairly well and the steam punk imagery was neat. But it was pretty clear before long that if you hadn't read the book, you weren't going to know what the hell was really going on. So I managed to watch it to the end but it wasn't worth it. At first I though, meh, worth watching once, but the more I think about it, the more I lean towards the thought that it would have been better if I had never seen it at all.[/QUOTE]

    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"]Motion seconded. I loved the cinematography and the steam punk world that was created... but when I actually reviewed the movie in my head [and smothered the 6 year old in my head cheering for fighting polar bears]...there wasn't much in the way of plot. I'm sure it would be a more significant as a book, but I felt that the scriptwriters just slapped together all the "exciting" scenes and assumed we'd guess most of the deep plot and such by ourselves.

    It seems that a lot of recent movies are based on SF/F books [yay] but they've been cut short or altered to appear friendly to the movie going crowd, which is a two edge sword. I'm all for awesome and win in a movie, but not at the expense of the script.

    "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising" is my example. Started of unbelievably well with a convincing example of a believable family, and then it just fell to bits. Christopher Eccleston was completely wasted as a generic badguy, and the plot didn't make much in the way of sense. Things were rushed [ie: The older brother suddenly becoming an evil guy and wanting to kill his younger sibling...and a dozen other things], and there seemed to be large gaps and places where the plot was papered over.

    Sigh.

    It's completely put me off actually reading the books...

    [B]EDIT[/B]: [b]Asphy[/b] Surely you would have known what you were in for? [/FONT][/SIZE]

  11. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]
    Let me just preface all posts here with a disclaimer:[i] Do not use the internet for health advice. Some people may know what they're talking about, but it's the nature of the human body to express similar symptoms for hundreds of different ailments. Internet = turns people into hypochondriacs[/i]

    I'm assuming you're physically fit [owing to the nature of your class] but it's entirely possible that your endurance is simply too low. The pain in your side could simply be a stitch. When you reach your limit, you get them a lot.

    This is not to say that you are unfit. I could barely run a hundred metres in highschool, but I could easily complete my 5k swim squad training without a problem. Different muscle groups tire from different exercises. A good personal trainer can manage your efforts in such a way that you feel completely exhausted but you can move onto a different activity with renewed vigour.

    Stick it out and do some jogging in your own time. By effectively training yourself you will find that you can run further and longer with less strife.

    As I said earlier, there are a number of conditions ranging from basic [Nutritional] up to serious problems [Lung/Heart issues...very unlikely :3] and even crazy weird causes like a cyst on your diaphragm causing restrictions to your breathing.

    Bottom line: Stick it out. Your body will adapt. It's going to be hard for a long time, but after a month there will be a noticeable improvement. If your fatigue continues to be a serious problem, however, you may want to consult your physician : ) [/SIZE][/FONT]

  12. [quote name='The13thMan'][FONT="Trebuchet MS"]
    Hopefully i'll get both with biomedical engineering. I really love science, anatomy fascinates me, and i think engineering is the most practical use of science. And biomedical engineers get payed by the truck load! =P[/FONT][/QUOTE]
    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]
    You need to love it to get through the course, that's for sure. Engineering on its own is an exceptionally demanding degree. Maths is killer and assessment will drown the ill-prepared. Combined with a biomedical component it can be especially lethal.

    Whatever, if you love your maths and physics, then it's a good place to be. Unfortunately, the money isn't in Biomedical Engineering [at least in Australia] until you've been working for quite a while with a number of successes/grants under your belt. Maybe 5-10 years after graduation you'll be earning a respectable sum [or earlier if you luck out into a good private company].

    If you do like engineering, most of the money is in Chemical Engineering. A friend of mine was already working in his fourth and final year of study as a cog in a company somewhere, and he was promised a AU$70 000 per year salary when he graduates, within five years he should be up to $100 000 and beyond if he climbs the responsibility ladder.

    Right. The job I want to do is Radiology. I've wanted to do it since I was a highschool work experience student at a Queensland X-ray lab back in '02. It's a position I found myself growing to love, and by the end of the week I'd decided that I'd make it my own. Science and Medicine are my great loves, so it suits me perfectly. It's also a high demand profession here with almost all hospitals advertising positions, so I'm not going to be without work when I graduate. It also means that there are "Area of Need" scholarships in place to support those that choose an "in demand" profession.

    As for stress and responsibility, I don't care. After graduation from Biomedical Science I realised that, despite all the hard times, I work harder and faster under pressure.

    Being a Radiologist is definitely the Profession for me.[/SIZE][/FONT]

  13. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="2"][B]EDIT: Please find the latest update just below the new image[/B]

    Apologies for updating like this, but no-one's commenting. So yeah >.>;[/SIZE][/FONT]

    [CENTER]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/CENTER]

    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]Sorry there was such a delay between posts. I was a little busy.

    Cheers for the comment. I like having the background but I must admit it's a bit difficult in places. I'm just going to have to use this mostly blank one and maybe insert the images some other way.[/SIZE][/FONT]

    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="2"]Thane shifted his weight, gently easing the direction of the board as the wave approached the beach. The sun was well and truly out, baking the beach with a heat that forced even the most intrepid of sunbathers to seek shelter in the cool water. Thane cut carefully along the waves, keeping an eye out for any rogue swimmers that had drifted from the red and yellow flags.

    [I]A beautiful day,[/I] he thought, [I]this is exactly what I needed. The city can be too oppressive; all the work that?s waiting for me can keep on waiting. [/I]

    Thane dropped down flat on his board and paddled further out towards the next swell. He was one of the only people surfing today, but considering the lack of waves it wasn?t surprising.

    The wave was closer now, and Thane hunched up, finding his balance.

    [I]I think I?ll do this until the sun goes down.[/I] Thane smiled to himself and stood,[I] I haven?t had a proper vacation in a long, long time.[/I]

    There was a roar of a high-powered engine, and Thane turned his head to the noise.

    [I]What can that be?[/I] Thane thought, peering over his shoulder.

    There was nothing there, the wave had built up to a decent height and all Thane could see was green water.

    The engine noise increased and on the edge of his hearing, above the sound of the water, Thane could hear excited whooping and cheering. Thane checked again, crouching low to his board. He could see a dark shadow in the wave, something approaching fast through the water.

    [I]No way[/I]. Thane thought.

    Thane was knocked off his board, his head rudely introduced to the nose of the fast moving Jet Ski that had just attempted to mount and jump the wave. His board whipped around on his ankle strap and clocked the driver and passenger, knocking both into the water. The Jet Ski?s powerful motor cut off as the failsafe engaged. The wave swallowed all, crashing into the beach.

    Thane blinked as he found himself back on his board, still on the same wave. He foundered and slipped, crashing heavily into the water. He surfaced moments later, coughing the salt water out of his lungs and rubbing his burning eyes. His board bobbed merrily beside him.

    ?Mate, are you all right? We didn?t see you there, must?ve given you a bit of a fright??

    Thane hugged his board and looked blearily at the middle-aged man sitting on a fluoro green Kawasaki two-seater Jet Ski. A ten-year-old boy was on the back, inspecting Thane with interest.

    Thane coughed again and dropped his head onto his wet board in exasperation.

    ?Daaaad, can we go again?? The boy wheedled.

    The father looked down at his son, ?yeah all right, in a minute, Dan.?

    Thane looked up, shifting his board. ?You do know that Jet Ski?s aren?t allowed in the flagged surfing zone, right??

    ?Mate, surfing zone?s about fifty metres up the beach.? The man laughed, ?you?re the bugger in the wrong place.?

    ?Oh.? Thane sneezed, rubbing his nose furiously. The salt water from his dive was tickling his nose something chronic. ?Cheers. I?ll just get out of your way, then.?

    ?You sure, mate?? The man looked concerned. ?Looked like that board cracked you over the head as you went down. Do you want a lift to shore??

    Thane straddled his board, ?I?ll just drift in, I?ll get there eventually. Thanks anyway.?

    ?All right, if you?re sure.? The man looked back at his son. ?Hold on Dan, here we go!?

    Thane hugged his board as the Jet Ski?s wake threatened to sink him.

    [I]Maybe that?s enough for the day, after all.[/I]

    Another swell passed underneath Thane as he made his way back to the beach. Looking around now, he could see that he was far off course. He only just noticed how close he was to the rocks.

    ?Hello dear. How?s the surf??

    Grandma Stoke was sitting on a collapsible beach chair, underneath an overlarge floral beach umbrella. She was wearing a summer dress that was in fashion when she was younger, and that was oddly starting to become popular again.

    Thane dropped his surfboard onto the sand, realising that he was paying attention to unnecessary details again.

    ?Good enough.? He managed, ferreting around in the esky. ?Small enough waves for me to find my feet again. Oh good, the ice has melted??

    Grandma Stoke pushed her sunglasses back up her nose and looked back to her book.

    ?Well someone didn?t close the lid before he went surfing for four hours.?

    Thane looked at his watch. ?Huh. So how?s the book??

    ?Dull as dishwater. I?ve read it once before and it?s amazing how empty the plot is when you already know the twist at the end.? She sighed and closed the book. ?It?s really rather disappointing.?

    Thane sat down and flicked the gritty sand off his wet can of lemonade. ?Well don?t read it then. There?re enough second hand bookshops around here for you.?

    Grandma Stoke sighed and put her sunglasses on her head. ?Yes, but they?re run by little old biddies that recognise me and have to tell me their sad stories about their ugly grandchildren, and then I?m stuck there for three hours as they try to sell me a Harlequin Romance novel that I read when I was a teenager. It?s dreadfully awkward.?

    Thane grinned, trying not to laugh.

    ?Watch it, you.? Grandma Stoke said, bopping Thane on top of the head with her book.

    Thane laughed. ?You did choose to live here, Grandma.?

    Grandma Stoke settled back into her seat and remarked sullenly, ?well that was before all the old people moved in. Now I have to deal with little old biddies everywhere I go, always asking me if I?m on holidays here. I mean, really, I?ve lived here longer than anyone else. [I]They?re[/I] the ones on vacation.?

    ?Oh of course, I can totally see where you?re coming from.? Thane drank. ?Bleaugh. Sand has to get everywhere, doesn?t it??

    Music started somewhere, and Thane realised with dread that it was his phone ringing.

    ?There it goes again.? Grandma Stoke commented, turning a page. ?That thing has been ringing non-stop since you went into the water. I?ve had to bury it in my towel but it just keeps on getting louder.?

    Thane scrabbled around frantically. ?Why didn?t you tell me??

    ?Didn?t want to worry you, dear.?

    [I]?Tonight means nothing if we stay...?[/I]

    ?Oh no,? Thane muttered, wresting his phone out of the tight bundle of towels. ?Gyroscope, that means it?s a private number.?
    Grandma Stoke looked over her book. ?Does it, dear? That?s nice.?

    Thane had attributed different music tracks on his phone to different callers. Mostly due to boredom, but now he appreciated the forewarning it gave him before he even picked up his phone.

    ?Hello, this is DSC Stoke speaking.?

    [I]?Finally, DSC Stoke. This is Detective Sergeant Andrews. Did you lose your phone??[/I]

    Thane blanched and had the creeping dread that he was severely underdressed for this conversation.

    ?No sir.?

    [I]?Can you explain why you have been unreachable for the past three hours??[/I]

    ?No sir, sorry sir. I?ve been spending time with my Grandmother and I only just noticed my phone, I?d left it a way aways from me and had not noticed your calls until now.?

    [I]?I see. Ensure it doesn?t happen again. Have you completed your statement for last night?s event??[/I]

    [I]Bugger[/I]. ?No sir, I was exhausted after the event and was planning to submit it once back in the office on Monday. This is my long weekend, sir.?

    There was a heavy, displeased sigh on the other end of the phone. [I]?DSC Thane Stoke, are you telling me that you do not have your computer and Internet access with you? I?m certain you could spare some time from your dreadfully busy schedule and email me a typed statement of the events of Thursday night past. If it?s not too much trouble, I would like to have this resolved before court on Monday.?

    ?Yes sir, right away. I?ll email it to you before the end of the day.?

    [I]?If you tear yourself away from the surf right now, I?m sure you could have it to me in an hour.?[/I]

    The phone clicked.

    ?Great. Just wonderful.? Thane sighed. ?Sorry Grandma, I?ve got work to do. I?ve got to get back to my computer and submit a statement.?

    ?Be a dear and take the esky back with you.? Grandma Stoke didn?t look up from her book. ?This just got interesting again. I should be able to manage the umbrella and my chair by myself.?

    Thane shouldered the battered blue esky and picked up his towel and board. ?Okay then, seeya Grandma.?

    Ten minutes later, Thane found himself lying uncomfortably on his bed in the guestroom, ignoring his sunburnt back while trying not to incriminate himself in his own statement.

    [I]??after hearing the shot I ordered Kei Nalren to administer to the wounds of her fiancé Todd. I then investigated and discovered a hole in the bedroom wall, therein I discovered a firearm and ammunition??[/I]

    Thane paused and said aloud to himself, ?is it [I]wherein[/I] or [I]therein?[/I] Whichin??

    [I]?I immediately secured the evidence and detained both members of the household before calling in the incident. The suspect known to me as ?Todd? remained quiet and admitted nothing to me, nor did he make any protestations of evidence to his fiancé, Kei.?[/I]

    Thane read through his statement a few more times before he was finally satisfied with the truth in it. Feeling safe in the knowledge that he had done his duty (or at least written the bare minimum necessary to justify doing his duty), Thane proceeded to email it to DS Andrews.

    He again attempted to email it to DS Andrews.

    ?No reception?? Thane groaned.

    Thane opened the Telstra diagnostic and proceeded to fiddle. The device continued to attempt to reconnect unsuccessfully. Thane picked up his laptop and wandered out into the living room, shifting the aerial on the PCMIA mobile card.

    ?Come [I]on[/I] you stupid thing.?

    Thane nudged open the screen door with his foot and wandered outside, away from the block of units. The device attempted to connect, and announced that he had full reception. Relieved, Thane proceeded to send the email. The signal strength dropped dramatically, announced that he didn?t have a connection, and then announced that his email had been sent successfully.

    The device announced that it had moderate reception from the Maryborough Next G mobile tower.

    ?Typical. Ninety-eight percent of Australia Next G network coverage my foot.? Thane sighed and closed the Macbook before heading back inside.

    Thane sat down on the leather armchair in front of the TV, relishing the feel of the cool leather on his burnt back. He turned on the box and flicked casually through the channels automatically, his mind focused elsewhere.

    Familiar chords started up again as Thane?s phone started ringing and vibrating its way across the coffee table. He sighed and turned the TV off, almost regretting missing out on the exciting bowls tournament that was on the ABC.

    ?DSC Stoke speaking.?

    [I]?Just received your email DSC Stoke. I appreciate the thought, but I?m guessing you forgot to attach your statement.?[/I] DS Andrews said dryly.

    Thane froze in embarrassment and swiftly set up his computer again while cradling his phone with his shoulder.

    ?Sorry sir, I?ll email it again now sir.?

    [I]?Thankyou, detective. I?ll just wait here, shall I??[/I]

    Thane opened his email client and started the Telstra device again. Blessedly, it decided to work without him having to wander outside again.

    ?On its way, sir. I?ve been having trouble with the mobile broadband connection here.?

    [I]?Ahuh.?[/I] There were the sounds of a few mouse clicks and keyboard keys. [I]?The force pays for it all, I don?t see why you should complain about something like that. Besides, from what I?ve seen of your usage reports, your used quota exceeds that of the rest of your colleagues combined.?[/I]

    Thane said nothing; he could easily envision the wry smile that was already on his superior?s face.

    [I]?Ah yes, here it is.?[/I] More clicks. [I]?And your statement included as well, excellent. I will review this, detective. And I will see you nice and early next week. I believe you managed to miss a debriefing over this whole situation, so we?ll catch up with that bit of paper work before we start on Monday, okay??[/I]

    ?Yes sir, no problem sir.?

    [I]?Drop the ?sir,? son. You?re always too bloody formal.?[/I]

    ?Sorry, sarge.?

    [I]?And stop apologising, you?ve got no reason for it.?[/I]

    ?Sorry[I]- click!-[/I] ??

    Thane frowned and put the phone back down on the table, sighing heavily. He turned the TV back on and noted that Australia was just behind England by a couple points. According to the TV guide next to him, the broadcast would go on for another hour or so, plenty of time for an equaliser and eventual comeback by the Australian bowls team.

    Thane smiled to himself and leant back in the chair.

    [I]Good enough.[/I]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]


    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]Well it's been a month, and I grew tired of the wait. Enjoy.[/SIZE][/FONT]


    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="2"]Thane woke up to the sound of his phone?s alarm. He opened his eyes and glared at the phone that was now vibrating its way along the table and playing an obnoxious bell noise that he?d grown to hate.

    ?Shut up.? Thane managed as he squeezed the phone silent.

    Thane had managed to return to his flat in Brisbane Sunday afternoon and had promptly crashed. He?d recovered a lot of lost sleep, but after sacrificing two meals and water for the rest, he felt disgusting.

    The shave and shower rejuvenated him. The weather had been getting decidedly warmer, and last night was particularly fierce. The water in the shower was tepid and a shock to the system, but it blasted away the summer?s sweat and discomfort. Thane opened his mouth and tuned out, relishing the cool water.

    Some time later, the obnoxious alarm sounded again.

    ?Bah, water restrictions.? Thane cursed himself and rubbed his drowsy eyes as he shut off the taps.

    There was a moment of hurried awkwardness as Thane tottered around the house and snatched up clothes that he hurriedly re-ironed. He dressed quickly and efficiently while thinking over the day?s agenda. He had a lot of work to do and he was certain he?d be raked over the coals for it.

    ?Fruit for breakfast,? he muttered as he pulled open his fridge, ?apples are still good.?

    Thane closed the fridge and finally noticed his reflection in the polished surface of the door. He grunted and ran a hand through his hair to little effect. He shrugged and bit into the apple, hurrying back into his room to collect his work gear and suit coat.

    In his hurry, Thane neglected to notice the small handwritten note that had been folded and carefully placed on his small kitchen table. He also failed to note his rather unimpressed cat that was sitting impatiently on the balcony.

    Thane closed and locked the front door. He checked his watch, baulked at the time, and hurried down the steps with his jacket cradled over one arm and his messenger bag held in the other.

    ?Mr Stoke!?

    Thane saw the door open mid stride, time slowed as he saw the familiar cane come out and tap the ground angrily. Thane didn?t see the owner, because in the next second he landed and tripped over the stick. His arms flailed out and his fingers scraped along the brick walls of the stairwell. He caught himself on the aluminium door lintel, his face centimetres away from the glass.

    ?I warn you to not run, Mr Stoke.? Mrs Petrovich shook her cane and hit Thane squarely on the rump while he steadied himself. ?This is dangerous, you could break your neck!?

    ?I almost did, Mrs Petrovich.? Thane said, he did not add [I]You crazy old bat[/I].

    ?Be more careful! You wake up everyone every morning, like clockwork. Even now, your cat, he wakes me up.? Mrs Petrovich gestured angrily, as only a diminutive old lady could. ?He is out my window now, wanting food!?

    Thane groaned as he snatched up his suit coat. ?I?m so sorry Mrs Petrovich, I went away and couldn?t find him, but I put food out and I?m really sorry. Thanks for looking after him though.?

    Mrs Petrovich shrugged, ?is okay. He is a good cat, he visits me while you are at work.?

    [I]That?s where you get to, you greedy guts.[/I] Thane thought, and said out loud, ?speaking of work, I really need to get going. I?m going to be late!?

    Mrs Petrovich dismissed him with a flick of her hand and slammed back into her flat, grumbling something incoherent.

    [I]Late, late, late, late. So late. And wow my fingers are really smarting[/I]. Thane threw himself into the car and reversed out, not bothering to lock the tiny garage. As he drove, he squeezed his now intensely painful fingers into a fist. He winced and turned the radio on.

    [I]Music[/I] Thane thought, and changed channels to FM. [I]More music.[/I]

    [I]And that was ?White Noise,? off the Living End?s latest album. Coming up this fine Monday morning with the Breakfast Crew, we want to know who would take their Nana with them to the Big Day Out! We have some of the elusive sold out tickets for the Gold Coast and we?ll give them to the most rocking Nan out there. So call in now![/I]

    Thane rolled his eyes at the mental image of taking his Grandmother at the Big Day Out. She?d probably be more into the music than he would. Besides, he doubted that the ?Breakfast Crew? would appreciate a cop calling up for free music festival tickets.

    Thane made his way into work, absentmindedly tapping the steering wheel in time with the music. It was early yet, but the sky was bright and it felt to be another beautiful day. He only wished he didn?t have to wear the suit in summer. Plainclothes were better than the uniform, sure, but he always roasted in his suit.

    By the time he had arrived and parked in the underground lot, Thane?s back was already sticky and he peeled out of his seat as he got out of the vehicle. He gave a furtive look around, and swiftly gave himself a quick spray with the deodorant he kept in the car.

    ?You?re late, detective.?

    Thane froze on the spot and subtly dumped the spray back into the car before turning around on the spot to face his accuser.

    He sighed. ?Mayank, you gave me a heart attack.? He checked his watch. ?And for your information, I?m early.?

    Mayank grinned, his perfectly white teeth standing out brilliantly from his dark Indo-Fijian skin. ?Early for work, yes. Definitely late for your debrief with sarge, though.?

    Thane froze, and the colour drained from his face as a wave of realisation washed over him.

    Mayank raised an eyebrow. He leant forward. He leant back. He waved a hand in front of Thane?s glazed eyes.

    ?Hey buddy, are you okay?? Mayank peered at him, and then smacked Thane?s forehead with the palm of his hand.

    Thane started and shook his head, looking around the parking lot. He gave a heartfelt groan.

    ?What?s up?? Mayank asked in an amused tone.

    ?I was hoping it was all a dream. Or I was having another moment. Generally I?m forewarned when I?ve made a decision that?s going to kill me.? Thane snatched his belongings out of the car. ?This week is not starting well.?

    ?Mate, it?s Tuesday.?

    ?Oh God no.?

    ?We tried to call you, but your phone just kept ringing out. The sarge left a message that [I]very[/I] politely requested your presence, I just figured you finally got it.?

    Thane?s brain shifted gears. He stopped and stared hard at his partner. ?Have I mentioned recently how much I appreciate your humour??

    Mayank grinned, ?there?s always a first time.? He clapped Thane on the shoulder, ?come on, I?m sure sarge won?t be too unimpressed. I mean, he?s probably too busy to squeeze in an official dressing down.?

    ?Ahuh.?

    ?So how was the surf?? Mayank pushed the elevator button. ?Did you enjoy the day off??

    Thane put his coat on and tidied up in front of the mirrored walls of the elevator. ?Surf was pretty average, I?m way too out of practice to be showing off on anything impressive.?

    Mayank nodded and rocked on his feet, ?so?you had another [I]experience[/I]??

    ?Jet Ski almost killed me. Except it didn?t.? Thane shrugged and straightened his tie. ?I woke up back on the board and wiped out before it got me.?

    Mayank nodded again, and noticed Thane?s futile attempts at hair arranging. He made a small disapproving noise and pulled a tiny tub of product out of his suit pocket and handed it over. ?You really need to take more care of yourself, man. You?re too scruffy.?

    Thane accepted the tiny tub and worked a small amount on his palms and into his hair.

    Mayank faced Thane and continued, neither of them noticing that the doors had opened, ?I mean, look at you. Did you even shave this morning? You have tiny tufts all over the place. Look, this is how you use that stuff, you only need a little bit-

    ?Gentlemen, are we quite done??

    Both men spun smartly to attention and chorused, ?Morning Detective Sergeant!?

    DS Andrews was a middle-aged man with an average height and an average complexion. His only distinguishing feature was his completely bald head. He was a man who?d spent most of his life in uniform and had only taken the chance to get into CIB when he realised it meant he could keep decent hours and stay behind a desk. It also meant that the added authority discouraged people from suggesting that he?d look like the Monopoly man if he grew a moustache.

    He sighed as the duo stepped out of the elevator, ?this isn?t the military, gentlemen. Mayank, get to work. I want you to find where this ?Steve Wilson? lives. Find the connection.?

    Mayank snatched the tub back from Thane, ?on it, sarge.?

    ?It?s Detective Sergeant.? DS Andrews shook his head, ?now, this way please DSC Stoke. We need to talk.?

    ?Understood, sir.?

    Thane followed his superior into the man?s glass-walled office. He took note of his surroundings as he sat down. The desk itself was uncluttered, the only thing out of place was a poorly made ceramic mug stuffed full of pens. It had a jolly ?Best Dad? carved into the front of it along with what seemed to be a car with a smiling sun above it.

    DS Andrews followed Thane?s gaze, ?made by my eldest boy. He was so proud when he gave it to me. In his late teens now, won?t look at me twice.?

    Thane didn?t know what to say, so he smiled in what he hoped was a non-patronising way.

    ?Right,? DS Andrews said, ?now I?m about to print out your official statement. Before I do this, I?m going to ask you something important.?

    ?Yes sir?? Thane asked.

    ?Are you pulling a fast one on me??

    Thane kept his face carefully blank, and answered, ?I?m sorry sir??

    The Detective Sergeant swivelled his chair from his computer to face Thane head on.

    Thane ignored how perfectly well the fluorescent tube lighting gave the man an apparent halo on his bald head.

    ?Son, is this a true and accurate account that you are willing to swear to??

    ?Yessir.? Thane remained calm, ignoring his overactive imagination.

    DS Andrews nodded to himself and printed off Thane?s emailed statement. ?And I?m a monkey?s uncle. You?re telling Furphies, but the Forensic unit agrees with your statement, and I?ll leave it at that.?

    Thane said nothing, and then wrinkled his nose, ?Furphies??

    ?Furphies, slang for a whopper of a story? Named after the water carts used by the troops in World War one? The cart drivers used to spread information as they heard it? Usually wrong?? DS Andrews looked at Thane, ?You know what? Never mind. It?s on you.?

    ?Understood, sir.? Thane rose from his chair and left the room.

    He found Mayank a few minutes later, trawling through data on his computer. A number of files were open, Queensland Transport, Telstra billing, Builder?s Blue Card registration forms.

    ?Hey Thane.? Mayank said, not looking up, ?how?d it go??

    ?Fine. I?ve just been given the joys of responsibility.? Thane said, dropping his bag onto his desk, opposite Mayank?s.

    ?Brilliant. Okay, I?ve found the address of Todd Barnes? best bud and our next suspect.?

    A name surfaced as Thane dropped into his chair. ?Steve Wilson??

    Mayank grinned and printed out a copy of a licence, ?yup. Building labourer like your mate Todd. He doesn?t have a criminal record, only a couple speeding tickets. Interesting thing is, these speeding tickets occurred in the early hours of the morning after two of the first armed heists.?

    Thane leant forward in his chair. ?So the police stopped him and let him go? Didn?t they notice anything suspicious??

    Mayank scrolled down, ?nope. The robbery hadn?t been reported then and I?m guessing they could have said they were late for a building site job. Most labourers start at the crack of dawn so they would have been just another carpool.?

    Thane stood up, ?okay then. Where to??

    Mayank handed over the print out, ?Surprise surprise, it?s Inala.?
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    [CENTER][IMG]http://syf.250free.com/stload/congestionmotorsol.jpg[/IMG][/CENTER]

    [B][FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]Again, Please find the latest post below, and feel free to comment.[/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

    [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="2"]There was an argument in the garage over who was to drive the official vehicle. Thane signed out the keys and maintained authority and responsibility over the large unmarked Holden Commodore. Mayank had to be satisfied with being navigator, which meant he set up the GPS system and sulked.

    ?So what do we know about this guy?? Thane finally asked, as they hit the Ipswich Motorway.

    Mayank opened the laptop that was fixed in the vehicle. ?Pretty much what I told you back in the office. He?s a general site labourer, nothing interesting going on in his life, though he?s apparently applied for a boat licence.?

    ?Could be nothing then.? Thane said, not believing his own words. ?At least this guy could give us some answers. I don?t know anything about Todd.?

    ?We don?t even know where that shotgun came from. Forensic have no idea. It?s been filed as a motorcycle special, but we haven?t any evidence.?

    Thane nodded. They might as well have filed the weapon under ?miscellaneous.?

    Mayank continued, ?Steve might not know anything, but he?s bound to be friends with those that do know. We might ruffle a few feathers. Okay, you?ll need to take this exit.?

    Thane indicated and was about to merge back to the left lane as a large, loud, and fast Holden Commodore screamed past on the inside.

    ?Son of a-

    Mayank?s words were cut off as Thane hit the sirens and put his foot down. Lights that had been hidden on the dash began flashing as the siren screamed from underneath the bonnet. Their unmarked vehicle became immediately recognizable.

    ?This is DS Ahimsa and DS Stoke, we are in pursuit of a beige 1990 Model Holden Commodore, licence plate- he peered closer and groaned- Fox Angel Soldier Trash numeral One. Repeat, FAST1.?

    [I] ?Acknowledged, DS Ahimsa. Keep us posted.? [/I]

    Thane grinned and shifted the automatic down into Sport. ?Fox Angel Soldier Trash? Really, Mayank??

    ?I couldn?t think of the proper words, alright?? Mayank shrugged. ?They got the message.?

    Thane put his foot down, appreciating the slight pause in engine noise as the big V8 began to work. He nodded in appreciation as the car picked up speed. ?You?re just jealous you?re not driving.?

    ?Shut up and catch up to the idiot before he gets himself killed.?

    As usual, the Ipswich motorway was busy. Thane had his work cut out for himself as he tried to remain patient for vehicles that refused to obey road rules and give him the right of way. More often than not he was forced to fly past on the ample shoulder of the motorway.

    ?There he is!? Mayank shouted, pointing an accusatory finger at a speck on the next hill.

    Truck. Hatchback. Truck. Van. Motorbike. Truck. Big Truck. Thane forced his foot even further down as he closed the gap between them and the target vehicle. They were catching up, but only because Thane was pushing an excess of a hundred and sixty kilometres per hour. He?d stopped waiting for cars to make room and had sat in the right hand lane. It seemed people had eventually got the point and he?d had a clear run. Every now and again there was some idiot who felt it necessary to ignore his pursuit vehicle.

    ?Truck!? Mayank managed, leaning back in his seat.

    ?I see it.? Thane shifted onto the motorway shoulder again, overtaking another sluggish vehicle.

    Ahead, they could clearly see the vehicle pulled over on the shoulder with a red Highway Patrol vehicle parked in front of it.

    [I] ?DS Ahimsa, this is Highway Patrol Vehicle. Be advised we have this under control.? [/I]

    Mayank breathed again and sat up in his seat, ?Roger Highway Patrol. Calling off pursuit.? He reached over near Thane and turned off the siren and lights. Thane responded by rolling his eyes and putting his foot on the brake.

    ?GPS says we missed our turn.? Mayank said, tapping the console. ?We?ve just added twenty minutes to our trip, I hope you?re happy.?

    Thane managed a shrug. ?I don?t like idiots.?

    ?So you?ve told me.? Mayank let the words hang in the air before he continued. ?Look, this isn?t about-

    -it?s not.? Thane finished.

    Mayank knew when to leave well enough alone, and Thane?s face was like thunder. He knew that his partner?s good humour would return after a while?but the sheer weight of silence that clung in the air was crushing him. He played with his wedding ring, as he always did when he was uncomfortable.

    Time passed and Mayank grew tired of counting the lines on the centre lane.

    [I] ?Take the?[B]Redbank[/B]?exit in?five?hundred?metres??[/I]

    Thane mentally shook himself when he heard the GPS speak, ?you know what?? He said, smiling. ?You?d think they?d have come up with a better voice for this system. I mean, with all these pauses, it?s like the GPS isn?t exactly sure where we?re going.?

    ?Mate, [I]I?m[/I] not sure where we?re going.? Mayank laughed. ?I?ve avoided the Southside my entire life.?

    Thane turned off the voice on the GPS before the navigator spoke again. ?Didn?t you have a rotation through here??

    Mayank grinned, ?I managed to avoid working here completely. I got sent out to the sticks a couple times, but never to Ipswich, or Inala, or Woodridge. The Gold Coast wasn?t too bad though.?

    ?You lucky devil.? Thane shook his head in disbelief. ?I was rotated through here, and I swear, all we dealt with were domestic disturbances and underage idiots. You see so much of it that you become completely desensitised to the problem. By the end of my stint, I was ready to knock a few domestic heads together until they saw sense.
    [pindent=1] ?I was called to the same house, at least twice a week, for two months. Neighbours complained about people shouting and having a serious row about something, and then we always arrived to find that a son or a daughter had run away because Mum and Dad didn?t like them being in a gang. Every single week. Drove me up the wall.?[/pindent]

    Mayank closed the laptop and ferreted around in his bag. ?Gangs a big problem here??

    ?No where near the level of the other capital cities, we don?t really have the population density.? Thane turned down another street. ?It?s always been bloody cultural stuff from the start, but now some idiot has decided that it?s a good idea to introduce the Bloods and Crips nonsense from the states.?

    ?Got it.? Mayank pulled out an arrest and search warrant. ?So this is making trouble? Let me guess, kids that were just being cheeky are now eating up this idea of honour and turf wars??

    Thane nodded. ?By the truckload. Doesn?t make sense. It wasn?t anywhere near this bad, and the cultural stuff and islander spirit and whatever is stopping these gangs from really taking over?but kids are still dying from stupid mistakes. All it takes is one idiot and his mates to make the situation a thousand times worse.?

    Mayank whistled. ?Aren?t you glad you?re investigating armed robberies instead? Really restores your faith in humanity.?

    Thane smirked. ?Shut it. You know what I mean.?

    ?Oh for sure,? Mayank said while checking his side arm, ?I?ve got your back, buddy.?


    Thane groaned. ?Good grief.?

    Mayank saluted, with his serious face on, ?that?s a big ten four, roger dodger. Over and out.?


    Steve Wilson?s address turned out to be a dilapidated old Queenslander home that was raised about four and a half feet off the ground. The veranda around the entire house had been converted to extra living space, as seemed to be the style for the area. This conversion gave the building an over all box-like appearance. Combined with the rusty tin roof and poor excuse for white paint, the house painted a picture of a typical low-socio-economic world.

    As these thoughts trotted through Thane?s head, he felt decidedly guilty. When he was in his teenage years, many of his friends lived in similarly styled houses. He turned the engine off, checked his gun out of habit, and nodded to his partner.

    ?I?ll do the talking, thankyou.? Mayank said as they climbed over the rusty chain link fence. ?Before you object, I have the paperwork. So there.?

    Thane stepped onto the path. ?No problem, it?s your show.?

    Thane followed behind Mayank as he made his way up a set of rotted wood steps, taking care to stand on the bolts that held them to the metal supports. Mayank stood on the top step and knocked heavily on the front door.

    ?Shave and a hair cut, two bits.? He said to Thane, smiling.

    There was silence, then sounds of someone grumbling, then heavy footsteps towards the door. Thane noticed the curtain twitch on the glass louvre windows next to him.

    ?Whatever you?re selling, I don?t want it.? A harsh voice growled, ?I?ve already got religion and I?ve been up since three this morning.?

    Thane hid his grin behind his hand as Mayank froze.

    ?Steve Wilson, we are the police. We are not selling anything. We?d like to ask a few questions about your mate, Todd.? Mayank straightened up. ?We just want a couple answers and we?d appreciate your co-operation.?

    There was silence, and then Steve spoke again, ?alright, fine. Let me get some pants on.?

    Heavy footsteps made their way back further into the house.

    Thane rocked on his feet. ?Oh, hey, what phone company is your daughter with??

    Mayank shrugged, ?I don?t know. Optus or something. Just don?t forget the chocolate. I like Cadbury Fruit and Nut, for preference.?

    ?You mean [I]she[/I] likes Cadbury Fruit and Nut??

    Mayank leaned to one side, attempting to peer through the window. ?Who cares what she likes? I like Cadbury Fruit and Nut, and I saved your bacon. Make with the chocolate already. My wife?s forbidden me from it, says it?s bad for my health now I?ve reached ?that age?.? He emphasised his point with air quotes and a universal shrug.

    Thane grinned. Mrs Ahimsa was a dietician.

    ?So chocolate is okay if it?s a gift?? Thane?s smile faded, he was starting to get a migraine.

    Mayank checked over his shoulder and looked back at the door in front of him, ?only if it?s inside business hours, and we never mention it to anyone.?

    Thane swayed, and snapped to attention. ?Move!?

    Before Mayank could react, Thane had jumped from the steps, one arm tight around his waist. The pair of them landed heavily on the grass and Thane rolled them both underneath the house. The second they had hit the ground, the door exploded. Buckshot and splinters scattered across Steve Wilson?s front yard as the paper thin press-board door was obliterated.

    Underneath the house, Mayank was livid.

    ?He just tried to kill me!? He hissed in a vitriolic whisper. ?In cold blood!?

    Thane groaned, hugging his left elbow. ?It seemed pretty warm when it went all over me.?

    Mayank had his pistol out and was staring at the floor above him, ?oh, yeah. Thanks for that, buddy.?

    Thane winced and drew his gun as well. ?Anytime.?

    A metre to the left of them, the floor exploded and covered them with splinters. Mayank gauged his shot and pulled the trigger. This was met with swearing from above them. Two spent casings dropped down the new opening in the floor. There was more swearing and the sawn off shotgun itself fell through soon after.

    Thane went to move, but Mayank grabbed him. ?Could be a trap,? he hissed.

    Thane rolled his eyes.

    ?He blew the bloody door off, and I become very open to new ideas when that sort of thing happens!? Mayank grit his teeth shuffled carefully on the spot, tugging Thane back and behind one of the wooden stumps that supported the house. ?Now we?re just going to wait here like good coppers until this nut makes a move.?

    There were a few uncertain steps above them, one foot sounded much heavier than the other. They could hear Steve breathing heavily and cursing as he tottered about above them. Thane glared at Mayank as his partner, again, prevented him from moving.

    Mayank made an exaggerated ?stay here? gesture with both his hands and an emphatic Look.

    The door creaked open, a miracle on three hinges. Someone spat, and hobbled down the stairs at a half run. Thane shoved Mayank off, and let the adrenaline bursting in his ears take over. He leapt out from behind the stump and caught Steve with a perfect shoulder charge, landing them both into the bushes.

    After a halfhearted struggle, Steve allowed himself to be handcuffed. Thane then noticed Steve?s bleeding hand and bleeding leg. Apparently two of Mayank?s bullets had found their mark.

    ?So kind of you to come quietly, Mr Wilson.? Thane grunted, hefting the man to his feet.
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  14. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]“Doctor.”

    “Mmf.”

    [I]”Doctor.”[/I]

    “What?” I ask testily.

    One of the nurses is looking at me with a clipboard in her hands.

    “Your patient’s sister is back. She looks like she needs to see you.” The nurse says, giving me what could only be called a [I]look[/I].

    I sit up and notice that I’ve been wheeled into a corner, and now seem to have a hospital blanket over me to ward against the chill of the hospital air-conditioning. I untuck myself as professionally as possible and accept the clipboard.

    “Is she up in the ward?” I ask, trying to straighten my scrubs.

    “Yes Doctor.”

    With a roll of her eyes, the nurse is gone, returning to her ward duties. I realise at this point that my stethoscope has somehow become entangled and my hair is what can only be described as a bird’s nest. I move on, tidying myself as I make my way up.

    I walk straight into the room, flicking open the clipboard and comparing it to the chart at the foot of the bed. I then make my way to the opposite side of the bed, creating a conscious barrier between myself and the young woman that’s giving me a look that I’ve seen before and have tried to ignore. Hope. Anger. Pity. Sorrow. All meshed together.

    “Thankyou for dropping in like this. It’s most unusual, I know, but in a case like this I prefer a more personal touch” I say, giving what I hope is more of a winning smile than a grim rictus.

    The look remains.

    “Right, the important stuff. Let me just check my chart here.” I open the clipboard and immediately begin to scribble out on the blank pages. “How familiar are you with anatomy? I just have a diagram here to represent what we feel has happened with the bad sutures.”

    I try a subtle curt look around and face the scribble toward her.

    [I]You seem honest. How much do you want your brother to be okay?[/I]

    Oh. Mostly anger now, brilliant. New page.

    “Are you sure? Maybe I didn’t quite get this just right. I’ll try again.”

    [I]You’re on the level. I’ll trust you.[/I]

    Lots of anger. Maybe some hurt? It doesn’t matter, I can tell she want’s what’s best for her brother. Maybe there are some incorruptible people out there. I certainly can’t trust people in my hospital. The staff, yes, but not the detritus that seems to live in here.

    “Now, your brother here should be okay on his own,” I shake my head once, “he’s strong, but I’m not sure how well he’s going to pull through,” I give a wink as she looks horrified, “I’m strongly going to recommend that you and your family or friends spend as much time as possible by his bedside. We simply don’t have the manpower to be with him all the time. Stay as long as you wish.”

    “Thankyou, Doctor.” Rai says, relieved but looking puzzled.

    “Not at all.” I smile and lean forward, both hands placed on the bed beside Michael. “I don’t think [I]this[/I]- I lean heavily on the bed near Michael’s stomach, causing him to roll slightly towards me- will happen again.”

    She looks shocked again, but nods, and reaches down for her handbag under her seat. I smile and scribble out a new message on my clipboard.

    [I]I hate duplicity[/I].

    There’s a small smile there. It eases the paranoia that I felt rising in my chest like some horrible constricting vine.

    “I’m going against my better judgement here, but this is my pager number. You can page me through this phone here on this extension. If you want counselling or to talk one on one, I can arrange a quiet room once the rest of your family are here. Is that okay?”

    "We don't have any family." She looks hard at me, eyes piercing me, "it's just us."
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  15. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]
    My pager is going, it?s quite loud. There?s a moment as my brain warms up and decides that it doesn?t need any of it; I drift back asleep. The doctor in me is always prepared, always ready, and I find myself jerked awake with a shock.

    Pager.

    Pager is [i]important.[/I]

    I must have fallen asleep while talking to my Tracheotomy patient. I stand, and the blanket wrapped around me slips to the floor. My head?s full of cotton, but the embarrassment rising through me forces it away.

    [I]I fell asleep on the job[/I]

    My patient is also asleep, and the little whiteboard he was using during our conversation has been put on his bedside table. I check my pager and start running. It?s an emergency page, someone is crashing. The nurses will be stabilising, but a doctor has to be there in case it all goes wrong. I jump down the stairs, hitting the second floor in record time. There?s a couple local wannabe toughs in my way, but my urgency and the authority of the scrubs gets them out of my way.

    I don?t even want to know what they?re doing in my stairwell. It seems half the city drifts through here to see family. We hardly enforce visiting hours, people generally move on when they realise how much in the way they are. Guilt still plucks at the souls of the city?s worst.

    I?m in the room, and I can see Michael. His blood pressure has dropped to dangerous levels; another intern is already there and resuscitating. A couple nurses are standing by, looking concerned.

    ?Liam,? the intern says, ?he?s going, I can?t?I?He can?t be stabilised. I don?t know what?s wrong.?

    The machine announces that the heart has stopped.

    ?Start it up again.? I say, trying to keep my voice steady.

    ?He just keeps dropping. I?ve got to call it.? The intern is babbling, a sleep zombie.

    I put my hand firmly on his face and shove him out of the way, hard. A nurse takes his place, while the other makes a small satisfied noise. I return to basics, and the scene plays out again. Michael?s life is back on its tiny shelf. His blood pressure is dangerously low still, and it seems to be getting lower.

    ?Doctor!? The nurse opposite me calls out. ?Look at his blankets!?

    I see the tiny spots of blood, and rip the covers back. It?s a mess, he?s bleeding out. This is worse than bullet wound. All of the sutures seem drenched in blood. Something has gone wrong in surgery, terribly wrong.

    ?Prep him, now! I want him back in the OR. Hook him up again and get the Surgeon back into the game. I want him to fix what he?s broken, now!?

    Hours have passed. I?m in filthy scrubs again, feeling more drained than ever before. Michael is stable. A number of sutures had been?well?lost. It was like he?d burst them. The medication mustn?t have been strong enough, he may have woken up, thrashed in pain and promptly knocked himself out.

    It?s happened before. There is an alternative?but once you start becoming suspicious of foul play, you never get any work done.

    Stitch them up and send them out. No questions. You stayed alive that way.

    I change again and start scrubbing myself clean of the boy?s blood, hopefully for the last time. My eyes are really killing me now, like they?re filled with dust. I know I?ve been off shift since halfway through surgery, and I need to get my head down for a blessed eight hours before the next round starts, but I need to make a phone call.
    ?Ha, eight hours.? I mutter to myself while the phone rings. ?Maybe eight hours total per week. Hello? Is this Ms Grace? Yes, this is the Doctor from earlier. I?m just ringing to inform you that we have just taken your brother out of surgery again. He is stable, and ordinarily we do not make calls like this, but I felt it important to tell you that he required further surgical attention. Yes. Yes he suffered internal bleeding due to some suture work going wrong??

    I let the sentence hang as long as I dare before continuing. ?Yes, he is stable and recovering. We feel he may have woken up prematurely and reacted badly. He may have done the damage before being knocked out by the pain.?

    And I?m a flying monkey that enjoys jazz music and collecting silver spoons.

    ?Yes, he?s a strong kid. No doubt he?ll take anything thrown at him. I?ll keep you posted. Bye.?

    I hang up and lean back in the chair, sighing. I put my feet up on the bench of the nurse?s station and fold my arms before closing my eyes.

    ?If anyone asks, I?m not here.? I announce, ?I?m done for the day. Unless it?s important, of course.?
    [/SIZE][/FONT]

  16. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]I've had a root canal before [bah, so many many dental appointments] and I have to say, it was [i]awesome[/i]. I'm not going to go into the details of the procedures, in case you get wigged out, but I thought the whole affair was kinda cool.

    After the anaesthetic and the whole nonsense, if you have a good dentist you're going to be fine. I don't know of anyone who was traumatised by root canals. If anything [thanks to the local] it's a little uncomfortable and you feel a little dehydrated afterward.

    Don't stress about it ^_^

    PS: The whole left side of my face was numb and I went to get lunch because I was starving = amusing in hindsight. I couldn't taste a thing, but it smelt oh so gooooood[/SIZE][/FONT]

  17. [FONT="Trebuchet MS"][SIZE="1"]I have to say DW, I didn't realise how much I missed you until now. [I live too far away to watch you sleep, but I'm trying].

    I haven't laughed so much and so frequently, in a long time. Comedic timing, absurdity and a distorted reality. So many different types of perfect humour that leaves you reeling...it has to be a [b]DW Production[/b] ^_^[/SIZE][/FONT]
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