Friday, November 03, 2006

You Can’t Be A Parent, You Haven’t Had Any Classes, Part II


It wasn’t that Rob & P.Pie didn’t take the classes.

Well, okay, it was that they didn’t take the classes. Rob’s innate mistrust of Big Brother refused to let him be indoctrinated. Childrearing had been done without instruction since the beginning of man.

P.Pie leaned over the twins and craned her neck to peer down the hallway in both directions. She spoke in a rumor. “So tell me the plan again.”

“Look, according to the janitor, the EP meeting is taking place right now.” Even though he was formulating the plan as he went, Rob’s tone expressed an annoyance people use when repeating instructions for the hundredth time. “It’s the candy striper’s job to check L&D people out.”

The candy stripers are trained by a little known division of the Israeli Secret Intelligence operating under the protection of the CIA. They could catch an NFL running back, strip the ball, and run it back for a touchdown before the running back’s legs stopped moving.

Catching educational scofflaws wasn’t an issue.

“This candy striper,” Rob pointed at the red and white striped back. “Is new. She’s fresh out of training. Wally says…”


“Yeah, Wally” There was the tone again. “The janitor. He says she’s a little, uhm, sketchy. She’s never on deck alone, except today. Complete freak accident. Her trainer had an accident up on the fifth floor, so she’s all alone.”

As soon as Wally had told him, he started hatching a plan.

Rob turned the wheelchair slightly so P.Pie could get a better view of the front door. He glanced at his watch. “Now. Look! What do you see?”

P.Pie’s mom, The General, drove under the hospital’s portico, flashed her lights twice, and drove off.

“What was that about?” P.Pie clutched the sleeping twins.

“Start counting backwards from 100,” Rob began a slow walk to the front door.

“95, 94, 93, 92, 91, 90… why am I doing this?”

“Look at the babies.” Rob smiled at her, as she continued count to the babies. He leaned in close with a proud papa smile. “When you get to zero, we should be in the car on the way to the safe house.”

“75, 74…” Her counting faltered. “Safe house? Wha…?”

“Count!” He hissed.

70, 69, 68…

The hallway opened onto the wide expanse of the hospital’s entrance area. The charge nurse, grabbing for a pen, spotted Rob, P.Pie, and the twins. Rob cursed under his breath as she whipped herself out around the desk.

“My, my, look how small they are.” Her saccharin-sweet tone couldn’t cover up malice in her eyes. “And you, dear. Look how tired you are.” Nurse Ratchet looked up from the swaddled twins, trying to catch the eye of an EP or a candy striper.

Her efforts were in vain.

Generally speaking, Rob didn’t care for people. Especially people that associate with bureaucracies. But he knew you caught more flies with honey than you do vinegar.

And his honey was all natural.

“Yes, ma’am, she’s plum pooped out,” Rob’s blue eyes sparkled as he turned on his soft southern accent. “But Doc Tres said a stroll through the lobby with the twin would be good for the three of them. Must be the fresh air.”

The charge nurse, relenting a little under Rob’s Jedi mind trick, smiled with Rob. “Well, you better keep moving if you want to get the best air.”

Rob nodded slightly as the nurse returned to her desk to answer the phone. They strolled away at a right angle to the sliding double glass doors of freedom and straight toward the candy striper.

P.Pie turned her head and looked nervously at Rob. A thin bead of sweat had formed on her upper lip as she mouthed 19, 18, 17, 16.

Rob veered left, keeping the striper in his sights and meandered toward the doors. He could see The General’s car turning off the street.

15, 14, 13, 12…

They were almost at the doors. Wally was mopping the entrance. They were going to make it.

The striper turned, phone in hand, and called out at the top of her voice, “We’ve got a runner!

Rob’s blood turned to ice and his legs moved as if they were filled with lead.

11, 10, 9, 8…

Rob tried to pick up speed as the getaway car approached the entrance.

7, 6, 5, 4…

Looking back, he saw the two coffee sipping interns running, almost on top of them.

3, 2…

With one mighty push, he shoved the wheelchair through the automatically opening door as the intern/EP tackled him. The second EP was reaching for P.Pie as Wally’s mop handle clotheslined the agent.

P.Pie scrambled from the chair and into the open door of the car. Before the door could close, the car was off, heading for a life on the lam.

As the agents were joined by more agents, they took turns beating Rob about the head and shoulders. Even though his eyes swelled shut, he could see his children.

And they were at last free and P.Pie was free to parent by instinct, not by rote training.