We spent a lazy day on Council Island before finally heading home. On the way home I filled Case in on what had happened while he was gone. When I told him about the drugging and everything that happened with Bri, I could see his knuckles tighten on the steering wheel.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there," he said softly.
I knew he was– but it wouldn't have made a difference. There wasn't anything he could have done, and I told him as much.
"I could have been there for you."
"You were," I told him. And its true.
I think the others would have appreciated having someone else to keep me from laying siege to city hall and taking Bri back from them... but I have a feeling if Case had been there, he'd be leading the charge, demanding that they give her back. It was probably for the best that he wasn't there– and that calmer heads prevailed.
It just didn't feel like it at the time.
It was hard to believe another Monday had rolled around. Still, Case was with me, we were back in our home so it was a lot easier to deal with the standard Monday chores. Standard that is until Rodger Aims stormed into my office– demanding to know why we were so disrespectful of him. Why we were trying to make him look bad in front of the camera.
I lost it then. I mean, blowing in and taking the bows for what is basically a grass roots movement is one thing, but lambasting the people who ware actually doing the work because we won't give him the respect that he feels is his due.
Before I could even lay into him, he was on the offensive again-- telling me that when his public asks for details we're supposed to accommodate them, otherwise the whole operation could falter.
I was still staring at him in disbelief when he told me I was off the project.
Okay– a few tactical errors there. He came into my office, complaining that I'm ruining the project I started... The rest was just dressing.
I only felt marginally bad when I laid into him.
Not that it did any good. It turns out that he honestly believed that this was his project and that I was trying to steal his thunder.
I found out later that he'd accosted several other members of Thursday's inspection crew– with about as much response. He wasn't happy about it, but I really didn't care. It was supposed to be done on the QT and he'd tried to blast it into the forefront of the political arena.
Fortunately... I know one of the local news anchors. At least she understood– and got the rest of them to understand.
Sometimes the administrative side of things is so much more taxing than the particulars of the job itself.
Well, I must be doing something right, I now have my own political enemy. It seems that Mr. Aims has taken umbrage at my version of reality. He tried to undermine my authority– explaining how the project had been his idea and I was trying to take over.
The people in the buildings we inspected didn't care. We'd done something for them and we hadn't asked anything in exchange. Nothing except that they follow the safety guidelines we'd supplied, and that they tell us if they knew of any places that needed to be checked out.
Mr. Aims wanted to parade them in front of the cameras... take away their anonymity. That was the price he required.
He actually tried to tell them that if they didn't– the inspections would stop.
Fortunately, these people weren't born yesterday. Hell, they're more worldly wise and weary than any one would wish on another human being. They do however have a sense of humor– and of justice.
The kept me up to date in their own way: notes, odd messages– waiting for me at inspection sites and call-outs.
They were resourceful, intelligent, foxy– Aims never stood a chance.
Good to know I have far more friends and defenders than I do people out to get me.
I hate holiday traffic. It wasn't as bad as it has been in years past, at least not in the morning-- but from about 1600 on-- it was miserable.
Its funny– the remnants of the United States of America and Canada are one nation now– but they still can't agree on when Thanksgiving should be held. In the northern reaches of UCAS Thanksgiving has come and gone. Tomorrow the rest of us will celebrate.
Today– I was just glad to get home. The only thing worse than dealing with an accident scene is dealing with the people around it– the ones who take it personally.
I actually had one patient try and deck me for ruining their holiday.
Sorry thing is– it didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was when traffic actually accommodated me. That was a switch. That and the first aider who'd pulled ahead of the scene, called it in and then started doing what she could to keep things together until I got there.
She even stuck around until the others arrived and we told her she could go if she wanted. She stayed until we were down to clean-up and then headed back to her car.
I didn't even get her name.
Traffic wasn't as bad in the morning. Most of the people had done their traveling the night before and the streets seemed rather quiet. That was until the cooking related injuries began.
The calls ranged from silly to downright nasty. The worst were grease related. Hot grease is not your friend. Ever.
By the time the shift was over I was convinced that turkey should be cooked only by trained professionals and they should do it wearing safety goggles and a Nomex II fire suit, with a recovery team on standby.
Once I got home and cleaned up we headed over to Council Island for a celebration of our own. Everybody was gathered in the longhouse for a celebration– Jonathan had finally asked Trina to marry him.
The entire clan's reaction– "It's about time!"
It was good to see them happy and to be a part of it. It was definitely a time for giving thanks.
The only thing worse than holiday rush is the day after Thanksgiving. In addition to traffic, the shopping forces of the city mobilize for a tactical strike intent on grabbing all the great deals on the first official day for Christmas shopping.
And believe me, they start early. By the time I reported for duty there's already been five ‘shopping incidents' including one sale shelf being tipped over on the poor unsuspecting people behind it. The effect ended up being like a row of dominos with 12 people trapped. Fortunately most of them weren't hurt too badly, and seemed more upset about losing shopping time than about begin hurt.
I arrived right at the end of extraction and helped check out the last few people.
One of them actually objected to the idea telling me, and I quote... "You may have nothing better to do honey– but I've got people to shop for."
I shouldn't feel so jaundiced about it– but sometimes it's really hard. People get so caught up in the hype that they forget about the holiday.
Sometimes I step outside myself and its almost like I'm watching it from the outside. I remained calm– explained to the lady that I just wanted to make sure that she'd be able to finish her shopping trip without needing a trip to the hospital.
She just glared at me– but at least she let me check her out. She even said "thank you." At least I think she did– It was hard to tell under all that sarcasm.
Today was finally my day to relax and get some holiday shopping done. Case and I usually end up doing tag team shopping where one of us goes in, gets the stuff we need while the other keeps the terror distracted.
This year we did something different. He took Bri and Ethan to the amusement park in the arcology while Therese and I did our shopping. It was great– I think I might even surprise Case this year. Especially since Therese is helping by hiding the gift this time. Last year I managed to get Case the perfect gift without him knowing about it.
Well, he didn't know about it until about 2 days after I brought it home. I got home from work and he was sitting at the table just staring at it. I'd hidden the thing too.
Ah well– he won't have that chance this year.
Man, let me tell you– the Arcology is even better than I'd imagined. I mean– I saw it as the finishing touches were being put on, and then again at the opening Gala, but it just doesn't compare. Shopping... miles upon miles of shopping. Food courts the size of normal malls... the amusement park. They really pulled out the stops when they made this place.
I can't wait to see it in December– I hear they're planning a full parade of lights through the mall. Should be something to see.