Work Cut Out For Us


ben_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title Work Cut Out For Us
Synopsis A nurse and a paramedic outside the ER.
Date February 1, 2009

St. Luke's Hospital — Outside the ER

Things are starting to get a little crazy in the aftermath of the problems certain Evolved jerks caused; what started as trickles of people in Queens coming in for checkups has blown into victims of violence as well. Ben's been working all day, and someone's shoved him aside and put a cup of hot chocolate in his hands. He's standing blearily just off to one side, barely out of the way.

She's been in the ER for 18 hours straight. When she ripped an intern a new behind in front of his resident and the patient — something she NEVER does, she's usually the image of professionalism! — the head of the ER told her to take a break in the on-call room. Megan left, realizing that yeah … it's getting bad. She needs to get out for a while, get some sleep. Something to eat. When she steps out of the emergency room into the cold night air, she pauses to note the EMT standing in the shadow of the door with a hot drink. Nodding to him slightly, she moves to the far side of him, pulling her coat around her more tightly, and pulls out a package of cigarettes. "Do you mind?" she asks softly, politely. "It's a filthy habit that I kicked years ago, but … somehow, the past couple of days sorta…." She shrugs.

Ben grimaces at her, turning his head to glance down at the cigarette pack and then back at her face. After a moment, he asks, "If I say I mind, are you just gonna go further away and still smoke, or will you put them away again?"

Megan offers a faint grin. "If you really mind, I'll put 'em away." She shrugs easily, shoving them in her coat. "Like I said, it's a filthy habit. Just so happens that I fall off the wagon for a few days after terrorist attacks and other assorted bombings." She looks out over the parking lot tiredly. "You coming on shift or going off?" She's seen him in and out of the ER, but the last 18 hours are sort of blurring together.

"Don't take it up again," Ben tells her with one eye squinted at her, shoulders coming up. It's not a command or anythin, more a suggestion. "I'm not sure if I'm on or off shift. People just keep coming in, so I guess I'm on shift. How the hell am I supposed to sleep?"

She gives him one of THOSE looks. The ones the good nurses give to fractious patients and interns who haven't a clue what they're doing. That stern 'don't make me pull out my needle' look. But she rests her behind against the wall. "Yeah… I know what you mean." She smirks then. "The ER chief just kicked me out to get some sleep. Told me not to come back til I did. So I'll probably catch a combat nap myself and show back up in 4 hours or so."

"I know, that's what I should do," Ben says with a vague smirk of his own. "No help to anyone if I fuck up because I'm tired." Cradling his cup in both hands, he raises it to his lips to have a sip. It's still steaming hot, but he doesn't flinch. He's used to taking hot drinks on the go and finishing them quickly. "Ben, by the way."

Megan nods slightly. "Seen you around the ER," she replies. "Megan." With her hands shoved into her pockets, she leans her head back against the wall and closes her eyes. "I could fall asleep standing here, except that I'm too damn wired," she admits. "Which section does your bus run out there? How bad is it?" The hospital's bad enough, she's not sure how much worse it must be in the streets, if 9/11 and the Bomb are the yardstick by which to measure.

Ben rattles off some info, reaching up to rub his eye as he does so. "It's pretty bad. I don't really have anything to compare it to. Worst I've ever been in, anyway, but I'm still new in the field." He's kind of babbling, but he's tired.

Megan mmms quietly. "Sounds pretty much par for the course in terms of what to expect from the populace," she comments. "I hope to God it doesn't require the imposition of martial law. We'll have to see how bad it gets." She grimaces. "It seems like we're suffering this kind of thing every few years, but I guess we ought to be grateful that it's that rare. Israel, Afghanistan, and Iraq are far worse places to be."

"Less snow, but much worse, agreed," Ben says absently, watching another ambulance come in, lights flashing. "How long is this gonna go on?" He's sort of amazed. Biggest disaster he's seen and all that.

Megan tenses when the ambulance pulls in, pulling further to the side to be out of the way of the trauma team that races out the door to unload the bus. "Which 'this'? The rioting and looting? At least until power's restored fully. Blackouts always bring out the worst in people. The dark ramps up the fear factor. You're gonna start seeing a lot of gunshot injuries," she tells him softly. "Most will be accidents—people who shot themselves or someone else who wasn't even a threat to 'em because they were scared. Probably a lot of blunt trauma too — people mugged or fighting for supplies. That's usually what you get."

"Until the power's restored," Ben echoes, shoulders slumping. "I guess we've got our work cut out for us. Whatever that actually means. What does that actually mean? Like where did it come from?" So tired.

Megan absently replies, "I believe it originated in the Garment District, actually… back in the 30s and 40s, when clothes were called 'piecework.' Women doing the sewing would get their pieces already cut out and they just had to assemble them in the prearranged pattern." She grins a little and looks at him now. "As if you really wanted to know that, right?"

Ben blinks, glancing over at her. "No, that was actually interesting. I'm pretty damn nerdy. Not that I'm saying you're nerdy. Fun facts for today."

Megan chuckles at him. "Don't ask me why I know that… I was sort of a geek in school and I liked to learn the origins of things like that." She shrugs a bit. "Made English less tedious." And then she has to laugh. "I feel guilty for enjoying the fact that you looked sort of flummoxed by the answer."

"I really didn't expect it," Ben admits with a lopsided grin. He removes one hand from his cup, makes a fist, and offers the knuckles to her. "Nerd props."

"Ah well… at least I made us both laugh." Megan knucklebops him lightly and then shoves her hands back into her coat pockets. "That's going to be a rare enough commodity around here that it's worth something."

Ben nods, taking another gulp of hot chocolate. "I figure if you don't have a sense of humour you're pretty much going to snap one day." This in conversational tones. "It helps for coping. For me, anyway."

"Oh definitely," she replies with a smile. "Humor, even gallows humor, is a good way to stave off the pressure. Gotta find a release somewhere." Megan glances at him. "How long you been doing this job?" she asks.

"An EMT? A few months now," Ben admits. "I'm a weird case. Doing some field hours. Went to medical school, ran out of money. Some of the classes translate here. You?"

Megan moves, almost pulling the cigarettes out again and then shoving them back in her pocket. Damn it. "Been in the ER for … goin' on ten years. Combat nurse for eight before that." She glances at him. "I bet you'd do well," she comments. "You've got a good bedside even when you're wiped."

"Really?" Ben blinks a few more times. "Thanks. That's… good to hear, I guess. I'm a little newbie compared to you. Did you serve in the Gulf?"

"Never made it to the Gulf myself — did my combat stints in Turkey and some time at Rhein Main and Ramstein in Germany instead of the front lines. But yeah, during the same time period, so I dealt with the casualties." Megan shrugs. "Paid for college." She doesn't make a thing out of it, it just is. She did her job, she came here, she's doing the same job.

Ben nods, falling silent and taking another long sip of his hot chocolate before venturing, "…The bomb? Nine-eleven?"

Megan nods a bit and says, "Yep… was here for both." She seems to have the knack for being in the right place at the right time, right?

Or she lives in New York! Ben's brow furrows; his head bobs again. He finishes off his hot chocolate and rubs his eyes again. "This can't be as bad as those."

Megan shrugs a little and grins. "Well… the death toll's a helluva a lot less," she admits. "Although the tanks in the streets? Not sure that's not a toss-up and a recipe for more trouble. Guess we'll see, though." She sighs and pushes off the wall. "I think I'll go catch that combat nap. It's nice to meet you, Ben. Feel free to say hey anytime you're in the ER and I'm not slammed," she invites with a faint smile. "I practically live there right now."

"Will do," Ben says with a smile. "Same goes for you. I should try to catch some shut-eye too." He waves a little, looks around for somewhere to throw his cup out.

Megan nods slightly, and heads toward the parking lot to go home for a while.

February 1st: Extending The Family
February 1st: Honey, I'm Home
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