Thursday, February 4, 2010



Twenty-one years I’ve been at this game and for the most part it never surprises me one bit. Never been late or missed an appointment. Sure there are those days when a situation arises. Perhaps a child might get a little inquisitive about my cargo or an extra long stop through customs. On occasion my flight is delayed and I worry about keeping my schedule. Today my biggest problem thus far is hailing a cab. My travels have brought me back home to the Big Apple and appropriately enough I’m here for something red and ripe; A heart.

Ever wonder about those people that carry the little igloos? The little red and white containers securely fastened. Hidden contents neatly tucked away in ice. There it is just sitting on the bus next to you, or across the aisle on the airplane. Couriers rarely get noticed these days. As with most overlooked professions I’ve made my way in and out of hospitals unnoticed for over two decades. Under the radar, one might suppose. Like the silent intruder creeping into your home without detection, carefully taking only the most essential pieces. Organ donation is truly a most charitable act. Very few people check the box these days. Such a shame too. Most people can’t possibly understand how invaluable their pieces are. Hearts are quite the find. Rare pieces of blood pumping life. There seems to be a shortage on those and most people waste them by dying. Kidneys can be useful and often times are more readily in abundance. With technological advances it’s a wonder people are harvested any longer. A robotic arm can replace a human arm. Who’s to say a robotic heart can’t out beat the original. Nothing can substitute the original.

Hospitals are funny places. Halls and doorways wind up like a maze. One would hope to find help and there you are lost and bleeding to death without a map. For my own interests, most of these joints are setup the same. Left wing over three corridors and down a back hall today is where I’m headed. Papers in hand and ready for pick-up. Twenty-one years without a glitch. Here’s the day I catch my shirt in the door, figuratively speaking of course. The trouble couldn’t come at a worse moment. Day nurse has just been relieved and the Night nurse comes on. Ring the bell. The little lady looks up over her glasses at me as she scans my paperwork. Pointing to the paperwork she indicates a missing signature. Section 24 alpha. “I can’t release this to you without that signature.” And there’s a deadline on these sorts of things. The freshness factor. A short window of time for the procedure to be completed. You can’t afford to be tardy with perishable items. How foolish of me to miss that? All these years never missed a detail on the papers. Now I’m running late. This could ruin dinner. “Excuse me sir. I’ll have to make a phone call to verify.” Shaking my head I take a seat by the next courier. 

“How long you been at this?” asks my younger counterpart with all too reminiscent eagerness.

“Twenty one years. You?”

“Twenty-one days. Mighty odd coincidence, you reckon?”

“Nah, it’s not my number. Not just yet…” as if the universe agreed with me a small voice interrupts my thought.

“Sir! Oh sir!” the Day nurse has returned and waving urgently in my direction. “Please forgive the delay. Under normal circumstances this would be a problem, but according to the paperwork, there’s no time to waste. You’re clear. Have a safe flight to San Francisco.” With that the petite Night nurse hefts the bounty across the counter in my direction. Now to get a move on it. Nothing but the clock to beat. Quality assurance. Thankfully I’ll be on time for dinner.

“See ya later 21!” The youngster’s voice bellows but I’m already headed out the door racing with time.

Busy hospital corridors swarm with life and death. Urgently I exit the madhouse and find myself amidst the busy rush hour traffic. Catching a cab proves harder than expected, but eventually I do. Quietly resting in the backseat, I pat my precious cargo with the hope I’ll arrive in time. Tardiness, bad food and bad company are all it takes to ruin a meal. Nothing worse than spoiling dinner…

From the smell of things, it seems that I’ve arrived just in the nick of time after all. No luggage, just my delicate package, ready for delivery. “Honey, I’m home and I’ve brought that surprise with me! Did you get the special sauce prepared? Cause I’m certain it will go nicely with this fresh cut.” Twenty one years and I’ve never been late once.

Not about love... but there's a little heart in it! Enjoy. kisses. m.

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