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   Chapter 8 You really don’t need that, do you

The Bite Cleaner By OldManSteve Characters: 11730

Updated: 2018-06-13 10:03


Elk Grove Night Clinic, 8:00 AM

Maddy opened the door for the doctor as he carried out bags of garbage. We should install a chute system, thought Dr. Camacho as glass items in the bags clanked against the guardrails of the metal stairs. He quickly walked around to the side and put away the garbage in the proper sections; general waste, recycling, biohazard, and shifter-related materials that the local Conclave handles disposal of. {I'm surprised the inspectors never ask me about that one. How do I write Magically enhanced waste products on an MSDS form?}

After putting the last bag away, he heard a rumbling. When he rounded the corner, many trucks and construction vehicles began driving in. What the what? wondered the doctor at the sight of a construction crew in pulling into the parking lot. {Are they here to tear down the old Lotsa Mart at the end of the lot?}

He heard the phone ringing in his office and ran back inside to get it, almost tripping on the steps. He knocked over his half-full paper filing box as he picked up the phone. "This is Dr. Camacho, " he answered.

"Dr. Camacho!" said Montague with a cheery tone in his voice. "Good morning! I hope my people haven't disturbed your practice."

"Your people? That construction crew in my parking lot is from you?"

"Yes, that's true. I've had a devil of a time trying to reach you!"

Dr. Camacho scratched his unshaven beard, then said: "I thought I gave you my cellphone number."

"You will probably laugh when you hear this because I am an old timer who struggled with rotary phones when they first came out. I forgot to put your name in the phone and forgot the number."

"That happens to the best of us, " said the doctor.

"Yes… I got a cellphone as you suggested, so I searched for your clinic's number in the Yellow pages. I couldn't find your number in the White Pages."

"White pages? Those still exist?"

"As you can tell, I am very old-fashioned."

Dr. Camacho looked out the window and noticed people looking over blueprints and pointing at his clinic. "So you were getting to the part where you tell me why you sent a construction crew to my clinic."

"Yes, of course! Thanks to Faviola and the Conclave's help, I was able to find my old assets, make new money, and regain my multi-millionaire status."

"You're a multi-millionaire again?"

"Quite, young doctor. I mentioned your clinic's needs to the conclave and together we bought a controlling interest in Folden Medical, your clinic's sponsor."

"That is a...good development, I suppose. Does the Conclave know how to run a hospital network?"

"Yes...we're going to find out together, now aren't we?"

Dr. Camacho thought about the humorous implications of Montague's statement. {Get two fillings and your fangs sharpened for free!} He then said, "What does that mean for me? Is the crew here to tear down the clinic?"

"Heaven's no, doctor! They're going to build a newer, larger clinic that will better handle the needs of all shifters in the community. I was able to convince the Conclave of the need for better medical services for our community. I was supposed to tell you the plan three days ago…"

"But?"

"You're going to laugh when you hear this. I couldn't figure out the unlock pattern for the cellphone. By the time I did, I had forgotten why I wanted to unlock the damned thing."

Dr. Camacho sighed, then said "Look, you can't just start building a clinic without state approval. The process takes at least a month a

" Reuben stopped talking when he noticed something in blueprints. He looked at the basement area and noticed a room full of long boxes. "- uh, sir? Why are there coffins in the clinic?"

"Yes, that is my coffin room."

"Coffin room?" Reuben thought about adding hard liquor to the tea momentarily. "Why do you need a coffin room? Biters no longer explode in from direct sunlight."

"Thank you, high altitude nuclear tests, " said Lucas.

"It seemed more evolutionary than anything man-made, " Reuben replied.

"I used to have one in all my homes, even in Guatemala. But the main reason I want one in the clinic is to provide a safe space to sleep for traveling shifters. This is something I had to learn the hard way."

"Oh, this should be good, " said Lucas.

"Let him explain, " Reuben said to chide Lucas.

"I went through a beatnik phrase in the 50s. I traveled around at night and hitchhiked across the US twice. I wanted to avoid sunburn, so I slept in funeral homes. Whoever checks the coffins at a funeral home?"

"I'm sensing a 'but' here, " said Lucas.

"What I never counted on was the night shift. I was discovered twice. One time I didn't wake up in time and almost got staked."

Lucas broke out in laughter. Montague looked at him and said something in reverse pig latin. Lucas stopped laughing immediately and sat up straight. He looked afraid, as if a predator was watching him.

"You have got to teach me that trick, " Reuben asked.

"It requires a hundred years of training to master, " explained Montague.

"Never mind. Anyway, I get your point, but I can't think of any health inspector that's going to sign off on coffins, even if they're in the basement."

"The conclave has many levers to pull in this city. I am certain we can convince the department with the power of...money."

"I've seen it work before in LA, " Lucas replied.

Reuben put down the documents and rubbed his tired eyes. "OK, fine. It's late for me." He sipped some tea and said, "Maybe we won't need to get the conclave involved. I think the health department will be happy now that we're in a proper building and not a rebuilt double-wide trailer."

Lucas refilled Montague's and Reuben's cup, then said, "Never a dull moment, is there?"

"Thanks, and no. How do you handle it?"

"Lots of casual biting, doc."

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