Saturday, December 28, 2013

Or Any "Procedural", Really

"Alright, Hailey, I will see you in the morning for school," Mark kissed Hailey, his daughter, on the top of the head. "Molly is in the living room if you need anything. Love you," Mark said, turned out the light and went out into the living room where Molly, a brunette girl of about 22 sat on the couch. Molly was only the second babysitter Mark had hired to watch his daughter. It was a fairly easy gig and paid well and you only worked Monday through Friday and Hailey was asleep for most of your stay there. "I guess I'll head out," Mark said entering the living room where Molly was sitting on the couch, texting on her phone.

"Okay, I'll see you in the morning," Molly said in a sing-song voice.

There was suddenly a loud knock on the door. Mark went over and opened it and Sara pushed the door open, coming into the apartment. "What are you doing?" asked Mark.

"Seeing my daughter!" Sara shrieked. Mark and Sara had dated for most of high school and married during college. Sara got pregnant about three years into their marriage despite all of the precautions they had taken. As the years went on since high school, Sara became more and more unstable. She made up scenarios and stories despite having proof they weren't true, she blamed Mark for her terrible life and for constantly cheating on her despite never doing anything close to that.

"She's in bed and it's nearly ten o'clock at night," Mark said looking at a clock on the wall. "You can see Hailey this weekend."

"So I don't get to see my daughter but this slut does?" Sara yelled, pointing to Molly. Molly put down her phone and started to stand up. "Are you sleeping with her?"

"Sara, calm down. Molly has nothing to do with us. She's just a babysitter. Besides, a judge said you can't be alone with Hailey so I'm not going to leave you alone overnight with her."

"How dare you judge me! I'm a good mother!"

"Sara, I'm not judging you. A judge judged you. And you are a good mother--when you are fully medicated early in the day. Any time before or after that you are crazy."

"I am not crazy!" she screamed. "I'm going to see my daughter."

Mark grabbed Sara's arm. "No, you are not. She's in bed. She's sleeping."

Mark and Sara glared at each other. Molly looked at both of them. "Um, do you want me to leave?"

"No. Sara is leaving," Mark said.

"Like hell..." Sara scoffed.

Mark pulled out his cell phone and dialed. "Hello, will you tell Danny and Randi that I can't come in tonight. I've suddenly come down with a touch of the crazy," he glared angrier at Sara.

"So what's the plan tonight?" Randi asked, sitting down at her area in the booth.

"I don't know. Mark was the one who usually came up with the plan for what to do."

"We should be able to come up with something to fill the next six hours," Randi said. "How hard can it be?"

"I just planned on playing music. Maybe coming up with some new segment involving the Internet or something," Danny shrugged. "Mark is more of a showy guy. I just say funny things."

"Let's answer a CraigsList ad," Randi said and the theme music to the Graveyard Shift began. "I mean, look at this one. 'I saw you in the cereal aisle at the store. You were wearing a gray hoodie over you thin purple shirt that showed off your amazing breasts.' It goes on to say he tripped and knocked over a display just as he was about to introduce himself and in the chaos of employees helping him up, she walked away. Maybe she listens. We can contact him through here and maybe get him on the phone."

"Sure, why not? You have a CraigsList account?" asked Danny.

"I do. Let me log in and I'll send him an email."

"Good evening, night owls," Danny began after the theme music ended. "Welcome to the Graveyard Shift. I'm Danny, we have Randi here. Mark is gone today dealing with some family issues at home. We don't have much planned for you tonight so it will be pretty
laid back so we hope you enjoy a lot of music."

"I got the email sent," Randi said over the air.

"We're trying to make a love connection on CraigsList and maybe you listeners can help us out," Danny read the advertisement. "It doesn't say which store but hopefully we can get the original poster on the air and we can help him find this girl in the gray hoodie, purple shirt and amazing breasts."

"What other radio show would do this? What other radio show cares this much?" Randi asked.

Danny laughed. "Well put, Randi. Well put."

Molly had been sent home. Hailey was asleep soundly in her bed and Mark and Sara were sitting on the couch, arms crossed, both looking upset. "You don't have to stay here..." Mark said haltingly.

"Not until I see my daughter," Sara replied in the same tone.

Mark rolled his eyes.

"Why won't you let me see her?"

"You have to give me notice before you can see her unless it's a weekend and last I checked, it's not a weekend," Mark said.

"You always try to keep me away from her," Sara whined.

"You never even want to see her until someone tells you you can't! I'd be more than happy to let you see Hailey more but you have to start proving to me that you are responsible. Remember that the reason you no longer get to see her is because you forgot," Mark finger-quoted, "to feed her for over a week."

"You're always going to rub that in my face, aren't you?" Sara snapped.

Mark just looked at her. Mark and Sara had dated all through high school and college where they got married. At 21, Sara got pregnant and gave birth to Hailey which is when the problems started. Sara became more angry, forgetful and unpredictable to the point where it became dangerous for Mark and for Hailey. Mark and Sara divorced two years ago and he was granted custody of Hailey. Sara, since then, had been going through spurts of being responsible and wreaking havoc, depending on the time of month. The court order said she could see Hailey more if she went to a doctor and got diagnosed and began doing whatever it takes to try to lead a normal life but she refused claiming there was nothing wrong with her.

"Can I just peek into her bedroom?" Sara asked.

"Will you leave afterward?" Mark asked.

She nodded.

"Fine. But no talking and be quiet. She's sleeping and she has school in the morning."

"I don’t know. I just thought she was very pretty and I was going to ask her out but...external forces clearly didn’t want me to that night,” the man who wrote the CraigsList ad said over the phone and on the air.

“Well, I don’t know what the odds are of her actually listening to this program or even this station but maybe our listeners can help spread the word and reunite you two,” Danny said.

“Considering he listens makes the odds better that she listens as well,” Randi says.

“Maybe. So why did you walk into a display of macaroni and cheese?” Danny asked.

“I was distracted by her and her shirt,” the man said. “Trust me. If you had seen this shirt and those breasts you would’ve walked into a large and very noticeable food display as well.”

“Yep. I’ve done some pretty stupid stuff as well for love. We’ll keep your number, man, and we’ll pass it on if we hear from her. Randi will also put the information up on the blog. We’ll talk to you later, man.”


“So what stupid stuff have you done for love?” Randi asked.

“Oh, you know, the usual.”

“No, I don’t. Tell me,” Randi smiled.

“I once proposed to someone I loved,” Danny said.

“Aww,” Randi cooed.

“And she not only couldn’t wait to say ‘no’ she said it numerous times. Over and over again. And laughed while she did it.”

“That’s not stupid, it’s sad,” Randi said. “Stupid stuff is supposed to be funny.”

“Oh! You want something funny. I had a girlfriend who made me do a striptease act wearing her clothes,” Danny said. “And I don’t know if this says something about me or her but her clothes, especially her underwear, fit really well.”

Randi just looked at Danny.


“You’re lying aren’t you?”

“Why would I lie about that?”

“I don’t know,” Randi sighed. “Hello, The Graveyard Shift,” she answered the phone. “Really? Yeah. Let me get you his number,” she looked over at Danny and smiled.

“Mommy!” Hailey came out of her room and saw Sara and Mark sitting on the couch together.

They stood up and Hailey came running up and hugged her mom. “Hey, angel girl. I thought I’d see you off to school this morning,” she looked at Mark. “If that’s okay with your dad.”

“It’s fine,” Mark said. “Hailey, I will see you at 3:30. Sara, we’ll see you this weekend.”

“Okay,” Hailey and Sara headed out of the apartment. “Thanks, Mark,” she smiled.
Mark waved his hand dismissively. His phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket to answer it. “Hey, Danny? How was last night?”

“It was fine. We made a love connection on CraigsList but most of the night was just music and mindless rambling.”

“So it was a normal night?”

“Yeah, I guess it was. Will you be back tonight?”

“I should be.”

“What was Sara’s problem?”

“I think she was just lonely.”

“Don’t get back together with her,” Danny threatened.

“I won’t. That ship has sailed.”

“Good. I didn’t like what she turned you into.”

“No one did. I’ll see you tonight, Danny.”

“See you, Mark.”

Brutus must be watching The Michael J. Fox Show. Or the first seven episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.