The Red Settee

Tuesday November 14th 2017. 09.15 hrs.

Twenty two year-old Claudia Finkelstein, trainee Intensive Care nurse at the Schelle hospital in Vienna’s 11th district, had finally completed her Spreadsheet on the three occupants of Unit 7 - a small ward overlooking a battalion of yellow waste bins outside. No view at all, really, but to those patients who arrived here and often never left, what did it matter? Or that the few bare sycamores behind the high wall stood so still, so dead? That even the foraging crows flying from their bare branches to the ground, seemed to have leaden wings?
            She saved the file before furtively checking on eBay that the bid she’d entered for a red leather settee for her new studio flat, hadn’t been bettered by anyone else.
            Good.
Hers remained the only offer, but the whole process was making her anxious. Sometimes when she and Dr. Grun were inserting transfusion lines into a patient’s neck, she’d wonder if and when that beautiful, sexy piece of furniture would soon be hers. In fact, every time she saw blood, either lurking inside the transparent tubes or pooled into steel bowls, imagined that padded, three-seater with its rounded corner unit, nestling in her lounge beneath soft, pink downlighters. The perfect place for her and Hans Neumann, her latest admirer to get to know themselves better…
            Suddenly, the hiccupping blue strip light over her desk warned of a new emergency on the way.
            Verdammnis...
            Claudia sprang to her feet. They felt oddly numb. So did her whole body, as if every single nerve had frozen. She hated emergencies. And now the light was red. Throbbing red...
Double doors hissed open, one after the other, louder too, as the trolley and its cargo drew near.
            Here it comes...

 

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