The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

A Story by R.J.A.Gilbert
"

This is a short "teaser" from a larger piece I am working on (mostly for myself and probably never to be published).

"

Mako Rutledge sat in the uncomfortable chair, staring through his goggles at the generic hospital waiting-room paintings on the nearby wall, wondering how long he was going to have to be on his best behavior.

“Wait here,” she had told him. “And don’t make a scene.”

Well she’d been gone too long for his liking, and this sterilized environment was getting to him. Scanning the room again, he noticed a set of vending machines in an alcove beside the entrance.

Pulling himself out of the char, he crossed to the machines, sizing them up as he moved closer. They would be easy to smash open, but…there were those instructions from the doctor. She would definitely consider the broken plexiglass and bent metal a “scene.” And he knew she had enough clout to send him back to Junkertown if he displeased her on this mission.

But there were other ways. Pulling a large schiv from his vest, he applied it to the lock on the display door. It took some work, and more than a few curse words, but he finally popped the case open. Selecting a handful of snack-sized potato chip bags, then stuffing his pockets with chocolate bars, he turned his attention toward the cola machine….

As he stepped away from the snack machine he noticed that the waiting room was no longer empty. A small boy in hospital-print pajamas stared at him from the center of the room. Instinctively, Mako scowled at the kid, but the gesture did not make it through his mask. Instead of running away, the child pointed at the opened vending machine and asked, “Could you teach me to do that?”

Caught in the act. Mako looked down at the armload of loot, then back to the boy. “You don’t want to end up like me, kid.”

“I’m already like you.” As if to illustrate his point, the boy pointed at several of the old, thinning scars on Mako’s bare, round belly, then pulled up his own pajama shirt to reveal a torso criss-crossed with stitches and still-healing wounds.

Mako found himself wincing behind his Road Hog facemask, but he did not look away; at least the makeshift respirator and goggles would hide his reaction from the world.

He tried a different approach. “Would your daddy want you to grow up to be…” The sudden shock of sorrow that came over the child’s face stopped him from finishing.

“Daddy didn’t make it,” was all the boy said. He pointed towards the stitches on his own belly.

“Well,” Mako thought for a moment. “I guess you’re like me in that way, too.”

The kid brightened. “And I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up, too. Just like you.”

“I ain’t a doctor, kid.”

The boy looked confused for a moment. “A surgeon?”

Road Hog shook his head.

“But you’re wearing a mask.” The boy pointed toward a corridor that led deeper into the hospital. “All the doctors in there wear masks. Especially the surgeons.”

From the looks of this kid, Mako could tell he’d seen more than his share of surgeons. Still, something about the idea of it…

“Okay kid,” Mako decided, “you got me. I’m a surgeon, but it’s my day off.” He gestured toward his leather biker vest and trousers, then reached for the schiv. “But if you want to be like me, here’s your first surgery lesson.”

As the child came forward to watch, Mako started to work on the cola machine. “First you gotta know where to make the incision…”

Moments later, several cans of cola had been added to his loadout of snacks. At his side, the scarred kid proudly held a single can of grape soda.

“Ain’t you gonna take more?”

“Oh, I can’t drink this,” the boy explained. “It’s for a friend; his tummy still works.”

Mako looked down at the kid again. “Yeah,” he mused, “you are definitely the doctor type.”

As the child made his exit, Mako turned to find Dr. O’Deorain watching him from the doorway at the far end of the waiting room. Arms folded across her chest, she finally spoke. “I’m gone for less than ten minutes, and you’ve taught a child how to loot the vending machines.” Seeing him silently nod, she announced, “I hope you’re proud of yourself.”

“Of course I am,” Road Hog snapped back gruffly.

It only bothered him a little to realize that he was telling the truth.


© 2020 R.J.A.Gilbert


Author's Note

R.J.A.Gilbert
Officially, this is classified as "fan fiction" due to the characters I am using. They are from a popular video game called "Overwatch".

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Added on June 21, 2020
Last Updated on June 21, 2020
Tags: Overwatch, fan fiction, Road Hog, Moira

Author

R.J.A.Gilbert
R.J.A.Gilbert

About
I started writing when I was a kid. Over the years I've sought to improve my storytelling skills whenever and however I can. I have self-published 5 mid-grade and YA novels under various names and am .. more..

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