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178 36 ~ Gina Four days until Christmas, and she was stuck with late duty. If she had the time and energy, Gina thought, she would file a grievance about Marge’s racism skewing the staffing schedule. But tonight all she wanted to do was finish her charting, check voicemail one last time for anything that couldn’t wait for morning, and connect the phones to the night answering service. She still had to stop by the party store. Hopefully some red and green plates and napkins were left. No balloons. She chuckled. Zoe had made that very clear on the telephone last week when Gina called to remind Emily about her Christmas Eve party. “All of you,” Gina had said. “Sam too.” Emily had sounded vague. “We’ll try,” she promised. “There’s other stuff going on.” Chanukah was already over, so what conflicting celebrations could Emily have? Oh. Solstice. The slam of the office door made Gina jump. What was the boss doing here on a holiday? Marge stopped short when she noticed Gina at her desk. “Is anything wrong?” Marge asked. “I’m just finishing up. Then I’ll put the phones on service and go home.” “Go ahead,” Marge said. “I have to make a couple of calls, so I’ll deal with the phones. The work will still be here in the morning.” Gina logged off her computer, and stood up. “Thanks.” “One thing before you go. You and Emily Klein are friends, right?” “Yes.” “Is everything okay with her? She’s seemed distracted lately. That cult case, you know the frozen babies, is it going okay?” Terrific. Gina picked a bit of fluff off her burgundy sweater. If Marge asks me a direct question, am I ready to lie for Emily? Ellen Meeropol ~ 179 Marge didn’t seem to notice that Gina didn’t answer. “It’s not just her. What’s going on with staff here? Did you know Andy is working per diem in the E.R.?” Marge shook her head. “He’s out of here. He knows the rule about moonlighting. It’s damn hard to find male nurses to work home care. And the accreditation folks are big this year on staff diversity. You wouldn’t believe what those bandits charge me to put us through bureaucratic hell and then point out our weaknesses and failings.” Gina checked her watch. She didn’t want to hear this stuff. Diversity, was that the reason Marge didn’t fire Emily? She needed the Jew, along with the black nurse and the guy, to round out her staff profile? “So, what about Emily and the Glenning woman? Any problems?” Do I cover for my friend, or cover my butt? Gina pursed her lips, as if she was thinking hard about Marge’s question. “I’m not trying to make trouble for her,” Marge said. “I’m no ogre. You know, I had highfalutin principles too, once upon a time before I owned a business. You wouldn’t believe how pitiful the new insurance reimbursements are, and nine, ten months late. This agency is barely surviving.” She sighed loudly. “But, that’s not your concern, is it?” Damn straight, Gina thought, scooping up her pocketbook. “Not to worry,” she told Marge. “Emily’s okay. And she says that Pippa Glenning’s pregnancy is going nicely. No problem.” ...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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