poured out before bed
“Yeah, you need to wear them,” the chief says, pushing his scrub card toward me. “I don’t care what your syllabus says, business casual is not appropriate for the night shift on the Peds GI team.”
I feel the hairs on the back of my neck shoot up in nerdy alarm. Defy a clerkship syllabus?! Break those rules set in black and white stone at orientation?! This is not in my nature. My palms start to sweat.
“Seriously Mullberry, go get changed. If anyone says anything to you, please refer them to me; you can tell them I made you. Because I am making you.”
I gulp, but change into the soft, teal duds the scrub machine ka-chunks out at me. And later (but not much) that evening, as I walk from the ER, warm, acid vomit down my pants, and spy a colleague with matching fermented snot and spittle ground into his chest and shoulder, those pesky neck hairs return to neutral, my palms to powder dry freshness.