“The Test” – Chapter 13b – Panooksa

Idea by Tom Austin                                                   Written by Tom Austin

                                      Revised by Tom Austin


She walked over to bed number four.

“I’m looking for Robbie Burnside,” she said.

Robbie didn’t even look at her, or verbally acknowledge her existence. He simply lifted his hand. But something in her voice got his attention. He stopped looking at the magazine he was reading, raised his head, and looked at Milly.

“Who are you,” he asked.

Milly answered with pride. “My name is Doctor Milly Shine-Foster.”

“What kind of name is that?” he asked looking puzzled.

“It’s my name.” She took off her name badge and showed him.

“Here it says I’m a doctor here.” Then she pointed at her first name.

“And that’s my first name.”

Robbie pointed towards her last name.

“Shine was my last name before I got married, and that horizontal figure is called a hyphen. When I got married my last name changed to Foster.”

Doris Drake looked on in awe. Brad made a quiet entrance with his index finger in front of his lips. He began to whisper.

“How’s is she doing Doris?”

“Well I don’t know how she did it, but she got that little rascal in bed four to start talking. We’ve been trying for days with no luck. You’ve been holding out on us Doc. She’s now the department’s secret weapon.”

Milly pulled out a bunch of wires from her pocket.

“Know what these are Robbie? These are called electrodes. You’re scheduled for an electroencephalogram in a few days. If you can’t say the medical term you can always say E-E-G. When I was just a little older than you I had twenty of these electrodes put in my scalp. Do you think you could try just one for me.”
“Well I don’t know,” said Robbie looking at the wires.
Milly moved and made sure her back was to Nurse Drake. She started whispering.
“I’ve got a bet with Nurse Drake that I could get you to try just one in the scalp. This is my first day, and I really need your help. I might get fired too. Can you help me? You’re the only person who can help. I really don’t want to get fired on my first day.” She sniffed a bit.
“Oh alright. But I get an extra portion of Jello.”
“How about this. One portion but you get a large bowl?”

“Okay. Now you’re talking my language.” said Robbie.

Milly asked Robbie to lean forward. She found a good spot for the electrode, swabbed his scalp with alcohol, and pushed the electrode gently into his scalp. Robbie heard a squishy-crunching sound as the scalp closed around it.

“That’s all there is to it,” she said.

Doris stretched her neck out and watched this in utter fascination. Robbie noticed this and stuck his tongue out at her.

“How many else are there?”

“Usually there are nineteen more for a total of twenty. Sometimes it’s fourteen electrodes, but it’s usually twenty. How does it feel”

“It feels sort of creepy. Having wires in my head will make me think of the Bride of Frankenstein”

Milly took the electrode out. Again she swabbed his scalp and made sure there wasn’t any blood.

“I’ve got an idea. It’s kind of experimental but I think you just might be able to handle it.”

Milly pulled a small cloth cap from her pocket.

“What’s that?,” said a curious Robbie.

“This particular kind of cap is called a Snoopy cap. Very tiny plates are on the inside of the cap. They touch your scalp. The electrodes connect to the plates on the outside of the cap. The electrodes never touch your skin. I have one with me if you want to try it on.”

“Sure thing”

Robbie tried the cap on with great gusto.

Milly cinched up his chin strap.

“Hey I feel like one those early pilots”

“Is it alright if I attach one of those electrodes”

“Sure thing. Fire away”.

Milly attached it. “How do you feel”

“Great”

Robbie wore the cap for about an hour. Milly returned to the nurse’s station. Milly picked up Robbie’s chart. She made a slight adjustment to his diet. All it read was “Dessert to be served in a large bowl.”

Doris was fascinated. “How in heavens name did you manage to do that?”

“Jello did all the work. Just plain Jello”


Brad and Milly had the following day off. Brad was really beat. At eleven o’clock Milly woke him by clobbering him with a pillow.

“Get up you great big falumpus! Half the day is gone and we have to go shopping.”

Brad sat up in bed. Milly broke into hysterics.

“What’s so funny?” said a befuddled and weary Brad.

Brad had acute case of bed-head.

“You must have been really out. You’ve got hair going in every direction. But what’s really cute is that Dennis The Menace patch at the back of your head.”

“What the heck is a falumpus?’ You called me that the night we broke the bed in your parents guest room”

“What do you mean “we”? That bed was designed and built for one person. But no, you had to get in the bed with me to introduce me to spooning. We still owe mom and dad a new bed.”

“OK, But you did like spooning. But what the heck is a falumpus?”

“It’s a flower-eating cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid. Just be glad I didn’t call you a Snuffleupagus.”

“Alright, I’m going to pretend that I’m really interested. What pray tell is that?”

“A Snuffleupagus is a woolly mammoth type creature that was an imaginary friend of Big Bird on Sesame Street. He sometimes went by the name Mr. Snuffy.”

Brad lay down in bed and covered his face with the pillow.

“Why do I ask these questions?”

Milly grabbed the pillow and clobbered Brad with the pillow again.

“Get into that shower you great lump. And stand a little closer to your razor. I’m getting a rash”

Twenty minutes into the shower the water was still flowing. Milly barged into the bathroom and banged on the shower door.

“What are ya doin’ in there? Building an ark?”

Brad listened and suddenly wore a devilish grin on his face

No answer. Just silence.

All of a sudden the shower door slid open and clouds of steam obscured Milly’s vision. A pair of wet arms grabbed her and hauled her into the shower.

“What are you doing! Brad Foster, I’m getting soaked!” she shrieked.

“You’re not the only person who watched Sesame Street. Say hello to Mr. Snuffy Sr. He’ll give you something for that rash.”


An hour later she was in the process of getting dressed for the second time that day.

“I’m late” she blurted out.

“Late for what,” asked Brad quite innocently.

“My period. It usually comes like clockwork, but not this month.”

Brad suddenly grasped the gravity of his wife’s concern.

“Have you given yourself one those early pregnancy tests?”

Milly stopped drying her hair and shot her husband a look of extreme exasperation.

“No. I’ve never had to. And you know that perfectly well.”

“Well go to the pharmacy at the hospital, get yourself two or three, and test yourself.”

“That sounds like a plan. No use crying over spilled milk. Who knows, maybe I’m getting a cold and that’s why it’s late.”


The next day at the hospital pharmacy she bought three EPT’s and shoved them into pockets of her lab coat. She transferred them to her to her locker where they stayed till she and Brad were ready to go home. When they teleported home she put them on the counter in the bathroom. More than a bit curious she read the instructions.

“OH GROSS! Do you have any idea what I have to do?”

“It’s called progress. When you’re mother was pregnant with you I think she had to wait a week for the results.”

Milly humphed. She wasn’t very impressed by the attempt at soothing banter from her husband.

“I bet a man designed this crazy test.”

Milly started muttering as she closed the bathroom door. Twenty minutes passed as she stared at the first test.

“YAHOO.” According to the test she wasn’t pregnant. Then Brad shattered the all too brief euphoria.

“Try it again. It might have been a false-positive.”

Twenty more minutes passed.

“OH CRAP!” Brad knew what the results were. Milly announced she was going to try again.

“I’m going to try after dinner. But contrary to the instructions I am not a camel. I just don’t have it in me.”

Brad came up from behind her and wrapped his arms around her.

“I know this isn’t what we planned, and neither of us wanted to be parents quite this soon. But I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here with you for everything.”

Milly smiled and held on to his hands firmly. “Thank you.”

She turned towards her husband. She hugged her him while she put her head on his chest.

“You have no idea how much I needed to hear you say that right now.” She turned around and faced him. She put a hand on his face and kissed him. Her eyes told Brad she’d been crying.

At dinner, there wasn’t much conversation. Both of them were deep in thought. When there was conversation it was short and uninteresting. There was a lot of thinking to do and very little time in which to do it in.

After the dishes Milly knew what she had to do. After twenty minutes Brad heard her sniffing and sobbing. He knew what he had to do. He just wasn’t quite sure how to do it.

When Milly opened the bathroom door Brad was waiting for her.

“I’m not a diplomat so I’m simply going to say it. What do you think we should do about this?. And I mean “we” in the married sense.” Brad put his hands on his wife’s tummy. He continued talking. “After all this is  a Shine and Foster production.”

“I’m so lucky. A couple of months ago had you put your hands on my tummy I probably would have freaked out. Now it feels perfectly normal. When I was in Med school I had a girlfriend who was always getting pregnant. She got pregnant five times and aborted five times. Her insides were so messed up she couldn’t have any kids a few years later when she really wanted one. I don’t want to risk that. I want to keep it. Since we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl why don’t we call it “Oops”. But I think I should warn you. Not only do pregnant women get mood swings-”

Brad interrupted. “I know all about it. Your husband is a doctor. You reminded me when I started admiring your sexy behind remember?”

When Brad stopped Milly continued.

“Ya, but we can get awfully horny too. So be prepared to deliver the goods at a moments notice. I don’t know it that’s going to happen with me but both of us should stock up on vitamins. I’m going to take mine for the baby. You’re going to take yours…well lets just say he should be at attention for the next nine months.”

Milly pointed below his belt.

“I can honestly say I didn’t know about that part”. Brad looked a bit frightened and a bit dazed. Somewhat like he had just been hit in the head with a baseball bat.

“You never know when I’m going to pounce. It could be at eight in the evening or four in the morning. Maybe never. But if I do be prepared. I could be like the Energizer Bunny. I could get going and going, and going in which case you should be prepared to give, give, and give.”

Milly started biting her nails which was a sure sign she wanted to ask a question that made nervous.

“Can I make a request. Can we please tell mom and dad in a couple of months?”

“Sure thing. And by the way I love you.”


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There are only two chapters left…

What will Brad and Milly do? What happens to the unborn baby?

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