I walked into the office this morning and found my brother Will at his desk trying to stir his cup of coffee with a spoon held in his mouth. His right arm was in a sling and his left arm had a cast that extended from the shoulder down almost to his knuckles. His head was swathed with bandages and he had a brace on his neck.
"Good God, Will! What happened to you?"
"I fell down," he answered, very enigmatically.
He didn't sound like wanted to talk about it, but I had to know what happened.
"You look worse than King Kong after his date with Fay Wray. 'fess up. Were you trying to get pictures from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge on opening day?"
"I know, you were with Sir Edmond at the top of Mt. Everest, slipped in the snow and plummeted thousands of feet to sure death," I said.
"No, that's not it."
"I'll get it. Give me a chance. Wait! You were watching as the capstone of the Cheops Pyramid was being set in place and it slipped and tumbled down and land on top of you, crushing you into mangled pulp."
"Do I look like I was crushed into mangled pulp?" he asked, with a look of disgust.
"Well, not really. Maybe you were helping rescue British soldiers at Dunkirk when your overloaded boat collapsed, trapping you in the wreckage and..."
"For crying out loud, Orb! The light in my bathroom burned out last night and I stumbled in the dark and fell into the bathtub! There! Are you happy now?"
"My, aren't we touchy?" I said, trying not to laugh. "Why don't you go spend a month or two at the clinic in the Paleozoic era? You can heal up in peace and the rest will do you some good."
"I think I will. At least I won't have to listen to your macabre sense of humor."
And with that, he struggled up out of his chair and limped towards the door.
Before he left I called out to him. "Stay as long as you wish but try to get back before lunch. We have that meeting with Propulsion and Transit today. I want you rested up and in a good mood."
"Don't worry, I'll be back in time."
I noticed that it's hard to limp and stomp at the same time.
True to his word, he showed up on time, fit as a fiddle, and in good humor. He had an excellent tan, too.
After our meeting, which went smoothly, I asked how his stay at the Paleozoic resort had been.
"I swear, Orb, that was the best six months of my life. Peace and quiet. No rowdy tourists. And the fishing? It's too bad you can only visit the place on medical leave."
"I've been thinking about. How do you feel about making the resort available to Time-Zone Labs employees for regular vacation? There's plenty of room."
Before he answered me, he picked up the phone and called our secretary.
"Grace, would you cancel my '53 trip to Everest? Looks like I won't need to go after all. Thanks." His eyes had the impish look when said, "I like that idea just fine, Orb."
"Let's get back to work, Will."
Coconolte Coconotes © 1993-2019 Kelly/Laura Nolte. Reprinted with permission.
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