Janice stood over the kitchen counter stirring flavored cream into her coffee.
“I shouldn’t be drinking this today.” She thought to herself while tapping the spoon on the side of the mug. “I’m hyper enough wondering the results of the experiment. I don’t need the added caffeine.”
She shrugged her shoulders and drunk deeply.
“Here we go.” She said as she walked briskly to her car.
“Good Morning.” Came Linda’s greeting with her patented smile and inflection.
“Good Morning.” Janice chirped back. “How’s George doing today?”
“Wonderful!” Linda replied. “Terry told me that George is more responsive today than he’s been since he came here.
“Exceptional.” Janice said with satisfaction. “I better go up and not keep him waiting then.”
Janice walked up to George’s door when she heard stern voices from inside.
“I don’t want that. Take it away!”
“But George, you need to eat.”
“I need food, not garbage.”
“Hello.” Janice said as she opened the door, hoping to end the argument.
“Oh. Hi, Janice.” Terry said while holding a dish cover in her hand. “George is being a real pill today.”
“I am not!” George countered. “I just want real food today instead of the usual mass production that is normally served here.”
“How about if we go out for breakfast instead?” Janice offered.
“Capitol idea.” George replied. “It’s the least you can do for sticking me in a dreary dungeon like this.”
“Dreary dungeon?” Terry protested. “Sunny Side is a wonderful place. I dare you to find a better assisted living complex that can match us.”
“It’s the assisted part I’m complaining about. Some of the workers think the residents here are hapless and can’t even wipe their nose without assistance. God forbid if a person tries to assert themselves.”
“Told you.” Terry said as she thumbed George’s way. “A real pill today.”
“Come on, dad. Let’s get out of here.” Janice said as she held out her hand.
George brushed her hand aside and hurried towards the door.
“Hurry up!” George called as he strode to the elevators. “Let’s go before they call out the gestapo.”
“I feel like a man just released from prison.” George said as he leaned over his eggs benedict. “What did you call those little boxes everyone’s looking down and drooling over? Smartphones?”
Janice sipped her coffee. “Mmm Hmm. That’s right. They call them smartphones.”
“Hmmp.” George huffed. “It seems that while the phones got smarter, their users got dumber.”
“Never mind that.” Janice said as she pushed aside her cup. “Tell me, what do you remember?”
“I remember everything.” George replied. “I remember the shot you gave me. My morbid fascination with illiterate cartoons, the patronizing comments the nurses make every day…”
George paused for a moment; His face became somber and dark as he spoke low. “The look on your face when you admitted me to the nursing home.”
Janice unconsciously winced at that.
“It’s ok.” George said, reassuring his daughter. “I would’ve done the same thing. Anyway, it doesn’t matter anymore. I plan on moving out of there as soon as I can.”
Janice’s eyes widened at the news.
“Dad, you can’t do that.” She said. “You’re still too weak.”
“Bah!” He rebuked. “I may be older, but I’m more aware than any of these drone ants around us.”
George gestured broadly, “Just look at them. Tell me what you see?”
Janice looked around the restaurant. “I see people eating, conversing, or working. Sometimes a mix of the three.”
“You’re just scratching the surface, kid.” George stated. “I’ll tell you what I see.”
He pointed to the table in the corner. “See table 13 there? The boy is failing his classes and his mother’s hoping he’ll change if she ignores the problem long enough.”
“How would you know?” Janice asked, full of doubt. “And how do you know the table number?”
George answered. “I told you I remember everything. I glanced at the seating chart while waiting to be seated. As for the mother and son sitting there, their body language says it all.”
“I might buy the seating chart, but you can’t sell me on the situation.” Janice rebutted.
George smiled as the waitress came to the table.
“Anything else I can get you?” She asked as she collected the empty dishware.
“Just the check, Brandi.” George replied. “And you don’t have to worry about Joe the cook. He doesn’t know of your affair. And even if he did, he wouldn’t mind.”
A look of horror shot across Brandi’s face as she dropped the dishes on the floor with a thunderous crash.
“Oh my God!” She exclaimed in horror. “I’m sorry! I… I… I’ll go get a mop.”
“How did you know?” Janice asked, incredulous.
George replied. “I told you, body language.”
Janice leaned forward to almost whisper, “Why did you say he wouldn’t mind?”
“Because.” George said as he stood up from the table. “She’s having an affair with Sara over at the counter.”
Janice turned sharply to the taut, young brunette behind the counter.
“Just leave the money on the table the bill is $23.97. I added a twenty percent tip for the poor girl.”