Author : Amy Fogelstrom Chai

On the roof, at least twenty-five stories up, with LED party lights strung up over a cheesy bamboo bar jury-rigged from last year’s staff picnic get together we have a regular Tiki Town. The night sky is crisp and the lights twinkle from twilight triggered streetlamps below and the Ursas, Cassiopeia, and the whole milky arm of our own spiral galaxy above. And the drinks.

We like them neat, the real drinkers, because who wants ice to dilute that fine single malt anyway? And someone brought out a nice cabernet. Warmth brings out the flavor, they say. The hospital roof was not meant for socializing, and certainly not for drinking, what with the coping on the parapet wall not more than knee high. But Tiki Bob, the cardboard god with the hula grass hair and the sharpie smile, would smite us not. Or smite maybe—it was a long way down.

The orthopedic surgeon is still an asshole, and the internist still nebbishy, and neither can match the sergeant from the local National Guard patrol unit drink for drink. He’s a burly guy, and who the hell can complain about the way he knocks back the scotch since he was the one who commandeered it from what used to be the liquor store. But God, we all hope it doesn’t run out too quick. We still have the rooftop, and the astonishing starry sky.

The skinny x-ray tech has her scrub top rolled up to show off her tramp stamp, and she’s such a whore she’s flirting with all the orderlies. Or maybe she’s just drunk. At least she is better than that nurse by the stairwell who can’t stop crying and smoking and shaking like a leaf. Nobody can decide whether to tell her to shut the hell up or to push her off the roof or just to ignore her.

Medical records staff are shaking it to some rap from the last century, partying like it’s 1999. Who has a boom box these days anyway? The pharmacy tech wraps a grass skirt around his waist and does a Tiki hula dance. I wouldn’t have expected that from him, to be honest. Then come the CDC people, with voices like fucking Darth Vader through their level four positive pressure biohazard suits. Yeah, tell us something we don’t know.

Okay, sure, we expected that but the internist goes a little nuts and that sort of freaks us all out. Breathe in, breathe out, we don’t need the CDC to tell us that shit, because below us is twenty-five stories of exactly what we already know. The whole town? It’s quiet down there. But up here, on the roof, the party is just getting started.

From what I can tell from just the eyeballs, the CDC epidemiologist is kind of hot. How long? We have all night up here, and I hope you make it back to Atlanta. There, too? Damn. Overhead, Cygnus rises.

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