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An Informal Arrangement, Click to Buy
“You mentioned something about a toad…” Her remark hung between them like a two-day old helium balloon.
The worry wrinkles on his forehead faded away, melting into his hairline and drawing her eyes to light chestnut hair that couldn’t seem to make up its mind whether it wanted to stand at attention or lie down and take a nap.
“Umm, I guess I remember. Huh. I wonder where that dream came from.” If his nonchalance was anything to go by, he had to dream about toads on a regular basis.
“And you mentioned the toilet.” Maddie took a deep breath and went about her morning routine. Shift had just started, and she still needed to do her patient assessment.
She put the blood pressure cuff on Mr. Jenkins as he told her about his dream. “There was an albino horned toad that got out of its terrarium. It was in the toilet for some reason, but because the commode was white, nobody could see it. Which doesn’t make sense. Albino animals aren’t pure white, but what can I say? A hand reached for the lever to flush, and I panicked. That’s when you woke me.”
After she charted his blood pressure and listened to his heart and lungs, she asked, “What exactly is a horned toad? I’m picturing something froggish.”
Mr. Jenkins laughed, disturbing Maddie’s attempt to count his pulse. He reined himself in, and she began counting again. “Frogs and toads are different, you know, and a horned toad isn’t even a toad. Not really, anyway. It’s a lizard.”
Her eyes darted around the room again. Maddie worked with people — and not animals — for a reason. “So toads and frogs are different, but a horned toad isn’t a toad.”
“That’s right. The people who discovered and named it must have been confused.”
Maddie held up an index finger. “Hold on a second.” Then she marched over to the small attached bathroom. An empty toilet had never been so beautiful. She stepped back into the room. “Whew. All clear.”
When her patient chuckled, she knew she’d hit the mark.
“Are you sure you’re not the one who’s confused? A toad that’s not a toad?” She quirked her eyebrow as laughter sparkled in Mr. Jenkins’ eyes.
“I’m never going to live this down, am I?”