An hour later Jorvyn got his second surprise of the morning when the orderly, Charlie, wheeled in a flat screen TV and another plate of breakfast, with peaches.
“You must’ve sucked the new Doc good, Jor.”
“Yeah, he was a regular horse, not like your crinkly straw.”
Charlie gave him a thin smile and sloshed coffee into his food. “We’ll see how straw like I am later when I’m pounding you like a tent stake.”
Jorvyn winced. “So not original… tent stake? Really?”
Charlie’s smile slid away and returned his angular features to sharp edges and hard lines.
“I wouldn’t, if I were you,” Jorvyn drawled. “The new Doc seems pretty territorial. He catches you poaching on his conquest you may end up with the Pica patients.”
Charlie grimaced. “Ew, God. Some of them eat their own shit.”
“Yeah.” Jorvyn smiled. “I know.”
As soon as the heavy door clanged shut Jorvyn flopped back on his cot. “Alone at last, alone at last, thank God Almighty I’m alone at last.”
Colorful floats bedecked with brilliant flowers slowly motored across the screen. Jorvyn loved the Rose Parade. The only flowers he got to see on this world were the occasional weeds brazen enough to grow in the sandy square of grass called the “garden.”
The marching bands impressed him the most. He had yet to encounter another culture that organized their instruments in such large numbers and then added aerobic exercise. Crazy or brilliant, or both, was a common complaint about humans out among the dimensions.
He enjoyed the peaches too.
“What’s on for this evening?”
“I moved the meeting with the Cherooth Underlings to tomorrow. They’re not happy but they didn’t want anyone but you as intermediary. FireSpring wants a face to face sometimes soon.”
“God, now what? I’m up to date on all my sector reports.”
“He’s didn’t say but he didn’t seem mad.”
“Okay, keep everything on a simmer for me, please. I don’t know how this new Doc’s going to play out.”
“Sure thing, sugar. Stay safe.”
Jorvyn laughed.“Safety abandoned me before I learned to crawl and sent her ugly twin sister ‘Misfortune’ to keep me company. You know, beyond the worts and bad breath she could be a real looker.”
Anika’s chuckle faded away as the Governor’s Award float winner rounded the sharp corner and headed for home.
To Jorvyn’s annoyance, Dr. Riley made good on his promise to return in the afternoon. “How are you doing, Jorvyn.”
“I had a good poop after breakfast, Doc.”
Dr. Riley smiled. “Did you enjoy the parade?”
“Yep. Some of my alien friends from the planet Beebaalbrax came and joined me. They thought the floats looked tasty but I told them they were poisonous.”
“How good of you.” Dr. Riley sat in the only chair and motioned for Jorvyn to take a seat on his cot. “Now, as you’ve already determined, I have no life so it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve spent the day reviewing your file.”
Jorvyn made jazz hands while mouthing, “I’m shocked.”
Dr. Riley bit his lip on a chuckle and flipped through documents on his tablet before turning serious. “I’m going to decrease your medication and stop the electrotherapy treatments.”
Jorvyn froze for a heartbeat. The medication he could take or leave but the treatments were a different story.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Doc.”
“My dad gets pissy if I’m not shocked into incontinence two or three times a week.”
“If that’s true then we have a great many more issues than what’s contained in your file.”
Jorvyn laughed. “Oh Doc., you don’t know the half of it.”
“So tell me.”
Jorvyn leaned back on the cot and sized the doctor up. Finally, he nodded slowly. “Okay Doc. There’s this group called the Cherooths. They’re kind of like centaurs but have tusks like a boar. They live in a wooded mountainous region. Down below them, in the delta, are the Sengazis. They’re more humanoid but less humanlike. The last few years have been wet, which is real good for the Sengazis because it swells the rivers and increases the delta range. It is not good for the Cherooths ’cause a swollen river and increased delta cuts into their territory. Now this isn’t uncommon, happens every few decades or so and usually the two sides just deal with it without too much conflict. However, this particular season has seen the snow pack descend further down the mountains and spring refusing to sproing. There’s been poaching and conflict and even a little bloodshed, which despite how imposing the Cherooth are, is unusual.”
Dr. Riley took notes on his tablet. “And how does this concern you?”
“Just last week the Sengazis captured a few Cherooth spring bucks and are holding them as a safeguard against any more incidents. If the Cherooths continue to poach or otherwise press into the delta area the Sengazis will saw off the spring bucks’ tusks.”
“And I take it this is a bad thing?” Dr. Riley asked.
“Very bad. It’s near the equivalent of cutting off a person’s nuts. Not that they couldn’t physically mate with a female but they wouldn’t ever get the chance.”
“I’m still not sure I see where you come in.”
“The Cherooth asked for me to mediate the return of their spring bucks.”
“Yeah, Doc., I’ve done business with the Cherooth before and since I’m clearly not a Sengazi, they figured I’d be a good intermediary. There aren’t any other sentients on that particular continent and nobody has a strong naval presence. Thank God. So it’s me or they go to war.”
“I see,” Dr. Riley took some more notes. “And you speak both Cherooth and Sengazi?”
“How did you learn them?”
“FireSpring gave them to me.”
“Like a present?”
“No, Doc. like a two by four being slammed into my head.”
“Who is FireSpring?”
“He’s my… boss kind of…. Maybe more like a mentor or coach.”
“Did he recruit you?”
“No, I kind of fell into all this by accident as a kid.”
“Tell me about that.”
Jorvyn remained silent for a moment before breaking into a grin. “No.”