That’s right. I watched the whole thing.


“Gentlemen,” I interjected, smiling and shaking my head at their antics. “Time to get these guys to bed?” They put their controllers up. Ran hopped to his feet.


He switched the console and television off. “Yeah,” he said. “It is.”


“No, Brad. Play. Play. Please,” Eddy Dorin popped the words from where he sat cross-legged on the floor, shaking his head like one who had learned the gesture form a description rather than having seen it done. He brushed the fingers of one hand against the other palm in a drumming motion.


“Brad, huh?” I looked at Ran.


“He’ll call me that. He just comes out with names. He knows my name,” Ran answered. “Don’t you, Ed? What’s my name, Ed?”


Eddy stared at the movement of his hands.


Ran crouched in front of him a couple arms’ length away. “Ed, look. Eddy.” Eddy looked at him without meeting his eyes. “What’s my name?” Ran gave the American sign.


“Name,” Eddy repeated, raising his hand in approximation of the sign.


“What’s my name?”


Eddy turned his face away, registering no expression. “Ran,” he said, his tone was quick, low, and flat. He pronounced the r with a shade of w in such a way that even the staff with a knack for mimicry found it hard to reproduce.


“Good job, Eddy! Good job,” Ran congratulated with enthusiasm. He stood turning to me. “See, he knows. He just gets lazy. Just like the rest of us, huh, Ed?” When addressing Eddy, Ran’s words were clear without artificiality. He tousled Eddy’s hair. “Bedtime,” he prompted. He turned to the others “Bedtime, guys. Let’s go.”


A collection of grumbles rose from the others encircling us. Ran gave them each a once-over. “Pajamas on, good. Teeth brushed, good. Took your showers? Jake, I know you take your shower on first shift.” He turned to me. “They all got their meds?”


I nodded. “All done.”


“Time to hit it, guys.”


As he and Jason shuttled them off to their rooms I logged onto the computer to do a final check of the med sheets. I brought up the combined schedule for all those on the house. Any medications and treatments due within the past or coming hour would each appear in a row of green. Any upcoming within the next two to three hours would be in yellow. Any overdue would appear in red. Everything else in the next twenty-four hours besides was in white boxes.


Everything was white. I scrolled to the top of the screen. The title, "Diversified Community Services, Nailor House" was followed by the current month, day, and year; then:


2nd Shift Roster:            LARGE, RANDALL J.

                                 ARMSTRONG, JASON D.

                      JAMES, COREY L.


Our names had appeared there when we clocked in.

The End

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