Soon after I'd returned to my room, still shaking my head about the peas and throwing a skeptical glance at the heating register, Doc Esco came knocking. I decided not to tell him about the pea discrepancy at the moment, although I'm not exactly sure why.
"I've to finalize your treatment plan," the doctor began, glancing at his clipboard, "but I thought I'd start you on a two or three routine medications..."
I put up my hands in suprise. "Doesn't that seem like, y'know, quite a bit? I mean, I know nothing about all this, but even still..."
The Doc hinted at a soothing smile, as if he'd expected this. "Taking the three together expediates the effects. Each works on its own, but given your condition it's best to take all of them."
"Ah, so it's like cross-pollination," I sighed to myself in comprehension. "Right. Gotcha."
He held out his hand, in which resided three tiny green capsules. I plucked one from his palm, looking it over. I'd expected to see some kind of manufacturer's markings, but...
"There's nothing on it," I mused, knitting my brows.
"Generic," Doc Esco replied quickly, waving his other hand in dismissal. I shrugged and regarded the enviously green capsule doubtfully; I didn't like the idea of taking something totally foreign to me, but I figured that even if Doc Esco explained to me what it was I wouldn't have understood any better anyway. With a touch of difficulty I swallowed each one dryly, barely supressing an inexplicable shudder.
- - - - -
The days that followed were about as eventful as watching paint dry in slow-motion, not that I minded. I fell into the routine fairly quickly, found my way around the place; although there weren't too many places I could go, so that made figuring how to get from A to B a bit simpler. Maybe it was because I got more accustomed to the nuances of the place so quickly, I kept noticing little things. They didn't seem too huge a deal, but they still managed to irk me a little bit. For instance, about a week after I was committed I was pretty sure the temperature was off in my room, but moreso than usual; of course I checked the register, and of course it still said seventy-two. One morning upon waking up and checking it, only to find that it still stubbornly declared the room temperature to be seventy-two, I simply glared at it.
"You may say seven-two," I told it, "but I still don't believe you."
"Whom don't you believe?"
I jumped; I must've been so caught up in the misleading thermostat that I didn't hear Doc Esco come in. "Oh, g'mornin' Doc."
As soon as I said "good morning" I heard a beep. Nothing piercing, nothing painful, just a tiny little pinprick of a beep. Where it was coming from, I had no idea. I glanced around the room. "Good morning," I said again, more deliberately this time, and again hearing that beep. I looked to a confused Doc Esco and pointed vaguely at the ceiling. "Did'ja hear that?" I asked.
The doctor tilted his head questioningly. "Hear what?"
"What, you can't hear it? There was a beep after I greeted you."
"Indeed, sir. Here, let's see..." I took a breath, then repeated my greeting.
"There, d'ja hear it?"
Doc Esco shook his head. "I'm sorry, Connor, I didn't hear anything."
I leaned back on my right leg, cradling my chin in my hand. "That's odd," I mused to myself, "first the thermostat, now this?"
"Still with the thermostat? I thought we'd gotten that squared away."
"I thought so too, but it still doesn't feel anything like seventy-two. If anything it feels colder than it did before, but not by much." I shrugged and looked down at my feet, suddenly feeling a little embarassed. "I dunno, I think it's just me. Beeps just might be my ears playing tricks on me." It was entirely possible, but something just struck me as odd about this thing. What if it was just me? What if I was hearing things? Of course I found this a little unsettling, but I tried to talk myself out of it: Happens to everybody, hearing noises... after uttering a specific phrase...
No, no, I tried to think, returning my wayward gaze back to the perplexed doctor, it's utterly ridiculous.
... isn't it?