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Sand And Water

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Sand And Water

In the lobby, Doris begs Kerry "Basket" Weaver to take a patient off her hands since he's "driving [her] crazy." "Same here," grunts a gravelly voice. That's right. Mr. Fletcher's back. He's having problems with his shunt because he missed dialysis again. "Only one day late, huh?" says Weaver by way of small talk. "You? No, not you," protests Mr. Fletcher. Doris somehow intuits that Weaver knows Mr. Fletcher. As Weaver is telling Doris that he's one of County's regulars, her beeper goes off, and she asks Cleo "DiCrapio" Finch to take him. Cleo reluctantly makes for Mr. Fletcher's gurney and notes, "I see you called 911 again." Mr. Fletcher says that they're faster than the El. Weaver crutches into a curtain area where Mark is checking a patient's legs. She asks Mark if he's ready and Mark says he'll be a minute. Weaver sheepishly says, "I don't want to keep him waiting." Mark tells her again that he'll be a minute.

Upstairs, the "him" they're discussing -- yes, Carter -- is wearing a natty dark grey suit and sitting in a waiting room. We hear the voice of Peter "Pup" Benton before we see him; he's droning orders at Shirley. As he prepares to head into his office, with Reese in tow, Carter stands and firmly says, "Dr. Benton." Benton greets him warmly and asks what Carter's doing there. Carter quietly replies, "I have a meeting," and Benton, suddenly remembering what it's about, says, "Oh. Right." Carter says hi to Shirley, who returns the greeting. Last-minute admincakes, and Shirley books, but not before telling Carter it's good to see him again. Carter congratulates Benton on his new position. Benton thanks him perfunctorily and tells Carter he's looking good. Carter self-deprecates, "I couldn't look much worse than the last time you saw me," and waves at Reese, commenting on how big he is (which he is! Aw, Reese). Carter sits back down, attempting to end the awkward moment. Benton says he'll see Carter later, and Carter smirks, "I don't know. Maybe. We'll see!" Benton says, "Aaagghgh," in a "you've got it sewn up" voice, and wishes him luck. Carter stares straight ahead, nervously tapping each of his fingers in turn against his thumb.

Mark and Weaver make their way from the ER to their meeting with Carter. Mark asks when Carter wants to start; Weaver says, "As soon as possible," but Mark doesn't think that's such a good idea. As Mark and Weaver continue past, paramedics wheel in a woman with an altered mental state, brief loss of consciousness, and a weak grip in her right hand. Uh oh. Toddling along at the head of the gurney is "Cool Hand" Luka Kovac. So it doesn't look good for this woman. He'll kill her dead within minutes. Minutes, I say! Look at his record! Anyway, he asks if the woman accompanying the patient whether there's a history of stroke; her companion says there is. Mark and Kerry wander back into the frame; Weaver is saying that Carter is "eager to get back to work." Mark passive-aggressively asks whether it's wise to "throw him back in the deep end," and Weaver patiently explains that they'll start him on half shifts, a few days a week. "In the same place he started using," Mark concludes. No, Mark -- IN THE CAFETERIA. She: he's doing a program every day. He: Carter can afford to take time off. She: we'll monitor his progress and if he starts to slip... He: if he starts to slip it's too late. The elevator doors close on the Bickersons.

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