ER
The Longer You Stay

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Heathen: B- | Grade It Now!
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The Longer You Stay

At home, Abby absently brushes her teeth, spits, and flicks off the bathroom light. Hopping into bed, she exhales for what might be the first time in two hours and leans her head back disconsolately.

Mark's and Elizabeth's daughter tears through the silence with her screams, the cries of the damned. So young to be so astute. "Get up and help me!" rages Elizabeth, jolting her hearing-impaired husband awake. Hey, I'd learn to tune out shrill noise, too, if I was married to her. Apparently, the baby has made an enormous mess all over the bassinet, soiling herself and everything around her. Elizabeth blames this on Mark for not properly tightening the diaper. "What time is it?" he yawns. "Now!" screams his irate bride. She can't fathom why the wailing tot didn't stir Mark from his sleep, when she heard it loud and clear from downstairs. Apparently, she's sick and tired of the marriage bed already. "Calm down, it's not fatal," Mark bumbles. His wife lovelessly shoves the child at him and makes him commence cleanup while she prepares a bath. So far this season, she hasn't handled the child with anything resembling affection. Mark offers to take care of the whole thing so that she can return to sleep. "Don't make me the bitch because you can't follow instructions!" she seethes, because she can bloody well make herself the bitch anytime she likes, and in fact, she does. Mark coos that he was only trying to help, but Elizabeth then tramples all over his caretaking skills. In her research about motherhood, Elizabeth skipped the chapter about how sometimes, babies poop, and sometimes, they poop a lot, and sometimes, diapers aren't enough. Bitch. Not that Mark is helping things by snoring through his child's conniption. Their whole plot gives me a headache every time I try to recount it. His sincere offers of aid rebuffed, Mark gives up and says that he has a shift in three hours anyway, so she can take care of the baby's intestinal problem. He's swung too far to the other end of the spectrum, however, because Elizabeth deeply resents that approach too. "And what do you think I'll be doing in three hours? I'm the feeding trough, remember?" she snarls. Mark pointlessly blathers that he would gladly breastfeed if he could. Oh, Mark. Error. That's just the meaningless platitude new mothers don't want to hear. "Fine, you take it!" she screams. "Take it all: the sore nipples, the rashes, the hemorrhoids, the leaking [in the OR], the public humiliation, the sleep deprivation, the incontinence...You take it, it's all yours!" Elizabeth storms downstairs, and her child cries with renewed vigor, freshly aware of the hopelessness of her cause. She's destined either to be a milquetoast or Mephistopheles; a hairless weenie or a harridan.

Carter sews up Toe Boy, who snores gently throughout the procedure. He meanders toward reception and asks Malik to dress the toe. "Sorry, I'm off," he says airily, leaving. Carter stops dead in his tracks, unable to believe his hellish life. Meanwhile, Weaver sneaks back to the diner in search of her missing pager, which she locates in a bathroom stall. Checking it, she sees proof that Chen and Malucci summoned her, and Weaver curses her own stupidity. Because she's a lesbian. Oh wait, sorry, that was last week.

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