Props to random person, Maggie, Kate, and Sars.
Previously on ER: Meg's baby was taking drugs, even though Meg claimed she was "hardly using"; Jeanie skived off work to hang out with Carlos, the cutest damn baby in creation; and Hawkeye exhibited some wacked-out behaviour in the ER.
Kerry "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" Weaver and John "Rooster Hannigan" Carter make their way down the stairs from the El; it's raining hard, so Carter offers to help Weaver with her stuck umbrella. (And, no, that's not what the kids are calling it these days.) Weaver remarks that she hates coming in to work when it's still dark out. Ew, so did I. As they reach the bottom of the stairs, they see several ambulances streaking past. Carter deadpans, "That doesn't look promising." Weaver shrieks, "A perfect start to what's bound to be a perfect day!"
In the ambulance bay, Mark "Baron Von Yawn" Greene gets the bullet from a paramedic; the patient, a ninety-year-old woman, is suffering due to smoke inhalation. Mark barks some orders and steps back toward Weaver, who asks Mark what's going on. He replies that there was a fire at a nursing home, and that "there weren't enough people there to get them out." At this point, my friend Kate and I both groaned and said, "Can you imagine?" At least none of the old folks is likely to be friends with any gangbangers who'll come into the ER and start shooting up the place, which will make for a nice change. Then again, maybe I'm being ageist. Mark sends Carter to attend to the last ambulance.
Inside, another elderly patient with "a left-side stroke" and "altered mental status" but "no singed nasal hairs" is being brought in on a gurney. Weaver comes crutching in behind her. Haleh, who is behind the desk, hangs up the phone and says, "They're sending us two more: one critical, full thickness burns." Weaver asks who's on the desk. Haleh replies, "No one. Steve called in sick, and Randi left at 6:30." In disbelief, Weaver says, "She didn't wait for her replacement?" Haleh, bless her, firmly says, "I am not her keeper. You want to bitch at somebody, bitch at her." Mark calls for Haleh, who leaves the desk, but not before telling Weaver that Jeanie called to say that she won't be in either. Weaver doesn't reply, but instead futzes with her sticky umbrella for a few seconds before throwing it down in frustration.
Peter "Cuckold?" Benton comes down the stairs at Jackie's house, while we hear the sound of her voice, and her daughter's, having a typical morning conversation (i.e. "You dumped your basketball stuff on the basement steps. You want your stuff to end up in the washer, you PUT IT IN THE BASKET"). Benton kisses Reese, who's sitting in his high chair. As her daughter goes in search of her knapsack, Jackie says to Benton, "She can throw a twenty-foot fading jumper, but she can't get within ten yards of the hamper." Heh. Benton says, "You got a minute?" Jackie testily replies, "Not really." Undeterred, Benton says, "Yeah, uh...Carla told me that Reese might not be mine." Jackie pauses for a beat, then continues her tidying while asking him what he's going to do. Benton says he doesn't know, and adds, "I don't know that I believe her, with everything that's going on." Jackie chuckles bitterly and says, "That bitch. What the hell is the matter with her?" Warningly, Benton says, "Jackie..." Jackie stops him before he can say anything else in Carla's defense: "No. Everything she's put you through, and she isn't even sure?" Benton sort of shrugs. Jackie says, more kindly, "I'm sorry. But I don't know what's worse -- that she's always known, or she's just doing this to get Reese." Benton says that he got a paternity test, but that he hasn't taken it yet. Jackie asks how long it takes. He says that he doesn't know how long it takes, or even if he'll take the test at all. Jackie tells him that he has to. With mounting frustration, Benton asks, "What if I'm not his father, huh?" With a no-bullshit tone that would make Haleh proud, Jackie says, "What are you going to do, wait 'til he gets older, Peter? He's bound to find out." Benton turns his back, yelling, "Yeah, I know!" Jackie continues, "And then he's going to know that you lied to him." Benton looks out the window. Jackie comes up behind him and strokes his back. Seriously, when is Jackie going to get her own spin-off? She rocks.