Abby runs off in search of Howard, straight past an admiring and drooling Urbanus. "Need something?" Carter asks wryly. "Think you could get me her number?" Urbanus beams dreamily. He needs to get out more.
Abby finds Howard sitting alone outside and tries to get him to talk about what's happening. "Olfactory overload," he fibs. Abby shakes her head and asks point-blank if he's got obsessive-compulsive disorder. Howard gets up and leaves. There's been a lot of flat-out leaving in this episode. There must have been a fire sale on "______ gets up without a word and walks away" devices.
A gazillion people chase after Carter for information or a favor, so he takes refuge in the staff lounge. And there, he comes across one of the more disturbing sights in the world: Chuck with his shirt hiked up, a baby clutched to the spot where his nipple will be. It's unspeakably odd and unpleasant. Carter is like, "WHAT in the name of genetic impossibilites is going on here?" Chuck smirks, "What, you've never seen a father breast-feed his kid before?" He shows Carter a strange device that I won't even begin to understand, which apparently helps simulate the experience to faciliate father-child bonding -- "If you can get past the sore nipples," Chuck explains. EW. And then, worst of all, Chuck actually asks Carter if he wants to TRY it. WHY would he want to breast-feed someone else's child? I am thoroughly squicked. And at least one of my breasts wants very badly to shrivel up and hide. Carter quells what is probably a grief and nausea cocktail, and decides that the mayhem outside the lounge has to be better than the madness inside it, so he surges back outside.
Outside, Abby is leaving work. "Hey, Rockhard," Ray shouts at her. I hate him. Do TPTB think this is a charming character? Really? What dictionary are they using? "What did you call me?" Abby asks suspiciously. "Lockhart," Ray lies. He asks if she's heading home. "That's what most of us do" after work, she says. "I'm in between places right now," he exposits totally needlessly. Then he apologizes for the way they got started today and wants to buy her dinner to seal the apology. She refuses this kind offer as she crosses the street. But then Abby gets an idea and wants to ask Ray a question.
So we cut inside the Jumbo Mart, where Ray is filling a basket with groceries, and Abby asks her question. I love it when movies and TV shows do that: start a conversation in one place, then make one cut to a spot that would be five minutes later, yet the conversation continues as if there were no interruption. Although of course, whenever I enter a grocery store, I do tend to put a stop to all conversations until I'm entrenched in the act of shopping. "How well do you know Howard?" Abby asks. "Not very," Ray replies. Abby wonders if Howard seems strange, somehow. "Obsessive...compulsive..." she says. "He totally froze in a trauma today." Ray points out that Howard has only been in a few codes, so some slack might be required. "So you don't think I should mention it to an Attending?" Abby asks curiously. Ray shrugs, and then picks up a bunch of brats. Abby smirks. "I like to live dangerously," he says. "Hey, didn't she used to work in the hospital?" I hate that phrase. It never looks right to me -- "didn't she used to" always feels like it's made-up syntax. Anyway, the camera cuts to Neela standing behind the counter wearing one of those green foam Statue of Liberty headband-hats. She is moping furiously. "We have a special on cupcakes: buy two, get one free," she says dully. As Ray happily grabs one and starts eating it, Abby disbelievingly says she thought Neela was interviewing at other hospitals or clinics. "I didn't have much luck," Neela says. She didn't go to any of them, did she? "You only looked for one day!" Abby protests. "This is the only job I can get, because I'm a loser," Neela says, with the most hilarious mix of defeatism and defiance. Her delivery is as if she's the only girl in the class without her ears pierced, and she's telling her mom that she can't show her face in school now because she's a complete loser for having no holes in her lobes. It's perfect. "At least you're close to the hospital," Ray says helpfully. Abby not so subtly kicks him. If Shane West weren't such a charisma void, that might have been funny. Neela pouts that she blew it -- no job, no apartment, no money. "Look at me," she wails. "I'm not even American!" Parminder can make anything charming. Shane, take a lesson.