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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part eleven)

 
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Magrat was unusually quiet for the rest of the morning, so much so that Maisie spoke to Doctor Troy about it when she returned from her own rounds at midday. At lunch, Maisie hung the ‘At Lunch’ sign on the clinic’s main door and the doctor took Magrat into the vacant treatment room where they sat next to each other with the treatment room table once again doubling as a dining table.

“Rough morning huh?” It was obvious from Magrat’s face that the teenager was not happy. But the petulant shrug of Magrat’s shoulders was not the answer she was looking for. “Talk to me or I’m going to flick you on the nose.”

The unexpected threat seemed to get Magrat’s attention and her expression changed from confusion, through annoyance, then disbelief at the absurdity of the statement before finally settling on amusement. Magrat relaxed and a hint of a smile bent the corners of her mouth.

“It’s just…”

The pause, and the sigh that followed it, were familiar territory to Tuki, and would have been to her mother too. Now, however, Tuki was in her mother’s role. She put a hand on Magrat’s knee and finished the sentence for her.

“It’s just that people are being hostile and don’t understand that you aren’t an evil raider come to murder them in their beds.”

Magrat stared at Tuki. How did she…? She put it down to the doc being the smartest person she had ever met.

“Yeah. I just want to help them. I mean I’m being nice and all, and doing things right.” Another huge sigh. “It just doesn’t seem to matter.”

Tuki pushed her open lunch box towards Magrat, inviting her to help herself. Magrat looked inside but couldn’t see anything at all edible amongst the sliced carrots, tomatoes and other rabbit food. She shook her head and went back to whatever the tough meat was in the sandwich she had thrown together from leftovers that morning. Tuki hooked a finger over the edge of her box and slowly pulled her delicious, but rejected, salad back towards her before replying.

“Oh, it doesn’t. Matter I mean.” The look on Magrat’s face demanded further explanation. “I mean it does. It matters a lot.” It wasn’t helping. Tuki rewound her thoughts. “What matters is that, even though they don’t like you or are even afraid of you…” She leaned in to whisper. “You get who I mean right?” Magrat grinned and nodded. Maisie’s voice came from beyond the open door.

“I heard that!”

Tuki sat up

“I know you did! You always eavesdrop.” She turned back to a bemused Magrat. “Ever since I’ve known her. It’s one of the things that makes her good at her job. Where was I?”

“People being afraid of you?”

“Oh yes. Even though they don’t like you, the only thing that matters is that they trust you,” Tuki allowed a tiny pause before adding; “and they respect you.”

Magrat chewed and swallowed.

“They don’t respect me?”

“That’s why you’re here Magrat. To learn how to get your patients to respect you so that you can help them.”

“Hmmm. Okay.”

“They respect Maisie, even though a lot of people are pretty terrified of her. And I thought, and still think, that by watching her you can learn how she handles people.”

Magrat glanced at the still open doorway.

“But, she’s well… Big and scary. I’m like five feet nothing.”

“Still listening out here!”

Tuki and Magrat shared another conspirational grin. Tuki stood up. And lifted her arms.

“And I’m a giant, am I?”

“No. But you’re smart and you use big words and you always know what to do and stuff like that.”

Tuki sat down again.

“And that’s my edge. Maisie’s edge is that she is big and scary.”

Magrat frowned.

“I don’t have an edge.”

“You do, you know. And even if you don’t then everyone else sure knows your edge. You just need to use it.”

“But I don’t! I’m just me. I’m just a drudge…”

Maisie appeared at the doorway.

“Oh, for fudge sake! Everyone thinks you’re a damn raider! So use it, that’s your damn edge!”

Tuki joined in.

“She’s right. Use the fact that everyone thinks you are this rough, tough, fearsome raider. Be confident with it.”

Maisie leaned against the doorjamb.

“Just don’t, you know, scare them to death.”



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