The Queen Is Not Amused

This is my day...Part One

Sitting in the day room at the nursing home, filling out a mountain of progress notes and utilization reviews while the T.V up on the wall in the corner blasts out an old black and white movie.

"Hey girl, you know who that is, don't you?" He demands.

He looks like a roly-poly Weeble...you know, "Weebles wobble but they can't fall down"? His pants circle the high-middle of his egg-shaped torso, white crew socks slip into black, thick-soled shoes. His short sleeve shirt needs only a pocket protector to scream "Geek!" He is the Teacher's Pet, the brown-noser, the tattle tale from elementary school only now he's grown into an old man with a thin mustache.

I look up because other than the Weeble, there is only one other woman in the room- an overweight black lady wearing a curly-haired wig and sighing because she's obviously constipated and trying to correct the situation.

"Uh, no," I answer. "Who is it?"

We are ignoring Betty's distress because it should be a private matter anyway.

"Audie Murphey. That's him when he was young."

"No it ain't!" Betty says, inspecting the screen carefully. She casts a doubtful glance at me and says, "It ain't him, is it?"

"He's playing Billy the Kid. I seen this movie a million times. I should know!"

I try to bow out of the discussion but then I have to mediate between them over whether or not the female lead is Jane Mansfield or Betty Hutton.

I think it is neither but I wouldn't swear to this in a court of law, so I ask the Weeble where my favorite lady, Jane, is.

"Aw, she had that bandage on her side changed and the doctor don't want her out of bed for a few days."

"Ah," I nod, understanding everything now. Jane is the Queen of the Dayroom but as she is temporarily away from the kingdom, The Weeble is taking over, bullying Betty and anyone else who comes in to the room.

"Betty!" The Weeble barks. "Cover your mouth when you cough!"

Betty looks at him. "I'm not elderly!" she tells him. I think she means to say she's not a child, but it's too late, the gauntlet has been cast down.

"You are too! I'm 70 and I'm elderly, so I know you are!"

"I'm 71 and I am not elderly." She looks to me for validation. "I'm not elderly, am I?" she asks.

"She's a hell of a lot older than 71," The Weeble mutters. "Why she's 85 if she's a day!"

But Betty isn't deaf. "I am not! I'm 71! Aren't I?" she asks me.

"You're as young as you feel," I say diplomatically. "And you sure don't look 85."

Now she looks offended and The Weeble is bristling. Obviously this wasn't what I was supposed to say.

"Well, what do you call a 71 year old virgin?" The Weeble demands suddenly. "I'm a 71 year old virgin. I'd call that elderly."

I'd call it a damned shame but I don't say so. Later when I visit the Queen in her room I tell her The Weeble is looking to usurp the throne.

"Aw, that little shit!" she says, annoyed. "He's only doing that because he knows I'm not there to keep him in line. You know, he never married. Lived with his mother all his life. He's a Mama's Boy, that's what he is!" The Queen is not amused.

I do not tell her The Weeble is a virgin. I just can't. It would somehow be like giving a shotgun to a cat facing down a tiny mouse and even the Weeble doesn't
deserve that.

"I'll git him back in line when the doctor lets me out of here. The nerve of him! She hunches herself up onto her elbows and fixes me with an imperious gaze, made more powerful by the way she has to peer over her glasses, down her nose to stare into my eyes. "Now, tell me again...What all did he say about me exactly?"

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