Nov 09

Wednesday Blogging: Promptly Penned – Outcome Engineer


This week’s promptly penned managed to fit into the WIP I’m working on for the first part of my NaNo project, which is also a novella I plan to release within the Love Brothers Holiday box set along with 15 other brilliant authors (including fellow blogger Deelylah Mullin!)

Person A: She smiled a little. “You’re a manipulator.”
Person B: “I like to think of myself as an outcome engineer.”


A timid knock sounded at the door. A few of the other radiologists in the practice were a little on the crotchety side, and any time someone had to interrupt one of us, they tended to fear the result of the knock. One of the neuro radiologists either completely ignored whoever was at the door, or answered with a roar that sounded throughout the rest of the offices. He was a dick to pretty much everyone, so we didn’t really talk much.

“Come in,” I called, setting the microphone down on the desk and spinning my chair to face the door.

Rosalyn, the department secretary, poked her head in. “Can I talk to you for a minute, sir?”

Uh oh. She broke out the ‘sir.’ That means she’s got bad news.

“Sure, what’s up?”

Her salt and pepper hair was pulled back into her usual bun, only today she’d shoved a pencil into the mass of hair. A pair of glasses sat on top of her head, while another sat perched at the end of her nose. Rosalyn always reminded me of my librarian from the elementary school I attended—she looked like a mean old lady with a dozen cats, but she was actually the kind, grandmotherly type that everyone adored.

She stood just inside the door to the reading room, awkwardly shuffling her feet on the ugly blue carpet most offices seemed to have and holding a stack of papers in her arms. “I’m guessing you haven’t checked your texts or emails lately?”

I glanced at the forgotten cell phone sitting on top of the leather briefcase my grandfather had given me when I graduated from medical school. The screen flashed with what looked like the millionth text message I’d missed that morning. “Oops. I forgot I brought my phone in today. What’d I miss?”

Rosalyn laughed and gestured to the phone. “I don’t know why you even bother having one of those. You never answer it, usually forget you even have it, and I’m not even sure you know how to use all the features on it.”

While it was all true, there was no way I was willing to admit that she was right. As a doctor, I knew the basics of the phone and the apps I had to use most often. But if anyone asked me how to use the GPS or buy something on the Amazon app… I was hopelessly lost.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. What’s going on, Roz?”

Her serious mask reappeared. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s been a catastrophic computer failure at Southwest. And at Delta. All flights incoming and outgoing have been canceled until they can figure out what the problem is.”

It didn’t immediately click that she was referring to the flight I’d scheduled for tomorrow. The one that would take me to Ohio for the conference on stereotactic and ultrasound guided breast biopsies mandatory for me to maintain my current licensing to read mammograms. The only fucking seminar left in the entire country in the time I had left to complete the requirement.

Running a hand through my hair, I cursed under my breath. “What are my options?”

Rosalyn thumbed through the papers in her arms, nearly dropping them in the process.

“You can set those on my desk, you know.” I said, scooting aside to give her room. “I don’t bite; I’m not like Andrew or Timothy.”

She probably thought I didn’t catch the roll of her eyes as she moved to place everything on the desk. Andrew and Timothy were brilliant doctors, but I was pretty sure they’d missed the day they taught bedside manner in medical school.

Each paper she handed me contained different options. I could take a train for just over a thousand dollars with a room where I could sleep and shower. The bus was also an option, but I didn’t want to be crammed into that small a space with so many people for days on end. Or, I could make the sixteen and a half hour drive, myself.

The train option was starting to look mighty attractive, until Rosalyn reminded me of one major fact I’d forgotten.

“Oh, I’m also trying to find alternate transportation for Katie.”

She said it so offhand, it could almost have been innocent. But Rosalyn had known me for a long time, and while I might have been able to hide my feelings from everyone else, Rosalyn had me pegged from the minute Katherine Molloy walked through the doors at Mercy General.

Narrowing my eyes, I sent her a glare that she just laughed at. “What are your thoughts, Dr. Bauer? Or would you like me to come back later?”

Gears began turning in my head. I had no idea how I was going to talk Katie into spending two days at a minimum in a car with me, but I was damn sure going to try. If I was ever going to take a chance and get to know this woman, now was the time.

Rosalyn made a show of looking up at the clock. “I do believe it’s time for lunch.”

Her secret way of trying to play matchmaker had been to remind me of when Katie would take lunch or specifically schedule me for a rotation that would put me in the radiology department multiple times a day. Rosalyn probably didn’t think I’d noticed, but I had.

I just never bothered to complain about it.

I patted my stomach, which was still sore as fuck from my work out that morning. “You know, I think I am kind of hungry. I wonder what they have in the cafeteria today?”

“Your favorite—food.” She smiled a little.

“You’re a manipulator.”

“I like to think of myself as an outcome engineer.”

“Uh huh. Outcome engineer. You’re positively Machiavellian.” As much as I teased her for it, I kind of loved her for it. “You want anything?”

Roz shook her head, her expression horrified. “Like I’d ever eat there. I brought my lunch, dear.” With that, she winked at me and playfully smacked my leg. “Now, get going. You know how crowded the cafeteria gets.”


See what the other ladies have come up with:

Bronwyn || Deelylah || Kris


1 ping

  1. Deelylah Mullin

    Sweet! I can’t wait to read the rest :-) Find out how he talks Katie into riding with.

    P.S. I can see I already love Roz.

  2. Kris

    oh look at you and all the medical terminology. Well played. Two days in a car together. I think this is going to be a murder novel :)

  3. Bronwyn Green

    That’s a great method for forced intimacy in a story. Well done. :)

  1. Promptly Penned: Outcome Engineer | Can You Vague That Up For Me?

    [...] it from me, today. Be sure to check out Deelylah, Paige, and Kris‘ [...]

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