This week I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Croakette, Hospice mascot from Medium Rare, by Julie Eberhart Painter.
Welcome, Miss Croakette. For our readers, how long have your worked for the Hospice team?
Croakette: It started in 1990. I woke up in their offices one morning wearing a bikini and sitting in a potted plant. Don't remember much before that. It's a blur.
I see you are wearing a nurse’s uniform and rubber gloves today.
Croakette: I'm working this week. Helps with the patients’ depression. And I cheer up the team. Hospice workers are very careful about universal precautions policies. They put condoms on my front feet. There's a guy, a patient, who's kind of lonely. He asked for a round-the-clock nurse. Tah-dah. (Flings arms upward.) “Oops.” (Straightens bodice and replaces cap.) I'm going out there with Andrea; she's the boss.
So you like your work?
Croakette: (Brushes fingers across stiffly starched collar.) It's the best. These Hospice folks are the nicest people to work with. If I had to end up in someone's floral display to get this job, I'm satisfied.
How did you come by your name?
Croakette: One of the volunteers, Penny Martin, of Kill Fee fame, named me the first day they found me. Betty, she's the volunteer coordinator, said, ‘Penny, what are we gonna call her?’ Penny didn’t hesitate. She said, ‘Croak-ette, of course.’ Well you know in my line of work, I didn't object.
Tell us about the team. That’s pretty serious work. Is it sad in the office?
Croakette: Not usually. There’s a lot of hugging and mutual support. The staff eats together in the break room, and shares their family gossip. But one day, all hell broke loose. This kook from Cassadaga, a town filled with psychics, started counseling every one of them individually. Know what I mean? Well, she’s a little too accurate in her predictions for my money. I think she has spies. (Snickers) They take me to some of the meetings. I’m just waiting to find a bug up my ass some morning.
I’d like to get my amphibious gloved hands on that psychic’s neck.
Croakette: She’d better not upset my people. But, what can I do about it? They dress me and undress me. I’ve got this great motorcycle outfit set up for Bike Week. Someone had one of those old silver L’eggs eggs and they put black duct tape wings on the sides and made me a helmet. That and a large pair of Isotoner gloves and Zoom, I’m off!
I notice you are quite slender now. What happened to the golf ball bra?
Croakette: One night I was hiding in the artificial palm and some new maintenance man came along and dumped water on me. It was a mess. Thought I’d never get rid of the mildew smell. But Andrea, she used to be an operating room nurse; she took pity on me and dried me out, not in the AA sense. Then she did a breast reduction. (Spreads neck of dress and looks down.) These look pretty good, believable, anyway. (Puffs out chest to show off Hearsay’s Kisses under uniform.)
Have you ever met Bilgewater, Penny Martin’s talking Mynah bird?
I assume you don’t care for Pennys pet Mynah, Bilgewater, the foul-mouthed fowl?
I think he’s a horrible animal. I don’t need the stuffing pecked out of me, verbally or literally.
I get it. Let’s move on. How did you like your new look on the book’s cover?
Croakette: You mean the Glamor Shot? I even got hair. I thought the cap looked a little Canadian. But my face cleared up. How do they do that?
Tell us more about your team. You have a social worker and…?
Croakette: She’s a sweetheart, a real people person. The comptroller is interesting. He seems to have a secret life. Keeps going out for lunch and coming back hours later. Love to know what that’s about. Then there’s the preacher, ‘
Dudley Do-right,’ my pet name for him. He’s got a secret… (Laughs)... Not much wonder he’s afraid of water.
The volunteers are nice people but grass doesn’t grow under their feet, either. But everybody’s got a love life except me. (Sniffs)
Yet, I sense you don’t like or trust the psychic?
She knows too much. She really upsets my people. But for now, everybody’s talking’ about that Medium—Rare.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com (Search) Julie Eberhart Painter
Julie also reviews books for a prestigious online romance review site, and is a regular contributor to http://thewritersvineyard.com/ , and featured travel writer for http://www.wix.com/cocktailsmagazine/fictionandgossip, an online slick. Her flash fiction appears under http://bewilderingstories.com/bios/painter_bio.htm