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Thomas pulled the car next to the curb. “Front door service,” he said.

“Thank you,” I smiled, “I love it here.”

For the past five months, I’ve been volunteering at our local hospital in the Women’s Care Unit. Or in my words, “the stork delivery after-care unit.”

The stork does its job, the hospital plays a snippet of a lullaby over the PA system announcing the arrival of the new bundle of crying, then I hover near the nurses’ desk waiting to glimpse the wee little peanut as it passes by.

Lately, I’ve felt there should be more than just a, “Congratulations on your baby!”

“What’s in the huge bag?” Thomas asked.

“What bag?”

“The one on your lap.”

“Nothing.”

“That’s a pretty good-sized bag of nothing.”

“It’s bloated,” I said.

“Seriously, what’s in the bag?”

“My new uniform.”

“Why don’t you have it on?”

“I was behind schedule and you were impatiently honking the horn when we were trying to leave.”

“Actually,” he said, “you were in the car before me.”

Misdirection attempt: zero. Thomas: 1.

“Fine.”

I pulled out the nothing.“What on earth is that?”

“A stork costume. I found it on The Amazon,” I explained. “But don’t worry, I used The Prime so I didn’t have to pay shipping. Aren’t you proud of me?”

Second misdirection attempt: zero. Thomas: 2.

“Why do you need a stork costume?”

“To welcome the babies, of course.”

“You’re insane.”

“So?”

“You’re not wearing it.”

“You can’t tell me what to do,” I pulled the handle on the door ... nothing happened. “Did you just child-lock me in the car?”

“First,” he held up a finger, “have you talked to your supervisor about this?”

“No, but I’m certain she’ll love it.”

“Uh, huh,” he said. “Second, you’re going to terrify the babies.”

“It’s not like I’m dressed as a clown,” I cried.

A knock on my window resulted in a scream (and possibly a little pee), but when I turned and saw a lovely gentleman peering into our car, I knew help had arrived. Thomas rolled the window down maybe three inches. What? Did he think I would try and climb out if he rolled it all the way down? Actually, I probably would’ve.

“I’m sorry,” the valet said, “this is a loading and unloading zone. You can’t park here.”

I stuck my lips between the window gap and whisper-yelled, “Please help me. He won’t let me wear my stork costume.”

“Stork costume?”

“Yes, sir. I volunteer in the Women’s Care Unit.”

“What a brilliant idea!”

I smirked at Thomas, the door unlocked, and I heard his neck crack. You’d think after 26 years of repetitive head shaking, his neck would be a bit more limber.Well, I don’t want to brag too much (cuz you know, I’m sooo gonna brag), but the stork costume was a huge hit!

After my shift, I skipped through the main doors and grinned.

“You look fantastic!” the valet said.

“Thank you,” I twirled and flapped my arms. “By the way, I’m Krista.”

“Frank, at your service.”

A car whizzed to a stop in front of us, the door slammed opened, and music blared from within.

“Would you like to celebrate with a dance?” he bowed.

Okay, this is the thing, the majority of volunteers are retirees, which most often means they’re either proper and respectful, or up for anything cuz they’ve lived too many years following the expected cultural norms. Guess which Frank was.

That’s right ... he wasn’t a follower.

He danced like Ricky Ricardo and I made Lucy look as graceful as Ginger Rogers. We weaved between wheelchairs, incoming and outgoing patients, their family and friends, and hospital staff.

“I gotta teach you a move,” I said. “It’s called The Floss.”

“Okay.”

“Cock one hip to the side and straighten your arms to the other side. Bring your hips and arms toward each other and when they meet one arm goes behind your body and the other goes in front. Then repeat back the other way.”

It was quite apparent that Frank spent years on the dance floor and soon the two of us were dancing away. “It’s like flossing your teeth,” he laughed.

“Exactly.”

Now, I kid you not, I didn’t even have to use much of my superpower ... the Power of Persuasion (or as Thomas calls it, “relentless badgering”) to get people to join us. It was like a flash mob in front of the hospital.

And when the stodgy security guard came to check on “all the ruckus,” he may have tapped his foot a few times.

It was a blast!

A short honk got my attention. My chariot had arrived. Thomas rolled down the window, “Is this your doing?”

“Nope,” I smiled. “It was Frank’s.”

“Uh, huh.”

A final floss, a kiss on the back of the hand, and Frank twirled me into the passenger seat.

“You’re ridiculous,” Thomas said.

“But you still love me.”

“Bless my heart.”

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.