Disclaimer: I don't own Scrubs or any of the characters in it.
NB: This probably takes place around season 4 sometime. JD's internal monologues are signified by chunks of italic text.
You know, there are some days where it seems everything will go your way. The sun is shining, the birds are twittering in the air…the Smurfs long-sleeved t-shirt you bought yourself is looking great under your scrubs and getting you admiring eyes from the ladies…well, they're actually making disgusted faces, but I know it's out of envy because I've got style…anyway, I just have this feeling today is gonna be a great day.
As JD pranced towards the entrance of Sacred Heart, smug about a shirt that was getting him stared at (and not in a positive way, despite what he thought), his foot felt air rather than ground. Befuddled, he had just enough time to look down before finding himself plunging into an open manhole.
Oh, great. At least I've landed in water. At least I hope that's water.
It may be just me, but something slippery just brushed past my ankles… I'm not gonna get scared. It's not like there are any eerie creatures lurking beneath a suburban hospital…
'Someone let me outta here!'
'You know,' said a voice, and the Janitor's face appeared, peering down the hole at him from above, 'it's amazing how many people look straight ahead when they're walking, and are completely oblivious to what they're stepping on. Wet floors I've spent all day mopping, despite the signs I put up, wet cement I so kindly and painstakingly helped lay, my bucket full of cleaning fluid…holes in the ground…'
'Would you mind helping me back out of here?' said JD peevishly, 'This dirty water has discoloured Papa Smurf's hat. And I think there's something in here with me.'
'Yep, that'd be the eels.'
With a knowing nod, the Janitor stood up and stepped away from the manhole.
Slowly, the manhole cover began to slide across, blocking out what little light JD had left.
'Eels?! Eels?! Lemme out!'
Elliot Reid was fuming. Fuming and pacing. Fuming and pacing and panicking. Admittedly, this combined state of anger and panic was not unusual for her—most days found Elliot trying not to go to pieces over something or other—but every time, she felt in some small way that the world was going to come to an end. And today was no exception.
'Frick! Frick! Frick!' her hair swished manically behind her as she paced the corridors, and then she abandoned anything even vaguely resembling words and simply began to mutter to herself incoherently.
As she was making her ninetieth lap up towards the nurses' station, a drenched, mud-covered figure appeared in the doorway and sloped up the hall towards her.
Elliot, turning so fast her hair was flung all over her face and colliding with the filthy creature, let out an almighty scream.
'Woah, Elliot! Chill there, won't ya!'
Elliot jumped back. 'JD! You look like the thing from the swamp! You scared me to death!' And then, remembering the reason for her panicky march a few seconds ago, she rounded on him. 'JD! What the heck have you been doing all morning?! You were supposed to take half the interns with you today! And because you didn't turn up, I not only had to cover for all your patients but take nine—yes, nine—interns around with me, all whining that they didn't know what to do!'
JD's face, instead of looking apologetic, contorted into a strange, smug smile.
She means she wouldn't be able to cope without me. Perhaps I really am the backbone of the attending staff.
JD's internal monologue was interrupted by a spine-chilling snap as Elliot clicked her finger sin his face.
'JD! Focus! When you keep running off like this…'
'I fell down a hole and the Janitor put a lid over it!'
'Ah-bah-bah-bah! I don't wanna hear your excuses, JD! I'm on the verge of running off to find myself a closet to hide in! I'm at risk of having a nervous breakdown! I'm finding it hard to cope with this workload and every time I need help—or, am within my rights to get help due to the roster—you disappear somewhere, or spend too much time telling the female patients about how awesome your quote, unquote, "delicious, ice-cream-scoop-like ass" is, or—'
'It was an ass like two soft bread rolls, get it right!'
'I don't care!' Elliot threw up her hands. 'Your ass is not the point!'
'I'd say for quite a few women, it is precisely the point, being that it is so…'
'THEPOINTIS THATYOU'REABANDONINGMETODOALLTHEWORKANDICAN'TTAKEITANYMORE!' Elliot hollered over the top of him, her scream so loud that everyone in the immediate vicinity turned to look at her.
Cheeks flushing pink, Elliot quietened down for a moment, then turned to JD, pursing her lips so tightly her eyes looked ready to explode out of her head in compensation.
Ah. She's putting on her classic Elliot angry face. I know it well.
'Don't you smirk at me! If you hadn't been late because you'd been cavorting around…'
Cavorting…a good word… I must start using it…
'You're drifting off in your head again! That's it… I just…I can't…urgh!' Elliot tossed her head and stomped off.
Yep…right to the closet.
JD shrugged, and waddled off to change out of his wet clothes.
'No, Enid, you'll just have to wait til I get home to get out of your chair…'
Focussing on the phone call he was making and not on where he was going, Doctor Kelso faltered as his foot fell through the air, and then he descended into the manhole with an almighty aaargh!
The Janitor leaned towards the hole, listening for the splash, and then nodded in quiet triumph.
He paused, then frowned.
'These schmucks just keep walking into it. This is just too easy. I need a new challenge.'
Elliot flinched at Doctor Cox's address, but kept adjusting the patient's IV. Having already had to deal with nine incompetent and obnoxious interns, exploded at JD for not helping, cried in the supply closet for half an hour and only just worked up her confidence enough to go back to work, she was feeling extremely fragile, and was not in the mood to hear whatever criticism Doctor Cox was about to throw her way.
She reached to twist the IV again.
'Ehh!' Him making a noise like an incorrect answer on a game show always grated on Elliot. She gritted her teeth and kept working. If there was something wrong, she would work it out herself, thank you very much.
Elliot gave up. 'What?! What have I done wrong this time, hmm?'
'Iiii would have thought that was obvious, Barbie, and that maybe, just maybe, after three years here you miiiiight have learned not to commit the most basic of mistakes, but ap-PAH-rently you're still stuck on the level of our more, shall we say, incompetent interns?'
Elliot gritted her teeth together, grinding them too hard and sending an unpleasant shiver down her spine. This was all she needed when her self -esteem was on the verge of shattering.
Elliot froze. Blinking slowly, as she was wont to do when unfreezing herself, she looked at the chart, then at Doctor Cox, then at the chart again, realising in horror that an inordinate amount of morphine had been ordered and administered to the patient.
'But…I didn't do that!'
'Well, Barbie, if someone else—probably an intern or Sheila, although I wouldn't leave you out when lumping people into the "incompetent idiots" category and you are not therefore exempt from suspicion for this ROOKIE mistake, but I digress—if someone goofs up on the charts, is it not your responsibility as a doctor to fix the error?'
'I just assumed—'
'EEEEHHHHHHH!' Doctor Cox made the loudest 'wrong' noise yet. 'Why do I even bother hoping you might've learned anything in the past few years?! We never-ever-ever-eh-he-he-he-he-he-he—'
'I get it!'
'—he-he-he-he-he-heeeeeeeever assume anything! Now if you don't want me to lose faith in the entirety of the medical staff in this godforsaken place—nay, the entirety of the human race—you'll sort this out in the time it takes me to go take a leak. You got it?'
Flustered and flushing red, Elliot turned her attention back to the chart and began barking frantic orders to her interns. It took her a good ten minutes (it could perhaps have taken less, had she not been panicking and reading the same line over and over before making any progress) to make any headway on sorting out the issue—and as she looked over the shocking figure on the chart again, she noticed something.
It took all her presence of mind not to scream out loud.
Unfortunately, stressed as she was, she was only able to hold onto about half her presence of mind, and her shriek echoed throughout the ward.
Tje severely incorrect dosage of morphine had been ordered in JD's handwriting.
Elliot clutched the chart so hard she bent the binder.
'At your service in a fresh—and dare I say it, alluring—Smurfs shirt?' JD sauntered into the room, the vacuous eyes of several cartoon Smurfs peeking out from beneath the sleeves of his scrubs. Before he could show off his half-doctorish half-childish attire to the rest of the room, hower, Elliot had advanced on him with the ferocity of a tiger stalking its prey, and had shoved the bent chart in his face.
'WHAT is going on with this dose of morphine?!'
'Well, I don't know, Elliot, what is goin' on with it?! Ohh, did they read my 2 as a 5 again?'
'You….you…' for a moment the blonde was speechless, and then she rallied. 'You nearly KILLED Mr. Weinbaum because of sloppy handwriting! And now Doctor Cox is picking on me for getting it wrong, and going eeh, eeeh, eeeh…' she thrust her face into his as she imitated the noise, 'repeatedly at me until I just wanna rip my own face off!'
I wonder if it's her time of the month…
'Yeah, okay, so the handwriting is a little on the messy side! I had to rush my charts this morning to get them done—I was chased by eels, dammit!'
'Aaaaand, ding!' Doctor Cox's head appeared in the ward, followed by the rest of his body, 'your time is up, Barbie, and we're all waiting to hear your expert answer, aaaand go!' He held his hand out as though holding a microphone to her mouth.
'I…uh…well, JD was the one who ordered the incorrect dose, maybe you should ask him to deal with that, isn't that right…'
Elliot turned to consult her colleague, but beside her was only an empty space, recently vacated by a fellow doctor sneaking off to avoid Cox's ire.
Elliott was at breaking point—or possibly past it; she had reached a stage where she was no longer fully certain of her own mental stability. Having worn out her throat and lungs screaming at and about JD (and simply ranting in general to whichever patients didn't pretend to be asleep when she stomped up to their beds), she was now reduced to leaning against the front desk and sobbing into a cup of now-cold coffee.
A faint whistling cut into her thoughts, and she clutched the cup tighter in her hand, hoping not to be faced with the immaturity of JD, Turk or Heaven forbid the Todd when she was already close to crawling back into her closet and crying the rest of the day away.
But it wasn't JD or Turk or the Todd—it was the Janitor, pretending to mop his way along the corridor.
Depressed as she was, Elliot couldn't resist making an observation out loud.
'That mop isn't wet.'
'And were it wet,' said the Janitor, brandishing the dry mop with a flourish, 'I would have to start cleaning the floor with it. This way I can merely pretend to when Kelso walks by, and devote my time to bigger and better things.'
He repositioned the mop, assumed his pretend-cleaning stance, and then paused, taking in Elliot's tear-stained face.
'You're looking…despondent, Blonde Doctor,' the Janitor observed. 'Like someone deflated you…just as I deflated Kelso's tyres this morning.'
He nodded to himself, pleased with the memory of his own handiwork, then turned back to her.
'Janitor…' Elliot said, more tears pricking at her eyes and on the verge of cascading forth, 'do you ever feel that no matter what you do you're destined to fail?'
'Hmm,' he narrowed his eyes, considering, 'I'd have to say…nah. Most things I do, I succeed. I got this whole hospital wound around my little finger. I just have to jerk the strings a little, and everything goes my way.'
Elliot sniffed. 'Lucky you.'
The bitterness in her voice only partially entered the Janitor's head—he was too absorbed in his own memory.
'Except, of course, when my hard-scrubbed floors are run over by Kelso, or my sliding doors are sabotaged by…' his eyes narrowed again, so they were barely visible in his face, 'Dorian.'
'You know,' Elliot snuffled, not hearing him, 'every time I think I'm getting somewhere, it's like JD has to come waltzing in and ruin everything. He dumps all his workload on me, he takes the credit, he screws up and leaves me to take the blame… makes up excuses about eels to get out of trouble…'
Although the blame for the eels issue could have technically been attributed to the Janitor, all such thoughts went over his head.
'Hang on—' it was as though an imaginary light bulb had flicked on in the Janitor's mind. 'Dorian's the one bothering you?'
Elliot nodded slowly, wiping her eyes. The Janitor considered for a moment more, then made a snap decision.
'Come with me. I got something that might cheer you up.'
A few minutes later, the pair of them stood on the roof of Sacred Heart, ropes attached to their wrists, from the other end of which a cardboard box full of trash bags was suspended over the parking lot.
The Janitor glanced at his watch. 'If Dorian follows the usual schedule I've picked up on from stalking him, he should come this way right about now.'
'Is it really okay for us to do this?'
The Janitor shrugged. 'Who cares?'
A smile spread across Elliot's face. 'You know what? Let's do it! I wanna live on the edge! Dish out the revenge that idiot deserves! Do something that makes me feel wild and free and—'
'—Uh, Blonde Doctor? He's coming.'
'Okay. Focus,' Elliot said to herself. She turned back to the task at hand.
Together, they peered over the edge of the roof. JD was bouncing on the balls of his feet as he walked across the carpark, humming what sounded like the Smurfs theme tune to himself.
The Janitor raised his hand. 'You ready?'
Elliot grinned. 'Ready.'
'Target almost in position…and…now!'
Elliot felt a rush of adrenaline as she let go of the rope in her hand, saw the Janitor did the same, and watched the box overturn, showering garbage bags—some tied shut, some open and spilling food scraps from the cafeteria—over and around the unsuspecting JD.
And if you are good, you may just catch a glimpse of the Smur—AAAH!
The perpetrators of the prank froze, watching JD's reaction.
'Hey! What the hell is all this?!'
JD was looking around the garbage in disgust, occasionally glancing down at his clothes and moaning when he caught sight of their newly filthy state.
Where the heck did all this garbage come from?! Oh, man, this one's leaking…ew…garbage juice.
'Duck!' the Janitor hissed, and Elliot obeyed, crouching on her haunches so quickly she heard her knees click.
Whoever did this…and I'm suspecting it might be the Janitor… can't have gone far…nope, nobody on the roof, but they might have run down the stairs by now to gloat from closer up. No-one over there….no-one over there… man…
'Aw, come on, what did I do to deserve this?!'
'Can we get up yet?' Elliot whispered. The Janitor ventured a peek over the edge and quickly ducked down.
'Hold on a sec. He's gonna take the bait.'
'This garbage can't stay here; this is an ambulance zone!'
The Janitor cursed under his breath. 'Shoulda had an ambulance show up. Just to make sure he fell into the trap.'
JD, meanwhile, was glaring at the pile of rubbish bags.
'Come on, whoever did this, you oughta…'
Hey! An open truck with garbage bags on it. Must be going to the dump, or wherever our garbage goes… what are the odds there'd be one parked right here when I'm surrounded by plastic garbage bags? This seems awfully like a setup…but what could come of me putting a few trash bags that already soiled me in their appropriate receptacle? Probably just a final humiliation. I can rise above that. Whoever did this—and I still suspect the Janitor—will be kicking themselves when they see I have not risen to their pathetic attempt to prank me. And I will show them all that I have been responsible by clearing up the ambulance zone. The Janitor may even thank me for making my job easier…I doubt it, but it might be a segue to a better relationship…
Ignoring the smell and the dripping garbage water from the burst bag, JD filled his arms and carried them over to the truck.
The Janitor and Elliot's heads slowly ascended.
'Here's the part where he can't resist climbing up there to make sure they're arranged neatly,' the Janitor whispered to Elliot.
I know throwing them onto the back of that open truck would do, but I just can't resist climbing up there and making sure they're arranged neatly.
With a swift, whip-like movement, the Janitor had a walkie talkie out of his pocket and pressed against his ear.
'Randall…the rat is in the nest. Repeat, the rat is in the nest.' He turned to Elliot. 'Watch.'
'Whooooooah!' JD, who had been standing in the truck bed laying each bag of garbage in a perfect, neat line, was knocked off his feet as the truck, on cue, began to drive off.
JD's legs swung right over his head, and he shrieked in a way which would surely have prompted Doctor Cox to reel off a list of girls' names.
'Hey! Stop the truck! There's someone on here! Come ooooon!'
Elliot's lips had been pressed together to trap in her laugh, but now, certain that while JD's screams were audible to all and sundry, he would be unlikely to hear her, she opened them and allowed herself to collapse into a fit of giggles. With an evil yet triumphant grin, the Janitor joined her in guffawing.
'He totally fell for it!' Elliot squealed.
'Yup. Typical Dorian.'
'I almost peed myself laughing!'
'Well, that would have been weird.'
Elliot's features softened, the first real smile she'd had in a long time spreading across her face.
'Thanks, Janitor.' Giddy with amusement and gratitude, she leaned forward and planted a kiss on his cheek.
For one brief, almost imperceptible moment, something twinkled in the Janitor's eye.
'No problem,' his own face, normally marred by a scowl or a wicked look suggesting an evil plan was hatching in his brain, spread into a smile that almost matched hers. 'For you, Blonde Doctor, I'd throw Dorian in the garbage a hundred times over.'
An odd sentiment, perhaps, and not her usual idea of being cheered up on a stressful day, but at that moment, to Elliot, it meant the world.
It was nearing the end of the Janitor's working day, and, with ten minutes to spare, he figured he should probably do some cleaning. Eyes on the clock, he slowly dipped his mop into his bucket, making the manoeuvre last until the minute hand reached the twelve and it was five o'clock.
Well, too late to do anything now. Those floors would have to wait til tomorrow.
'I'm on a roll today!' the Janitor said to himself as he left his mop and bucket where they were and strode towards the exit.
'You sure are!' called Ted from behind him.
'You don't even know what I'm talkin' about,' the Janitor reproached, and kept on walking. 'Cheered up Blonde Doctor, got Kelso once and Dorian twice…should I quit while I'm ahead or keep my winning streak going?'
He considered, then grinned wickedly.
As I walked out after my shift that evening, having fallen in a manhole, been chased by an angry eel, gotten Elliot into trouble, been taken to the dump with all the trash and walked back smelling like garbage, I had to wonder why some days everything just had to go wrong. Sometimes, I realised, fate just decides to deal you a curveball. True, most of what happened to me was due to the Janitor, but I like to think he was just a pawn in fate's game. Why does fate hate me? I've got such gorgeous hair…well, that's just life, I guess. Wait…what's this rope tied around my ankle?
As I dangled by my foot from a tree, I thought once again about what my internal monologue had just concluded. Sometimes life bites you in the butt. And that's just how it is.
Moseying into view sporting an odd red smudge on the side of his face, the Janitor looked from the ground up to JD, and smirked at his latest trap.
'Nice,' he nodded slowly.
'Hey—Janitor…could you let me down by any chance?! The blood's rushing to my head!'
'This has been a good day,' the Janitor said, as if he hadn't heard, and then he turned and ambled off.
'Yep. A gooood day.'