‘Karen Anson,’ the technician replied.
Dr Burton frowned. ‘That’s an unusual name.’
‘Anson. I expect more letters.’
Karen paused, and then said, ‘Shall I show you how the computer works?’
She switched on the computer with her bum, and then blushed. All those solitary hours in the lab, Karen had perfected the nudge. But the habit had caught her out. Dr Burton did not stir though, his heavy face set in stone.
‘First, we put the medical code into the micro computer,’ she demonstrated, typing 470235.
Dr Burton interrupted. ‘Where do you get the medical code from?’
Karen tapped her head.
‘If the computer is not busy, you will get a list of applicable treatments at once.’
‘Busy? In what way?’
Karen explained that the large main frame installation may be processing input from a number of micro computers.
‘Oh, I see,’ Dr Burton replied, rather shamefully.
Karen pressed a key on the micro computer. ‘Once a treatment has been chosen, a nurse on level 4 will administer it at once to the patient.’
‘But what if the wrong key is pressed!’ Dr Burton said in alarm.
‘We have intercom for that.’
Karen informed Dr Burton that the treatment would be stored on a magnetic tape unit, and could also be printed to paper, using the line printer.
‘It’s hot in here,’ Dr Burton said, mopping his brow with a handkerchief. Karen clocked the initials CB on the handkerchief and wondered what his first name was. Is.
Dr Burton went on, ‘My goodness, I will have to sit down on that fabric chair. I feel quite dizzy.’ He lowered his bottom onto the chair, unprepared for its swivel. He almost spun himself onto the tiled floor.
‘How do you work in such conditions?’ he asked Karen.
‘It’s the micro computer. It emits heat. If I get too hot, I take my clothes off.’
Dr Burton could not trust his ears. ‘Your clothes, Ms Anderson?’
‘Anson. Yes, all my clothes.’
‘Are you allowed?’
She went to a shelf and passed Dr Burton the staff handbook. ‘Show me where it says no clothes, smart-arse.’
Dr Burton recovered, and fastened his tie.
‘Well, thank you Ms Anderson. I will be on my way.’
Karen slid in front of him, blocking his path to the door. ‘Don’t you want to type a medical code into the micro computer?’
‘No, no. Your demonstration has been quite sufficient. Good day to you Ms Anderson.’
‘Anson. Good day to you Dr Burton.’ She unblocked his path.
Once outside the door, Dr Burton sighed. I will never get the hang of those darn computers, he thought. My wife is right, I am a dinosaur.
On the other side of the door, Karen began to strip. The night would be long.