Several days later he had about a dozen numbers written in a little notebook that had suddenly materialized next to his micro-osmometer.  He then went into a small library next to Dr Walker’s office that was used exclusively by the renal fellows.  He took out the card containing Lance’s directions on how to calculate the corrected osmolality.

“Shit,” he said as he realized that he had measured neither the atmospheric pressure nor the temperature as he was making his observations.

“What’s wrong?” asked Tim Stuart who was reading the Wall Street Journal.  Stuart had finished an endocrine fellowship and was taking a research year in the renal lab working on the effects of vitamin D on claw growth in the hind limbs of thyroparathyroidectomized rats with chronic renal failure.  Being an endocrinologist, he was barely tolerated by any of the renal staff or trainees.  Endocrinologists were felt by nephrologists to be effete.

“I didn’t measure the temperature or atmospheric pressure when I made my measurements.

“They conned you into doing the micro-osmolalities, didn’t they?”

Grollman looked at him suspiciously.  He didn’t like the word “conned”.  “Whadda ya mean conned?” He didn’t consider who “they” were.

“Just use today’s temperature and pressure.  It hasn’t changed much in the last week.”

Grollman thought for a moment and then decided Stuart was right.

“How’s your mother’s arthritis?” asked Stuart with a smirk. “You’d better call her.”

“Shit.”  Grollman hadn’t called his mother in more than a month.  He knew she was going to give him the business when he did so he didn’t.  But now he had to.  “Can I call on the departments dime?” he asked Stuart.

“I don’t see why not,” he answered.  “Everyone else always does.  And this is official business.”

Grollman almost went for the phone that was on the window ledge, but decided that he’d better do his groveling in private – so he went home.