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Reader Responses to 'Richard Gere and the Gerbil'


12 of 13

Reader Response #12

Re: Richard Gere and the Gerbil
From: Scott

Dear Mr. Emery,

I have an interesting little tidbit for you.

From January 1989 until the mid 1991 I lived in West Los Angeles, on Blackburn Avenue. My apartment was one block off of 3rd street and just a few blocks from Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the Beverly Center. Lived in the heart of West Los Angeles and it was a good time to be a young, single professional.

For what I am about to tell you, I would not repeat under oath.

I do not remember the date because the date seemed irrelevant at the time. A female friend of mine, who I had known for several years, just happened to be working for a year in LA as a rotating shift registered nurse. It was random chance that we both lived less than 1 mile from the hospital. She had a boyfriend out of state to whom she is now married. I had a girlfriend back in South Carolina to whom I am no married as well. We were, in every sense of the word, real "friends."

One night, she called me very late... 11, 12, 1 am? (Late is not what it used to be now that I am in my 40s).

She wanted me to meet her for coffee at Jan’s Diner on Santa Monica Blvd after her shift — just a few blocks. I think it is still there.

It was a very unusual phone call. She was clearly shaken up. We were not a romantic item and I never read her as a game player. We had dinner occasionally and frequently gave each other rides to and from the LAX. We were both young professionals with romantic interests who were each many miles away. We made good commiseraters between trips back home.

She was an emergency room a nurse, not a lawyer. She was upset about what she had participated in and saw at work that evening AND the fact that she was forced to sign a statement (of which she has no copy, of course) that said she did see what she saw.

She was just about in tears over the ethical issue — being forced to lie. There were no HIPAA laws then either. Now, 20 years later we are still friends and I suspect we have both managed 100 more complicated ethical issues since then, but we were both young. In the 20 years since, I have never once see her so distraught. She always was and always has been a very serious (perhaps too serious) person.

She was there at the hospital. She participated in the ...errr ...gerbilectomy? (good one!) She was in her nurse pajamas (whatever you call them) when we had coffee.

More than a week passed until I heard the rumors about the gerbil incident around LA. And all the denials.

No, I did not see it with my own eyes, but something VERY weird happened that night at Cedars Sinai Medical Hospital. My friend was clearly very distraught that night over a story that matches the rumor exactly and which was disclosed to me days before it was disclosed in the news. How is that possible?

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