Back in the dining room, Pete looked around for Daphne, then he heard a bark from a far table, where several young students and their teacher were sitting. He smiled and headed in that direction, a mug of coffee in each hand.
I looked around as we went back to our table. Except for our group, and the class Daphne was visiting with, the room was empty.
As we sat down, Roger came out of the kitchen and said, "We'll hear the whistle when the water boils, then I'll go make another pot."
"You should have taken a cup for yourself, from the first batch," I said.
He shook his head. "I don't drink coffee."
"How do you end up making the coffee if you don't drink it?"
"I make it right," he said with a shrug. "Some of the students who drink the most are hopeless at making it."
He picked up the soda that Pete had left behind, and drank some as I turned to my employer.
A second later, I heard Roger groan behind me, and when I turned back he was doubled over, clutching his stomach. He tried to say something, his face pale and sweaty, but his throat was obviously so dry he couldn't speak. He reached for the cup, still half full of soda, but my employer's long, bony hand shot out and moved it away from him.
He looked at her, startled, as she got up and limped quickly around me to stand next to him. She leaned over to peer at his face, as he bent over again, moaning, then she grabbed his hair, yanked his head up, and shoved her fingers down his throat.
As he threw up, she said, "Poison, runner, hospital, nurse, kit, go!"
I heard Willy say, "I'm a runner," as I ran for the door. I was gone before I heard her reply, but I knew what it would have been: "You're also a suspect, please sit down."
I pulled the whistle from my pocket as I ran down the hall and out the front door.
There was a runner at the corner, and she heard the whistle. She held up an envelope as she turned, indicating that she was on a job, but then she recognized me, and biked over quickly as I trotted down the wide steps.
"Hospital emergency," I said. "Bring back a nurse with a kit, tell them it's mostly likely poisoning. Give the nurse a ride back on your bike. We're in the cafeteria. Fast as you can. Go."
She went, and I made my way back inside.
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