I heard another knock, and a voice called, “Nurse!”
I opened the door and a familiar-looking young man held up a medical bag. “Where’s the patient?” he asked cheefully.
I let him in and pointed at the table where Roger was lying. As he crossed the room, through the sudden silence, he waved at the group at the table, and I realized that he looked a lot like James, the young man who had just spoken. I thought they were probably related, but I never did find out for sure.
Living in U-town had forced me to give up on a lot of my prejudices, but even so I was a bit alarmed that Roger was being treated by someone who seemed to be even younger than he was.
The young man’s T-shirt, ripped jeans, and sandals may have looked unprofessional to my eyes, but he went to work quickly and efficiently. My employer picked up the poisoned cup and brought it over to him as the examination progressed.
After a few moments, Jan and the nurse moved a bit away from Roger and conferred. She was still holding the cup of poisoned soda. Then the nurse picked up his medical bag and they crossed the room and went into the kitchen together.
I examined the group around the table. They weren’t talking very much, but they all looked pretty tense, or at least the students did. I could tell that they were listening to the noises from the kitchen and trying to figure out what was going on in there, but they were trying not to be obvious about it. Ms. Tumolo was looking thoughtful, and Pete seemed completely relaxed, stroking Daphne’s head as she leaned against his side.
After a moment, I heard a noise from out in the hall, and I opened the door to see that the sign I’d requested was in place. There were a couple of spelling mistakes, but it conveyed the message.
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