“It’s bad news I’m afraid.”
“Isn’t it always?”
The nurse shook her head slowly. “That’s a rather negative attitude, isn’t it?”
John held out his arms and looked down at himself, at his bare feet sticking out of the end of the coarse blanket. “I think it’s about par for the course,” he said.
The nurse tutted, sighed. “You know what they say about life giving you lemons, Mr Dahl.”
“Don’t look them in the mouth?”
“You’re very sour today, aren’t you?”
“It must be all the lemons.”
Forcing a smile, the nurse busied herself, straightening his bedclothes, pulling the blanket down so that it covered his toes, tucking in the edges. “That’s better,” she said. “Isn’t it?”
“Now, would you like to hear what I was going to say?”
John shuffled higher up the pillow and craned his neck to look at the door. “Shouldn’t we wait for the doctor?”
“I don’t think that’s necessary, do you?” the nurse said, stepping up the bed, smiling at him.
John was unsure. “Shouldn’t it be the doctor…” he began.
“Ssh,” the nurse told him. “You don’t need to worry about the doctor. I’m here now.”
“Now, relax Mr. Dahl,” the nurse interrupted in a soft, insistent voice. “I just need to give you a small shot.”
John watched her take the syringe from her apron. Realisation dawned. He tried to move out of the bed, only then realising that his legs wouldn’t move. The nurse simply smiled, placing her free hand on his wrist. He tried to rock himself away from her, but she held him fast. John reached for his buzzer, but there was no buzzer there. It was just a white cable with the end severed, copper wires poking out like the heads of robotic snakes.