Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dead Rite chapter 128.12

Harold slid the drawer closed again and beamed at the woman. When confusion threatened to crowd his thoughts there was nothing like a good cup of tea to chase it away. “Yes please. White, two sugars?”

“Two sugars? You'll be back in for diabetes if you're not careful.” She left his line of sight and he heard the rattle of crockery followed by the distinctive sound of a metal spoon stirring the contents of a ceramic cup. She returned, waddling across the space between the door and the metal-framed bed Harold was temporarily attached to. “Here you go, love. I've made you a mug. It looks like you need it.”

“Super.” He took it from her gingerly, expecting it to be hot and mildly disappointed it was barely lukewarm. He must be at the furthest end of the hospital from the kitchens. “Thank you.”

“Better drink it before it gets cold.” She returned to the doorway. “I'll be back for the mug later. Just leave it on the side table for me.”

“Right-o.” Harold raised the cup to his lips but didn't drink. He didn't know what made him look again at the tea. Some difference in the scent perhaps. Was this tea? It looked more like black coffee. “Excuse me?”

The tea lady reappeared. “What is it love? You drunk it already?”

“Er, no. Sorry, but is this tea? It looks a bit odd.”

“Oh, the colour, you mean?”

Harold nodded.

“Don't mind that. They make us use powdered milk and sometimes it doesnt mix up right.”

“Powdered milk?” Harold curled a lip.

“Aye. Powdered vegetable milk substitute, actually. It cuts down on wastage and is safe for those patients who are lactose intolerant. It takes a bit of getting used to but it's all right, really. Just give it a stir before you drink it.”

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