“Hello,” she said in her best bedside voice, “I’m Doctor – “ she panicked for a moment as she suddenly realised it would be stupid to used her real name. She cast around the room for inspiration but ‘electrical outlet’ or ‘IV stand’ were not going to be good choices. “Prosperity Cane,” the name of her old Gym teacher rushed into her head to save the day.
“Hmph?” said the patient thickly, smacking his lips and pulling an irritated face.
“Here,” Flowers pressed a glass of water to his lips, “Drink this and wash it round your mouth. We always give patients undergoing surgery drugs to dry up their secretions, so you won’t be able to salivate properly for a few hours, I’m afraid. Still,” she went on brightly, “at least it’s not like the old days when we just used to chloroform people and hope for the best.”
Box slurped the water gratefully. His mouth had felt cottony and his tongue felt about twice the proper size.
“Thanks,” he croaked, “Needed that.”
Flowers replaced the glass on the cabinet beside the bed and took Box’s hand. She turned it over to expose the back of it where the surgical team had conveniently left a canula in place in case emergency drugs needed to be administered post-operatively.
Reaching out, she picked up the syringe she had prepared earlier and inserted its needle into the canula.
“I’m just going to give you a little something for the pain,” she lied soothingly, as she pressed the plunger.
The late afternoon sun slanted through one of the open swiss-cheese windows and the mildest of breezes carried in with it a heady, incense-like mix of scents from the preponderance of exotic flora in Mr Teeth’s garden.
Harold was sitting on one of Mr Teeth’s sofas, still looking somewhat bewildered, although much more ‘with it’ than he had been. Teatime was still speaking to him in urgent Infernal. Phrases which sounded like ‘pastiche’, ‘curlew’ and ‘chopped liver’ surfaced occasionally in the rapid river of the little monkey’s words. Across the room, India listened with some interest, even though she could not understand a word of Infernal – no human could, since demons were not in the business of giving language lessons. One sound did pop up time and time again, though – Azuriel. She jotted it down in her notebook. She couldn’t be certain of course, but she was pretty sure that this was the demon’s actual name. What luck to have over heard it.