The nurse prescribed ice packs for everything.
Sore throat, sore mind, sore heart… an ice pack would fix it. And if an ice pack didn’t, she called the parents to tell them their child should get a Doctor’s opinion. Most people knew that she wasn’t a nurse at all, but the attendance lady, and that she couldn’t a headache from mental insanity. However, not having a trained nurse saved Kennedy a good deal of money, which was why The Principal was very pleased that he helped instate her, privately considering it his proudest moment. With ineffable glee he would sit in front of his computer, picking out colors for pie charts, wondering which color would best show the world what a success he was.
There were few things that he loved more than to give monthly staff presentations about how he had saved the school 5% more money, and cut costs down 10%. In fact, there had been enough money left to decorate the nurse’s office with a plastic-covered medical-style couch, which impressed the Department of Education whenever they visited for their annual review. Very few schools could afford such a nice, official-looking couch. In fact, this couch was approved by NASA, which made it a valuable asset to the school. Best of all, it was easy to clean and, if needed, students could lie on it.
But he specifically told the nurse that this was only to be used in emergencies, since it could only fit one person. Therefore, students should instead sit on the blue plastic chairs lining the office walls, as Zach did until the nurse called him into her office.
“Yes?” griped the nurse, glancing up at him with heavy lidded eyes. She was a large old woman with hair under her lip, a slightly darker color than that of her mousy brown bob. She was the kind of woman who kept people from going to the nurse, heavily cold and complacent.
“What is your problem?” she rasped, with a very strained low voice.
“You’re a nurse, you figure it out.” Zach spat at her, meanly enough to solicit a grunt.
With bovine lethargy, she hunched over the desk and raised her eyebrows.
“I can’t help you unless you say something is wrong.”
“My lip’s infected.”
She clicked her tongue and slowly rolled her chair back. She reached into the cabinet, past the aged cotton, and pulled out an ice pack.
“Take this…” She said, “And call your parents from the office phone.”