The doctor studied Jerry. “How old are you?”
“Eighteen,” Jerry and Roy said at the same time.
The doctor nodded. “I’m not certain I believe it, but if so then I can’t force you to go to the hospital. I’m going to give you a general antibiotic for now. You're to take the pills as indicated until the bottle is empty. You are also to report back here in two days without fail.” His look was stern as he said that. “I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”
When the doctor had left, Roy shook his head. “You are so damned stubborn.”
“It’s the same reason neither of us are working. We go to the hospital they’re going to want ID. We don’t know if the parents have any sort missing person’s report out on me and I for one sure don’t want to find out.”
“I know. Me neither. So you’re going to follow doctor’s orders to the T. If this gets worse, well like he said you’ll end up in the hospital.”
“Yeah, yeah, I hear you.”
They sat in silence until the doctor returned. He handed Jerry a small bottle of pills and a larger bottle of cough medicine. “Use them both, as directed. Question. Do you have more than what’s in that backpack, like blankets stashed somewhere?”
They both shook their heads.
“Have you considered checking into a shelter?”
Roy snorted. “Been there, done that. We value our physical well-being and what few possessions we have left.”
“Do you use the soup kitchens around town?”
Jerry looked at Roy before shaking his head. “Same reason we don’t go to the shelters, it can be dangerous,” he muttered in reply to the doctor’s question.
The doctor apparently knew better than to pry at the moment. “Well, you made it here safely enough, so before you leave you’re to stop and get a decent meal under your belts, doctor’s orders. While you do I’ll have one of the workers round up a couple of blankets for you and maybe warm jackets if they have some.”
“Thank you,” Roy said with heartfelt sincerity.