EPISODE 30 - FAT-PIPE PARALLEL WHATSITS
by Michael Braccia and Jon Markes
‘I can help you with that, Stephen.’
‘What’s that, Frank?’
‘You mentioned it before the start of the meeting – your missing PC.’
‘Oh, yes, what do you suggest?’
‘I know someone who can get a top of the range model for less than £600.’
‘You know, six terabyte hard drive, dual disk controllers, fat-pipe parallel whatsits - all mod cons.’
‘Fat pipe what?’
‘At times, Frank, you are too technical for me. What the hell are you talking about?’
‘Your PC – you had it nicked, didn’t you?’
‘Well, if my computer is called Gary, and it’s helped a prisoner escape, fallen in love with her – apparently – and driven off into the sunset, then, yes, it’s about my computer.’
‘You’ve lost me Stephen. Honestly, you can be obtuse sometimes.’
‘Obtuse, Stephen, obtuse.’
‘Me? You’re the one who... never mind, Frank. I’m talking about Gary and Gail.’
‘Yes, you fouled up there good and proper, didn’t you?’
‘Good man-managers can spot problems with staff, especially if they are up to no good.’
‘Let’s leave it there, Frank. I don’t want to fall out with you, but you’re not helping.’
‘Fine, I’ll leave you to it. By the way, I’d like you to chair the next Council meeting. Need to get away for a few days. Business to attend to.’
‘Ok Frank. Ok.’
‘What are you doing here?’
George doesn’t wait for an answer and tries to close the front door, but his brother blocks it with his foot.
‘Those strong-arm tactics won’t work with me, Jason.’
Jason was always more powerful than his younger brother, pushing his way into the house easily.
‘You can’t just...’
‘I only want to talk.’
‘Too late. You had your chance at the time and you blew it. You’ll never know how it affected me.’
‘Maybe I do.’
‘Get out, Jason,’ says George, placing his hand on his brother’s shoulder, easing him towards the door.
It happens quickly. Jason spins round, his elbow accidently catching George on the chin. His reaction instinctive, George lunges at Jason, fists clenched, his eyes burning with rage. The left-hook that connects with Jason’s left cheek is enough to knock him to the floor, but he regains his senses. He grabs George’s legs, rugby-style.
The 1950s stereogram comes into play, the sharp corner waiting for the collision with George’s forehead. Jason knows that his brother is in trouble the second he hits the twisted pile. His eyes roll, then close. Blood oozes from the wound.
‘I didn’t mean it. I’m so sorry.’
It takes him a few seconds to gather his thoughts, but he is soon dialling the number that will bring help,
‘Mrs Adams for Doctor Roberts.’
‘Mrs Adams for Doctor Roberts – room nine.’
‘Oh, sorry. Miles away.’
All Mel needs is a repeat prescription for her anti-depressants. Jeremy Roberts has been trying to wean her off them for over a year. She taps the door twice.
‘Mel – please sit down. What can I do for you?’
The pause is almost imperceptible, but not to Jeremy. He knows her thoughts, her innermost thoughts.
‘Er – you’ve been trying to stop me having my regular tablet, but they do help me.’
‘Mel, dependency can be worse than the original depressive state. They are a crutch to lean on for a short while, but...’
‘I need to walk on my own two feet,’ she interrupts.
‘I’ll try, I really will.’
‘What if I half the dose today, and we’ll review it in a month.’
She nods her agreement, but doesn’t want to leave. Not just yet.
‘Jeremy, can we talk?’
‘I need to get on, Mel. I have fifteen patients out there. I’m running twenty minutes late as it is.’
‘No, I mean somewhere else.’
‘Is there any point? It was a long time ago, Mel.’
‘I think there is. I was the one who finished it, and there are things that need to be said. It’s on my mind every day.’
‘Did you ever tell Steve?’
‘No. Does Amanda know?’
‘She doesn’t, and I want to keep it that way.’
‘Meet me in the park – tomorrow afternoon. Our old spot, the seat by the bandstand?’
‘But Gary, you said...’
‘I know, love, but what choice do we have?’
‘Leave the country?’
‘We wouldn’t last five minutes. Look, I’ll phone Stephen and explain. He might listen.’
‘Nothing to lose, is there? We need to move from Borth. Mrs Williams is starting to suspect something.’
‘Has she overheard us?’
‘Don’t know, but at the very least she thinks that I’ve whisked you away from your father and we’ve driven off into the sun for the rest of our lives.’
‘Sun – in Wales?’
‘You know what I mean.’
‘Darling, I do understand, and I agree we made it worse by escaping and running away, but I could go down for five years. You know that.’
‘I could do a two-year stretch for aiding and abetting.’
‘Look, Gail, trust me, I won’t tell Stephen where we are, but I’ll find out how the land lies, and we’ll come to a decision. He might be angry, but he’ll help us.’
‘Nurse, when will the doctor let me know what’s happening?’
‘Are you a relative?’
‘George is my brother. Is he conscious?’
‘They are operating at the moment. Try not to worry, Mr Owens, he’s in good hands. Get a coffee - the doctor will join you in the waiting room as soon as he has some news.’
After three hours in the Banfield General A&E waiting room, a clerk calls his name.
‘Doctor Zofia will see you now. Come through this way.’
Jason has never stopped loving his brother, but the feeling becomes more intense as he follows the clerk down the narrow corridor towards a small room at the rear of the main section of A&E. Used for bad news. Sometimes. Not today, please. My baby brother - yes, he’s always been that, he thinks. He remembers the day that George was born, and he was as proud as his parents, George only six days old when he was first allowed to hold him. That warm, sweet-smelling bundle of love in his arms and he vowed to look after him. They would fight, of course they would, but he would care for him for the rest of his life. No matter what. Jason regrets what he had done, but never meant to hurt George. It was the last thing on his mind. Not just the fight that brought his kid brother to this place. No, his feeling of regret has lasted for decades. He tries to put it out of his mind as he enters the room. This must be Doctor Zofia.
‘How is he, doctor?’
‘Don’t alarm yourself, but your brother is in a coma. The blow to the head caused a small bleed. We’ve operated and managed to reduce the pressure.’
‘Will he pull through?’
‘It’s too early to tell you any more. The next forty-eight hours are crucial. It appears he is a strong, healthy man, so he has a good chance. There is one thing, Mr Owens.
The police from the Banfield station want to talk to you. Just through here...’
‘Oh my God, Sherry.’
‘You may well say that, Allen.’
‘I’m so sorry, it’s just that...’
‘I’m not listening to any excuses. I thought we had something going, and you sleep with my sister. Can you honestly explain that?’
As he tries to find the words he needs - what for he’s not sure as he has no regrets about Linda - Sherry’s anger is visibly turning to distress. Allen, fond of Sherry, places his hand on her shoulder in an effort to comfort her.
She flinches, and pushes him away. ‘Don’t you dare touch me Gomez!’ she shouts.
Linda is padding down the stairs, keen not to announce her presence, but Sherry, all too aware that her sister is approaching, calls out to her.
‘Might be an idea for you to stay upstairs. Not in the mood for you just now. OK?’
‘Sherry...’ Allen is attempting to calm the situation.
‘You’d better sod off Allen. Stuff your job. I don’t want to see you again.’
‘Please don’t do anything rash. We didn’t mean to upset you. It just happ...’
‘I know it just bloody happened, Allen. I imagine you can’t keep your hands off each other. Just go.’
‘Sorry.’ Allen realises that any words are woefully inadequate.
As the front door closes, Linda is at the top of the stairs. Sherry is standing there, wiping away the tears. She glares at her older sister.
‘Your new boyfriend hasn’t taken his shoes.’
‘He’s got some trainers in the car.’
‘Bully for him, Linda. They’re going in the bin. He can whistle for ‘em.’
‘Sorry? Bloody sorry are you? Leave it Lin. Not now, OK? Not now.’