‘What’s going on?’ Charlie asked. He startled Pricilla out of her daydream, where she imagined entertaining her new socially conscious friends in her newly acquired home. Her mug holding hand shot up in a reflex action, she spluttered and choked with tears in her eyes as the tea went down both channels of her gullet; the words Oh fuck crossed her mind. She sprang up from the armchair.
‘Oh, my god poor Archibald whatever could be the matter with him? He fell off the sofa…’ she paused; what else could she say? She could not think of anything, ‘oh my god,’ she wailed, ‘oh my god!’ she repeated, for the want of something else to say. She threw her arms in the air in mock angst. She ran around the room screaming and wailing hysterically. Alcol thought that she was howling in triumph at killing his master.
‘Archibald has had some sort of seizure,’ Pricilla screeched, ‘he just fell from the sofa, what are we going to do. I think he is going to die.’ She yelled having thought of something else to add.
She knew what to do and it was not to leave a stroke patient on the floor without getting them to hospital for urgent treatment. Moreover, she definitely knew not to stress a patient out by mentioning their imminent death within their hearing.
It was fortunate for Archie- that Charlie was a dependable type with a calm approach to any emergency – he had to be composed during his tours in dangerous warzones whilst in charge of front line commandos. He rolled Archie over into the recovery position and told Wilf to dial 9-9-9. Pricilla ran around the room waving her arms in the air like someone possessed.
She wailed on about his son –whom she had never met-, ‘poor James, how am I to break the news to James… oh my god,’ she said again, whilst searching around her devious mind for more words to convince everyone of her concern for the poor - soon to be departed; she hoped – Archibald. She went into overdrive when the paramedics arrived. They could not concentrate on their work as her histrionic actions were irritating them.
Alcol still thought that she was murdering his master; he jumped up at the window, ran to the back door, and bounced off it. The lock held – just. He ran back to the window where he could see Pricilla prancing around his master as though she were doing a victory dance after putting Archie down; he knew that Archie was suffering -his senses told him so, he snarled, growled and whimpered as he ran back and forth along the garden path, from window to door, door to window. The window box crashed to the floor as he scratched at it in an attempt to dig under the window frame.
Wilf was also watching Pricilla - more so when she threw herself on the sofa with her short rah-rah skirt riding high above her open thighs. The paramedic who was dealing with Archie whilst his colleague wheeled the stretcher in, turned to Charlie and Wilf, ‘Someone silence that dog… and take her out of the room; they are distressing the patient,’ he said assertively, but in a low voice for Archie’s benefit.
Wilf volunteered to escort Pricilla into the spare bedroom, he almost tripped over his walking stick in his eagerness to get her into his embrace and cuddle her to his side on their way across the hall. Pricilla had not finished her act. As they entered the bedroom she threw her arms around the delighted Wilf’s neck, he kicked the door too with a deft back heel kick, dropped his walking stick on the floor and cuddled her petite figure into his own podgy body.
The close proximity of their bodies made it evident to Pricilla that Wilf was sexually aroused. ‘Forgive me I am so worried for my dear friend.’ She said, and tried to break away from him. ‘He…he will be o… ok,’ Wilf answered as he clung onto her body, his heart almost jumped out of his chest, he breathed in her scent; -unlike Archie- he quite liked the smell. ‘Unhand me… I am your friend’s partner, I have moved in with him today; unhand me!’ Wilf was oblivious to anything she said, his concentration was not on what she was saying anyway, more on what he was feeling and seeing. Pricilla had to push him away. She jabbered away at him, ‘We were just about to go to bed; he had told me that I could move in with him; maybe the excitement got to him because I think he has had a stroke,’ she said from the other side of the single divan.
‘What if you get ill and you are on your own, I said, I have seen this before Wilfred; if he does come out of it he will never be fully cured, he will have to be cared for twenty four seven. Because he has a house to sell, the state won’t pay for his keep, he will have to sell the house to pay for his care; unless someone like me…a trained nurse is willing to look after him’
Charlie came into the bedroom -to Pricilla’s relief- and passed Archie’s cordless telephone to her.
‘We have contacted his son, could you tell him what happened as you were here.’
Pricilla fidgeted nervously as she took the receiver from his hands.
Pricilla’s relief was short lived, His son she thought, She smoothed her dress down to wipe the sweat from her palms and took the telephone from Charlie with shaking hands.
‘Hello,’ she said in her most refined accent, ‘I ham afraid it is bad news Mister Fox.’
‘Who are you?’
‘I ham your Daddies partner’
‘You what? What sort of partner? If you mean what I think you mean… He… he never got over my mother; at least he hadn’t the last time I spoke to him.’
‘Your father is an attractive man for his age and it would have been a waste if he had hidden himself away on his own; surely your mother would not want him to be all alone for the rest of his life-.’ Jim interrupted her,
‘He just fell off the sofa.’
‘I don’t believe it; he has never had a day’s illness in his life.’
‘Well it’s true-’
‘But he has always been so active; he’s only just retired; he was looking forward to it, after working for another two years in order to have a pension that would pay his bills.’
Pricilla ducked her head nervously as the kitchen door almost gave way under Alcol’s continuous assault against it. She had a plan in her devious mind though, and she was not going to let a dog put her off that.
‘Well if I have to look after him I will need to have some sort of an allowance I can hardly manage to feed myself on my income; the authorities won’t keep him, you need to be on benefits and your father worked all his life. They will only fund a person’s stay in nursing homes when they have never worked or saved any money in their life,’ she gabbled.
‘Look, stop going on about money …he is my father and I will sort that out for him.’
‘Well someone has to look at it realistically and-’
‘I’m coming up there.’
James switched his cell phone off and hurriedly packed his bags before kissing his girlfriend and driving off at speed to Bogrims Marsh.
Charlie was about to go outside and calm Alcol down when the heavy bolt flew off the back kitchen door and hit the eye level grill on Archie’s old white gas-cooker; - it was fortunate that no one’s eyes were at that level or they would have been rendered eyeless.
The large hound crashed into the kitchen in a shower of splintering wood as the Para-medics rushed out with Archie on the stretcher, ducking down with bowed heads, like stretcher-bearers under bombardment on the Somme. They both agreed in less calming voices that it would be sensible to get their patient out of the house and away from the uproar within, ‘No wonder he has had a stroke.’ The man moving swiftly at the front end of the stretcher said. ‘If we don’t get him out of this mad house he’ll be an undertaker’s client,’ his colleague at the back end said.
They slammed the door behind them as Alcol struggled to regain his footing, and slid around the lino floor and into the hallway as though he were on a skateboard, he managed to pull up in front of Charlie; with his head cocked on one side; he wondered where everyone else had gone. He needed to protect Archie from the witch in the wardrobe.
That is where she ran to and hid after she threw the telephone on the bed on hearing the splintering of wood and the metallic clattering noise as the bolt flew across the kitchen, bounced off the eyelevel grill and ended up rattling around in the stainless steel sink behind the door - or the remains of the door. Not only that, she needed to put something other than the divan bed between herself and the sexually aroused Wilf; he was about to climb in with her but he took the hint when she trapped his fingers in the heavy oak Victorian wardrobe door.
Alcol sniffed around, turned to the front door, and anxiously sniffed around the bottom of it. He knew that Archie had past that way because he left a scent trail when the stooping paramedics had left his arm trailing from the stretcher in their rush to get him out. Alcol then turned his attention to the bedroom where he could smell the overpowering fumes from Pricilla’s cologne. Because she was so flustered and perspiring profusely, she was emitting a stronger odour than usual.
He turned towards the spare bedroom. Wilf came out of the door blowing the fingers on his right hand and wondering what had caused the racket in the kitchen.
Charlie grabbed the dogs lead from the coat pegs in the hall, clipped it on Alcol’s broad greyhound type collar, and between them the two pals dragged him into Archie’s bedroom. Charlie did most of the pulling, because Wilf could only use one hand. Moreover, the extra exertion applied to his knee as he strained against Alcol’s rump had caused it to ache and he had a job obtaining enough traction on the lino as he huffed and puffed at his throbbing hand and shook it frantically.