Merv had really started to relax. Janet’s new hearing aids had done wonders for his sleep, after the first few nights when she woke up screaming because the twins were crying (she’d never heard them at night, before). Now the little buggers were starting to sleep through. He guessed that they were just crying for their mum all along. Merv and Granny had been back at boxing training. He wasn’t back in top form, but was enjoying himself. He’d even followed Foodge’s advice and enrolled in a course ‘For Old People What Can’t Read Proper’, as Merv liked to say. Merv ran the cloth across the bar for the umpteenth time that morning, catching a few extra droplets of Trotter’s best, human hair, and the occasional drop of blood from last night.” Can I pour a drink for you, young sir?” Foodge had wandered in for his ‘elevenses’.
“Oh, well…err…. ah, I don’t mind if I do.” replied Foodge, as he wedged a plump cheek on the nearest stool (Foodge hadn’t been training, and the Paleo diet had been taken over by wedges, sour cream, bum nuts on toast and ‘mata’ sauce). Foodge had been helping Merv with his homework, and had a few good tips, such as, keeping the ‘g’ at the end of ‘ing’ words, and not using ‘youz’ as the plural of’ you’. Merv felt like he was quite ‘plumb in the mouth.’
“Have you managed to visit O’Hoo, yet?” Enquired Merv, as he filled a tiny glass with cold green tea for Foodge.
“He’s in Switzerland, or Norway, or is it Sweden?”
“No, Foodge, he’s in rehab, after his liver transplant, transplant. You were here when Emmjay was telling everyone.” Emmjay had spent an entire day quoting on the provision of WiFi, as Merv had seen this as the missing piece in the Boutique Brewery/Pub he had always envisioned. In the end it was going to cost too much to install, and even more to run, ‘just so a pack of ponces can sit around with their laptops and iPads.’ Of course, the 800-inch plasma TV remained.
“So, Emmjay flew to Switzerland?” Foodge was still convinced that O’Hoo was in some exotic continental sanatorium.
“Yes, mate, that’s right, flew to Switzerland for the arvo.” Merv shook his head. “Anyhoo, excuse the pun.” Merv leant forward to speak sotto voce. “Do you think you might find time to proof read me essay?” Merv surreptitiously slipped an A4 page across the bar.
Foodge was already wearing his black framed reading glasses that he had purchased at a new boutique they called ‘Vinnie’s’. “Oh, this is an unexpected honour…thirsty work, though” A glass canoe instantly appeared at Foodge’s elbow. “Is this a response to a set question?
Merv was even quieter than sotto voce. “We had to write about a childhood fear.”
Foodge burst out laughing. “Rabbits…scared of rabbits!!” As he scanned the page.
“Shh.” A red-faced Merv pounced out from behind the bar. “Sir may feel more comfortable here.” As he manhandled Foodge into an ancient, cracked Chesterfield, in front of the disused fireplace. “If you can just shut up, I’ll get you a day ticket to bloody Switzerland.”
Foodge had no idea of the level of embarrassment that he had caused Merv. His mind had already wandered to Swiss clinics, with Swiss nurses, and Swiss timepieces, and Swiss banks, and, of course, Swiss drinks near Swiss fireplaces after a day of Swiss alpineering. “S’pose I’ll need a new passport.” Merv had already gone back to his station by the bar. “Mr Merv, I suppose there aren’t any leftover wedges, or bacon, or eggs from breakfast?”
“Might be.” Merv knew that there would be because Granny had a soft spot for the occasional private dick, but she never let on. She treated Foodge with the same contempt as most people.
Foodge had taken his proof reading quite seriously, and had noted a couple of spelling and grammatical errors in blue pencil. When he put the paper down, he thought to himself. “Those rabbits really can be quite scary.” His musing was interrupted by a plate of wedges, eggs, bacon, and another glass canoe of Best. “Thanks Merv. This story is rather well constructed. You should receive a good mark.”
Merv quickly took the paper back, with a slight shiver. “Those bloody rabbits.” He thought.
It was Merv’s turn to have musings interrupted. The voice from the giant plasma droned on. “…And our continuing story of pleece corruption, Detective Chief Inspector Rouge is still at large, as we have been reliably informed is disgraced detective O’Hoo. The Pleece Commishnar has just announced a ten thousand dollar reward for information leading to the alleged whereabouts, of either, or both, or one individual of the pair.”