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Story by Big M

Merv’s recovery from his coma was a much slower process than the movies would have us believe. He had lost a great deal of weight, due to muscular atrophy, and he found it difficult to chew and swallow food after being tube fed for so long.  It had taken quite some time to learn to sit up without being strapped to a chair, followed by a few tentative steps in a support frame. Now he was ambulating around the rehab ward independently, but still shook his head when he looked down at his wasted calves, thighs and arms.

The mental toll was tremendous. On the one hand he was pleased to have left the Pigs in OKish hands, and that he had been visited by so many friends.  On the other hand, he felt like a time traveller who had stepped into another time; at home, Turnbull was now PM, Morrison, treasurer, Hockey the US ambassador. Overseas, there were refugees all over Europe with more terror attacks, whilst the US elections had been taken over by a comedian with a fox on his head, and an off-sider who sounded like she had escaped from a mental facility. ‘Where will it all end?’ He pondered.

Merv’s reverie was interrupted by a cough, sotto voce, from left stage. It was Mr Foodge, bearing a large take away food container. ‘Gidday, Foodge, watcha got there?’ Merv moved away from the window, which overlooked the grounds.

‘Granny cooked up some brunch for you, Mr Merv.’ Foodge removed the lid with great flourish to reveal bacon, eggs, smoked salmon, button mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans on sour dough. ‘Your favourites, mate.’

Merv tucked in to the meal with great relish, but was hampered by his slowly rehabilitating oesophagus, which didn’t share much relish. He motioned to Foodge to sit down. ‘How’s the pub?’

Good, err…um, very good.’ Foodge proceeded to outline the repairs that O’Hoo had performed, how the Bowling Ladies had pitched in to do some cleaning, Hedgy and the Hell’s Angles had tidied up the yard, establishing a grassed area for the twins to play on.

‘An’, how are you goin’?’ Merv ignored some errant egg yoke that was trying to bungee jump from the corner of his mouth.

‘I’m, err, um, surprisingly good.’ Foodge looked awkwardly at his black brogues. ‘I’ve actually learned quite a lot, you know, pulling pints, accounting, swapping kegs, and dealing with difficult customers.’

‘Then why are you being so bloody awkward?’

‘It’s being so close to Granny all of the time. I still don’t know where we stand since O’Hoo and I woke up in her bed that morning.’

‘Mate, I wouldn’t get relationship advice from a bloke who’s bin in a coma, but whydoncha talk to her?’ By now Merv was earing some egg and baked beans on his shirt.

Foodge was about to reply, when he was interrupted by shrieking from the distant hall. ’Where’s me boy?’ ‘Where’s me Merv’. The noise grew louder.

‘Oh shit.’ Merv pushed his meal away as the light was taken from the doorway, as if by an eclipse.

‘There’s me lad.’ Something the size and shape of a refrigerator pushed through the doorway. The only outward sign of being a woman was a huge, decrepit, floral hat.

‘Gidday Mum.’ Mumbled Merv.

Merv’s mum removed an old hanky from between her breasts, spat on it, in proceeded to remove the afore mentioned, potentially abseiling, egg yolk.

Merv writhed around like a small boy.

‘oo’s your fat, pasty faced friend?’

“This, mum, is Mr Foodge, bee ay ‘onours, Master of Laws, former  Pleece Prosecutor, the best gumshoe in Inner Western Cyberia, and one of my best mates. He taught me proper spelling, grammar and pronunciation, unlike my own parents!”

‘Don’t get feckin’ cheeky with me, boy. Pleased to make your acquaintance. ‘ave you got a car?’

‘Only the best, a Ford Zephyr, with half race cam, high compression pistons, four barrel Holley, and mandrel bent extractors..’Foodge was cut off.

‘Good, I need a lift to me accommodation.’ Merv’s mum was forcing the yolk-encumbered hanky back down her bra.

‘Where’s that?’ Foodge enquired innocently.

‘The Pigs Arms, a course!’