The Pigs Arms was relatively quiet. Foodge still manned the coffee machine, FOW the bar, with O’Hoo acting as cellarman and Manne the cook. Everyone doubled as ‘Bar Useful’, picking up plates and glasses, wiping tables and putting glassware and plates through the appropriate washing machine. It was Foodge’s turn to start the episode. “It’s quiet.” He observed.
“Yep.” Replied FOW, absent-mindedly.
“D’you think Merv will ever get out of the lunatic asylum?” Foodge was completely deadpan, drained by the week’s activities.
“Mental Health Unit.” FOW was pretty deadpan, too.
“Oh, that’s right, he’s not a lunatic, just mental.”
“Yep, just mental.” FOW was polishing the good wine glasses with a fetid rag.
“D’you think he’ll ever get out?”
“Well he will, one way or another.” FOW mused.
“D’you think Granny will ever get out of bed?”
“Well, Florence Nightingale took to her bed for decades, but I doubt Granny will do that.”
“D’you think we’ll ever see Mervette again?” Foodge screwed up his pale, pallid face.
“I doubt we’ve seen the back of her.”
“I’ve seen too much of the front, let alone the back.” Foodge pushed a macchiato across to FOW.
“D’you think we should ring him?”
“Who?” FOW was still pondering the significance of Bishop Bishop’s recent visit.
“Merv, of course.” Foodge had his phone out. “Can’t find the number for Callan Park.”
“He’s not in Callan Park, it was sold thirty years ago. He’s in the Mental Health Unit of the Inner Western Cyberian General Hospital.”
Foodge was soon onto the MHU, as they like to call it.
“Can I speak to Mr Merv?” Foodge sounded a little too desperate.
“Who’s Mr Merv, a patient or staff?”
“Well, I don’t think he’s got the smarts to be staff, although he’s passed a Numeracy and Literacy Course, so I guess he’s a patient.” It’s easy to see why Foodge is one of the most sought after private dicks in Inner Western Cyberia.
“Oh, yeah, he’s the bloke who fuc..I mean, had relations with his twin sister. I’ll put you through.”
“It seemed like an eternity until Merv’s voice came on the line. “Hello Janet, is that you? Forgive me darling, I’ll do anything.”
“It’s me, Foodge.”
“Oh shit, I mean, hello Foodge. How are things?”
“Well, you’re not here, but I suppose you realised that, Bishop Bishop’s been and Granny’s taken to her bed. How are you?”
“Aside from being strapped down to a bed and being injected with major tranquillisers, pretty good. What’s wrong with Granny?”
“Can’t get her out of bed.”
“She does this now and then. I supposed you’ve never encountered it. We used to give her a couple of Bex and she’d be up like an unwanted priapism. When they stopped making Bex we used to grind up a couple of Aspirin in a little folded paper packet. Give it a go.”
“Thanks, we’ll try it. Is there any hope for an early discharge?” Foodge failed to notice the double entendre.
“They reckon they need a semen sample, then I should be right to go.”
“Who said that?” Even Foodge thought it an odd pathology test for a mental health unit.
“The nurse. You know what. She’s real tall, shoulders like boulders, traps like an ox’s hind leg, looks vaguely familiar….oh, hang on, she’s been at me again!! Merv started to cry uncontrollably.
Foodge hung up and rang the Pleece. They confirmed that Mervette was still at large, whereabouts unknown.
“I’ll tell you whereabout she is. She’s at the Inner Western Cyberia Mental Health Unit. If you pull your truncheons out of your collective bottoms you might catch her!” Foodge angrily slammed the phone down, smashing the glass. “Oh shit!”