This is the nineteenth part of a fiction serial, in 729 words.
Jimmy’s degree had caused something of a stir in the scientific community. It was almost unknown for someone studying part-time to finish so quickly, and to get a first class degree too. He declined to attend the graduation ceremony, instead receiving the impressive document in the post.
Lesley felt so proud she thought she would burst, but she admitted to great disappointment that there would be no photo of her young husband in the usual graduation regalia.
That was of no concern to Jimmy. He wanted the qualification, not the acclaim that might have gone with it. With a letter of recommendation from his tutor to include, he sat quietly one Sunday afternoon and wrote out a job application. When it was ready to post, he chatted to Lesley about her thoughts on moving to another part of the country. She had no hesitation when she replied. “I will go anywhere with you, Jimmy. You’re my husband, and I love you. There is nothing to keep either of us here, after all”.
With the reassurance that Lesley would make no objection, he walked up to the post box on the corner, and slipped the large envelope into the slot.
Norah Walker’s funeral had been a sad affair. One of the nurses from the hospital showed up for the fifteen minute service before the cremation, and other than her, only Jimmy and Lesley were in attendance.
The following week, Jimmy had gone to see Patrick Killane about the will. “With George Greaves dead, you are the next of kin, and the power of attorney should help probate go through quickly, James. I will be in touch, once you have been confirmed as the sole heir”. Killane felt relieved when Jimmy left his office. There was something about that intense young man that made him feel very nervous.
Since Lesley had moved in, Jimmy had taken no rent from her. Although she bought most of the food, every now and again Jimmy would give her some money, saying he was sure she must need it for groceries. As a result, she had saved a tidy sum, added to the deposit from her flat that had been returned after she gave it up. So for his twenty-first, she had bought him a gold watch, an Accurist, with an expanding bracelet. He had accepted it graciously enough, but material things didn’t really concern him that much.
As an extra present, she had bought herself some delicate lingerie, including some old-fashioned stockings and suspenders. Then she had revealed herself in the bedroom, saying she was his ‘special gift’.
One evening, Jimmy talked to her about jobs. If they moved, she might have to do something different, and he wondered how she felt about that. Lesley was very positive. “I have always really fancied being a Pharmacist. Perhaps I could train for that, and get a job in a chemist’s shop, even in a big one, like Boots?” Jimmy told her he thought that was a perfect idea, and that he would support her doing that one hundred percent.
Even though she had no idea what job Jimmy had applied for, or where they might be moving to, Lesley had never been happier.
A month went by, and the money from Norah’s estate went through to Jimmy’s account. He paid Killane’s fees, and arranged for his mum’s now empty accounts to be closed. Every bill had been paid, and there were no outstanding debts. When Norah’s ashes were returned in an urn, Jimmy spinkled them in the lake in the local park. Lesley looked on, smiling. She had no idea that Norah had never liked the local park, and had only been there once in her life. She just thought that Jimmy as doing a wonderful thing for his mum.
Two weeks later, Jimmy received a letter. He had to supply a lot of personal information, for a vetting procedure. Based on that being successful, he would be asked to attend for interview. Lesley was shown the letter, and was suitably impressed. “Oh that’s wonderful, Jimmy. I had no idea that’s what you had applied for. I hope you get it, darling”.
The heading on the letter was from Porton Down. That was what everyone called it.
But the offical name of those govenment premises was the Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.