This is the twenty-fourth part of a fiction serial, in 736 words.
Not long after Jimmy started in the Biological Warfare section, Lesley made a decision. She would train to be a teacher, and become a Chemistry teacher at a secondary school. Her application to go on a Teacher Training Course at Salisbury Training College was accepted, and she would still be able to drop Jimmy off at work, and pick him up on her way home.
It would be a full time course for one year, and additional training part-time later. Jimmy was very encouraging, telling her that it would be a good thing for her to do, and a long-term career.
Eileen’s death had been handled by people at the top, and the conclusion was that it was accidental, following some unexplained failure of her protective suit. Jimmy was asked for a written statement, but not called to give any evidence at the internal enquiry. As far as he could tell, it had been decided that he was too inexperienced to have been in any way responsible or negligent.
But he was annoyed with himself for his impulse to kill Eileen. He knew for sure that he couldn’t do anything like that again at work for a very long time, if at all.
When Lesley was watching the TV chef Delia Smith one evening, Delia spoke to Jimmy with God’s voice, asking him why he was taking so long to make a difference. As he was about to reply, Lesley broke his concentration. “Ooh, look at that delicious pie, Jimmy. I will make you one of those. I might buy her new recipe book too”. Before the programme finished, Delia told him he had to get a move on, or accept that he had failed in his mission. He decided not to reply.
God was becoming really annoying.
All Jimmy could do was to work hard, become accepted, and study to improve himself. He was in it for the long haul, no matter how impatient the supreme being was. God was going to have to like it or lump it. Lesley settled into her course realy well, and told him about it on the way home in the car every evening. Everyone else was significantly younger than her, but she wasn’t worried about not being invitied out with them, or not going to the occasional social events. They were both lost in their books most nights. Lesley even stopped watching Coronation Street as it delayed her studying.
The big Bible had been put away in a box in the loft, along with the old notebook from under the lawn mower, and the knife he had used on George Greaves. He didn’t need to read The Bible any longer, as he had memorised the only part that had really interested him.
With the summer coming, Lesley spoke to him about a holiday. Jimmy had never been on a holiday that he remembered. His mum had told him that they had gone to a holiday camp in Skegness once, but he had been too young to remember it. Lesley had her heart set on a caravan park in Weston-Super-Mare. She had sent a deposit for a week in late July, and they sent a colour brochure by return. “Look, Jimmy. There’s a shop, a social club, a small outdoor pool, and a playground for the kids. And it’s only a short walk to the beach too. I think we will have a great time”.
Jimmy couldn’t see the point of driving all that way just to sit in a caravan that was smaller than their house. But he smiled in agreement.
Arriving at the park that summer, Lesley tried not to look too disappointed. The pool was concrete-lined, and the water looked filthy. The caravans were very close together, and she had to park the Mini across the front of the one they had been allocated. That short walk to the beach was closer to two miles, and the stuff for sale in the park shop looked like it had all been found in a bin behind a supermarket.
On top of all that, it had been raining hard as they unloaded the car, and the toilets and shower block was all the way up near the entrance.
As they spent their first night listening to the rain on the roof, Lesley downed a full bottle of white wine, wishing she had brought her old portable television.