The Four Musketeers: Part Thirteen

This is the thirteenth part of a fiction serial, in 750 words.

Susan proved to be remarkably fertile. Within four months of coming off the pill, she was expecting. My parents were beyond excited, and even her mum and dad seemed to be genuinely pleased. She was starting on names the day after the positive pregnancy test. She wanted Joanna for a girl, and Stephen for a boy. I didn’t mind what name she chose, if it made her happy.

I would be a father at the age of twenty-two. Not counting Alice’s baby of course.

Not only did I have to grow up fast, I had to think about the responsibilities of being a parent. Susan had already found a child-minder willing to take the baby, a local lady with an excellent reputation. She resolved to get back to work at the earliest opportunity, but I also had an idea.

Despite the fairly recent promotion at work, I had a feeling I could do better. I looked around and found a different insurance company advertising for staff. They were branching out into every area of insurance available, and were looking for someone to take over a new car and commercial vehicle department. At the time, someone of my age was never going to get a job like that. But I applied anyway, and really worked hard on my interview preparation.

They gave me a grilling on the day, and I was left undecided whether or not I had a chance at getting the job. It took over a week until the letter arrived, and I was overjoyed to be offered it. It was twice my previous salary, and only two streets away from where I was already working. Susan was very happy for me, and I told her she didn’t need to work after the baby. So she agreed to wait until the child was of school age, and then get a part-time job locally.

When I handed in my notice, the only one who was visibly upset was Nancy. I knew I would have ended up having it off with her, and felt quite relieved to remove myself from temptation.

Even Keith was pleased to hear the news, and said he was looking forward to having a niece or nephew. When I phoned Terry, he made the right noises, but didn’t seem that excited. I suspected that things were not great for him and Maria, and suggested he should think about getting their own place. “I would love that, Danny. But Maria is stcuk like glue to her parents. It’s her mum who is really bringing up little Sophia, and Maria acts more like her older sister than her mum”.

The problems of dealing with a different culture.

It seemed only right I should tell Johnny. Jeannie looked awkward when she answered the door. “He’s upstairs, Danny. Go on up, love”.

Johnny’s bedroom smelled bad, and he looked shabby. But he also seemed pleased to see me, and genuinely happy about my news. “Tell you what, Danny, everyone’s moving on. Sorry about that night at The Anchor, by the way. I was out of order. But I was thinking. What with you married and living in Brockley, Keith tied up with that Maddy and his new job, and Terry under the thumb in west London, how about a boy’s weekend? Just the four of us, the original musketeers?”

Before I could say anything, he carried on.

“My mum’s older sister has a caravan near Eastbourne. Sunnyside Site, not far from Beachy Head. We could go down on a Friday night, come back Sunday afternoon. Take a load of beers, eat fish and chips, and kinda make it our last time all together. What d’you reckon?” I told him I was up for it, if he could arrange it with the other two. That really brightened him up.

“Yeah, leave it to me. It will give me something to do. Spring time might be good. Not too busy down there, and the weather should be okay”.

Even though she would be well-pregnant by then, Susan thought it was a great idea. “You four really need to get together again. Settle all your old differences, and remember what things were like before they all changed. Well done to Johnny, he came up with a good plan. I can even forgive him for being horrible to me that time”.

Sleep didn’t come easy that night. To be honest, I was wondering what we would all talk about for a whole weekend.

24 thoughts on “The Four Musketeers: Part Thirteen

  1. (1) The soil around Susanville, California has proven to be remarkably fertile.
    (2) The local lady, who happens to resemble Rebecca De Mornay, is more than happy to offer her services. The hand that rocks the cradle will be hers.
    (3) The insurance company gave Danny a grilling on the day. Overheard:
    Personnel Officer: “What day is this?”
    Danny: “Thursday.”
    Personnel Officer: “Named after who?”
    Danny: “Thor.”
    Personnel Officer: “What does THOR stand for?”
    Danny: “Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response.”
    Personnel Officer: “What movie?”
    Danny: “Blue Thunder.”
    Personnel Officer: “The star?”
    Danny: “Roy Scheider.”
    Personnel Officer: “His date of birth?”
    Danny: “November 10, 1932.”
    Personnel Officer: “What day of the week was that?”
    Danny: “Thursday.”
    Personnel Officer: “You’re hired!”
    (4) When Danny phoned Terry, he made the right noises, but didn’t seem that excited. “Yeah, Danny, this bathroom stool is flushing okay, but it was too easy a fix. Not exactly an emergency. But I heard there was a broken pipe in St. Peter’s Church over in Flushing. You know, that coastal village in West Cornwall, right? Now that would be exciting!”
    (5) Johnny may end up getting everyone behind bars. “My mum’s older sister has a van in Eastbourne we can use. We could go down on a Friday night to get it, bring it back, and then go pick up a load of diamonds at De Beers. After we fence the ice on Sunday afternoon, we’ll split the money four ways. And then, if everyone chips in, we’ll buy ourselves a fishing boatβ€”a 70-footer!β€”and sail away to the Cayman Islands. What d’you reckon?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He ought to be nervous. Too much beer, no restraints… He needed to grow up before having a kid. He’s going to start feeling Susan is running his life. And she shouldn’t be choosing names so soon…

    Liked by 1 person

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