The Four Musketeers: Part Twenty-Two

This is the twenty-second part of a fiction serial, in 796 words.

When I finally got a phone number for Graham that he actually answered, he told me he knew that his mum was on a downward spiral. He had travelled up from Brighton to see her in her small flat, and she had been more or less out of it. He even offered to take her to live with him and his friend on the south coast, but she had pushed him out of the flat, and told him to leave her alone. He thanked me for thinking of her, but was adamant at the end of the call.

“She has to get herself straight, or she can’t be helped, Danny. She has never recovered from Johnny’s suicide, and my dad is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. He went to see her once, and found her in bed with two men. Since then, he has washed his hands of her”.

The new year came and went without me contacting Keith. He didn’t try again, as he had other fish to fry. A long-serving member of parliament in a very safe Conservative constituency had died, and they had put Keith up for the by-election. Not only did he win, he increased the majority. He was portrayed in the media as a young, go-ahead politician with a right-wing agenda. If he made a name for himself, who knew how far he could go?

But the opposition had a new leader, Tony Blair. In the run-up to the next election, he increased the popularity of his party by adopting a middle-of the road, moderate stance. By then we had the computer age of course, and the world-wide web. The world was changing, and my job changed with it. They sent me on courses, started an online option to do away with the paperwork, and my company became the leader in the field of insurance. I had bonuses, share options, and enough money to trade up from the Golf to an Audi. I even got Susan the new model of the Volvo estate.

By the time Blair won the next election, we were considering moving from our house to a better one actually in Dulwich Village, near the park. Although his party lost, Keith retained his safe seat, and got a job as an opposition minister on the front benches. He and Maddy moved from the Pimlico flat to a house in Notting Hill, which was super-trendy at the time. They invited us to a house-warming party. I didn’t want to go, but he was Susan’s brother, so she couldn’t say no. My mum took Stephen for the day, and as always was delighted to have him.

He was soon to start in his first year of Secondary School, and showing great potential. Enough to be considered for a scholarship place at Dulwich College.

The party was one of those wandering-around eating canapes kind of occasions, and Maddy had of course arranged it. There were waiters and waitresses walking around with tray of drinks and nibbles, and most of the other guests seemed to be chinless wonders. Public-School posh boys born with silver spoons in their mouths. I tried to avoid them, after the first few “And what do you do?” questions.

Keith cornered me at the end of the courtyard garden, not long after it had got dark.

“So, mate. What are we going to do about Terry? He is drinking, gambling, and not keeping up his end of things with the plumbing contract. Two of his staff have already left, and I am geting earache from the contact who gave him the job. You would think after all this time he could forget what happened near Beachy Head. But it seems he is determined to self-destruct. He will take us down with him, mark my words”.

When Keith called me ‘mate’, it sounded wrong now. Too much water under too many bridges for him to use that word, even though I was married to his older sister. His parents were there too, but all they could do for me was to manage a cursory nod to acknowledge my existence.

It had been a nightmare trying to park near the new house. Everywhere was ‘Resident Only’ parking, and we had walked over fifteen minutes after finding a space. I wasn’t in the best of moods when I replied. I told him to leave Terry alone. If he made a mess of things, then cancel the contract, and let our musketeer sink or swim on his own. Keith looked a good ten years older than he was, when he put his hand on my shoulder and whispered out of earshot of the other guests.

“No can do, I’m afraid. I simply cannot allow that fool to ruin my life”.

25 thoughts on “The Four Musketeers: Part Twenty-Two

  1. (1) Antz sometimes identify as superheroes. For example, I once called an ant who antzwered to the name of Z. However, he was Adam Ant at the end of the call.
    (2) If they can generate net-gain energy from nuclear fusion, surely they can find a way to contain piping hot tea in a chocolate teapot.
    (3) Did you hear about the airplane manufacturer with a right-wing agenda? The company’s stocks crashed, and so did their planes.
    (4) A slideshow featuring the newest Audi model was presented at an auditorium. The first buyer was a Tory.
    (5) When he was 14 years old, Tony Blair auditioned to play a demon-possessed child who spews green vomit while levitating and shaking a bed. Unfortunately, the role went to Linda Blair.
    (6) Keith invited Danny and Susan to a house-warming party. The repairman had just gotten the radiators to work again.
    (7) How many silver spoons can a chinless wonder fit in his mouth?
    (8) The story of the Beachy Head killing may be coming to a head.
    (9) “It had been a nightmare trying to park near the new house. Everywhere was ‘Resident Only’ parking.” Danny referred to the situation as Resident Evil.

    Liked by 1 person

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