PROMPT ~ Describe ways in which your character does or doesn’t show piety.
by John Yeo
An introduction is called for here. Allow me to introduce the obnoxious Dr. Ferdinand Dickus. A cold-hearted, uncaring scientist without piety of any description whatsoever. The Doctor was a firm believer in the Darwinian Theory of evolution, survival of the fittest. As far as the religious belief in any form of afterlife was concerned, there was no such thing. Dickus was an unbeliever. According to the logical scientific evidence, we were born on this earth with nothing and we would ultimately leave thIs earth with nothing. According to him the object of life on Earth is getting as much out of life on earth and to lIve as comfortably as possible in the process. Therefore he had no charitable inclinations at all. In total contrast, his Mother, Lady Esmeralda Dickus was a devout Christian who worshipped In the local church and was extremely well regarded by the local community for her charity donations
One foggy winter morning, he stepped out of his private helicopter onto the helipad located on the roof of his laboratory.
‘Good morning Sir!’ said his secretary, who immediately fell into step with him as they headed towards the entrance to the building.
‘Hello Dorinda! What’s new? Is anything pressing?’
‘Well Sir, there’s an urgent message for you to contact your Mother as quickly as possible.’
Minutes later Doctor Dickus got through to his home phone number which strangely, was answered by the familiar voice of the family doctor.
‘Bad news I’m afraid Sir. Your Mother has had a serious stroke and a massive heart attack, she’s extremely close to death. I’m afraid there’s little conventional medicine can do now. Your Mother’s living on borrowed time. Your daughter is present I’ll put her on the line.’
‘Daddy, I’m scared, please come home. They say the only hope is prayer. We are all desperately on our knees begging for a miracle. Please hurry!’
A few hours later the helicopter landed on the lawn at the family home. Doctor Dickus raced to his Mother’s bedside to discover she had made a miraculous recovery. Later everyone, including the Doctor, proclaimed her recovery was unexplainable. Most said it was certainly the work of God in answer to the prayers of the family. Afterwards in the fullness of time, Doctor Ferdinand Dickus became a devout believer.
Today I intend to write about Beans. Yes, common Runner Beans. Part of most people’s childhood in the west is an introduction to the English fairy tale, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’
Where the indomitable Jack sold the family cow for a handful of beans that later grew into a giant beanstalk. Later after a few, ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,’ yells, the giant dies and Jack and his Mum live happily ever after feasting off the proceeds of the hen that lays golden eggs.
We planted our Runner beans on the allotment yesterday.
I constructed the above wigwam from a bundle of 10 new
6 foot bamboo canes for the beans to climb. Margaret has volunteered to climb this particular beanstalk to harvest the freshest tastiest beans at the top on the frame. If she does encounter a giant, I will be at the bottom with a pair of pruning shears.
It won’t be long before we are enjoying fresh new potatoes with mint and gently steamed fresh beans. Runner beans are a great source of fibre, which not only plays the lead role in making sure our digestive system is running at its best, but has also been shown to help prevent weight gain, some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
We also have some french bush bean seeds in rows alongside the mighty runners. These will certainly not be high enough to harbour any giants or hens laying golden eggs.
I looked up the phrase ‘Full of Beans’ and this is what I came up with. Originally, this phrase was known as “Full of Prunes” and then “prunes” was replaced with “beans”. The phrase originated in Europe in the 14th century when horses were fed with beans grown solely for fodder. After feeding the horse, the owners often noticed that the horses became quite energetic and lively. Hence the phrase originated to refer to this state of liveliness.’ Source: theidioms.com
The beans in Jack and the Beanstalk are believed to be fava beans and they have a magical history all their own. With evidence of their incorporation into diets dating back to at least 6000 BC, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants. Their hardiness and ability to endure cold climates contributed to their endurance as a crop. It also earned the beans magical status in Sicily, where they were considered more than merely food.
One of the things I notice occurring frequently on the social media areas of public entertainment is the propensity of people who tend to jump on the bandwagon. Since I’ve begun to cultivate my blog and publish on a more frequent basis, I’ve had several emails offering me work. I have to say I usually explore these offers but I have never been guilty of taking the bait, particularly when the person refers to the mysterious ‘us,’ i.e. ‘Would you like to write for us?’ When tackled about who these unidentified ‘us’ are, the reply is usually a woolly, ‘some very big people.’ …
I offer this advice to all prospective grow your own bean experts.
‘Beans and some other legumes, such as peas and lentils, have a reputation for causing gas. Beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose, which the body has trouble breaking down. Beans are also rich in fiber, and a high intake of fiber can increase gassiness.’
The challenge is to write a story using 200 words or less based, on the photo prompt.
by John Yeo
The ice had been slowly melting for years. Many corpses of extinct creatures had been discovered, all frozen solid in death over the centuries.
Contrary to the hopes of some of the Scientific Community; none of these creatures so far had come back to life. Professor Chan headed a team exploring these Arctic Ice-fields and Glaciers with Mary Lee, his clever assistant. Then the egg was discovered. A huge egg, muddy brown in colour, absolutely new to Science. When Mary and the team saw the egg appear as the ice slowly melted, they were quick to retrieve it and deposit it in their icehouse for protection. After a few days, Mary noticed a slight trembling inside the egg.
‘Professor! It’s coming to life, it must be the change of temperature.’ The normally reserved Professor became excited.
‘This is sensational Mary! We must keep this quiet and allow Nature to take its course.’
‘Certainly Professor!’ Although high-security measures were in place, news leaked out. When the egg finally cracked a large crowd had gathered. A gasp of shock and horror rippled around when this fearsome brute appeared. Laughter ensued when the monster rolled over, smiled and wagged his tail.
I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…SLAVERY.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
by John Yeo
The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about slavery, is the horror of the period between 1600 when legal mass slavery was reputed to have begun in the UK and 1863 when slavery was officially abolished in the USA.
Although slavery in one form or another actually began much earlier, in the form of war captives, and the domination of one tribe by another.
However, slavery comes in many forms; human slavery is just the tip of a hidden iceberg. Almost every one of us is a slave to addiction in one form or another. Whether it be one of the obvious big four, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, or Gambling or another enslaving addiction such as the habitual rejection of food as in questionable diets and slimming fads that could lead to the horrors of Anorexia or Bulimia.
A miser’s enslaving addiction is the storing up of wealth and hatred of expenditure.
Addiction can take many forms, in fact, people can become addicted slaves to almost anything, from eating too much ice cream to viewing obscenity.
By far the newest trap, with the potential to become the biggest modern path into enslavement comes in the form of Internet addiction. Particularly the new, so-called, Social Media, it starts as a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends but it can slowly and insidiously become a time-consuming, enslaving addiction. ‘Just one little look!’ becomes hours and hours of pointless time-wasting.
The dangers of internet enslavement to the younger generation have been recognized and well-recorded. This has the potential of becoming the biggest threat to the unwary in recorded history. With the added side effects of leading the young astray along a maze of unforeseen addictive paths. Children, of all ages and many adults, are becoming bombarded with images and alluring, time-consuming pathways embedded in the World-Wide-Web.
This is not to downplay the obvious advantages of the web for education and instant communication.
One of the biggest challenges in the near future will certainly be a coming to terms with the effects of this widespread, self-inflicted, modern form of enslavement of the unwary; who become ensnared by this highly addictive web.
A prompt response for Inspiration Monday: Quiet Light
by John Yeo
I always relish the night shift at the hospital. The administration has all gone home, that leaves the professionals to fully take over and we can do our jobs without too much interference from the budget boys. Too many fingers in the pie if you ask me!
I remember once when a patient was in pain and there was some argument over whether we should use the latest methods to ease the pain. The poor patient was pumped full of morphine, while three admin men discussed whether the hospital could afford the very latest miracle light rays that have just been introduced.
This is a brilliant, bright new starlight, that mimics the rays of starlight that have streamed unused and ignored by scientists until a very powerful computer picked up the almost silent sound of the starlight rays bouncing off the Earth’s surface. Professor Modesty then hooked the starlight to a machine that generates a beam of fantastic intensity, that has proved to be the most powerful painkiller ever known. One gentle bathe in the purifying quiet starlight and pain is instantly a memory that allows time for medical specialists to identify and cure the causes.
This wonderful new technique is very expensive to use as it is difficult to generate starlight in the daylight hours.
Now on the night-shift, we are able to freely use this painkiller, without any interference or repercussions from these admin ignoramuses. The quiet light eases the pain of the patients and ensures a drug-free, pain-free night.
What these budget conscious, penny-pinching idiots don’t seem to realize is that the stars come out at night and the quiet starlight is free to use without the necessity of expensive machines.
You are invited to write a piece in any genre using the picture featured in the post as your inspiration.
Double Image Dilemma
By John Yeo
Anastasia was not succumbing to the nasty remarks her alter-ego insisted on bombarding her with. The obnoxious, evil-tongue ghostly apparition somehow always seemed to take her unawares, wherever she happened to be. She had always been an intelligent girl. During her first years in school, she had finished at the top of the class in all the subjects she had studied. A brilliant passage through University led her to gain first-class degrees in Psychology and Social Science. Following these honors, she went on to take further honours in her chosen field of Psychiatry. One earth-shattering day her world had been turned upside down by the sudden death of both her parents in a car crash. Anastasia was devastated, she had been extremely close to her Father, who was an eminent Professor. Her sadness at the deaths of both her parents was almost unendurable. She had always had an uneasy relationship with her Mother who had sought to dominate her in many ways. Shortly after the funeral while she was enduring the terrible effects of the grieving process the onslaught began. The vicious out of character remarks and innuendos slowly built up to an unmerciful crescendo. She was always alone when the tirade began. At times Anastasia would glimpse, a shadowy figure of herself standing alongside wildly mouthing unbelievable nonsense. Never a solid figure, just a hazy representation that flashed quickly away revealing a figure she knew intimately. Anastasia didn’t feel threatened by this outpouring of filth and before long she began to analyse some of the statements. When she cut away the obvious rubbishy descriptive remarks, she realised this was a monologue of her thoughts and feelings over the years she had directed towards her bullying, domineering Mother. As part of her training, Anastasia was in therapy with a Dr. Jean Waters. A close friend she had known for years who had come through University with her. Dr. Jean was a short, overweight, bubbly; auburn-haired person. A senior lecturer, somewhat unconventional who relished in solving mysterious unexplained occurrences. As soon as Anastasia had outlined the situation, Dr. Jean came up with her opinion; this alter-ego needed to be disposed of as quickly as possible. Anastasia agreed and both women put their heads together to find a way of disintegrating the foul-mouthed apparition.
‘I think we need to consider the relationship between you and your Mum, I have a feeling if we can work through her influences on you in your early life we will get close to an answer.’ Dr. Jean remarked.
‘Oh! Do you think she is haunting me?’ Anastasia laughed.
“No, I think you are haunting yourself with your unspoken thoughts and feelings towards her while you were growing up.’ replied Dr. Jean.
“What! That can’t be right! I would never use the foul language and disgusting words she uses. Sometimes I could scream at her to shut up.’
‘Ah!’ replied Dr. Jean reflectively. ‘Your unconscious picks up many things from around you during your lifetime and although you would never express them; they are still there filed away.’
‘What can I do about it?’ asked Anastasia.
‘We’ll work through it together and somehow we will have to clear your mind and bury your Mother once and for all. It will be hard and may take a long time, but I’m sure we will be successful as you are quite level-headed and logical. Make an appointment with my secretary and we can begin to explore it further’
Happy Fiction Friday! Here’s your prompt: You finally build up the courage to talk to that cute someone you see every day on the bus. Their face turns dark as they respond, “You shouldn’t be able to see me.” Happy writing!
by John Yeo
It’s raining hard this morning with a strong wind that keeps trying hard to blow my umbrella inside out. It’s a good job I don’t have far to go to the bus stop. I turn the collar up on my raincoat, this helps a bit to keep my neck warm and dry. Glancing at the time on my iPhone I see I am right on time the usual crowd of commuters is gathered at the bus stop. Most of them crammed into the bus shelter. I smile and nod at some of the more familiar faces. A smartly dressed young man pushes back into the shelter to allow me room to squeeze inside, much to the chagrin of old sourpuss who has to suffer the indignity of actual bodily contact with a couple of other commuters. She rewards the young man with a look of pure hatred, even though I have been traveling on this route for a year, old sourpuss would never deign to acknowledge my existence. The young man, who wears a thin gold earring, then acts in a totally unexpected way and pokes his tongue out at the tall grey-haired elderly lady. A look of shock covers the face of old sourpuss as she angrily turns her face away. I have an added incentive to make sure I get the usual bus. I have been admiring a certain pretty young woman for several months now. She usually gets aboard the bus at the next stop after I board the bus and she always gets off at the stop before mine outside the private hospital. I have never seen such an attractive person in my life before, she is so adorably beautiful I get shy and unsure of myself whenever I see her. I have noticed she never speaks to anyone and no one else seems to know her. I wonder how I can ever pluck up enough courage to break the ice and to introduce myself to her. I choose a seat near the entrance to the bus where I knew I was sure to catch her eye as she entered the bus. I had a vague plan in my mind that may give me the opportunity to break the ice and have a chat with her. The rain was still pouring down when the bus reached the next stop, where the cute young lady usually gets on board. The bus came to a stop and three passengers boarded together. A young couple got on first and there was a few minutes delay as the young man began fishing for some change from his pocket while his wife and the bus driver patiently waited. Finally with a grin followed by a laugh the couple took their seats on the bus. Then came the moment I had been waiting for when my dream lady got on the bus. She shook the raindrops off her red umbrella and placed her ticket on the automatic digital charging icon. Her long blond hair was tied up in a ponytail hanging behind her. As she walked by my seat I got up with a paperback book in my hand, ‘Is this yours?’ I asked, ‘Only I found it on the seat you sat in after you had got off the bus yesterday.’
I was taken aback as the young woman’s face darkened with a horrified surprise. ‘You shouldn’t be able to see me, I am an alien from a different world than you. I must exist in your imagination. No one ever takes any notice of me or pays any attention to me. That’s why I attend the hospital for treatment every day. Are you a patient there?’
I shook my head and backed away in stunned surprise, I smiled at her as she got off the bus at the private Psychiatric hospital. I still think she is a dream on legs, a figment of my imagination or not.
Here’s today’s Fiction Friday prompt: In the future, virtual reality has surged. One of the more controversial uses is in prisons. Whatever crime you committed you have to relive from your victim’s point of view. It’s your first day in prison and you’re terrified because of what you did.
ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN
by John Yeo
I had put up a strong defense and my lawyer had almost worked a miracle and got me off of the charges. I was shocked when I heard the Judge’s sentence. There was a catch to the decision, I would either have to serve 25 years or this could be reduced to 5 years if I agreed to undergo a new virtual reality procedure. This would entail reliving the crime through the eyes and feelings of the victim. I thought this would be quite easy as I have never had a care what that dirty jumped-up idiot thought at all. I agreed instantly.
It was with a loud ominous clang the doors of the prison closed behind me. When I entered. I was handcuffed to a tall overweight prison officer who manhandled me into a reception area where after going through the usual formalities,I was soon on my way to a special wing of the prison where I would be completing my sentence. It was here I met my room-mate Sydney. ‘Hi! I’m George,’ I said grinning as I introduced myself. This should be easy, a nice cushy billet in the hospital pretending to comply with all this VR nonsense.’ My new friends face changed visibly as a look of horror replaced the welcoming look he had previously displayed.
‘Hello George, I’m Sydney, I’ve been here for a whole year now. I’m not kidding you when I say I wish I had taken the alternative option. This is the scariest thing I have ever done. I killed a neighbour who got on my nerves. They make you experience every single tiny emotion your victim went through when you killed him. Every day the VR machine repeats the feelings repetitively until you will be praying to share the death in reality. What are you here for?’
I stepped back shocked when I heard this. ‘I killed a man who was abusing my daughter. What do you mean about reliving the crime over and over from his point of view? I just gave the dirty pervert what he deserved. I took the shorter sentence as I thought it would be easy.’
‘That’s what I thought too George but reversing roles is frightening, every little fear and emotion your victim felt will be experienced by you. This is absolute torture.’ Sydney had visibly aged in seconds while he was describing his treatment and his mental state.
George began to feel afraid of what was in store for him, he had made sure the pervert suffered before he had killed him. There was no way he wanted to go through any of that.
‘Sydney you’ve got to help me is there any way I can change my mind? Can I appeal to the authorities? I’m scared of what those men in white coats will do to me.’
‘Sorry George, there’s no way out of this, you will have to suffer the fate of the pervert you killed, over and over again. Believe me, I’ve tried many times in many ways. There’s no escape.’
George put his head in his hands and burst out crying.
‘You are an explorer who’s just discovered a new island.’
by John Yeo
The press conference was well attended, with representatives from several of the national newspapers and a few reporters from regional papers. There was a presentation of sketches and photographs on display of a substantial rocky landmass located in a sunlit sapphire sea. There was a large indentation in the centre that was a natural lake with a channel leading to a bay that formed a natural harbour.
‘First things first Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. My name is Captain Oswald, I own that luxury yacht moored in the harbour. We have just returned from the Indian Ocean, where my island is located.’
Mike Molloy, an ebullient Irish reporter employed by the Daily Torment, a national tabloid newspaper. ‘You are referring to this discovery as your island Captain? How can you lay claim to an island for yourself. Surely you should be claiming it for the nation?’
‘My friend I have discovered this paradisiacal island, exactly 101 miles off the coast of Tango, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Even now as we speak several members of my crew are in residence guarding my property. I have laid claim to this new land and I propose to sell shares to anyone interested in the future development of my land.’
There was a sudden loud general hubbub as questions were fired at Captain Oswald, a short, stocky man with a shock of sandy coloured hair. A large familiar-looking man raised his hand and shouted. ‘Peter Swinburne, from the Daily Scare. Supposing you are overruled by the government of Tango and the island is confiscated. How do your investors know they will be able to get their money back?’
‘Mr Swinburne, my word is my bond and I guarantee to refund all monies that will have been invested in my property. I have the financial backing of a leading worldwide firm in the futures investment industry. This will be a first class investment with the minimum of risk. I have been assured by a member of the Tangoan government that this new island is just outside their territorial boundaries and is open for development. I have agreed to allow the Tangoan government a full half share of any future profits.’
Another voice shouted a question, this time it was a lady reporter. ‘Geraldine South, from the Seaview Independent local paper. I would like to know how much of these future profits will be invested locally in these Isles.’
Captain Oswald smiled and replied. ‘There is no question that this government will receive substantial funds in exchange for protection from marauding pirates and gangsters. I have been assured this is possible and a feasibility study is underway as we speak. Of course the bulk of our trade will be with tourists and businesses from here. Holidaymakers will flock there, the ultra-wealthy will build their homes there.’
A tall distinguished looking man then stepped up and said, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to bring this press conference to a close now. I am a lawyer representing Captain Oswald. I would appreciate it, if all further questions could be directed to my office. I propose to leave a pile of my address cards at the back of this hall.
The next few weeks were exciting as far as Captain Oswald was concerned. Money was flooding in from interested investors as speculators queued to get a piece of the action. The funds were quickly channeled into building projects and advertising.
Captain Oswald had returned to his island and made the trip back several times. He now worked from a plush office in the centre of the financial hub of a city on the mainland. When the first warnings started to come through, Captain Oswald was attending a plethora of meetings with his new partners and the banks. The first newsflash was seemingly insignificant, just a suggestion that there was a hurricane due to touch the coastline of his private island. The news came through as Captain Oswald had a meeting scheduled with the press to announce a public naming ceremony of his new island. Unsurprisingly the island was to be named Oswald island and would be officially recognised by all concerned.
The reports of the power and devastation caused by the hurricane in the South Pacific Ocean became more and more alarming. The weather forecasters had named this powerful storm, Hurricane Esmeralda, a name that would forever be indelibly imprinted on the mind of Captain Oswald.
Within days the Captain and his crew were travelling at full speed towards the Tango islands in the South Pacific following a spate of reports of the devastation and the loss of life caused by Hurricane Esmeralda. There was a lack of news after a while due to the power lines that had been severely damaged by the storm. Several days later they were approaching the point where Oswald Island was located but to the horror and surprise of the Captain there wasn’t any sign of his island.
Captain Oswald screamed to his first mate, ‘Barnicle, where’s the island?’
‘I dunno Captain, it should be right in front of us.’
‘Have you got the right coordinates man?’
‘Yessir! Positively Sir.’
It took a few seconds for the dreadful realisation that Oswald Island was gone and would never be seen again. Washed away and destroyed by Hurricane Esmeralda, the island was now at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The Captain took this discovery surprisingly philosophically.
‘Well life’s a gamble, they say things come and go, Nature provides and Nature takes away. C’mon Barnacle, head for Tango, I need to cash in my chips.’
That night, the action backstage was even more dramatic than the story unfolding onstage. Harry Houston, the leading man of this highly successful production was in a terrible rage. Harry stood himself up to his full 6 foot 6 inches height and shouted aggressively and belligerently at the diminutive figure of Peter Whelks, the stage manager. ‘Look here Whelks, I’d like you to get rid of that so-called makeup artist at once. She is awful, I’ve broken out in a rash all over my face and my neck.’ Harry Houston’s veins were protruding through his leathery skin as an effect of his incredible rage. Peter likened his performance to a cross between Godzilla and a fire-breathing dragon. ‘Sure thing Mr. Houston, there will be an instant investigation and if she’s responsible she will be dismissed instantly.’
‘Of course, she’s responsible man! She’s the only person who gets paid an enormous salary to apply the muck here that masquerades as makeup. I want her fired immediately.’ Harry then proceeded to cover the offending itchy spots with swathes of calamine lotion from the first aid kit, which had the effect of turning his face and neck bright pink. At that point, Mrs. Imelda Spinks, a competent professional, who represented the theatre company as head of the makeup department responsible for the facial appearances of the whole cast, bustled into the dressing room. A short-haired lady with streaks of grey showing through her dyed blonde hair, she had piercing blue eyes reflecting an expression that announced she would brook no nonsense from anyone. ‘Oh my God! Mr. Houston what have you been doing? You’re on stage soon, you have ruined my carefully applied makeup, what’s that stuff all over you? Here let me help you wipe it off.’
‘Stay away from me you old dragon! It’s all your fault, by smearing your dreadful muck all over my face you have managed to bring me out in incredibly itchy spots.’ Shouted the leading man in a threatening aggressive manner.
‘Now hold on a minute, Mr. Houston, we have to establish the facts before you are able to accuse anyone.’ Interceded Peter Whelks, nervously stepping away from both of them.
‘Don’t you dare speak to me in that tone of voice, you rude ignorant excuse for a gentleman. I’ll slap your face hard for you and you’ll need more than camomile lotion. How come nobody else in the company is showing any signs of these spots?’
‘Shut up you idiotic clown! Of course, it’s the gunge you call stage makeup that you’ve been spreading all over my face for the last two weeks now.’ Shouted Harry Houston.
‘Look here Harry, You are out of order here. I must insist you apologise to Mrs. Spinks at once please.’ Peter Whelks broke in again.
With a sudden crack, the tall 6-foot figure of Harry Houston staggered back under the force of a sharp slap from the diminutive Mrs. Spinks. To everyone’s surprise, Harry Houston suddenly attempted to speak but his tongue seemed to be thick and swollen. He collapsed and rapidly passed out as he hit the floor. It took seconds for Peter Whelks to react ‘Call an ambulance quickly!’ he shouted, ‘ He’s not moving at all, I think he is unconscious.’ Derek, a stagehand, who had been standing by, enjoying this unplanned spectacle instantly pulled out his mobile phone and dialed 999. Twelve minutes later a Paramedic arrived on a motorcycle followed by an emergency ambulance. Three professionals were soon hard at work, desperately trying to bring Harry Houston around.
Mrs. Spinks meanwhile had turned a deathly shade of white and Derek, the stagehand quickly bought up a chair for her. Peter Whelks ordered him to fetch a glass of water for her from the kitchen adjoining the stage. Then turning to Mrs. Spinks he said, ‘Don’t worry, my dear, there is a lot more happening here than meets the eye.’ Mrs. Spinks, her lips trembling and her hands visibly shaking with shock, sat still, transfixed into silence.
‘Has anyone telephoned Belinda Houston and let her know what’s happening here?’ enquired Peter Whelks.
At that precise moment, a tall immaculately dressed lady arrived. Belinda Houston had appeared, right on cue. ‘What’s going on? I hear Harry has collapsed and is receiving medical attention.’
‘Yes,’ replied Peter. ‘He is in that ambulance there undergoing treatment, the young paramedic standing over there will give you the details.’
Belinda approached the young lady paramedic and said, ‘I’m Mrs. Houston, What’s happened to my husband? I hear he has suddenly collapsed.’
‘Yes Mrs. Houston, I’m Ruby Dawson, a senior paramedic. We have brought him around, he seems to have been undergoing a shock reaction to an, as yet, unidentified substance. Can you tell us if he’s allergic to anything obvious? He has a nasty rash on his face and his neck.’
‘Oh! Of course, he has a strong allergy to peanuts, the slightest trace of a peanut is enough to provoke a reaction. He knows better than to go near peanuts.’ replied Mrs. Houston.
‘That’s it! Exactly what we thought, he has had an anaphylactic shock episode. I’m sorry to say he’ll have to spend the night in hospital under observation. Would you like to accompany your husband in the ambulance?’
‘No thanks, I think I will follow in my car after I’ve collected a few things from home.’
After the ambulance had left the theatre, Peter Whelks called Imelda Spinks and Derek, the stagehand into his office and announced that the show would go on with the understudy in the leading role. He stated quite emphatically that in the interests of confidentiality they were forbidden to discuss the events of the day. He assured Imelda that the management would act with every sympathy for her predicament as the treatment meted out to her by Harry Houston had been unacceptable. Several days later a huge bouquet arrived for Imelda from Harry Houston with a note of apology attached.