Christine didn’t even know her address to send holiday postcards to.
LSL Corporate Cients absorbed Templeton LPA receivers, but told the tale that they acted upon their wishes. Every day of October they called Christine. When her soul was wracked by building the case against George, Anto’s ex, his bully and stalker. She stood up to him, using words and words only, she broke his nose. LSL called Christine in the morning, called out to her in the afternoon. She’d had enough of nosebleeds of her own. She built a reputation bomb meanwhile, using the address of every business George might have found work, in a twenty mile radius around Anto’s house. If he came near her beloved again, she had the phone credit and the will to fuck his life up. There was an ocean between them, a sea of love he might have said.
LSL emailed in afternoons and called out, and their letters came by in afternoons and mornings too. Barry was shot, once in the head and once in the chest. It was hard to tell strangers. Christine just wanted to carry the darkness a while, allow herself to feel guilty for the years were they didn’t see one another. To be selfish, because she’d taken the time to get to know him, while the freaks of the city walked past: “Yeoooooooo”, “Yis are stupid, go home!” Ho ho hypocrisy.
The bullshit with George took the focus off Anto’s kids. Christine tried to work around the clock using her teaching skills to help: syllabus, past papers, answer sheets, examiner’s reports. She’d taught professionally for a few years and knew the burden. It had to be done right, leave no mystery unturned. Very quickly she was exhausted. There was no money, then there was the fever and the diarrhea. And still every day of October, LSL called and she only avoided calls when the fatigue claimed her. Thirteen hour sleeps, whole days stolen from her.
And the tourettes. If one person could experience the apocalyspse this was it. On October 28th, LSL issued her with an eviction notice and Anto suggested he wasn’t in love with her. On halloween night, her friends online cheered her up. Ian called by in his car to take her to the cinema for Thor 2, packing the wheelchair in the boot and sitting with her at the back. Paul’s party was small, but she felt welcome and soon it was just the two of them and Jim.
They each took half a bottle of red wine. Jim knew Leonie O’Moore. They heard the theme from Quantum Leap and Christine told them of the suggestion of one of Rol Hirst’s boys that it was the live action version of Mr. Benn. Perhaps the costume shop man was Dean Stockwell, she added. Do you remember Bod? asked Jim. Bod was a rockstar. That theory shouldn’t have gone down so well, formulated from Bod’s approach to front of stage and dance to back of stage during ‘Guess the Milkshake’ Thankfully, Jim had never seen Bod and Paul was too young. The talk turned to dancing in the church of children’s TV: the musical nature of Pigeon Street, the jigs of Fingermouse. Then, like lightning, a notion grabbed Christine. What if, the deep sea diver uniform in the costume shop in Mr. Benn was the same deep sea diver costume in the end credits of Scooby doo?
“We’ve caught him! And if I take of this mask it will reveal…Mr. Benn! And I would have gotten away with”
Paul was keen immediately to locate the street the costume shop was on. Festive Street? There was no internet connection to check it, but she vowed to later. The three of them were talking at once about the notion of this shared universe.
“Trumpton, Camberwick Green, Chigley. That’s how!” she said. “And you remember the generic Scooby Doo families? I swear there was one were the dog could turn invisible…….except for his nose!”
She was holding court now and enough that Jim could add disdainfully,
“Oh don’t get me started on them. So, what about Pigeon Street?”
She thought on this. Was that near Fesitve Street?
“Thats twinned with Coronation Street.” said Paul.
Then Christine explained Mike Weller’s unified soap opera theory – about the tube line that carted Grange Hill actors such as Todd Carty to Eastenders’ Walford, Albert Square. Maybe it went up north, to Weatherfield, but then the tram car derailment that crashed on Coronation Street ended that line of thinking.
“I thought Coronation Street was in Belfast.”
“Because of the pigeons?” asked Paul
“There was a female trucker, Clara….” said Jim.
“Lond Distance Lara!” said Christine.
The subject fascinated the three of them, but Christine wanted to make sure.
Back home she opened another bottle of wine. Invisible Scooby Doo type was probably Dyno-mutt, not only invisible, one feature of a range of mechanical devices as the dog was invisible. He never checked if the show was screened in the UK, but noted the first was a Mystery Machine cross-over episode. As it turned out Mr. Benn lived in Festing Road. There were only fourteen episodes made, the same number as Firefly. In the cases of Fingermouse, Pigeon Street and Bod, there were only thirteen episodes made of each. Bod had characters called PC Copper and Farmer Barleymow and strong links with Taoism. The milk-shake segmens were made separately and only 5 of them survived in the BBC Archives. Only five milkshakes! She drank more. She built an x-y graph with “abilities of drunk” along one axis, and “ease of access” on the other, with delivery food at the top, then takeaway food, then home cooking. Kitchen stock was factored into her drunk food theory. By 8am, Christine was drunk-faced. Normally quite pretty with the gulp of wine she transformed into a gargoyle for a minute. A phone call came in at nine from LSL Corporate Clients wanting to send an assessment team out to her house. She told them no, then emailed them directions for Hell and went to sleep. November was going to be different.