last statement in part three “...I lit another cigarette and began a slow walk back into the town, my life had just been put under threat of non existence, everything was on hold, and there nothing I could do, nothing at all. Monday could be confirmation of the beginning of the end of me.”
PROTOS LOOPHOLE – PART FOUR
After the phone call to my wife and a few moments of not knowing where the hell I was, I came around to my senses. I found myself walking in the opposite directionto where I was to meet Baz, (my brother) and his friend, Robert who we called him Bobbie. “I’ve lost my mind” I said to the Sun, that by now, was beating down on my head with an overpowering stark and blinding light, as if it was showing me the only path that was to lead to my next destination. Non-existence. I changed that thought quickly and headed for the absolute reality of the Pub.
Before long I found myself pushing the heavy glass and wooden doors into the vault section of the pub. I knew both Baz and Bobbie would be in there. Bobbie had seen me coming through the pub door window and was already at the bar ordering me a pint as I entered the bar.
I sat down and held my head in my hand for a moment. Slowly I raised myself up and exhaled long and hard, like a man who had just run a 26K marathon. “You all right arkid” Baz asked me. He always addressed me with the title, ‘arkid’ it was a sort of a special Mancunian (Northern English) greeting from a brother to a brother. “Don’t know Baz, I’ve got a serious problem”. I said to him. Bobbie brought my drink placed it on the table and began to roll one of his special cigarettes, Barry looked at me but remained quiet. “How did you get on with the Accountant?” Bobbie asked. I looked at him and took a mouthful of beer which I gulped down. “Didn’t see him Bobbie, I went to the clap house for a check up”. Baz stopped drinking from his pint glass and sniggered. “Oh yea, got a dose have you, it’s not a problem, couple of injections up the arse and you’ll be fine” He said laughing.
“I’ve got cancer.” I replied in a cold unfeeling way. “Who told you that? Baz questioned the statement, he looked at me in disbelief and became indignant at the thought of someone giving me seriously false information. “They can’t tell you that at the clap house, they don’t do cancer.” He said with a smirk. “Oh, I think I’ve got it alright, been there since early this morning.” Neither Baz nor Bobbie spoke for five minutes. I took another large gulp of beer as Bobbie broke the silence. “How do you mean, you think, you’ve got Cancer ?” I replied factually. “I’ve got to see a specialist on Monday morning at half ten, one of the Doctors at the ‘clap house’ made the appointment, here you go, look at the papers.” I handed Baz the papers that Stuart had given me as proof. He read them one by one, handing them over to Bobbie as he finished each of them in turn. “Fuck me arkid, is this for real or are you winding us both up.” My brother said. I assured him that it was as real and I wasn’t laughing.
“Maybe they have got it wrong” Bobbie chipped in. “Well, I’ll know on Monday.” I replied hanging onto to Bobbie’s hope, whilst Baz read page after page of the information given to me again. “Says here you should take additional clothing and stuff.” Baz said with a frown. “What are we going to do about the business?” Bobbie asked with real concern. “Just have to carry on without me, until we know more….for now I‘m going to get pissed” I said finishing off my beer in one gulp. “Me too.” Said Baz. “In that case I may as well join you,” added Bobbie with a wide grin.
I lay in my bed with my eyes wide open. Saturday and Sunday had come and gone in an instant and Monday had arrived. It was four thirty in the morning. I was waiting for six-o-clock. Next-door Bobbie lay slumbering. His alarms would start to ignite in about an hour and a half. I’d had weeks of hearing them, never really needed alarms myself, always woke before I needed to. But Bobbie, well, he could sleep for England and win a gold medal. Soon that familiar voice would piece my eardrum – “Good Morning it’s Radio bla bla” An overly happy DJ’s playing annoying repetitive rap songs first thing in the morning had been irritating me since Bobbie offered his spare room to me (while I set up the Company). That was before friday, now, nothing seemed to matter very much at all.
I really didn’t want this particular morning to arrive. And yet, here it was. Spots of rain pitted my bedroom window. I resolved to allow my insomnia to win and went for a pee on the loo. I then dragged myself to the kitchen, where I put on the kettle and liberated a tea bag from its stainless steel home. The time to go to hospital would be here sooner rather than later. Only a month ago I was excited about building a new art and design company and full of the joy of life. I convinced my wife that this was my last chance to secure our families financial future. And Bobbie and Baz had sunk every penny they had into the venture, I had personally guaranteed a large overdraft with the Bank, which we were already using on a daily basis, giving them my personal guarantee. And now here I was about to go to a place where nothing was certain, everything was alien and where I would probably undergo surgery, which in its self, guaranteed nothing, let alone continued continued existence. My life and my world was on the edge of disaster.
I made yet another cup of tea and thought about giving up smoking and tried not to think about money. What was the point of worrying? I argued with myself and had another cigarette as Bobbie charged out from his bedroom. “We have to be on the road, need to get going before traffic jams us up.” He said whilst fastening his shoelaces. I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea. “No thanks, we’ll get breakfast on the way, must get back to organize the firm.” His eagerness to ‘get-on-the-road’ annoyed me although I remained emotionless. His keenness to get back and ‘organize the firm’ was, after all, understandable. My absence provided an opportunity for him to play a more leading role in the business. And I trusted him totally to do his best. But, ‘getting-going’ had more trepidation for me and not him. Did it really matter if we were late? After all the operation wouldn’t be scheduled for that day, would it? And only then if I needed had to have one. I would probably be just hanging around the hospital. “We should leave now.” Bobbie said firmly. My delaying tactic had failed. He carried my bag down the three flights of stairs at an unprecedented speed.
I lit-up another cigarette and looked around the apartment possibly for the last time, I turned and made a swift exit down the steep stairs to the car, where Bobbie was already warming up the engine. I put my small overnight case on the back seat and got in the passenger seat and fastened the seat belt. The journey into the unknown, was about to begin…
…Today my destiny was about to be decided for me.
to be continued…