Captain Mac at the Comfort Corner Care Home
(Rupert Marcus Macauley is Michael Macauley’s cousin. He served in the Regular Army with Special Services in Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere, and was the Adjutant for his unit. He has a Master’s degree in Occult Studies and the Paranormal from Utrecht, and is a Visiting Fellow of Scarbridge University (previously Scarbridge Polytechnic) specialising in early British history and human behaviour. He holds annual seminars on the Bronze Age, Celtic, Roman, and Saxon culture development.)
‘Hello Grandma. How are you dear?’
‘Hello Rupert – it’s so nice to see you. Have you got my book?’
‘Here we are, Gran – are you sure this is the one – “Thomas Paine – The Rights of Man?” ’ ‘That’s right dear – the hardback, yes, just what I need. Mary down the corridor’s got one. Works a treat for her – it’s always propped up where either that matron or the Warden or the staff can see it. She gets treated very well. They think she knows all her rights. But you don’t need to come so often dear, although you’re very welcome of course.’
‘Well, you have only been in here a few weeks. Naturally we are concerned.’
‘Thank you but you have no need to be. It was my decision. I didn’t want to be patronised in some toff ridden misery hole. And this is still run by the Council, not for some parasitic private contractor. And before you bring it up again I have got enough to pay for all I need, and it’s a treasure trove of characters, not all grumpy, most full of fascinating memories, and all seemingly getting on quite well. Mind you, we keep an eye on the cat.’
‘Why is that Gran?’
‘Didn’t you know? Cats can smell death. If it might be in the offing they will stay with you, purr you to sleep, snuggle up if they think you’re about to snuff it, oh yes. Only last week I heard someone snap out “Gerrof me, you bloody Jonah! I’m not going yet.” ’ But she was. Next day they wheeled her out. Very discrete, but I was awake and offered up a little prayer for her. Don’t know why – I believe in none of it – religion I mean, but it seemed appropriate. Religion has its consolations, its helpful delusions, its comforting beliefs. It’s not fair to deny people what they have lived by without very good reason, like the evil being done to others. Oh, here comes my morning pills – Hello Doris, thank you Doris, good bye Doris… No, leave the door open dear, I’ll take them in a moment with some water. Yes please Rupert –there’s a glass by the sink, fill it up please dear.’
‘Are they difficult to swallow?’
‘Oh no, dear. But I don’t take those – I’ll have my little nap when I choose, thank you very much. No, they are very powerful, but ideal for Violet.’
‘Who is Violet?
‘That plant on the window sill.’
‘A violet? But that’s over two feet tall!’
‘Oh yes. Push the pills in the pot would you dear, and then pour the water on. That’s why it’s a very big violet! Very happy plant that – no stress or tension, plenty of peace and quiet, and 2 pills each morning, 2 at lunchtime, and 3 at night. Thrives on them, it does. No, the staff are not knocking me out – I just pretend to be sleeping.’
‘You don’t change, do you Gran?’
Not if I can help it. Mind you I get some days when the old Alzies seem in the offing.
‘Alzheimers dear. But much more often my mind slips back for a while -“Remembered wellbeing” as our bonkers in the head Doctor calls it. Happy to go back, but sometimes rather confused. I was having one of my slip backs to the war when you came.’
‘I’m so sorry…’
‘No, no, dear, don’t be. Anyway, I think I’m slipping back again now, do you mind?’
‘Certainly not. Can I help?’
‘Yes, I believe you can. Has he come yet?
‘Hitler. He said he’s going to conquer England.’
‘Er, no Gran – he, er… went the other way, to conquer Russia.’
‘Did he now. Mr Putin won’t like that – he’ll stop his oil.’
‘Well I think the oil is one of the things Hitler was after’.
‘He’d better watch out – Mr Putin is a Judo man isn’t he? Very powerful.’
‘Oh, he is Gran.’
‘Not as powerful as Queen Catherine –she’s all powerful over all the Russias, Putin’s only the President.
‘Oh, yes, of course, Gran.
‘She can do anything she likes. She’s even got a horse to service her.’
‘God almighty, not so loud Gran. The mind boggles. Are you sure about that?’.
‘Oh, yes. Well known fact.’
‘Got a block and tackle to take the weight off, of course. And her son Paul– he went mad you know?’
‘What happened –Did they feed him the wrong oats?’
‘Don’t be silly dear, no they kept him locked up.’
‘In a stable I expect?’
‘Possibly, but it would be a nice and cosy one, him being the Czar and all before they killed him. Well, it’s been lovely seeing you Rupert, but I’ve got a meeting in a moment.’
‘Who with Gran?’
‘George Bernard Shaw and Charles the Bald.’
‘Charles the Bald?’
‘King of the Franks, dear. Nice man, but a bit violent. We’re planning a revolution but I think old scratchy knickers the Warden suspects something is up. I’ll tell you more next time. And I want you to meet my friend Edith. She was an actress – quite a goer, mad as a glockenspiel but great company. Bless you dear and give my regards to Mister Macauley.
You lot and your Dangerous Chimes, just mind you don’t get trapped, going back in time like that…’