Thursday, August 4, 2011
British Channel Islands, Bailiwick of Guernsey
Mike sat and looked through the solarium windows to the waves. Whitecaps frothed on the channel. No ships were visible through the rainsqualls.
His private nurse had left him tucked beneath a nice tartan wool blanket with magazines to peruse and music playing softly on the vintage hi-fi. She had made a show of bringing him several albums to choose from; Mike had picked the first one he recognized: The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.
He heard dishes clattering, Angus muttering to the nurse, and the creaking of a trolley being wheeled his way. Oh hell, Tea -- with a capital "T."
His nurse set great store in the medicinal benefits of the afternoon ritual of Tea. I’d really rather have a beer!
Nurse Tilda beamed as she trundled the cart to the table in front of Mike. Angus followed in his cardigan, fresh newspapers tucked beneath his arm. I must still look like hell judging by that concerned look on his face.
“Master Michael, I’d think you’d like some Tea to soothe yourself.” Nurse Tilda fussed over him. “We need to keep the fluids coming, says Doctor. Would you be ‘Mother,’ Sir?” she looked to Angus for consent. Angus, in turn, looked positively awkward.
“Aye, I’d be happy to preside, Matilda. Now, if you’d be so kind?” Angus cleared his throat with an ostentatious harumph to indicate to Nurse Tilda that they’d need some private time.
“Of course, Sir. I’d best be checking the Master’s prescriptions from the chemist?. With your leave, Sir.” She nodded her head at Angus, then batted her eyes at Mike. Oh No! Please, Tilda, please don’t give me the cow-eyes again. Did Angus put you up to that?
Angus placed the newspapers on the cart, set the cup and saucers on the table, and waited until the woman bustled from the room to talk. “I know you’d not fancy more of this tea, Lad. Would you like something a little more stirring to the blood?” He pulled his silver flask from within his cardigan and proffered it.
“That’d be kind, Angus.”
“Say when, Laddie.” Angus poured several fingers into a cup before Mike could catch him.
They sat in silence as the rain drummed on the glass panes. Mike winced each time a swallow of the single malt went down his throat – leftover damage from the near-drowning. Each man gazed at different places in the vista, each lost in his own thoughts.
Angus spoke first. “I brought the papers for you, Lad.”
“Thank you Angus. Anything interesting?”
“The usual rubbish these days. Your government is debasing itself by the hour. The EU is falling apart even faster. The ‘haves’ are scrambling to invent new ways to roger the ‘have-nots’ it would seem. Bloody hell.” Angus' tone was bitter, as if he took every one of the world's failings personally.
“You seem pretty upset for someone squarely in the ‘have’ corner, Angus.” Mike instantly regretted his choice of words and tried to retract them. “Angus. I’m sorry. I didn't mean …”
“Ye have the right of it, Lad. I am upset. I did not grow up with all of this.” He waved his hand toward the wild, but gorgeous surroundings. “And even if I had I’d pray I had the good sense, the grace, to be of some benefit to others, unlike those…” Angus struggled for words. Rare for him to be speechless. “...Unlike those arrogant bastards that seem intent on destroying the world as we know it.” With that Angus tossed back his entire teacup in one gulp.
He continued, “Derivatives, off-balance sheet financing of governments, runaway fiat currency printings, torture done in the name of 'freedom' … Bloody hell!” he repeated after his tirade.
The silence subsumed them again – each contemplating the dire situation.
“What's to be done, Angus?” Mike shrugged.
“I have no idea, Lad. But I will. Trust me; I will.”
The hi-fi played the song “Fool on the Hill.”
The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round
Posted by Jake at 5:18 PM