As Ben slid out of his wetsuit for the umpteenth time he heard his phone start to vibrate and someone was calling him. He picked it up and the name on the phone was Aubrey. He raised it to his ear once he engaged the signal and began to talk at a million miles an hour and all he heard was.....‘Dadadadadadadad.’ He sat back onto the bed, naked, with his wetsuit in a crumpled heap at his feet with his feet still in the last 6 inches of it. ‘Zara!!!!!!, how you my little one? It’s Daddy here, when are you coming home?????’ said Ben fighting back the tears completely forgetting that his bedroom door was only half open and the sounds of his daughters voice had made him forget to put clothes on. (....psssst Ben.....oi mate put some clothes on this is going to end badly....get dressed mate....NOW!!!!)
Ben was talking to Aubrey on the phone trying to explain everything to her and she was in tears telling Ben that she wanted to come home. Ben was completely oblivious to the fact that Agnes was on her way to his room with a tray full of breakfast for him because he was out so late and he saved D-Mac and his boat. (See where this is going?)
‘How soon should I go to the airport to come and get you,’ and Ben stood up just as Agnes pushed open the door to the bedroom. Agnes screamed, dropped the breakfast tray, Ben went to cover himself, fell forward and cracked his head on the side of the fireplace and knocked himself out.
Agnes was just outside the bedroom and asked in a stressed voice.......‘Ben are you okay and or dressed?’ enquired Agnes gently.
‘Ben?’ and Agnes snuck her head around the corner and saw Ben splayed out unconscious in front of the fire place with only his wetsuit around his ankles and the phone sizzling in the remnants of the fire for his room. ‘Suffering Duck!!’ and she bolted in and dragged him away from the fire that had already singed his hair and dragged the covers off the bed and threw them over his naked torso to keep him warm. Poor Ben was out cold and bleeding from the head. Agnes rolled him over and away from the fire and went to get the medical kit from the linen cupboard and bolted back into the Ben’s room to stop the bleeding. By now Hambone was standing on the bed and howling bringing every ghost in Amazing and Graceful to Ben’s room to watch Agnes use butterfly clips to stop the gash he had over his right eye from bleeding.
‘You do good work Aggie..er..Agnes,’ said Mr Dunmour quickly correcting his mistake in calling her Aggie as he remembered how she hated that name.
‘Thank you, I just hope he is okay and he hasn’t done damage to his skull,’ said Agnes who had a certificate in first aid and was concerned Ben wasn’t coming around fast enough. Hambone woofed and Ben shifted in the blankets from the bed, still tangled in his wetsuit and opening his eyes very slowly.
‘Hello Agnes...sorry about being...in the nude when you came in...but I was talking to Zara in Australia and she was saying my name,’ Ben looked around at his audience...... ‘Why is everyone in my room?’
‘You knocked yourself out Ben and gave yourself a fair gash above your right eye so just get dressed and rest up,’ said Agnes who snapped shut the medical kit and walked through the Dunmours who were all staring at Ben and his blood soaked bed sheets. Hambone gave off a few happy growls and Ben reached up and let him run his head through his hand several times before Ben stood up and the bed sheet fell away from his body leaving him naked as the day he was born. Zara and Mrs Dunmour disappeared quickly out of the room and if a ghost could blush, they both did. Mr Dunmour stayed making sure Ben didn’t fall over with strict commands as he watched him stagger and sway all over the place and eventually get dressed. Although, he did try to put his pants on backwards and was wearing different coloured socks, then he was trying to find his mobile phone that was now a small amount of black burning plastic in the embers of the fire.
Ben couldn’t open his right eye as the swelling was taking over and even blinking was a task and a half and it hurt. Ben went into the bathroom and looked at his head and tentatively went to touch the butterfly clips that Agnes had placed over his eye and he said to himself he had to give that girl a raise. Mr Dunmour was sitting on his bed when he came out of the bathroom and followed Ben down the stairs as he sat in Raphael’s chair and rested with a hot cup of tea and some shortbread.
All the captains and crews of the respective boats were in the dining room having a stirring lunch and swapping salty bullsh-t stories about how big the catches they had made over the years to each other and there was much yelling and language that was none to pleasant. So much so, some of the guests complained to Agnes at the front desk that they couldn’t concentrate on their lunches because the language was far too colourful and ugly and was putting them off eating for the next twenty years.
Agnes grabbed her clipboard and pen and went off to the dining room next to the kitchen to see for her own eyes what the problem was. She heard the ruckus before she saw what was going on and in her heart the hatred for what was going on in her restaurant was almost at boiling point. Some of the Captains were even throwing food from one side of the room to the other paying no mind for the comfort of the guests who had paid money to stay at the hotel. Agnes stood at the doorway and just stood very still, watching the ensuing battle about to unfold. Suddenly the Captain who had taken a liking to Agnes turned to look at her and smile at her in the doorway. Having done this he took his attention away from the battle going on around him and he was hit in the side of the face with a chicken leg that left gravy running down the side of his face into his beard. He didn’t seem to mind he just looked at Agnes and because he was doing this the Captain who threw the chicken leg at his face, stopped what he was doing to look at what his target was looking at.
Gradually the whole room came to stop and silence once again filled the dining room. Agnes began her oration with all the poison of the three witches at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s wonderful play Macbeth. ’Listen up your noisy bunch of uncouth, loathsome, repugnant vile set of mud-ducks, this is my dining room and while you are here you will adhere to the rules or I will bounce your.... ( Now I could tell you what she said but that would give the book a completely different rating than I wanted. Needless to say she had their complete attention and once lunch was finished they helped clean up and swept the dining room floor. Then the crews all chipped in and washed the windows so the view was not disturbed with chicken wings, salad with dressing, yogurt and toast with butter.)
Ben sat in front of the fire with a raging headache and different coloured socks with Raphael asking him several questions about mermaids and if they had boyfriends? Ben just sat and thanked Mr Dunmour for staying with him while he changed and he twisted and turned his odd socked feet in front of the fire. The Captains and crews of the boats weighed anchor and left after saying goodbye and thanking Ben for the evening’s accommodation. It seems that his poor right hand would need a few weeks recovery after all the Merrows shook it and the Captains squeezed it some more the next day.
He seemed to remember talking to Aubrey and listening to Zara but that was all he remembered. He got up from the fire and went to the office. He started to talk to Agnes and before he could get much further into the conversation Agnes held a piece of paper at him that had flight numbers and arrival times. It seems Aubrey and his baby girl Zara were coming home. Ben’s mobile phone and its location were explained to Ben and he was upset as it had all his numbers on it. Agnes then produced another couple of sheets that had nothing but phone numbers on it and told him Aubrey knew you took your phone out fishing in the boat and if you ever dropped it over board you would be able to refill a new phone with the old numbers.
‘Clever, that wife of yours is Ben,’ said Agnes about to answer a phone reservation to the hotel from Rome, Italy. Ben turned back to the fire and his dogs with the friends in the mirror and drank another cup of tea, took two painkillers for his headache and closed right eye, then fell asleep.
Just before he fell into slumber land he wondered how he was going to explain a WW2 German submarine leaning against Amazing and Graceful like it was having a rest and how all the ghosts and Agnes had seen him naked as the day he was born with his wetsuit at his feet.