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"Tea" and the Mad English Woman

Jack was led into a room where a tall thin lady of about forty gazed at him from over the top of her spectacles, her glasses glinted a purple colour under the light. Her red hair was tied up in a bun on her head. She had thin lips, freckles and friendly large eyes.

"I have been asked to take a sample of your blood and DNA to help them with some enquiries," she said benignly.

"But what enquiries?"

"You mean they haven't told you, that's very naughty, roll up your sleeve please."

"Oops nearly forgot, could you just sign this little piece of infopaper."


"Oh, it just says you have given us permission to take some samples." Jack looked perplexed.

"Do I have a choice in the matter?" Jack asked warily.

She reminded him of an absent minded, bungling cow.

"Choice? Well it won't hurt Mr. Jack. "

"It's Robinson, Miss."

"Robinson, that's an interesting first name."

"That's my last name. My name is Jack Robinson."

The doctor had her back to him, Jack noticed she had a ladder in her tights, which started just above her knee and ran into the unseen area above her white doctor's coat.

"Well, Mr. Jack are you going to roll up your sleeve or not? Here look you haven't signed this infopaper."

She pushed the flat paper-thin computer towards him. It showed his picture, his height, weight and it detailed his past criminal record, which amounted to a few parking tickets and theft of some sweets when he was ten.

"Why do you want my blood?"

"Don't ask me, I just work here 'luv."

"Where are you from, are you Australian?"

The woman tutted and looked vaguely vexed.

"English. From London, Chiswick actually. Why do Americans always think that the British are Australian? "

"Do we? Err sorry, no offence, I don't think I have ever met anyone from England before.”

“None taken Mr. Jack, well you have met someone English now."

"My name's Robinson," said Jack jocularly.

"What brings you to Iowa then?"

"Fate, in the name of my great big round doctor of a husband, he works at the hospital."

"Now are you going to let me take this blood or not Mr. Jack?"

"Why do they want it?"

"Like I said Mr. Jack I just work here. I don't know. You don't strike me as a criminal, why are you here? "

Jack sighed and rolled up his arm.

"I thought you were going to tell me that."

"Well I'm not."

The doctor produced a small object that looked like a pencil and plugged it into the back of the computer that Jack had just written on.

"Why are you doing that?"

"Oh, it will tell me what blood type you are. After half an hour it will tell me all the specific proteins and enzymes you carry in your blood. It will even tell me if you have got any funny malfunctioning enzymes with loopy amino acids sites poking out of them. And all about your genes Clever machine actually. I shouldn't think a big strong, strapping men like you would have any deficiencies though," she said raising her eyebrows.




"Well, thanks, though I don't know what for."

"Well, look I'll leave you now, someone will be in to see you shortly."

"Have you been fighting?"

"Yep, though it wasn't my choice."

"The Ronnie's thing?"

"Yeah, how did you know?"

"My husband works at the hospital, like I said, he’s been treating you people. They even started fighting in the hospital. Can't believe it, I got away from London for all the fighting, come here to a small sleepy town and it starts all over again, only been here a few weeks. Do you think it's me?"

"I'm not sure that I understand you."

"Do you think it's me who is causing all this violence? Do you think I have brought it with me from London?"

Jack's brow furrowed.

"No course not."

"That was a joke Mr. Jack. Sorry. I thought it was funny anyway."


"Anyway, we drifted off the point didn't we? You have a nasty cut above your forehead, would you like me to dress it for you. "

"Well, it does hurt a bit, wouldn't mind."

"So where do you live?"

"Just down the road, near the Carlton factory, Montana Avenue."

"Oh yes, I know it," she said as she was bobbing around looking for some more cotton wool in her bag.

"This is gonna' hurt a bit, I think you need a couple of stitches to be on the safe side."


"So where do you live?" asked Jack.

"East end of town, near Mayville."

"Ah, nice up there."

"I wouldn't know dear, really, it's quiet anyway. Not been here long enough to know what nice is."

Jack noticed the computer screen next to her flickering and he felt a slight headache coming on.

"What's London like then?"

"Oh, you know, quite like the rest of Europe now. My grandfather would have turned in his grave. Now are you going to be brave or do you want an anaesthetic?"

"It's okay,” said Jack," it won't hurt that much will it?"

"Depends which one of my patients you ask," the doctor said flatly.

"What do you mean?" Jack asked with vague anxiety.

"It's okay Mr. Jack it was a joke. I can see I'm going to have to change my bedside manner here. Now lift your head up. That's it look at the light and don't move."

"What did you mean about Europe?"

"Well, for a long time England was very different to the rest of Europe in the way it looked. Now it looks similar but the English are still very different to the Europeans. I told you to keep still."


"There you are, all done."

"Now, look I'm sure someone will be along to see you very soon."

Jack's headache was going away now.

"Well thanks."

"That's okay."

The doctor collected her things together and walked out, her bun bouncing on her head as she walked out of the room. A few moments later she poked her head around the door again and said, "Take care." and then she was gone.

The room was all white with no window and nothing in it except the chair he was sitting on.

The woman walked around the corner and into a dimly lit room where Martin Shaw the chief of police and another officer were standing watching Jack through the mirror.

"Well?" they asked as she came through the door.

"If you want my professional opinion," she said as she tapped into the keys on her computer, "he didn't do a thing."

"Sure that's not 'cos you fancy him?"

The doctor raised her eyebrows and sniggered.



"Joke, joke it's okay. Look I'll run through the data," she said tapping her computer, "but my hunch is he's not aware of having done anything."

"I'll be able to tell you if the tests and blood types check out in about half an hour. I'm going to get a cup of tea."

"There's only coffee I'm afraid."

"It's okay, I brought my own PG."

"What's that?"



"See you in a bit."

The doctor paused.

"You should have told him why he was in here you know."

"If we had told him do you think he would have given the blood?"

"Isn't that illegal or something to do that?"

"Don’t be naive sometimes we have to bend the rules to help us on our way. It’s in a good cause. You'll keep quiet if you know how to get ahead here."

"I see," she said flatly. "I’m going to have some tea."

"Fine. You go and have some 'tea' then."
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