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  • Michael Braccia

Leeford Village - episode 112

Episode 112: "Simon smells the coffee"


Previously in Leeford Village:

 

Sally Coleman shows gratitude to her husband for confronting the Cleeves about the ‘ghost’ in The Cross. Carlos enters the laundrette and meets Sherry. Jason Owens invites a few villagers to his house to discuss the rough draft of his novel, ‘Longford Village’. Edward and Ethel sit down to talk. Frank Watson is tasked with taking a census of the village for the council.

 

~

Carlos looks around for somewhere to sit and decides on the window ledge, moving a couple of stands holding leaflets about council refuse collection dates and the parish magazine. Sherry remains standing.

‘What are you doing here, Carlos?’

Carlos looks up at Sherry with lovesick eyes.

‘I come to see you. I come to tell you I love you.’

Sherry sighs and leans against one of the washing machines.

‘It’s no good, Carlos. We can’t be together,’ says Sherry with a firm voice, although she is feeling lightheaded and queasy.

‘We must be. I love you and you love me.’

Sherry wants to scoop up Carlos into her arms but remains resolute.

‘That was in Brazil. It was different then,’ she says.

‘How?’

‘We’d just met. There was sun and music and…I don’t know, Carlos, it was just different.’

Carlos turns to look out of the shopfront window. The sky is overcast and there are spots of rain falling onto the broken paving slabs outside.

‘You like it here, Sherry?’ he asks, as if the only answer Sherry could possibly give is ‘no’.

Sherry moves away from the washing machine and sits on the window ledge, keeping a good distance between herself and her visitor.

‘Yes, Carlos. I like it here. It’s not the most attractive place to live, but it’s home for me.’

Carlos reaches for her hand. Sherry pulls it away.

‘But you love Rio. You tell me. You tell me you love me. How can you not come back with me?’

Sherry is about to offer more of an explanation when the door bursts open. Allen Gomez rushes in and pulls Carlos up by his collar.

‘So, you’re the one who broke Sherry’s heart are you? Well, if you don’t leave right now, I’m going to break…’ Before Allen can finish making his threat, Sherry jumps onto his back and they both tumble to the ground with a thud. Neither makes a sound while they gain their composure. After what Carlos feels to be an uncomfortably long time, both sit up. Allen stretches his arm out. Carlos bends down to help Sherry to her feet. Allen lunges at him and pins him to the floor. He is about to begin another tirade when Sherry shouts: ‘Stop!’

Allen rolls off Carlos and shuffles over to a washing machine where he sits up and grimaces with pain, holding his arm. He and Carlos exchange hateful glances, but it’s Sherry who speaks.

‘I want you both to leave now and go in opposite directions. I have some thinking to do.’

Carlos opens his mouth to speak, but Sherry raises her hand before he can utter a word.

‘I’m serious. Go now, the two of you. I need some space. Carlos, I’ll call you this evening. Allen, I’ll see you at home. Please, no fighting, okay?’

Both men mumble ‘okay’. Sherry opens the door to the laundrette and they walk off in opposite directions.

Sherry locks the door and goes into the back room where she slumps down on a chair. She taps a message into her phone:

 

Lin. Please come round to work when you get this message. I have a man issue! x

~

 

Agnes enters Windrush’s Pharmacy, known to the locals as 'Burry's Chemists’, Joesph Burry being the previous owner. There’s a customer in front of her asking the pharmacist for advice on whether she can take paracetamol and ibuprofen together. The pharmacist delivers her advice and, when the satisfied customer has left, she addresses Agnes.

‘Hello Agnes, I haven’t seen you for a while. What can I do for you?’

‘Is Daniel about? I’d like a word if possible.’

‘He’s in the back making up prescriptions. I’ll get him for you.’

The pharmacist turns.

‘Actually,’ says Agnes, ‘I’d rather see him somewhere private.’

The pharmacist turns back.

‘Oh, I see. A consultation, you mean?’

‘Yes,’ replies Agnes, ‘a consultation.’

The pharmacist comes around to Agnes’ side of the counter and opens a door to a small room to one side of the shop floor.

‘If you wait in here, I’ll tell Daniel you want to see him.’

The room is bare, furnished with only two plastic chairs and a table. Posters offering health advice are stuck to one wall. Agnes takes a seat.

‘Thank you, love,’ she says.

 

~

 

Simon finds Zack talking to one of the stallholders, a young woman selling handbags who arrived at the market a couple of days ago and who is already attracting attention, not necessarily from potential customers. Simon pulls Zack away.

‘Hey,’ says Zack, ‘I was talking!’

Simon drags Zack by the arm to a safe distance away from the handbag stall.

‘And what would Clare say if she saw you there, fraternising?’ he says.

‘Fraternising? Isn’t that what brothers do?’

‘Whatever. You shouldn’t be doing it. It’s neither professional, nor moral.’

Zack raises his eyebrows.

He mimics Simon: ‘It’s neither professional, nor moral. Since when’ve you been my conscience?’

‘Never mind that. I have a business proposition,’ says Simon, pulling Zack a little further. Zack glances back at the stall. The stallholder is adjusting her display of bags.

‘Concentrate!’ says Simon.

‘Sorry, mate. What were you saying? You were proposing to me?’

Simon laughs. ‘Er, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.’ He lets go of Zack’s arm. ‘Listen. I know how we can make money.’

Zack is suddenly interested. ‘I’m all ears.’

Simon takes a deep breath before uttering: ‘Coffee!’

Zack shrugs his shoulders.

‘Okay. If you like. I’m due for a break.’

‘No,’ says an irritated Simon, ‘we can sell coffee. My dad told me about a chap who goes around the industrial estate where he works with a hand-pulled coffee cart. He sells coffee to the workers in the units. Sandwiches too, I think.’

‘What kind of sandwiches?’ asks Zack.

‘Er, cheese, ham, I don’t know. Does it matter?’

‘It depends if you like cheese and ham, I suppose. No good if you’re vegan.’

Simon bites his bottom lip.

‘He might do vegan. I don’t know, and I don’t care. The point is he makes a fortune. The markup on coffee is huge.’

Zack thinks for a while. He glances towards the handbag stall and back again.

‘Why are you telling me this?’

‘He’s retiring. He’s selling his coffee cart. He told my dad last week that he can’t find a buyer, so he’s more or less giving it away.’

‘I don’t know anyone who wants a coffee cart. Do you?’

‘Yes!’ says Simon, a little louder than he meant to. ‘Us!’

‘Us? A coffee cart? You mean…’

‘I do,’ interrupts Simon. ‘Here, in Leeford. Just outside the market. Think about it. There’s all the stallholders, the people that come into the market and plenty of passers-by. It’s a potential goldmine.’

‘But the stallholders go to Billy’s. Ethel does the coffee.’

‘Yeah, I know. But they have to leave their stalls unattended and miss customers. They’d come to our stall instead. And we’d do better coffee. Have you tasted one of Ethel’s mochas?’

‘How much is this cart? And we’d have to buy coffee, milk, and stuff for the sandwiches.’

‘My dad says he’ll loan us the money. We’ll pay him back once we’re in profit.’

Zack strokes his chin.

‘It sounds too good to be true. There must be a catch.’

Simon shakes his head. ‘No catch. Just a successful business. You can still do your stuff with Gomez. You’d just have to man the cart in your breaks. Where is Gomez anyway?’

‘Dunno. Went off to look for some bloke who was on his way to the laundrette.’

‘So, what do you say?’

Simon holds out his hand. Zack shakes it.

‘I’m in!’

 

~

 

Daniel Windrush sits down opposite Agnes, a table between them.

‘Hello, Agnes. Good to see you,’ he says. ‘I take it this is not about a medical matter.’

‘No,’ says Agnes, ‘I’m fine in that respect. This is about your letter.’

Daniel places his hands in front of him.

‘Ah, the letter.’

‘There are two things I need to know,’ says Agnes. ‘Firstly, why do you want to be involved in Adam’s life after all these years?’

‘And secondly?’

‘We’ll come to that.’

Daniel taps on the table with his ring and index fingers.

‘My mother died recently,’ he says.

‘I’m sorry,’ says Agnes. ‘I didn’t know.’

‘My mother, Eileen, is, was, Adam’s grandmother. Before she died, I told her about Adam.’

‘Why?’

‘Because I didn’t want her to die not knowing. Stupid and selfish, I know. But I did.’

Agnes shakes her head.

Daniel continues.

‘Anyway, after she died, her solicitor contacted me about her estate. She left her money and house to me. But she also had a villa in Spain. She willed it to Adam.’

Agnes gasps.

‘Oh, my God!’

‘It’ll open a can of worms, but Adam must know.’

‘Yes,’ says Agnes, quietly.

‘So, secondly?’ Daniel cocks his head to one side.

‘Secondly?’

‘You said there are two things you needed to know.’

Agnes bites her fingernail.

‘Why did you begin the letter with I’ve missed you so much?’

 

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