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  • Michael Braccia

Leeford Village - episode 122

Episode 122: Meetings


Previously in Leeford Village:

 

Harry Smestow, Pippa’s old flame, arrives back in her life. Jenny Windrush confronts Daniel over Cody’s remark about her being a grandmother. Frank convenes a parish council meeting to discuss the upcoming census.

~

 

‘Why do we need to conduct a census anyway, Frank?’ asks Revd. John Peterson. ‘I mean, we are a long way off the national census, aren’t we?’

Frank pushes his spectacles higher up his nose.

‘I’m afraid I cannot divulge the reason, John. You will have to trust me on this one. However, all will be revealed in due course.’

Revd. Peterson acknowledges Frank’s response with a grunt.

‘So, are other villages in the area also conducting a census?’

Frank removes his spectacles then puts them on again.

‘One or two, yes. Now, can we get on with business?’

Cody raises a hand.

‘What is it, Cody?’ asks an exasperated Frank.

‘I have an announcement,’ says Cody, excitedly.

Frank sighs. ‘Go on then, if you must. But we really do have business to attend to.’

Cody lowers his hand and takes a deep breath.

‘I’m going to be a grandfather!’ he announces.

There is a collective cheer, and even Frank Watson curls his lip into a half-smile.

‘Well, congratulations, Cody. Now, can we move on?’

‘Adam’s, I presume?’ asks Ken Taylor, to the befuddlement of the rest of the gathering.

Cody frowns. ‘Er, yes, Ken. I have no other children. Not that I’m aware of, anyway!’

Revd. Peterson lets out a cough.

‘Sorry, Rev,’ says Cody, bashfully.

Frank Watson drops his gavel onto the table.

‘Let’s have some order. Now, this census is to be…’

‘Oh, sorry, Frank. Just one other thing,’ interrupts Cody. ‘Someone else is going to be a grandfather, too.’

‘Oh?’ exclaims David Ward.

‘Yes. None other than Daniel Windrush.’ Cody announces the revelation slowly, drawing out Daniel’s name.

Sergeant Miller looks puzzled. ‘Daniel doesn’t have any children, Cody. How can he be a grandfather?’

Cody raises a finger. ‘That’s what I thought. I’ve never seen any kids at the Windrush’s. Then again, I don’t have much to do with him, really.’

Ken Taylor puffs out his chest.

‘Go on, Ken. I can see you are about to burst unless you get your comment out,’ says Cody.

‘Perhaps,’ says Ken, ‘perhaps, and this is not a fact, just speculation on my part, but, perhaps…’

‘Get on with it, Ken,’ says Frank Watson, leaning on the table with his head in his hands.

Ken continues. ‘Perhaps he has a child by another woman. A woman other than Jennifer, I mean.’ He winks at Stephen Miller who involuntarily winks back.

Cody laughs. ‘Windrush? Another woman. I’m amazed he’s found one!’

‘Now, now, Cody. There’s no need for that,’ says Revd. Peterson. ‘Ken might have a point. Perhaps Daniel was married before.’

Cody nods his head. ‘Maybe. Well, whatever the circumstances, he is definitely going to be a grandfather. I heard him telling our Adam.’

Frank raises his head from his hands and bangs the gavel once more.

‘I’m sure we all wish Cody and Daniel all the best with their future grandparenting, but can we please get down to business?’

The gathered councillors sit up straight and pull their chairs to the table.

‘Sorry, Frank,’ says Cody, ‘go ahead.’

‘Thank you, Cody,’ says Frank.

‘I wonder what Jennifer thinks,’ mumbles Cody, followed by ‘sorry, Frank.’

 

~

 

Zack Peterson is pouring himself a cup of tea in the kitchen of the student accommodation that Clare shares with three other girls when Clare emerges from the shower, drying her hair.

‘Make me one, will you?’ she says, hanging the towel on a clothes rack in front of the radiator.

‘I will do that for you, my love.’ Zack takes a cup down from the cupboard. ‘And, because you are my favourite girl in all the world, I will also make you breakfast.’

Clare smiles. ‘You’re in a chipper mood this morning,’ she comments.

‘And why shouldn’t I be?’ says Zack, bending down to grab a packet of cornflakes from one of the cupboards. He pours out a large serving into a bowl and adds milk from the fridge. ‘Oh, this is the last of the milk. We’ll have to have black tea.’

‘Whatever,’ says Clare, taking the bowl of cornflakes to the table.

Zack brings the two cups of black tea and sits down opposite.

‘Isn’t this lovely?’ he says. ‘Me and you, in our own place.’

Clare crunches a mouthful of cornflakes and takes a slug of tea.

‘It’s not exactly our place, is it? I mean there are the other three who live here that might object to you calling it our place.’

Zack laughs. ‘I know that. But, imagine if it was. I could prepare your breakfast like that every morning.’

‘Prepare?’ splutters Clare. ‘You’ve poured some milk over a bowl of cornflakes.’

‘Ah, yes. But aren’t they the most lovingly prepared cornflakes you’ve ever had?’

Clare responds with a muffled sound, which Zack takes to be a ‘yes.’ She takes another sip of tea.

‘Anyway, you can’t live here. For one, it’s not allowed and, for two, you can’t leave poor Simon to run the coffee business.’

Zack’s expression darkens. ‘I was going to talk to you about that. I think I’m going to leave it to Simon. It’s his, well, his dad’s money and I don’t think I want to stand in the market all day with Napolean Gomez giving me glares all day.’

Clare chases the last cornflake around the bowl with her spoon.

‘So, you have no job at all now. How are you going to make a living? I’m a very high-maintenance girl, you know.’

Zack leans forward. ‘I’ve been thinking. We could do some gigs. Me and you. That would get us some money. They pay well in Manchester, don’t they?’

‘And where would you live?’

‘Here.’

‘I’ve told you, you can’t live here. I’d be thrown out of uni.’

Zack thinks for a moment.

‘No one would know I’m here. I’d come and go under the cover of darkness. I could get a job in a restaurant.’

‘A restaurant. Doing what? Making bowls of cornflakes?’

Clare takes the empty bowl to the sink, which is already full of last night’s dinner dishes piled on top of yesterday’s lunch plates.

‘I could be a waiter. A busker. A road sweeper. Anything. I just want to be with you, Clare!’

He is about to declare his love again when he is interrupted by the entrance of one of Clare’s flatmates. She grunts a ‘morning,’ and opens the fridge.

‘What the…! Who’s had my milk?’ she yells.

Zack and Clare slink away into Clare’s bedroom.

 

~

 

The reason why Leeford Village has been selected to conduct a census is still a mystery to all parish councillors (except Frank Watson) when they exit the Community Centre, having agreed to work on producing the forms the following week. Frank announced at the meeting that Banfield Council would provide funding and that the whole process needs to be completed within eight weeks.

Cody is the last to leave the meeting and, being one of the keyholders, locks the door of the Centre. He walks across the car park towards Leeford Plaice, passing the rear of Burry’s chemist’s. There is a light on in the back room and Cody is inquisitive as to who could be working so late. The room is Daniel Windrush’s office. The windows are protected by horizontal and vertical bars, obscuring Cody’s view to a certain extent. However, he can make out the figure of Daniel Windrush, pacing up and down the office, gesticulating in what looks like a threatening manner to two people sitting in front of his desk. Cody moves towards the window for a closer look. He ducks below the window ledge as Daniel turns suddenly. Daniel shouts, then he hears another shout, louder than Daniel’s. He recognises the voice: Adam’s.

 

Cody raises himself slowly and peers through the bottom of the window. He sees Adam stand and move towards Daniel Windrush. Adam pushes Daniel against a cupboard and is about to throw a punch when a woman lunges forward and throws herself between the two men. ‘Agnes?’ utters Cody. He continues to watch as the three people take their seats. Adam seems to be apologising to Daniel, who waves his hand dismissively, before reaching into his desk drawer and pulling out a brown envelope. He hands it to Adam. Adam does not open the envelope but stares at it for a few seconds. Then, without another word, he and Agnes get up from their seats and leave the office.

 

Cody waits a couple of minutes then continues his journey to Leeford Plaice, where he encounters Agnes admonishing one of the staff for overcooking a batch of chips. ‘Oh, hello,’ she says, her voice changing to a sweeter tone. ‘How did the meeting go?’

Cody signals for the member of staff to finish for the evening. ‘Have I been sacked?’ he asks.

‘No. Just have an early night, Ian,’ says Cody. Ian grabs his coat and exits the chip shop hurriedly.

‘Busy night?’ asks Cody, switching off the fryers.

‘Yes. Mostly. Got a bit quiet in the last half hour,’ responds Agnes.

‘Where’s Adam?’ asks Cody.

‘Oh, he went to Meredith’s for tea. He’s been gone a while now. I suppose he’ll stay there.’

Cody locks the door.

‘Are we finishing early then? There’s still half an hour to go,’ says Agnes.

Cody paces around the shop, rubbing his hands.

‘Agnes. We need to talk,’ he says.


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