“What day is it?” said Jim.
“Why it’s Tuesday of course!” said Dee, busying herself in the kitchen.
“Is it? I’ve lost all track of time being stuck here. Every day seems the same.”
Jim stooped and picked up the daily newspaper that had just landed on the doormat. He held out the front page.
“Today is Wednesday.”
“Can’t be. Yesterday was Monday, wasn’t it?”
“It says the day right here on the paper, Wednesday 5thMay.”
He struck the red top tabloid with the back of his hand as though to drive home the point.
“Well what happened to Tuesday?”
“It’s gone. Don’t worry they’ll be another one next week.”
He tightened his dressing gown belt, padded into the living room in his slippered feet and lowered himself into his favourite leather armchair, which farted as he sat back.
He put on his wire framed reading glasses and studied the newspaper.
Splashed across the front page, a media mogul who’d been caught with his trousers down.
Jim chuckled to himself. “Serves him fucking right,” he muttered.
“Say something love?”
“That bloke who owns the TV networks, just been caught harassing a woman. Honey trap I reckon. Got lots of enemies.”
“Who? What Donald Murdoch?”
“No, Rupert Morgan.”
“Oh him. Yeah, don’t like him.”
Jim flicked to the centre pages and perused the TV listings.
“I see there’s one of my favourites on later.”
“Bridge on the River Kwai.”
“Oh, what with Marlon Brando.”
“Oh no, I’m thinking of Lawrence of Arabia.”
“Lawrence of Arabia. He wasn’t in Lawrence of Arabia.”
“No, I’m getting mixed up. I meant Michael Caine.”
“Alec Guinness. Alec Guinness is in Bridge on the River Kwai.
Confirms it right here in the paper.”
“What time’s it on?”
“Four o’clock this afternoon on Classic Movies.”
There was a rumbling noise outside as a large work van pulled up across the road. Jim got to his feet and looked out the window.
“What’s going on out there then?”
“What’s that love?”
“Looks like number 34 are having something done.”
Dee came into the living room, pulled aside the net curtain and glared out the window.
“Electrical works by the looks of it.”
A short time later, the horrendous sound of a road digger started up.
“Jesus. I hope that ain’t gonna last all day,” said Jim.
Dee had just made a cuppa and placed it on the coffee table in front of Jim. Vibrations from the digger shook the table splashing tea over the glass top.
Midday came and they settled down at the kitchen table for a spot of lunch: Fried eggs, fried bacon, fried bread, baked beans and black pudding; a heart attack on a plate but one of Jim and Dee’s favourite meals washed down with a mug tea.
Just as Dee was stacking the dishwasher, there was a knock at the door.
“Who’s that then?”
Jim opened the front door. A man in a hard hat and a Hi-Viz jacket stood there.
“Hello, sorry to disturb you. I work for the electricity board. Got some emergency works we need to do over at Number 34. I’m afraid we’re going to have to shut the power off.”
“What! How long for?”
“About four hours.”
“Four hours! I’m gonna miss Bridge Over the River Kwai!”
“Sorry sir. Essential works.”
Jim watched the man walk away and looked across the road and saw two workmen waist deep in a ditch pulling a cable through.
“Looks like no Bridge on the River Kwai then.”
“What day is it?” said Dee.
“We’ve already been through this. It’s Wednesday.”
“We’ve got our jabs today.”
“Have we! Where?”
“Nuffield Community Centre, three thirty. It’s says so here on this letter.”
“Better get the three o’clock bus.”
They sat on the last remaining seats at the back on a bus crammed with geriatrics going to get inoculated. Jim took the window seat and sat with his face pressed against the glass watching the quiet streets and the boarded up shops go past.
“Like a ghost town out there. Not missing much being cooped up inside all day.”
The bus ride into town took twenty minutes on a good day with a fair wind behind.
But road works and traffic meant they disembarked at the community centre just in time for their appointments. They shuffled off the bus with the other passengers and checked in and each went to separate booths set up in the main hall.
“Hello. I’m Nurse Bathurst and I’ll be giving you your vaccine today.”
“Right Ho,” said Jim.
Dee, in the booth next door could be heard complaining about the size of the needle.
“Now, if you’d like to roll up your sleeves, I can give you your injection.”
Jim went one better and removed his shirt revealing a string vest that looked as though it had been bought in the nineteen fifties.
“Now you’ll just feel a bit of a prick.”
“I’m used to that love.”
Just as the needle entered his arm, a tremendous squeal rang out from next door. After a small commotion another nurse appeared.
“I’m afraid your wife has fainted. We’ve laid her down in a room at the back.”
Jim redressed, thanked the nurse and grabbed a cup of tea and a biscuit and went to Dee. As Jim entered the back room Dee was lying supine on a couch, pale and mumbling incoherently.
“You alright love?”
“What day is it? Where am I?”
Jim sat down in the adjacent chair and spotted a TV in the corner of the room.
He found the controller and turned it on.
“Oh look. Bridge on the River Kwai is just starting.”
As the opening scenes of the film unfolded, a siren went off in the building.
“What’s that horrible noise?”
The door opened and a nurse came in.
“We have to evacuate the building, there’s a fire in the kitchen.”