Monday, 28 April 2014

Side Story - Gravel 1

There is a new side story starting over on the "Behind Colourful Eyes" blog involving Gravel


Just a note.

If you are wandering why Tapestry's story is a little delayed, I'm in the process of rebuilding a new file for the next stage of his life as the main file is now very laggy, the next 4 chapters are written and raring to go they just need photographs.

But Gravel and Slate should hopefully keep you entertained while I'm re-building :D


Friday, 18 April 2014

Chapter 26 - Part 2 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


"DAD!!"  I didn't give him the chance to say anything else, I throw myself at him.

After he has finished hugging and kissing me and we have both calmed down a little he holds me at arms length and looks at me.  I see him frowning as he looks me up and down slowly.

"Fudge I didn't even recognize you ... I've still got that little boy in a hat in my head!! .... and what is with the glasses ... after all the fuss you used to kick up!!"  he starts frowning at me again then.

... oh here it comes!!  He is so predictable!!

"What has that brother of yours let you do to yourself!!"  I start laughing at him as he pulls gently on my earring, I might have known, he is going to disapprove of my clothes, hair, earrings and beard, he is such an old fashioned stuffed shirt!!  If I'd been at home he would never have let me get away with any of it.

"Why is your top all ripped, have you been fighting, you look like a scruff!!"  me and Mulberry both laugh at him as I tell him this is how I brought it out of the shop, it's the fashion these days "You definitely need a hair cut after we have got you back home ... and you best not have any tattoos!!"  he starts tugging at my hair and inspecting it closely while he pulls a face  "What in berry's name have you done to your hair?!"  he asks frowning at it.

"Cut the boy some slack Mango!!"  Mulberry starts laughing  "He looks okay to me ... you are such a nerd sometimes!!"  We both stand there laughing at him  "So River has been telling me ... he is going to be a rock star one day ... I think you might have to get used to his look ... it's part of the territory!!"  Dad rolls his eyes at us then stares over at the old man in the bed. 

I suddenly remember the concert tickets that Rocky has given me so while Dad is STILL moaning about my hair as he is picking all the papers up off the floor, that he has dropped, I go over to speak to Mulberry.

"Talking about rock stars ... please tell me you are still going to be here tomorrow night!!"  I say to Mulberry with a grin on my face, because I know he is going to like this.

Mulberry says he's not sure and looks at Dad, who is now stood staring at the old man, and mumbles that he wants to stay a few days as he's here so he can spend some time with River now he's finally getting the chance to actually see him, he says it without taking his eyes off the old man ... he looks deep in thought.

"Great!!  While Dad and River are doing some Daddy Son bonding and baby sitting Crystal .... me you and Denim can go out ... I've got tickets for Rocky's gig tomorrow night ... and back stage passes!!"  Mulberry starts grinning at me.  "and wait till you see my guitar!!"  I start telling Mulberry the story about how I got my Iconic Jam guitar for $300 out of a second hand shop.  We are both laughing our heads off imagining how Prelude is going to react when he see's it, he's been after one for years but could never afford one.

"It's okay you two stood there laughing ... now we have another really big problem don't we ... another headache you've caused us Tapestry!!"  he raises his eyebrows at me.  "The old man!!  How the fudge are we going to get around this one?!"  he sighs  "I for one am going to be very glad when this is all over, I'm sick of my head permanently hurting!!"

Me and Mulberry turn to stare at him for a moment, at first I'm not too sure what he's getting at, then it dawns on me, Dad plans to take the old man to Sugar Valley ... he's going to realize who I am the minute I get home and that I have been in Rainbow Valley for the past six months.  I hear Mulberry mutter fudge under his breath.

"You've only got yourselves to blame for this one ... Keep treating me like the idiot child and these things are going to happen!!  I'm sick of being kept in the dark because I'm always bumping into things I shouldn't!!  Then you have the cheek to blame me!!"  they both frown at first, but I can see Mulberry face changing he is dying to laugh at me  "If I'd known he was here in the first place I might have been able to avoid him completely, I didn't even know Grape Orchid existed until I picked him up out of the gutter passed out and bleeding ... he was just one of the regular drunks that I saw everyday in the bar where I work ... until Storm told me otherwise, it was just a good job Storm knew who he was or it could have been a disaster!!" I laugh at them "But even he was treating me like an idiot ... he helped me carry the old man home - THEN he decided to tell me!!"

They both look at each other in a very strange way, I presume it's me talking about Storm like he's a real person ... but he is to me ... to them he's faded and gone.  They probably think I'm now totally mad as they have never believed I can see ghosts, but I don't care what they think anymore because I know I'm not mad like they were making me believe I am.

"Where is Storm?  Is he here now?"  Mulberry asks me which surprises me  "We know you see and speak to Storm and Cosmic's spirits, Jazz and Maizie have told us."

"Oh so suddenly you believe I'm not the idiot imagining that I'm seeing ghosts now ... because Jazz and Maizie have told you!!"  I say to Dad sarcastically, I'm not sure why but all of a suddenly I'm starting to feel irritated.  "All those years I tried to tell you and you kept calling me an idiot ... and just to set the record straight finally it WAS Cosmic who pulled me and Mom out of the fire ... not me!!"  Dad just stands there looking at me saying nothing.  "and Storm is at home looking after Crystal ... she sees and speaks to spirits too!!  So now you have two crackpots to contend with!!"

"The old man."  I know Dad is now trying to get rid of the awkward silence that I've just created by getting snappy "Nobody even suggest Jazz either, because it's going to be weeks before we can get Jazz anywhere near him!!"  Dad says now rubbing his neck because he's all stressed out.

"I think you might just have to tell him the truth ... omitting our friends with fangs."  I know he likes me and I doubt the old man would want Mulberry especially going to prison, after what he has said to me tonight, I think he'd keep his mouth shut to get the chance to put things right with his family.

"FORGET THAT!! Tap you don't know what this man is like!!"  Mulberry snaps at me

"You know what ... I don't even know what we are stressing for!!"  Dad starts laughing suddenly  "I am half expecting him to come legging it straight back here anyway when he's well enough ... you know what he's like Mulberry - it will take him minutes to upset everyone, he won't hack all the mixed berries, the sight of Lilly and Affair will just send him off on one, as long as he doesn't see Tapestry in Sugar Valley ... we might never need to do anything just let him come right back here to his miserable life!!"

"Don't forget there is Winter too!! and the old man saw River tonight when he went to ours looking for Winter."  I tell them  "He knows Winter... he's seen River, he knows River is my brother ... the minute he see's River or their blue and orange baby ...  I doubt it will take him long to work it all out!!" 
Dad frowns at me and asks how well does he know Winter ... he's all stressed out again now, he thought for a moment this was going to be easy but it isn't!!

"Not too well, he was after her because he wanted to talk to a doctor about his liver problem ... but I think you also might be very disappointed about him coming back here ... his liver problem has scared him, he's also very lonely ... he's told me tonight he loves and misses his kids ... I think he wants to put things right with everyone but he thinks it's too late, he thinks you will just slam the door in his face!! ... so you need to keep thinking ... I'm not sure he's the same man that you last saw 20 years ago!!"

The door opens and the conversation has to stop when the two doctors walk in, the doctor who was here before and another one who I presume is the consultant that Dad has demanded to see.  Dad switches straight back into obnoxious mode with both of the doctors, me and Mulberry both sit down watching and listening to him ... he makes me laugh ... it is no wander River was too scared to approach him if this is how he has seen watching him operate at work.  I'm seeing a side to my Dad that I've never seen before.

"Who are you anyway, Dr Muffin ... his doctor?"  the new doctor is frowning and asks Dad who starts laughing   

"No, I'm not his doctor, I'm his Son in Law and your worst nightmare, because you are NOT brushing me off with any of your colour coded flannel ... "  I see the consultant glances at the old man then at Dad, I'm guessing he's just spotted the colour difference as his face changes almost to a look of disgust.

"Look I don't know who you think you are ... but you can't come throwing your weight around in this hospital and threatening to do transplants using my staffs organs!!"  the new doctor snaps at him ... how pathetic ... like Dad would actually do that!!  By the look on the consultants face you would think he has taken the threat seriously.

"I'll throw my weight around wherever and whenever I feel like it ... especially in this farce of a place that you call a hospital ... I am usually a reasonable man, but I'm also not going to be fobbed off with this incompetent rubbish you are trying to sell me ... like I told your staff here ... that old man has as much right to live as anyone ... I don't much like the old drunken berry hole much myself ... but you want to put him down like a dog and I am not having it!!    Now you are telling me I can't have him transferred to Sugar Valley ... what kind of bullshit is this?!"  Dad is now getting angry ... I've never heard him swear so much.

"I'm sorry but we have no nursing staff who would be willing to accompany the patient into a colour mix town!!"  he almost spat out the words colour mix.  Dad really laughs for a while and I'm not even sure what has amused him so much.

"Fudge berry ... heaven forbid they might catch something ... well you don't need to worry your brainwashed brain cells for one second longer ... I'm medically trained enough to accompany the patient into a colour mix town all on my own!!"  Dad spat the word colour mix back at him

"We can't just let you take off with a patient you could be anybody!!"  the doctor snaps  "That is providing the patient actually want to go to a colour mix town with you!!"  

 I can see that Dad is now getting very angry ... I see him doing that thing that he does ... he looks away from the conversation for a moment and gets a strange look on his face, he's done it to me a million times, and he does it usually before he looks back at the person he's talking to and goes off on one.

"Are you actually trying to be awkward on purpose ... suddenly you care about the patient well being and feelings - a patient who I might add you want to just leave there to fade - as for whether he want's to go to Sugar Valley, unless you haven't noticed he's not in any fit state to make that decision right now, so I'm making it for him and if that's not good enough for you, his son is standing right there and his decision will be the same as mine ... and I hardly see the old man refusing to go to Sugar Valley where we WILL be giving him the new liver that he needs to keep him out of his coffin  ... which you have probably already got ready and waiting for him downstairs with his name neatly written on it!!"  Dad is killing me and I'm dying to laugh but I know that I can't.

"No I'm sorry ... like I said ..."   the consultant starts but Dad just cuts him off

"I don't care what you've said and I'm sick of standing here listening to your bullshit excuses!!"  This really makes me laugh because they are hardly able to get a word in edgeways, Dad is doing all the talking "I'll introduce myself shall I, I'm Dr Mango Muffin - Head of Neurology and Chief Neurosurgeon at Sugar Valley Hospital, so I'd say I'm well over qualified for the job of transporting a patient wouldn't you!!" 

"Well we only have your say so about that!!"  Dad suddenly starts laughing quite loudly

"I don't even know why I'm bothering to stand here wasting my time and arguing the toss with you two when I can just go straight over your heads anyway!!"  he's now getting very snappy "... and mark my words, if I have to do that then your heads will be rolling!!  This is a hospital not a veterinary practice ... you two are obviously working in the wrong profession!!"

The door opens and a man wearing a suit walks in with two security guards ... Oops!!!  Now I wander what he's going to do, this is going to be interesting.  The suit guy looks very serious when he walks into the room.

"So what's the problem?" he glances at Dad and smiles politely  "Dr Curd, Dr Midnight, where exactly is this mad man that you wanted security to remove from the building?"

"Dr Strong, we called security because this man just threaten to do the patients transplant himself using Dr Curds liver"  The consultant points at Dad ... does he even know how pathetic he sounds?!  "He claims he's a doctor and thinks he can come in here and throw his weight around just because he doesn't like the decision we've made."

Dr Strong steps in front of Dad and crosses his arms and stands there just staring at him, so Dad does the same, he crosses his arms and stares back ... I thought for a moment it is all going to kick off and Dad is going to end up being thrown out of the hospital ... suddenly they both start laughing quite loudly at each other.

"Oh Mango ... mate, you never change do you!!"  he carries on laughing  "You know this reminds me of that time you threatened to amputate all of my fingers in theatre because you didn't like the way I was doing a valve replacement and I wouldn't step away from the patient when you told me to!!"  they both start laughing  "Only I wasn't stupid enough to think you would actually carry out that threat!!  Even when you had the scalpel hovering over my hand!!"  he stops laughing and starts glaring at the two doctors.

So it's not just me who thinks they are being pathetic!  

"It's okay I'll deal with this!!  The mad man's bark is far worse than his bite!!"  the man in the suit starts laughing again as he waves the security guards away and they leave the room.

Dad who hasn't stopped laughing yet shakes Dr Strong's hand and hugs him.  I'm smiling and laughing in my head, Dad is just so jammy to already know the bloke in the suit!!  The looks on the faces of the other two doctors is classic ... I'm finding it very hard to keep the laughter in my head!!

"Mango what are you doing here ... are you finally gracing us with your surgical skills?  I heard on the grapevine you will be doing the rounds here soon like your old man."

"No that doesn't start until next month ... I'm on a mercy mission at the moment ... Perry please tell me you've not transferred to this joke of a place!!"  Perry laughs and says unfortunately  "You should have stayed in Apple Hill - this is a veterinary practise not a hospital!!"

"Dr Strong do you know this guy?!"  the consultant asks him, which I think is a pretty stupid question when even I have picked up on that fact!!  I'm beginning to think he might be as thick as two short planks!!

"Yes, I do know him ... and if you read your medical journals properly - so should you!! ... this is Spicey Muffin's son!! ... he's also one of the best neurosurgeons on the planet so you'll find this mad man has every right to claim he's a doctor and throw his weight around wherever he wants to!!  This hospital especially has been trying to lure him away from Sugar Valley for close on 20 years ... I'm not sure Dr Leech will be too impressed to find out you have been upsetting Dr Muffin, seeing as we have only just managed to pursuit him to start training our surgeons!!"

I heard one of the doctors mumble  'Oh Fudge!!'

 "How is your Dad Mango? I haven't seen him for a while."  I know my Granddad is a world renown surgeon and being a pure berry he is able to leave Sugar Valley freely and is quite often away at different hospitals doing surgical training ... I guess these two must know him. 

"He's okay thanks ... he's due out here in a few weeks."  he laughs  "Maybe I ought to warn him, this place needs a shake up!!  The vets need weeding out!!  They will definitely be getting weeded out on my watch!!"  Dr Strong starts laughing suddenly 

"Dr Midnight ... It seems you've just introduced yourself to your new Mentor ... seeing as you are moving onto Neurology in a few weeks and Dr Muffin here is taking over from Dr Farmer next month."  Dr Midnight just looks down at the floor while Dad starts laughing  ... and off he goes

"Suddenly I'm looking forward to doing the rounds here!!"  he says smirking at Dr Midnight, I think that doctor might have just shot himself in the foot playing Dad up, I'm guessing he's in for a hard time in the future!!  "Which should be a lesson learnt, always make sure you know who you are talking to before you go judging them and winding them up by threaten to put down one of their family members, because you never know when it might just come back to bite you in the arse!!"  I thought he had finished but he had something else to say  "Not that you should be putting down anyone's family, you are Doctors, trained to save every life possible ... not to judge them then play executioner just because you don't like the families lifestyle!!  If this is how you lot work in this place ... it won't be for much longer ... I'll be making sure of that!!"  he laughs again  "And you two unwittingly have just given me the perfect amo to fight my case ... because it is an example of what not to do and I'll be using it as so ... I'm afraid gentlemen this little incident today might just be following you around for a very long time to come!!"

I see my Dad glaring at the two doctors who are now looking very sheepish.  I'm howling in my head ... he got half a lecture in there!!!  Not that I really understood the last part of it.

"What actually is the problem Mango?"  Perry asks.

"My father in law here, apparently is too old and too much of a drunk to have a liver transplant, a purple liver that they say they won't be able to find in time - which is fair enough if that's the colour rubbish here ... so I want him moving to Sugar Valley where he will get a transplant within days of arriving.  Then we get to the crunch ... This might just amuse you Perry ... APPARENTLY none of your staff are willing to go into a colour mix town ... but I'll overlook it if that's how they have been brainwashed. 

"Now that is very strange!!"  Dr Strong scowls at the two doctors  "especially as we are shipping patients to Sugar Valley all the time ... particularly difficult neurology cases for Dr Muffin here to deal with!!  So ... would either of you like to explain that one to me?!"  he asks but he doesn't get an answer, the two doctors both just stand there silently looking very uncomfortable.

Oops!!  I think those two doctors have just been caught out for telling big porkies!! 

"The cat has obviously run away with their tongues Perry!!"  Dad breaks the silence when no explanation is coming from either doctor. Oh berry!! I've never wanted to laugh so much in my life!!    "Anyway, as well you know Perry I am more than capable and qualified to transport the patient ... but even that is not good enough apparently!!  I'm just being dealt one stupid excuse after another because their ONLY intention seems to be to leave the old man there to fade ... but I think we all know what the real problem is here don't we!! ... the excuses started flying thick and fast once they realized he has a colour mix family!!  From the moment they phoned Sugar Valley after his son the old man has been a condemned man!!"  

 Dad suddenly starts laughing quite loudly and turns to face the two doctors with his arms folded, who both now can't even look him in the face properly.

 "I wouldn't mind but that old man always has and always will stick strictly to the colour code ... he has a purple wife and purple children ... it's not him doing the colour mixing  ... it's public knowledge that I am the mixed berry here doing the colour mixing  ... theoretically it's me you should be trying to put down ... not the old man lying in that bed over there ... he's one of your sort ... narrow minded and brainwashed!!"

"Right you two ...GET IT SORTED!!"  Dr Strong turns round and snaps at the consultant  "Anything that Dr Muffin wants or asks for, get it done ... including your liver if he asks for it again!!  Don't think this is the last of it either ... you can both report to my office at close of play!!"  he turns back round to Dad as the two doctors scurry out of the room rather quickly  "I'm sorry Mango, you know you can put in an official complaint if you want to."  Dad starts laughing

"Worrying over his liver and his next round of surgical training should keep them both sweating for a while ... don't think he's getting an easy ride when I've got him in my theatre!!"  they both start laughing "Is this seriously how they operate in this place ... you know before I married Lilly I was weeks away from a transfer to this place, I would never have hacked working in this hospital if this is the way they treat the patients!!"

"I have had quite a shock to the system myself since I've been here, Apple Hill being so close to Sugar Valley, the colour code is a lot slacker there as you know ... here it's a total nightmare ... you are right I should have stayed where I was ... I was a lot happier!!" 

"You know, just as a heads up, there is a vacancy coming up soon that's right up your street, Walker is retiring in four months, they'll be advertising soon!!  You've always said you wouldn't mind transferring to Sugar Valley."  they smile at each other "You know I will always put in a good word for you!!"

"Thanks Mango, I'll definitely keep my eye open for that ... I really do need to move back in that direction ... I doubt I'll last long out here, I'm not sure my nerves can take it!!"  he starts laughing  "They'll be jumping on you soon ... I hear you've just poached our Dr Breeze from trauma, pretty thing she is!!  If I do get to move to Sugar valley she'll think I'm following her around ... she's was at Apple Hill for a while too."  Dad starts laughing quite loudly

"Yes she is a pretty thing ... but hands off Perry that one is out of bounds!! ... she's just made me a Granddad and is soon to be my daughter in law!!"  Dad starts laughing while Perry looks surprised  

"Really!!?? ..."  he starts laughing  "I knew Winter was up to something ... she's been telling everyone here the babies Dad lives in Apple Hill, I think she forgets I was at Apple Hill at the same time as she was ... I've kept my mouth shut even though I knew something didn't quite add us ... there was a big rumour going around when we were at Apple Hill about her and one of the orange doctors ...we suspected there was some colour mixing going on behind closed doors ... when the rumour started flying around quite loudly she shipped out here and Dr Lane ..."  he frowns at Dad suddenly and stops speaking for a moment before he finishes his sentence very slowly like he's just realized something or is trying to work something out  "...moved to Sugar Valley."  Dad starts laughing

"Yes Dr Lane is my eldest son from a previous relationship ... he's not one of Lilly's ... I'm not sure you ever met Maizie." 

"No can't say I did ... Oh Berry!!!  I know Mango quite well, although it has been quite a while since I've seen him ... well I am shocked ... you kept that one quiet!!  and so did he for that matter!!  How did I not see it, he has your name too, thinking about it now it's so damn obvious!! you look so alike!!"  he's laughing   

"Well I guess we should deal with the job in hand ..." Dad says to him suddenly like he's trying to change the subject ... I am actually surprised he has been standing there talking about Winter and River.

"Yes ... I can authorize your Father in Laws transplant here if you want, I know you'll happily bi pass all of their colour rubbish and take the first available liver ... like you said we can get you one within days."

"No, I still want to move him out to Sugar Valley it will make my life a lot easier if he's there ... besides I'm not sure I'd trust these clowns with him now!!"  they just smile at each other for a moment "I just hope they realize I'm not standing for any of this colour rubbish when I'm here surgical training!!"  he starts laughing  "I'll be telling them to stick it quick smart ... they can keep on shipping in the difficult cases to me like they already do ... but if they want me to train their student doctors they'll have to ship them into Sugar Valley too along with the patients!!  ... which is why I don't know where those two get off telling me they have no nursing staff willing to go into a colour mix town!!"

"Don't worry I'll be having strong word with them!!  I know you are right ... the minute they heard the old mans family is in Sugar Valley they condemned him!!  The hatred of colour mixing in this town is particularly bad!! but I think you know yourself, here at this hospital it's only the lower ranks that are particularly bad with their narrow minded views!!" 

"It's time it was stamped out completely ... they definately shouldn't be allowed to get away with treating the patients like they wanted to treat the old man!!" 

Dad and Perry walk out of the room together nattering.

As soon as they left the room I couldn't help but howl with laughter, Mulberry too is laughing his head off.  I'm serious glad that I don't work for him if this is how he carries on all the time ... even though I know he was in the right with this.

I can't help but think that what Rocky was telling me about the hypocrites turning a blind eye to mixed berries with fame, money and power doesn't just exist in the music world ... it must be  happening in all walks of life ... and it's been going on right under my nose with my own Dad and I've never even noticed it ... he leaves Sugar Valley quite often going to different hospitals to do difficult surgical cases, My Granddad does surgical training, which I've just learned my Dad is starting soon.  From what I've just been listening too, it sounds like my Dad must be highly respected in his profession .... Everyone must know he lives in Sugar Valley, everyone must know my Dad is a mixed berry and he definitely isn't trying to hide it, he's not hiding his colour mix family or his disgust of the colour code ... yet the powers that be are turning a blind eye to my Dad being out openly in their world.

"I told you your Dad was on the case!!"  Mulberry laughs  "He kills me!!"

I stop laughing thinking about something that Dad had said about him being a condemned man from the moment they had to phone Sugar Valley after Mulberry ... I can't help but wonder if this is all my fault ... I told them Mulberrys name and address in Sugar Valley.

"Is this all my fault, I told them you lived in Sugar Valley?! ... should I not have told them?!  Dad said that's what condemned him, them finding out he has a colour mix family."

"Don't be stupid ... you did exactly the right thing ... I doubt we would have know he was on his way out otherwise!!"  he studies the look on my face for a moment   "See you would beat yourself up thinking that it's your fault, because you have a conscience  ... that's the difference between our two worlds ... they don't have a conscience because they are too busy being narrow minded  ... they would rather just leave him there to fade than break their precious rules ... for berry's sake they have even dressed him in purple pyjamas!!"  That seems to have tickled Mulberry who starts laughing as he stares down at the old man. 

"You was brought up in this world so why don't you think like they do."

"Probably because of Lilly, I was only a toddler when they sent her away and she was just a child, but I can remember it vividly, she gave me more love and kindness in the short time she was there than my parents did my whole life ... Prelude was evil until Affair arrived, that's what woke him up, because he does actually love his kid unconditionally, which is how it should be, unlike the old man who couldn't even look at Lilly half the time ... colour has never meant anything to me because of Lilly, she was the kindest and most caring person I knew ... this coded world and most of the people in it are very cold and mean!!  So I know which world I'd much rather live in!!"  he goes quiet for a moment as he stares down at the old man  

 I also stare down at the old man  "I don't get it ... Mulberry why is Dad fighting for the old man like this ... I thought everyone hated him and he hates us?"

"He is family  ... and no doubt the old man won't thank us when he wakes up and finds out we are moving him to Sugar Valley and he's getting a liver that hasn't come out of a purple berry, or for saving his life and keeping him alive ... but your Dad will do it anyway ... even though he knows it will all probably get thrown back in his face."

"Because he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he just left him there to rot"  I mumble more to myself because that is how I get myself.  Mulberry starts laughing at me.

"Exactly ... and that's the difference between our two worlds, we don't belong in this world and he doesn't belong in ours!! ... you've picked the old man up out of the gutter twice now ... you know if the tables had been turned he would have looked at your colour and just walked on by and left you lying there!!  You are not a person you are just a colour."

"Actually I think you just might be surprised when he does wake up!!"  Mulberry frowns at me  "Loneliness and death knocking on his door has scared him ... I think you might find he has a totally different attitude now ... as far as his family goes at least!!"

"Him never!!!"

"Honestly ... " 

I start to tell him about the conversation me and the old man had in the bar where I work earlier tonight.  Mulberry just stands there staring at me with a strange look on his face ... I don't think he is believing one word of it ... but I believe what the old man said to me, but only because he didn't know who he was talking to.

 The old man's coughing makes me and Mulberry go quiet ...  

"Tapestry!!"  he calls out to me so I walk over to the bed.  "Son I need some water."  I pour some out of the jug that is sitting on the bedside cupboard, and hold the glass out to him, he props himself up and tries to take the glass but his hand is really shaking so I put the glass to his mouth and he drinks some  "I knew you'd still be here ... you're a good boy!!"  he says as he lies back on the pillow, I hear Mulberry laughing behind me. "Who are you talking to?"  I just stand there not knowing what to say, I look over at Mulberry who just rolls his eyes.

"Me Dad."  Mulberry says as he steps up closer to the bed so that the old man can see him.

"Mulberry? ... is that you?!"  he tries to sit up  "How did you get here son?"  he looks really surprised, Mulberry says on a plane which makes me laugh  "Don't be funny boy, how did you know I was in here?"

"Your friend here told the hospital your kids live in Sugar Valley ... so the hospital contacted me telling me you are about to peg it ... so I thought I'd come and wave goodbye.".

The old man starts laughing, he seems to find it amusing, he grabs my arm gently.

"Do you see how my boy speaks to me!!" he says as he has another one of his coughing fits, I give him some more water when he stops coughing.  Mulberry just stands there staring at him, almost like he's numb. "Mulberry I'm going to adopt this boy ... he's okay for an orange!!"  the old man starts laughing and so does Mulberry for a moment before I watch his face switch.

"So why did you collapse tonight Dad ... I bet you was out getting slaughtered again wasn't you after you have been told you need to quit the drinking ..."   Mulberry is talking to the old man quite nastily like he does to Prelude when he is hammered, I really don't think there is a need for it, he knows how ill the old man is, it's a little too late to be having a go at him now.

"Mulberry he hasn't actually had a drink since last week because he's been in the hospital and he's sat drinking water with me all night!!"

"Well you do surprise me Tap .... if that is even true, I'd bet anything his water was laced with vodka!!"  he starts laughing  "You know Tap when I was a kid he quite often used to give me his vodka laced coffee by mistake ... he laces everything with vodka even the milk in his cereal, he's disgusting, and the idiot didn't think I knew he was a pathetic drunk!!  Just like my brother!!"

"The boy is right Mulberry, honestly I haven't had a drink since last week!!"  the old man holds his very shaky hands out in front of him  "Look I'm clucking!!"

 "It still doesn't change the fact Dad that you are just a selfish drunks like Prelude ... well maybe now you might see what you've done to yourself now its too late!!" 

I've just realized we are slipping up in front of the old man, we have both called each other by our names ... shouldn't we be acting like we don't know each other.

The door opens and Dad walks back into the room on his own with a smile on his face, his eyes firmly fixed on the paperwork in his hand which he is reading as he walks along, he's like a robot, he never stops.  

"Right it's all sorted ... Monday morning, the air ambulance will be picking the old man up ... You know the old bugger is actually in pretty good shape for his age other than his liver and he has got a chest infection." 

So that is what all the coughing has been about tonight, a chest infections, I don't know why I didn't think about it, Crystal did a lot of coughing when she had hers. 

"So Tapestry me and Mulberry have two days to spend with you and River before we go home with your Granddad ... I suppose I should call Prelude and you mother ... "

I just stand there cringing as Dad rattles on ... Mulberry tries to wave at him to shut him up but its too late and he's not really paying much attention his head still buried in paperwork.

"MANGO!!"  Mulberry shouts him to try and stop him from saying anything else, even though it is already too late, he's already said too much.

"What?"  he looks up from the paperwork and frowns at Mulberry for shouting at him 

 He walks up to the bed and he spots that the old man is awake.


The old man just lies there silently staring at the three of us for a while, not one of us daring to speak, he looks at me then looks at Dad then he starts laughing.

"How did I not see it ... he's one of Lilly's boys isn't he!! ... Tapestry you should have told me!!"  he says frowning at me, he signals with his hand for me to move closer to him  "Wisty told me you have colourless eyes ... are you wearing orange contacts?"  he asks still frowning at me.

"Yes ..."  he's still frowning at me

"River, so who is River, you've been telling me he's your brother but how can he be ... Wisty has never mentioned him before?"  he starts chuckling to himself "Is he your boyfriend?"  Mulberry starts howling and I have to laugh quite loudly myself.

"I'm not really gay ... I'm surprised you can even remember that you was totally hammered and you kept on and on asking me if I am gay because of my long hair and the water I was drinking ... I just said yes to shut you up!!."  he starts laughing quite loudly  "River is my half brother ... he's Dad's son, he has a different Mom ... he's older than us and he's also Mulberry's best mate!!"  he just smiles at me 

"You have been here for six months ... you little monkey ... you knew who I was too didn't you!!"  he starts frowning at me then  "Why in berry's name didn't you tell me who you are?!  You could have told me earlier when I was telling you all that stuff!!"

I just stand there staring at him I don't really know what to say ... he should never have found out who I am ... Dad definitely can't blame me for this one, he's the one who's just let the cat out of the bag.

"He didn't tell you because we told him not too ... you two were never meant to cross paths!!  Since your paths did cross, we've told him to keep well away from you ... quite frankly we didn't think you would be interested or want to know after the way you reacted to Storm!!"  Dad says to him, the old man is now just staring at the paperwork in Dads hand and appears to be really confused

"That was nearly 20 years ago ... is an old man not allowed to change his mind?!"  he says, Mulberry and Dad just look at each other with raised eyebrows "Mango why are you here?"

Dad looks at him in surprise then starts to explain to him that he needs his liver transplant sooner than the doctor thought, his liver is deteriorating very quickly and he needs the transplant straight away or he's probably got three weeks left at the most.  How they are refusing to give him the  transplant that he needs at this hospital because of his age and drinking problems and that they recon they won't be able to get a liver from a purple donor in time anyway.

".... so we are taking you to Sugar Valley, where you will get a transplant with whatever colour liver comes along first and I'll probably be doing the transplant surgery myself"  the old man just lies there looking at Dad without saying anything  " You will be seeing a lot of mixed berry doctors and nurses at the hospital including Mulberry's blue wife who also works there ... So if you have got any moaning to do you can get it off your chest right now because I'm not having you showing me up when we get to the hospital in Sugar Valley where I have to work!!the old man frowns at him for a moment.

"No moaning ... just a question ... why are you doing this for me?"

"Because unfortunately, you are family ... and it's what I do ... I'm giving you one last chance to put things right with your family because I know it is what both of your sons want ... but I'm warning you if I hear you call Lilly, Affair or any of your mixed berry grandchildren one single name you will be straight out of the door and on a plane back here quicker than you can blink ... and if I see one drop of alcohol pass your lips I'll be removing that new liver of yours with my bare hands!!"

"That's fair enough!!"  the old man smiles at Dad  "It's about time ... I've been waiting for years to see the Grandchildren that I haven't seen yet!!"  I can hear Mulberry laughing almost sarcastically behind me. "and if they have all turned out like this one here ... then it's going to be just fine!!  You won't be hearing a peep out of me!!" 

What have I actually done for him to like me?! but I have to laugh to myself, according to my family, I am the worst one who causes all the trouble, so if he thinks I've turned out okay then he is going to think all the rest of his Grandchildren are saints and angels!! 

"Mango I seriously think you might need to examine his brain, I think he's got dementia!!"  Mulberry is finding the old mans attitude highly amusing and Dad is just staring at him wide eyed.

Dad walks over to the corner of the room and is making a phone call, it sounds like he's talking to someone at Sugar Valley hospital and making the arrangements for the old mans liver transplant. 

"Tapestry ... Well this is a turn up for the books!!"  the old man says as he nudges me  "Above and beyond ... See I told you, he is not so bad!!  and not a word about the house!!"  he winks at me and we both start laughing, Mulberry frowns at us.

"Somebody like to let me in on the joke?"  he frowns at me  "You two seem awfully pally to say you were supposed to have been keeping away from him Tap!!"

"You leave the boy alone ... he's a good boy ... he's done nothing but keep picking me up off the floor!!"  he winks at me  "I see him sitting in the corner all night working, minding his old business playing away on his piano drinking his flavoured water ... if I'd known who he was I would have pestered him a lot more often!!"

"Are you feeling alright Dad, have you had a brain transplant in our absence?!"  Mulberry is frowning at him in a strange way.

I notice Dad has now finished his phone call and is stood there watching us like he's deep in thought again.

I move away from the bed because I can hear what the old man is saying to Mulberry and think I should give them some space.  I go over to Dad because something is bugging me, but he gets in first before I have chance to speak.

"Have you seriously only been drinking flavoured water?  Or is he just covering for you?"  he gives me a strange look.  I roll my eyes at him

"No he isn't covering for me!!  Why would he?!  I haven't touched a drop of alcohol since my birthday ... test my blood if you want because no doubt you won't believe anything I say!!"  I hold my arm out in front of him and he just laughs at me.  "Why did you tell that Doctor about Winter and River wasn't it a little risky?"

"I didn't really have a lot of choice, that's the problem, everyone knows everyone else in these hospitals, me and Perry have been good friends for year ... once he mentioned Winter I couldn't really ignore it and brush it off could I when he finds out later on River is my son and Winter will be my daughter in law he's going to be wandering why I didn't say anything, he could well get suspicious."  he starts laughing  "Besides he needed telling, you don't know what that mans like, he's a damn good doctor but he's a rat where women are concerned ... it was him saying she's pretty that set me off ... its never good when Perry thinks someones pretty ... he's got a really nice wife at home but he's still had more affairs with doctors and nurses than I've had birthdays!! he's always colour mixing himself!! and we've already had one too many disastrous relationship break ups in our family lately!!"


"Oh never you mind, you'll find out soon enough when you get home!!"  he starts laughing  "We need to concentrate on what's going on here not what's going on back home!!"  he says staring at the old man.  Here he goes ... what is he not telling me now ... I can't even be bothered to try getting it out of him ... I'm too tired. "We need to start worrying about what we are going to tell the old man!!"

Mulberry and the old man are now talking quite normally, I notice Mulberry take out his wallet and he is showing him something ... I realize he's showing him a photograph when I hear the old man asking what's wrong with the woman's face, so I guess he's talking about Ice and Mulberry's reply was that Preludes green bitch slashed her face up for fun not long after they left school.

Dad wandered over to speak to the old man for a while before we head off home, I just sit in one of the chairs watching and listening to them in amusement, especially the constant wide eyed stare that is fixed on my Dads face.  The old man is actually quite funny when he's sober, some of the things he is saying to them are making me really laugh.

I think Dad and Mulberry are both a little shocked by how the old man is reacting, especially to me, and how 'nice' he is being to them.  On the way to the car they are debating over how long this new attitude of his is going to last.  They don't believe that when he's got Lilly and Affair and all his mixed berry children around him that he will be able to keep this new attitude of his up or hold his tongue ... which apparently is very viscous once he gets going.

As we are walking across the car park to the car, Dad is waving the car keys around in his hand while he's talking to Mulberry, I snatch them off him with a smirk on my face when we get to the car and tell him I'll drive home.

"Oh no you damn well won't!!"  he snaps at me trying to snatch the keys back, I'm seriously going to enjoy what he's got coming to him!!  I'm not that helpless little child wrapped in cotton wool that he has created anymore ... I can look after myself and do things that he said I'd never be able to do ... driving being one of them ... being away from him for these past nine months has done me more good than he realizes, I actually think it is what I needed to do, otherwise I would always have been trapped in that dependent world of his making.

"I've been driving LEGALLY for months and besides you don't know where we live!!"  he stares at me with a frown on his face as I jump into the drivers seat and start the engine, then he starts moaning at me to get out of the car he's too tired for my games, he thinks that I'm playing him up.  "Suit yourself then walk, it's no skin off my nose!!"

I reverse the car out of the parking space and ask him through the window if he's walking.  He calls me a cheeky sod because it's his hire car but gets into the back of the car anyway while Mulberry jumps in the front laughing and I drive home with Dad looking very nervous in the back.

I sit bolt upright in bed, my ears are ringing with the sound of Crystals loud screaming.

River also sits up very quickly next to me, frowning at me in confusion as he rubs his eyes.  I know he will be wandering why I am sleeping in his bed and not in my own.

Boy has he got a surprise coming!!

After arriving home from the hospital in the middle of the night, I had to find somewhere for Mulberry and Dad to sleep, so I told them both to sleep in my room and I'd jump in with River.

Dad jumped into my bed and Mulberry jumped into the spare bed that had been put in the corner of the room for River to sleep in, which Crystal wouldn't let him use when he came out of the hospital ... she didn't want him in our room so he ended up in Winters room just to keep the peace and to stop her screaming.

Being so tired, I never even gave Crystal sleeping in the room a second thought, and how she would react when she woke up this morning to find two strange men sleeping in her room instead of me.

Me and River both dive out of bed and run out of the bedroom, Denim also comes running out of his room.  Just in time to see Dad come tearing out of the my bedroom into the hall.  He looks like he's in shock, Mulberry follows close behind him, he is howling with laughter as the door slams loudly and forcefully behind him, Crystal is now yelling the house down instead of screaming ... she's telling them to get out.

River is now frozen in shock, he had no idea Dad and Mulberry were here.

"Fudge!!"  Dad stands there as Mulberry is howling at him. 

"Mango I think you went as colourless as she is!!"  Mulberry can hardly speak for laughing.  "You wait till I get home and tell my sister you've had another woman in your bed!!"  he's doubled up and howling

"You will do no such thing!!  You saw exactly what happened!!"  Dad is definitely not amused  "It's bad enough that I've got a strange woman crawling into my bed asking if we can do hugs ... then when I speak to her she bursts my eardrums screaming at me and tries to scratch my eyes out!!"  Mulberry is now almost on the floor in hysterics.  "I wouldn't mind but she was the one who climbed into MY bed!!"  he says as he turns and spots River then just stands staring at him.

"Crystal must have thought she was getting into bed with me!"  I laugh at Dad  "She does it sometimes when she has nightmares."

Me and Denim are now both laughing with Mulberry.  The thought of Crystal getting into bed with Dad asking for hugs is just hilarious!!

Poor River is still frozen to the spot just staring at Dad, who is now starting back at him.

"Tapestry have you been bringing more strays home?"  Denim asks while he's still laughing, he must be wandering who these two strange men are.

"Yeah sorry Denim ... this is our Dad and .... River's best mate, Mulberry"  I nearly said Uncle, but avoided it, even though Mulberry has already put his big foot into it he's virtually told Denim that our Dad shares the same bed as his sister ... I'm not sure if Denim picked up on that but I did.

"T-A-P-E-S-T-R-Y!!"  Crystal is now screaming me from inside the bedroom.

I open the door and Crystal is stood there screaming her head off, as soon as she sees me she throws herself into my arms, she jumps on me and wraps her arms and legs around me ... she is crying quite badly and keeps repeating bad men over and over.

I've now stopped laughing, it's no longer funny because I can see how upset she is.  I feel really bad for not thinking last night, I should have known that she would have been scared to death finding two strange men in the room.

I carry her over to the bed and sit down on the floor with her, she's in a right mess.  I hold her till she calms down and tell her they are not bad men, the orange man is my Dad and the purple man is my Uncle.   She just frowns at me and keeps shaking her head.

Oh Fudge ... what have I done to her!!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Chapter 26 - Part 1 - Gen 2 - Tapestry


I set off for work happily my head buzzing with everything that Rocky has said about it being more than possible for me to have a music career even being a mixed berry.

I do, however, feel a little guilty for being happy right now and having to leave River who is a right emotional wreck at the moment, his baby being born this morning and him not being there has really knocked him about, luckily Denim is at home to keep an eye on him.

I have continued with my job at the bar against Rivers wishes, mainly because for the most part Grape Orchid has very much kept his distance only coming over to me very occasionally to pester me. Generally when he has approached me he has been totally hammered, and hasn't really been talking a lot of sense or hung around for very long, so he's been pretty easy to ignore and keep at arms length.

I have watched with amusement over the past few months all of the bar brawls he's been a part of, most of them he's actually caused because of his bad attitude when he's drunk.  He can go some for an old man and now I see where Prelude gets it all from, he is the spit of his old man, I really don't see any of my Mother or Mulberry in him at all character wise.

Tonight, however, he decided to come over and talk to me while he is completely sober.

I noticed strangely he wasn't here again when I walked into the bar like he usually is, he strolls in about an hour after I have started work, on a normal day he is usually totally wasted by the time I get here.

Even stranger, there hasn't been a normal day yet this week, as I have not seen him in this bar at all during the week, I was beginning to think and hope that he might have moved to another bar and wasn't using this one anymore, not that it really matters now because in a few weeks time we will be back at home in Sugar Valley and I doubt I will ever have to see him again.

I try to forget about him once I've seen him walk in, I know he has made his way to the bar so that is where I expect him to stay for the rest of the night, so I am very surprised when after only about five minutes he appears behind me. 

"Here you go wuss I've bought you your flavoured water!"  he places the glass down on the piano with a very unsteady hand, so unsteady he's spilling the water everywhere.

I smile at him because he usually brings me vodka lased beer which he ends up drinking himself, finally he has actually brought me over something that I can drink.  I notice he doesn't have his own drink in his hand like he usually would.  I'm hoping he won't stay long, he's bound to go back to the bar for his drink.  As he is sober I make a mental note that I have to talk to him properly and try not to rub him up the wrong way, and I definitely have to watch what I'm saying.

"So where is that blue woman of yours I haven't seen her around for a while, I've just been round to yours and your blue fella said she wasn't in.  I was hoping to have a word with her."  I wander what he might want with Winter. 

"She's moved out of town, she's gone to live with the babies Dad"  he grunts but doesn't say anything else for a while, I wander why Denim didn't just tell him she's moved away?  The old man asks if Winter's move is permanent.  "Yeah, she won't be back, only to check on the house occasionally, Denim is renting her house now."

"You are a strange one!!"  he says as he starts laughing  "Do you have a thing for blue ... I heard what you did for that Clay fella taking him off the streets ... looks like he has landed on his feet thanks to you!!"  lets hope he hasn't heard about the colourless girl!!  "No orange berry's on the street you could have taken care of instead?"  This guy seriously has a problem with colour, or is that the way they work in this colour coded world, you only look after your own.

"Just a coincidence ... I got talking to him in the park and he's a really nice guy, he didn't deserve what happened to him!! His wife and three children were faded by a drunk driver which drove him to drink and he lost everything!"  he mumbled that's a shame and he didn't know  "Besides I'm colourblind so I don't see what colour anyone is and I don't ask either because I don't really care."  he starts laughing quite loudly

"Colourblind ... it must be a fault with orange, I know another orange berry who is also colourblind."  he suddenly bursts out laughing  "Shame nobody warned him my daughter isn't orange before he married her!!"  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry he's talking about my parents.  I glance at his face and he just smiles at me.

"So your daughter is colour mixing ... I thought you didn't like it!"

"Don't pretend like you don't know!!"  he snaps at me quite nastily, the sudden change in the tone of his voice surprised me and I start to panic inside, wandering if he does actually know who I am and he's just testing me.   "It's no secret ... me and my family are talk of the town and have been for many years, you've got to have heard it from somebody ... As if it wasn't bad enough my daughter and Grandson were born colourless, then all three of my children go off to Sugar Valley colour mixing!!"   I say nothing and just carry on playing the piano.

"So have you got nothing to say?!"  he's frowning at me when I glance at him "Got no insults to fling at me like everyone else does?!  I've heard it all over the years ... so don't hold back ... I've had it all thrown at me so there is nothing you can say that will hurt me ... I'm numb to it now!!" 

"It's the alcohol that numbs you!!"  I laugh at him  "It's none of my business what your family do, if they are happy then what's the problem!?  Colour and the lack of it is only skin deep, we are all exactly the same underneath!"  he pulls a strange face at me for saying that  "Is that why you drink so much, because you don't like what your children are doing?"  I should be trying to change the subject but I can't help be a little bit curious.

"I've always had a problem with drink, even before Lilly was born, my Father was like it and so is one of my boys."  he stands there quietly for a moment  "Having a colourless child is kind of a shock to the system!!  I probably would have coped with it a lot better if people weren't so nasty ... I got the sack, all our friends and parents turned their backs on us, our eldest son was constantly being beat up at school because of his sister, we went through hell ... I always wanted a little girl and she ends up colourless!!  Her arrival turned our world upside down and it's never been right since."  

I wander for a moment why he is talking to me like this. He is sober too, he's standing there not even drinking?!  He's acting very out of character to how I usually see him ... he continues to stand there ... I really could do with getting rid of him before I say something I shouldn't.  I nearly said something then that I shouldn't and really had to bite my tongue hard ... I felt like telling him she is still his little girl even being colourless and if he wasn't such a selfish narrow minded berry hole he would see that!!

"Are you not drinking tonight? ... you are usually well wasted by now."  I ask him hoping I will remind him and he will go off to the bar and forget to come back.  He shocks me by saying he doesn't much feel like it tonight, he only came in here to find some company.  Great so why pick on me?!  I look at him wide eyed and he starts laughing.  "You don't feel like getting slaughtered ... are you sick?"

"I've not been feeling too good lately"  he mumbles quietly "Doc's put me on medication and told me I've got to pack in the drinking!!"  I glance at him  "It seems I'm not too well!!"

"Nothing serious I hope!!" 

"Cirrhosis of the Liver ... from all the drinking Doc says!"  I stop playing the piano and look at him for a moment ... that is serious ... that is one of Dads scare lectures to try and keep us off the alcohol and he's always saying that's what he sees in Preludes future because of how much alcohol he drinks. "Ive been in the hospital since the weekend."  he says quietly, so that is why I haven't seen him.

He remains quiet for a while and sits down on the table, he's sitting there almost like he's in a daze, I keep taking quick glimpses at him, he's almost making me feel sorry for him ... it's obvious he's lonely and needs someone to talk too, I should imagine his illness is scaring him ... but it's his own fault and he doesn't have his family around him when he needs them ... because he has driven them away.

The old bugger could be dying and they don't have a clue.

"Is that why you wanted to speak to Winter, because she's a doctor?"  I ask him and he mumbles yes  "Maybe you should tell your family!"  he starts laughing

"Like they'd be interested, my daughter and youngest son probably won't even speak to me and I should imagine my other son is too pissed to care!!"  he starts coughing  "I only talk to my one Granddaughter and I don't want to bother her with my problems she's at University, she'll just fuss and it will disrupt her studies!!"  I laugh in my head, Wisty is a bit of a mother hen, she used to fuss over me something chronic when I was little ... I can just imagine her dropping her studies and rushing out here to look after the old man.  Oh berry!!  Now I'm worried, what if he does tell Wisty and she comes racing out here ... then I've definitely got a problem.

"You've got more than one grandchild I should imagine what about them."  I ask him more out of mischievous curiosity of what he might say. 

"Yeah, Eleven, I've got Nine living, two have faded ... I've only ever seen Wisty, Affair and Storm, not seen none of the others, not even a picture, but I do know all their names, Wisty tells me all about them."  I'm actually surprised he knows how many of us there are, that he lets Wisty talk about us or that he's interested enough to listen.  He starts laughing  "Actually I've got one with the same name as you, Tapestry, he's a little handful from what I hear, he has disabilities."  Fudge ... he's knows a lot more than I thought he would ... I need to make sure I don't tell him about any more of my medical problems or he might get suspicious of the coincidence, I have to laugh to myself about him saying I'm a little handful!!

"Tapestry is quite a common name!!"  I say to him even though I know it isn't, and I really need to change the subject away from us lot, but I am now really curious. "So why have you not seen the others?"  I really shouldn't be doing this  "Why do you have contact with only one of them?"

"It's my own fault, I struggled with my daughters lack of colour, My eldest son had twins Wisty and Affair, Wisty she is the only pure berry grandchild that I have.  Her brother Affair was born colourless, that was very hard to take on top of my daughter.  Two of my children moved to Sugar Valley together, a colour mix town because they treat colourless berry's good there.  My youngest son followed them, he was very attached to his sister even though I tried to keep them separated, I sent her away to a boarding school so he wouldn't have to suffer the same as my eldest son did.   My eldest son managed to do something that I couldn't, protect his kid from the hatred, then one by one they start colour mixing ... I couldn't hack it ... it went against everything I've been taught ... I've said and done some horrible things ... it's been probably 20 years since I've spoken to any of my children ... so the Grandchildren I've never seen."  He almost sounds like he's regretting what he's done.

"But I guess you not liking the colour mixing thing you wouldn't have wanted anything to do with your mixed berry grandchildren."  he looks at me for a moment without saying anything.

"No I didn't at first ... and for a long time, I was angry and I'm stubborn, and I had my chance and blew it ... my son brought Storm his purple little boy to see me, and I lost it, his mother is green see and I specifically don't like green berry's, he had a perfectly good purple woman and he blew it and hooked up with an evil green woman.  I really upset that little boy apparently and none of them have spoken to me since."  He's off with that dazed look on his face again, one more question then I really need to stop this and change the conversation ... as he looks like he is set to sit there all night just chatting.

"What about now? ... what would you do if one of your mixed berry grandchildren turned up on your doorstep?"  he starts laughing

"That's not likely is it son!!  For one they can't come out of Sugar Valley, according to Wisty there is only one of them who could have passed himself off as a pure berry, and that was the purple boy I told you about, but he faded not long ago - all the rest are mixed colours." he starts coughing again, I've noticed he coughs a lot  "Secondly, I guess they've all been told about how much of a horrible person I am, that's if they even know I exist ... one of them turning up on my doorstep is highly unlikely ... impossible I'd say!!"

"Hypothetically ... what if one did?"

"I guess ... I'd be happy ... I do love and miss my children regardless of what people might think ... I'm just a stubborn old drunken fool, loneliness kind of makes you wise up, shame I couldn't have done it a long time ago ... but it's too late now, I think it's gone way past fixing ... I think if I tried they would just slam the door in my face ... no point me even maudlin over it now!!"  

I am really shocked, I never expected to hear him say that ... I seriously need to change the subject, before I go saying something silly ... he really is making me feel sorry for him!!  One more thing that's bugging tho, he hasn't once mentioned his wife yet.  He starts coughing really badly again, I can't say that I've ever noticed that cough before tonight.

"What about your wife?  You haven't mentioned her yet."  he starts laughing

"Ex Wife ... she's divorced me recently ... our marriage died years ago, not that it's ever been very good, but we gave up even trying soon after our youngest boy took off to Sugar Valley to join the other two ... we only stuck it out because of the loneliness ... we were both in the same boat see ... she lives with our daughter now so Wisty tells me."

"So is the cirrhosis bad?"

"Yeah pretty much ... I'm looking at a transplant so the Doc says!"  he grunts  "You'd be wise to keep sticking to your flavoured water if you don't want to end up like me!!"  Oh so he finally gets it now it's too late!!  I glance at him and he is just sat there in a daze again ... I actually think he's scared.  "Something else I should have wised up over a long time ago!!"

He gets up and I hope he's leaving, he's given me way too much to think about, and while he's sat here he is only making me feel even more sorry for him ... even though I know really I shouldn't!!!  He say's he's going to get himself a drink.  I watch him wander off slowly, wandering if he's going off to get slaughtered again ... he's almost made me think he feels like he doesn't really have anything to live for ... he's blown it with his family and he's very lonely!!  I shouldn't imagine he's got many or any friends either.

I am a little disappointed when he comes wandering back and sits down on the table again.  I guess I've got him for the night, I'm amused that he comes back with two glasses of water, well I think his is water.

"I hope that's not vodka!!"  I laugh at him as I watch him taking a mouthful out of his glass.

"No, it's the same as what you are drinking ... I guess I've got to get used to this from now on!!"  I smile at him, so he is at least listening to the doctor, even if it might be just a little too late ... but he's a seasoned drinker, I wander just how long being alcohol free is going to last.  I can't help but notice that his hand is shaking really badly and he's spilling some of his drink down him ... he must be clucking from the alcohol withdrawal.

Strangely the place has been pretty dead all night, I'm not even sure why I'm sat here playing the piano, there has only been two lots of diners in tonight and the bar has been really deserted, even the drunks sat at the bar are thin on the ground tonight.

"Why is it so quiet in here tonight?"  I ask him as I look around

"Oh there is a big game on tonight ... I'm surprised you don't know!!  The whole world and his dog will probably be watching it, the Strawberry Fields lot are in town, it's always a big deal when we are playing them!!"   he starts chuckling  "If the landlord wasn't so miserable and installed a big screen TV in here like we've been nagging him to do for years, this place would be packed out tonight!!!"  Oh yeah, I remember now the game that Denim has been getting excited about all week.

"I'm not into sport!!"  I say, he says him neither these days.

"So is this what you want to do ... music, I've seen Grape and that son of his hanging around you quite a few times."  he laughs, I'd love to know what the bad feeling is that runs between them, they have both commented about not really liking each other.

"Eventually but not right now ... I'm not in a good place in my life right now."

"I know that feeling!!"  he laughs  "Nothing bad I hope!!"  I am changing the subject quickly.

"So what's the problem with you and Grape, I notice you don't seem to like each other very much."  I ask him.

"He's a law unto himself that one ... while I've had to suffer years of verbal abuse for what my children are doing, he's there flaunting that famous mixed berry son of his and nobody bats an eyelid ... he doesn't like me because of the way I've treated my family ... not that it is any of his business!!"  he starts laughing  "You know he told me years ago when Lilly was a toddler to move her to a colour mix town ... I thought he was talking shit to drive us out of town ... it appears he wasn't talking shit after all!!"

"So he was actually trying to help you and you didn't believe him!!" he rolls his eyes at me  "See if you had listened to him ... your life would be so much better now!!"

"It's alright you saying that ... we were going through hell, the stigma attached to having a colourless child you would never believe until it happens to you ... everyone was so nasty ... how could I believe he was being genuine?!  Besides mixed berry's to me at that time was just a very big no go ... I'm not sure I'd even physically seen one back then."

Now I guess that would all make sense, now that I know that Rocky is a mixed berry, and that Grape will go out of his way to help mixed berries and so it appears colourless berries too ... Grape obviously must think like we do - I can understand why there is so much bad feeling between the two of them.

I get the feeling he wanted to change the subject because he just suddenly starts to tell me randomly about Prelude which amuses me because I guess I'd probably know more about Prelude now than he does ... he tells me how Prelude loves his guitar and thought he might make something of himself when he stepped up to take care of and do the right thing for his colourless son moving him to Sugar Valley, but his downfall is the drink and that green woman of his, they have both caused a lot of trouble in his life, so Wisty keeps telling him ... I guess he doesn't know the half of it.  I'm laughing in my head because he's right there ... from what Dad has been telling River, since I went missing, Prelude has been permanently wasted because of her mainly being AWOL and he's gone and lost his job again.

I was pretty surprised when the old man told me that he used to be a school teacher and he was doing okay until his daughter arrived.   Of course the drinking didn't go down too well, nor his daughters lack of colour and he got the sack.  He's only had, what he calls stupid jobs since, like working in the grocery and book store, but he's retired now.  This got me thinking about Denim and the situation he got himself into because of the drink ... I wander how the old man has managed to keep his roof over his head when he's so wasted all the time ... so I ask him.  He starts laughing.

"My boy's ... they wanted to keep a roof over their Mother's head, they couldn't trust me too ... we did nearly lose the house a few time ... in the early days after they all moved to Sugar Valley ... they paid off the mortgage, I know they were only doing it for their mother ... but I'm not stupid ... I know who really paid it off!!"  I ask him who because he's just gone quiet  "That orange son in law of mine, I know my boys could never have scraped that much money together ... he paid it off ... he's loaded apparently, he's some big wig surgeon, and his parents."  He's talking about my Dad and I'm trying very hard not to laugh, yeah that is something that Dad would do!!  He starts chuckling to himself  "He'll get his money back with interest ... because when I fade, I've left him the house in my will ... when I shuffle off, I don't want them to think I'm a complete berry hole!!!"  Now I really can't help but laugh out loud with the old man who is now really laughing  "I only wish I could be there to see his face ... because he won't be expecting it!!"

"You don't like your orange son in law very much I take it?"  he stops laughing.

"To be honest, I don't really know him, I've only ever had one run in with him, he took offence to how I was talking to Lilly ... he's very over protective of her apparently ... I only hear what my Granddaughter says about him and Wisty idolizes him, and I know my boys do and he's taking really good care of Lilly from what I hear ... so I suppose he can't be too bad!"  he starts coughing again  "He goes above and beyond for his family apparently, he's a far better man than I could ever dream of being!! ... so both of my sons have thrown at me on more than one occasion."

I can't help but feel that the old man is really down, he thinks he's talking to a stranger so I guess I'm hearing the truth out of him,  if he knew who I was and he was telling me all this stuff I don't think I'd believe it because I would think he is telling me what I want to hear ... but he doesn't know who I am ... he's making me think he's sorry for everything and would change it if he could, but he thinks it's too late.  It could well be for all I know, I don't really know what has gone on between them all, only what Storm has told me.

Now what am I supposed to do with this??!!

"Tapestry ... you know if you want to get off early you can!!"  the landlord shouts me from behind the bar so I turn to look at him  "I'll pay you for a full shift, it's dead in here because of the game, I suppose I should have given you the night off really!!"

I'm not going to argue, especially if he's paying me for a full shift, it will give me the chance to spent some extra time with River, he's been really upset since his babies arrival and he feels like he's a million miles away.

"I'll walk back with you, I only live a few streets away from you's time I headed off anyway, I'm getting tired."  the old man says to me as he stands up.  Great!!  Now I've got to walk home with him!!  I notice he's holding his side and pulling a face as he moans.  I ask him if he's okay  "Just a bit of pain it will pass, I'll just use the toilet ... wait for me."  he says as he hobbles off.

I put the lid down on the piano and lock it and take the key back to the bar.  The landlord has started locking the piano up to stop people messing about with it when me and the other guy aren't here because he's had to replace quite a few of the keys lately because of people messing about on the piano and breaking them. 

While I'm stood at the bar waiting for the old man to come out of the toilet, I'm talking to the landlord, he starts laughing and joking with me asking me who my new friend is.  I roll my eyes at him and tell him I'd much rather he was slaughtered then he might have left me alone for five minutes.

"Well you are highly honoured!!  He likes you, he told me, and Grape Orchid doesn't like many folk especially if they are not purple!!"  he starts laughing at the expression on my face.

"Great!!"  I roll my eyes at him.  I'm am actually now worrying that the old man might attach himself to me ... he's lonely, and I've sat like an idiot talking to him tonight, almost encouraging him, maybe I should have given him some attitude instead of asking questions out of curiosity.

I see the old man stumble out of the toilet so I say goodnight to the landlord and leave the bar with the old man in tow.  As I expected, he walks slowly, like a snail, it is going to take me twice as long to get home at this rate.

"So how is your brother doing?"  he asks "His back mended yet?"  I am actually surprised that he can even remember the amount of alcohol he has drunk since I picked him up off the floor from outside this bar months ago.

"He's getting there, he's back home now, he's just starting to walk around again."  he asks if we will be taking off and going home soon. "Yeah, hopefully in a few weeks we can be off."

"Shame!!  You are okay for an orange!!"  he says which makes me laugh.  Yeah it is a shame, because he has got one of his Grandchildren right under his nose, which he's said tonight that he would be happy about, I'm here and he doesn't even know it ... and he will never know it.

We walk along for a while in silence, I notice he is getting very short of breath and he's holding his side, he starts coughing, then doubles up suddenly and throws up a little in the grass at the side of the pavement.  I think he is a lot sicker than he's making out.

"Are you even up to walking, maybe I should call us a taxi!!"  I say frowning at him as he continues to stand there doubled up and holding his side again.  He tells me he'll be fine in a minute and to stop fussing the pain will pass in a moment.  Even though I can drive now, I always walk to work, now I wish I'd come in the car.

But he isn't fine ... he's clutching his side and moaning

Then collapses into a heap on the grass.

I kneel down beside him, he's out cold ... not again!!

Only this time I think it is a lot more serious!!  I'm guessing it is probably something to do with his liver.  I pull my phone out and phone for an ambulance.

When we arrive at the hospital they rush him straight into A&E, luckily he has told me about his Liver problem so they see to him straight away and rush him straight into a cubical.

While they are examining and accessing him I slip out to phone River, to let him know I am at the hospital.  He wanted me to come straight home and just leave him too it ... he thought he was just drunk again, so when I told him about his liver cirrhosis he changed his mind and was okay when  I said I wanted to wait to make sure he is going to be alright ... he's on his own.

They take him into a side room and they let me sit with him even though they won't tell me what is wrong with him or how he is ... because I am not family ... what a joke!!  Even if I did tell them the truth I doubt they would believe me with him being purple and me being orange.

I really don't like the machines that they have him hooked up to and all the tubes and wires running up underneath the bed sheets.

I get a really horrible feeling he is on his way out.

I sit in the chair watching him and replaying over everything he has said to me tonight.  Even though it's not yet midnight and I would still be at work now, I am now feeling mentally tired, I lean back in the seat stretch my legs out and close my eyes while I'm thinking and I must have fallen straight off to sleep.

I wake up with a start because the door bangs and I can hear talking.

"Who's that?"  I hear a familiar voice ask

"He says he's a friend of your Fathers ... he came in the ambulance with him, I think he was with him when he collapsed."  a woman says

When I've sat myself up in the chair properly and open my eyes I have to blink a few times at the person stood in front of me to make sure I'm not seeing things.  The nurse checks the old mans machines and I watch her as Mulberry studies me with a frown on his face.  I wait until the nurse walks out of the room before I can react.

"Mulberry!!"  I dive up off the chair and throw myself at him  "Where did you come from?"

"Fudge!!  Tapestry!! ... I hardly recognized you ... Look at you!! my little nephew all grown up!!"  he starts hugging me and laughing  "What no hat?! and what's with the glasses?!"  he reminds me that when I was a child I used to spend hours screaming the house down because of having to wear glasses and I played up something chronic until my parents let me start using contact lenses. 

"Part of my disguise, exactly what you wouldn't be expecting ... and it worked ... you didn't recognize me did you!!"  I laugh at him

"No I didn't!!"  he grins at me as he holds me at arms length looking at me, then he hugs me again.  "So now I am guessing you are the one responsible for giving them my name and address!! ... what are you even doing with your Granddad Tap?!"

They had asked me when I arrived with the old man if I knew who his next of kin is, I gave them Mulberry's name and address ... I didn't know what else to do ... I couldn't have told them that I am his Grandson ... but after everything that the old man had said earlier I never in a million years would have expected Mulberry to actually turn up to the hospital ... I guessed they would just leave him here to rot ... but then I suppose I should have known better.

He explained that they've told him the old man is critical and needs a liver transplant straight away or he isn't going to make it ... so he jumped on the first plane out here, Prelude is too hammered to even understand so he hasn't even told him and my Mom doesn't even remember him.  Not that either of them could have come out to Rainbow Valley with me being in town anyway.

I'm a little surprised that its now 2am in the morning and I've been asleep for more than four hours.  I had to explain to him what had happened tonight because he couldn't understand why I was here with the old man, he started to get a little cross with me at first, thinking I'd been hanging about with him when I've been told not to, but he was sort of okay when I explained I'd been at work and he decided to park his backside by me and natter all night ... it's not like I could have got up and walked away from him.

"How's Mom?"  he says she's not good, she is spending most of her time blacked out since they found Honey and not me.  "Mulberry when can we come home, we are both getting seriously sick of this!!  We just want to come home!!"  I can't stop the tears, just seeing him has upset me.

"Don't worry Tap, its not long now!!  Just one more week."  he grins at me as he wipes the tears off my face  "Since when did you do crying without kicking off first?!"  he laughs as he hugs me again.  He is very shocked when I tell him that I haven't actually had an outburst since our first few weeks on the road.

"Well the silly old bugger has gone and done it this time!!"  he says as he stares down at the old man lying in the bed  "He's gone and drunk himself into an early grave!!  I had hoped he would try and put things right with his family before he shuffled off ... but obviously that's not happening!!"

"He'll be okay when he gets a transplant won't he?"

"It's not happening Tap ... his age and he's an alcoholic ... it's not ethical apparently for them to waste a perfectly good liver on an old drunk when someone younger could have it who wouldn't abuse it like he would."  he says as he continues to stare down at the old man  "He could have another 20 years in him for all they know ... but they recon it's time to pull the plug!!"  I'm not sure I quite understood that right.

"Are you trying to tell me, he can not have a transplant?"

"They say not ... but your Dads on the case!!"  he starts laughing


When I frown at Mulberry that is when I hear his voice as he walks into the room with a doctor, I look up quickly thinking I'm imagining it ... but I'm not.  I can't believe he's here, why hadn't Mulberry said he was here!?

Dad is holding a load of papers in his hand and he's having a go at the doctor, he is spouting a load of medical jargon that I don't understand.  I stand staring at him, he hasn't noticed me yet.  I look at Mulberry wide eyed.  He starts laughing at me.

"Thought I'd surprise you!"  he smiles at me

Dad looks up quickly to see who Mulberry is talking too, he glances at me for a moment then back down at the paperwork and carries on talking to the doctor

He seriously hasn't recognized me ... it upsets me for a moment then I realize, it's quite possible ... I've changed a lot since I've been away, I'm not wearing a hat and I've got glasses on which he would never expect and my hair is twice as long as it was, I've had my ears pierced and I've got a beard.  The last time he saw me I was a teenager and a lot different ... and Mulberry said he could hardly recognize me, Dad being colourblind can't see I'm orange, if he could then he probably would have looked at me a little harder.

Dad suddenly loses his temper at something the doctor has just said to him.

"I don't care what you are saying ... you can't just pick and chose who's life you save, he's not an animal and you can't just decide to put him down because it suits you, you're a doctor not a vet ... I want to see his consultant!! ... what kind of hospital is this ... it's a joke!!"

"I'm sorry but the decision has been made ..."

"I don't care what decision you THINK you have made ... I want to see his consultant"  Dad snaps at the doctor who frowns at him

"He's deteriorating fast and we probably won't have time to find him a compatible purple donor liver it could take longer than the time he's got left."

"DON'T TALK SHIT!!!  I might have known this would all be about colour!!  You can't pull the wool over my eyes ... I'm a surgeon - I've probably done more transplants than you've had hot dinners ... I could get him a replacement liver here within 24 hours ... compatible purple donor liver ... my arse!!!  Do you people still work in the dark ages they don't match transplant organs these days, not that they have ever matched them by colour anyway ... have you people never heard of anti rejection medication ... or don't you use anti rejection because berry forbid you might just be colour mixing!!!"  he starts really laughing then  "Purple donor liver ... oh berry!! ... that's the best I've heard yet!!"

The doctor just stands there gawking at Dad I don't think he knows what to say.  I struggling to take it in, I can't understand why Dad would be fighting for the old man like this when there is supposed to be so much bad feeling between them and him ... he's always the doctor!! 

"Just fetch me his consultant before I really lose my temper and I use your liver and do the transplant surgery myself!!"  I can't help but laugh ... I've never seen Dad like this before.  "I don't think I'd trust you with him now anyway so I'm having him transferred to Sugar Valley where we run a hospital not a colour coded veterinary practise!!"  the doctor huffs and walks out of the room.

"Purple donor liver ... oh berry!!"  he starts laughing really hard  "wait til Forrest hears this one - oh fudge!! - the colour coded twats are brainwashed!!!"  it really seems to have ticked him  "Who's your friend Mulberry?"  he asks as he starts looking at the paperwork again and carries on laughing.

Me and Mulberry look at each other and both burst out laughing ... he glances up from the paperwork again, this time he looks really irritated, probably by our laughing, he frowns at me for a moment while he's watching me laugh.

"TAPESTRY?!"  he says as the papers fall out of his hand.  "Oh Berry!!  

He recognizes me ... finally!!

Part two will follow in a few days!