You can find chapter one Here
The story so far, Dr Webster is taking a few days leave from his practice to attend a Blues festival in Blackpool. While attending an early afternoon gig he meets Debbie a teenager fairly new to Blackpool and about to go on her first date with her new suitor. The venue’s barman has some suspicions over the disappearance of some regulars and feels the good Doctor may be a worthy confidante.
Feed back and advise welcome
The Second Chapter
Debbie was happy, despite her nerves her date had followed through and taken her to the Pleasure Beach, and paid for admission.
“That thing creeps me out,” muttered her date indicating the laughing clown rotating within the entrance display. “I don’t like clowns or dummies.”
Debbie smiled, he was letting her into his mind, someone likes me.
“When I was a little girl, I was terrified by a walking tree in a Rupert Bear story.” She smiled reassuringly, “My mum was terrified by an episode of Doctor Who involving seaweed. When we moved here, the first night she woke up screaming that the weed creature had got her. It took her a few minutes to realise it was just her bedsheet wrapped round her leg.”
“Aww your mum sounds sweet,” replied her date. “Funny how these little fears stay with you.”
“Well, it might have been Doctor Who before, but what really scares her these days are those,” she answered indicating her chest. “She freaked out when I developed massive tits.”
Her date winced at the comment, “I don’t like the term ‘tits’, it is too… mechanical and a bit degrading.”
“Oh Gerry,” Debbie smiled, “would you prefer boobies? It’s a childish term.”
“In honesty, I don’t tend to talk about them,” Gerry answered, “I didn’t go on this date because of your chest.”
“That’s good to know,” replied Debbie, “it was quite an issue at school as they pretty had a growth spurt in year 11.”
“A few weeks ago,” began Bill, “a regular stopped coming in.”
“People change bars,” replied Dr. Webster cynically.
“I put it down to that, but three more stopped coming in, so I on a whim I went round some of the other pubs and bars they hung out in….”
“So, Debbie where do you want to go first?” asked Gerald.
“Well I don’t want to be too ambitious first time so let’s go on the Grand National,” answered Debbie. She didn’t think she had was ready for the Big One just yet, so one of the smaller Roller Coasters would be a good ease in.
“Grand National it is then,” replied Gerry. “Valhalla afterwards?”
“That isn’t an upside down ride is it?”
“No, it’s a boat based ride. You’ll get a bit wet on it.”
“I take it they weren’t in those,” replied Dr. Webster nursing the last few dregs of his Stout.
“No,” confirmed Bill. “As they weren’t frequenters it wasn’t really noted, however one of the Landlords did mention he thought there was a bug going round as a few of his patrons were absent.”
“Mystery solved then,” said Dr. Webster knowing full well Bill wasn’t convinced.
“Perhaps,” mused Bill.
Dr. Webster sighed, there was something preying on the young man’s mind and it wasn’t going to go until he talked about it, “Why the doubt?”
“You’re a doctor so you may be able to correct me,” began Bill. “Bugs usually have a similar set of people getting them don’t they?”
“Not always, but I see you are hinting at something.”
“There it is… well, the range of people is so varied. Ethnicity, Age, Sex etc all over the shop.”
Dr. Webster scratched his chin thoughtfully, “anything in the local press?” Bill shook his head. “What is your next step?” Bill sketched an outline of his intent. “Sounds like a plan, if only to put your mind at ease. Anyway, I must fly. There’s another band starting soon.” Dr. Webster smiled, left a few coins on the bar top and departed for his next destination.
The creaky old carriages of the Grand National screeched to a halt and jolted the assembled passengers back slightly, the old bone – shaker still had life left it it yet. Gerry helped Debbie out of the carriage and joined the mêlée down the exit ramp.
“I found that rather exhilarating,” he beamed.
“It definitely woke me up,” answered Debbie. “Which way is Valhalla?”
“This way,” answered Gerry already en route. “If that cleared the cobwebs away, Valhalla definitely will.”
“Wait for me,” called Debbie trying to keep up with his pace, Heels she decided, were a poor decision on her part. Despite this, the walk to Valhalla was brisk and upon arrival she was rather impressed by its mock facade. As they walked in, Debbie became very aware of Gerry looking her up and down. Oh well, he’d lasted longer than most guys did.
“That dress,” said Gerry. “It is a bit inappropriate-”
“You sound like my mum now,” Debbie cut in. “She freaked when I bought a bikini.”
“I meant for the ride,” smiled Gerry. “I’ll buy you a mac.”
“Oh sorry,” blushed Debbie. “No, I’ll rough it”
“Ok,” answered Gerry.
They entered the queue and waited for the next few boats to arrive.
Dr. Webster arrived in the bar and was greeted by the strains of the band in full flow with the bass and lead guitar engaging in a riff battle. The venue looked less phoney then the Bang – Bang but seemed to be lacking in any form of character, the bar was set by three bland looking beer fonts serving predictable ordinary beers. He ordered a fruit juice and plonked himself on a chair to watch the show, he was beginning to relax but something at the back of his mind was nagging him.
“Ok you win,” laughed Debbie as she emerged soaking wet from the ride. Gerry had got off relatively lightly and only got a little damp. “Should have gone for a mack.”
“You’d be better off with a PC,” answered Gerry. Debbie looked at him perplexed. “Nevermind,” he added with a smile. “So where now?” asked Gerry offer the park guide. Debbie studied it trying to figure a ride a little more romantic, it appeared that there was no tunnel of love… so what about the other side? A haunted house. She scanned the map and recognised a name: UNCLE HARRY’S GHOST TRAIN.
“How about this?” she asked indicating the Ghost Train.
“Oh this is a recent addition, I haven’t been there before.”
“It’ll be a new experience for both of us then,” smiled Debbie, giving his a hand a squeeze.
Twelve minutes into a rather rambling cover of the Allman Brothers Band’s famous song Jessica, Dr. Webster started to scan around the bar. The barman was polishing glasses, two guys in the window were giggling over something on a phone and through the window there were three paramedics on the car park. His medical instinct cut in and he quickly left the pub and approached the team.
“Excuse me,” he began. “My name is Benjamin Webster, I’m a doctor. What appears to be the problem?”
One of the paramedics turned to face him. He was very tall, bald and had a stern expression. He had blue eyes which were very cold as opposed to a set of Henry Fonda baby blues. “You don’t need to be concerned, we have our own doctor on her way.” He stated in a stoic monotone.
“Ok, but it would help her if I could-”
“You are not the local doctor,” interrupted the paramedic.
“No, but that is irrelevant at this stage so let me through.” Dr. Webster attempted pushing through but the man’s ham of a hand clutched his shoulder.
“You should leave, we have this under control.”
Dr. Webster studied the man, that was a threat, not a statement. He shrugged his shoulders, “I can see you are a man of infinite ability and rational. I am sure it will be fine,” he said sternly and returned to the bar. As he entered he glanced over his shoulder, the three paramedics were bundling someone into an Ambulance, but there was something odd about the Ambulance he couldn’t put his finger on. Perhaps it was a military one, that would certainly explain the surly attitude of the Paramedics, how far was the nearest barracks? Dr. Webster ordered another fruit juice and returned his attention to the band who were still rambling through the Allman Brothers number.
“Have they started something and they don’t know how to finish?” he asked a near by patron. The patron just looked at him blankly and returned to his beer. This was hardly a friendly venue, perhaps he’d have a look at the public band on the Pier instead as the band, and bar, were not cutting it for him. With a crashing of symbols Jessica finally screeched to a halt and the rather-smug band spokesman joked about getting carried away, he was not endearing himself to Dr. Webster in anyway. After a few bars of what they claimed was St. James Infirmary Blues, Dr. Webster cut his losses and made for the Pier.
Bill clocked out and slipped on his jacket, he’d head for Sid’s before going home for lunch as it wasn’t far from the Bang. He strolled down the backstreets and shook his head as he passed the outdated frontage of the Boarding house, he did feel sorry for the chap from the bar though he seemed blasé about it. A few minutes later he was on the correct street and he approached the address he had been given for Sid. He tapped rhythmically on the front door and waited, no answer. He tried again, still nothing. OK time for an old cliché, Bill open the letter box and was surprised to hear the sound of the post landing on top of what sounded like a pile of paper. He couldn’t see much through the gap of the box, but everything seemed to be in order. Bill had a sudden awareness of someone standing behind him, how was he going to explain this?
“I wouldn’t bother, he’s been away for ages.” Stated a voice behind him. Bill turned to find a well dressed black man standing in the pathway.
“Oh where has he gone?” asked Bill.
“No idea,I have been trying to get in touch with him for ages.”
“I wanted to present him with this letter from our local centre,” he explained producing a brown envelope. “He was kind enough to donate a series of free tickets for the Pleasure Beach to us, I the secretary of a small Church group.”
“That was kind of him,” replied Bill.
“Yes, but we have not see him for ages. Why are you here?”
“I work at the Bang – Bang where Sid is a regular and we haven’t seen him for a bit. Just wanted to check he was ok.”
“Ah, there is care in the community still,” answered the man with a smile. “If you see him before me, ask him to pop by.”
“I will,” answered Bill. “I better be off. Glad it isn’t anything to worry about.”
“Good day,” said the pastor as Bill made his way down the street.
Dr. Webster set on a bench by the band stand indulging in the ultimate seaside tourist cliché, eating newspaper-wrapped Cod and Chips. This band was a little more amateur and bit off key but at least they had no pretentiousness about themselves; they were clearly out to have fun. The eccentrically dressed guy from the Bang – Bang Bar was present in audience and merrily dancing away, an amusing distraction from surly paramedics and conspiracy theorist barmen. He checked his watch, 5:30, he’d stay for another half hour and return to his digs to freshen up for the night.
Debbie and Gerry left the Pleasure Beach in good spirits, laughing as they exited the grounds.
“Thank you Gerry for a wonderful day,” Debbie said wrapping her arms around him and kissing him.
“It is you who made it wonderful,” Gerry replied before reciprocating the kiss. “Do you want to meet later? Apparently there is a much jiveier band on at the Bang – Bang.”
“Yes I would,” she answered. “Let’s let our hair down a bit. I’ll have to change though.
“Will you be eating here or out tonight?” the stern faced landlady of the Boarding house asked.
“I’ll be eating out tonight I think,” answered Dr. Webster who had done his best to gingerly pass reception without being noticed.
“Just so long as I know…” the landlady replied. “Remember I don’t allow guest to bring funny women back overnight.”
“Well it is fortunate I have no desire to act upon the pleasures of the flesh,” Dr Webster retorted. “I’m here for the bands, not the groupie girls.”
“I see, well have a good time,” sneered the landlady.
Dr Webster made his way up to his digs, definitely caught in a 1940s time warp he told himself.
Whatever the reason, now night had fallen the Bang – Bang Bar had suddenly taken on a new identity and sense of character. The mock oil lamps on the walls, flickering candles and low key light had completely changed the look of the interior, although it had not improved Sam’s cowboy voice. Debbie had switched from a dress to much more practical silver blouse and a pair of black trousers, she sat poised on a bar stool half watching the band set up and half keeping an eye on the bar door, she still had a slight feeling Gerry was going to stand her up.
“Hello stranger,” said a vaguely familiar voice behind her. She turned, it was the man from earlier on, dressed a bit more formally… though his choice in neckwear was eccentric to say the least. “How did the date go?”
“Hello,” Debbie beamed, “it went well thank you. I am meeting him here shortly.”
“Good to hear,” replied, Benjamin was it? “Second meeting on day one is always a positive sign… but don’t call me shorty.”
“It is…” Debbie replied, fairly certain he had misquoted a film at her but more concerned with the aftermath of his dinner. “You have chicken stuck in your teeth.”
“Blow me,” replied Dr. Webster checking his reflection in the mirror behind the bar and getting a cocktail stick from the barman. “Thank you for that. Would you like a drink while you are waiting?”
“Thank you, I’ll have a Vesper.”
“Okay,” replied Dr. Webster ordering the cocktail and a pint of Stout for himself.
“Evening Debbie,” said Gerry who had just arrived on the scene. He quizzically looked at Dr. Webster.
“Better have one for the young gentleman,” Dr Webster told the barman.
“Thank you, I’ll have a Lager.”
“I’ll leave you two alone,” said Dr. Webster as the barman deposited a frothy pint of Lager.
“Who’s your friend?” asked Gerry once Webster was out of ear shot.
“I don’t really know, spoke to him earlier. Nice chap.”
“I’ll second that,” answered Gerry toasting his beer in Dr. Webster’s direction.
The atmosphere was changed as the band launched and began to play Louis Jordan’s famous hit “Let the Good Times Roll”.
Time passed quickly at the gig and despite her nerves, Debbie had finally got the courage to get up on the dance floor with Gerry and was merrily jiving away to a Blues Brothers medley. Dr. Webster smiled watching them, ahh to be that age again… his wistfulness was interrupted by Bill who looked more concerned then before.
“What’s up Bill?” he asked cautiously.
“It might be nothing but,”
“Well I visited my patrons house. It was empty and judging by the amount of unmoved mail, it has been empty a while.”
“Perhaps he’s on holiday.”
“Perhaps, but a guy from a church commented on his absence too.”
Dr. Webster stroked his chin thoughtfully, he may be a conspiracy theorist but he’d caught his interest, perhaps due to the Ambulance men.
“Well give me his details and I’ll get Liz to run him through the medical database and see if he has been admitted to anywhere.”
“Thank you,” replied Bill.
The catchy rhythm of the slow burning tune had got to Debbie, she was slowly dancing to the tune looking into Gerry eyes, for some reason she felt miles away and alone with him, as if it were just him and her dancing at home.
At first Gerry didn’t notice, the bar was muggy due to all the dancers and he was assuming Debbie was simply loosening her collar, but as they dance she continued to unbutton her blouse. “Debbie?” he asked, but her eyes seemed glazed over and distant,
The barman crossed to Bill, “I think you need to stage an intervention on the dance floor.”
“A fight brewing?” he inquired.
“No, the opposite.”
What did that mean? He moved to the dance floor, that young girl was dancing away in bra and trousers, to the clear discomfort of her date and other patrons. He eyed Dr. Webster to give him assistance as he was still in possession of his long coat, Dr Webster nodded in understanding and rose gently from his seat. Debbie was now lost in the rhythm and her bra slipped effortlessly to the floor, yet she seemed oblivious. Gerry was clearly out of his depth and was doing his best to cover her modesty.
“I think that is quite enough you lady,” said Bill sternly. “Your dancing is officially a Billy Cotton banned show.” Dr. Webster slipped his jacket over her and guided her to his table, yet she still seemed to be dancing. Gerry picked up her discarded clothing and joined her at the table. The band stopped on Bills cue, while Debbie was dressed by Dr. Webster, a mean feat since he was still dancing.
“You haven’t slipped her a Mickey have you?” Gerry asked Dr. Webster.
“No,” he answered sternly.
All of a sudden Debbie snapped out of her dream world, clearly a little confused as to why Dr. Webster was buttoning up her blouse and why her breasts were out.”Wh-what just happened?”
“You tell me,” replied Dr, Webster. “You just went all strippergram.”
“You started undressing on stage,” confirmed Gerry.
“What?” she asked puzzled. “I was dancing, thinking how nice it would be if were dancing together at home and how I would…” she tailed off, staring into space.
“Lost in the moment after a few too many eh Debbie?” smiled Dr. Webster. Silence. “Debbie?” he smiled again… then looked at her. She appeared to be in a trance.
“Debbie?” asked Gerry worriedly. Dr Webster waved his hand in front of her eyes, no reaction. Pinched her hand, no reaction.
He turned to Bill, “I think you better call for an Ambulance.”