Beautiful Vision Says: I’m Alice

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ONE When Alec Tiplady went into mourning after his wife of 23 years left him for a newer model, departing after her divorce for a new life in a new country, his two daughters Nina and Dolly worried him greatly. They worried him so much he was unable to work through his grief comfortably.

It puzzled Alec why his two daughters were unable to resist filling his life with their concerns – 'Are you eating enough, dad?', 'This house is really too large for you', 'Why don't you get out and about?, 'Look up some of your old girl friends, and 'The house looks dirty, I think we must find you a housekeeper' were typical of the little gems of concern that promised to bring disruption and possible mayhem to his current pattern of life.

His chosen current pattern of life, of course, was programmed to allow him to sulk. Elizabeth-Mae's leaving him had been devastating. He'd worked out an entire pattern of life to take him to his eventual grave, with Elizabeth-Mae standing at his graveside, secure with the knowledge she'd been left with plenty of money, closely attended as the lowering of the coffin by their two loving daughters and husbands and six to eight grandchildren, predominantly boys.

But now his sulking period had turned into a disaster because of the interference of Nina and Dolly. This period of stomach-ulcer threatening anxiety continued for three months and then Alec fell into the arms of a new woman, literally. He was particularly soured from the latest barrage from his two daughters one evening so with uncharacteristic resolve of late, decided to go down to his old favorite bar for a drink.

It was a nasty night and the wind-driven snow suggested he'd easily find a dark corner to drink in undisturbed moroseness, he thought, wondering if there was such a word. Anyway, he put on his old hunting cap and jacket and drove down to the village, parking right in front of the bar because Main Street was practically deserted.

He rushed in through the door where he collided with a woman coming out. She just had time to open her mouth in alarm when Alec smashed into her and grabbed her to break his fall as they crashed to the floorboards. The woman began screaming, Alec realized he was sprawled in a perfectly aligned position to have sex and contemporaneously glimpsed the bargirl running at him carrying a baseball bat.

Everything then went dark. He woke up next morning and, as one might have guessed, the first thing he saw was the worried face of Dolly with smaller but older Nina behind her trying to get a look in to have her say. The only thing was is wasn't the next morning – it was two mornings later and he was in hospital, in bed.

His daughters has barely established that for him when medical people arrived and questioned him as if he were a six-year-old and flashed lights into his eyes. But they looked almost as joyous as if he'd returned from the dead when he answered coherently and finally, in exasperation, told them to fuck off.

'Oh daddy!' cried Nina, beating Dolly back into the critical care room weeping, and plastering his white tunic thing with tears, mascara and lipstick. Dolly, unable to perform the heroic act of a relieved daughter bringing her father back from the brink stood there, hands on hips shaking her head and saying, 'Dad, you're not safe to be allowed to go out anywhere.

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