The Lost Island Of Doctor Maroon
I was just seven years old when I was struck by the realisation that my father was up the creek. He was turning into a woman and the stress was killing him. To let you know, me and Mum were in some room and the doctor had come in to give us the bulletin on Dad. I was pretty confident. This was the Western Infirmary after all, which was the best hospital in the world, ask anyone.
The doctor was tall. He had funny eyes and a stethoscope and pens in his pocket. I didn’t like that stethoscope one bit. It was black and rubber and threatening. I felt distinctly threatened. My knees were shaking.
“…so it’s really just his Jemima and we’ll keep a close eye on that…”
The affairs of adults were never discussed in front of me so I was making myself as small and quiet as possible but I must have gasped or something because my dear mamma looked over and sent me out so I tore down the corridor to Dad to tell him the bad news. He’d looked fine five minutes ago. Perhaps the strain of motor factoring and light engineering caused his Willy to fall off, but would that leave a Jemima? Would he grow bosoms? I was certain he’d had a Willy. I had seen it at swimmies, only for a second mind but there could be no mistake. It’s not the sort of thing you can misinterpret.
When I got back to his bed I saw I was too late. He looked different. Cybermen had put plastic tubes in his ears to suck out his brains and his handsome face was all twisted. He winked and waved me over.
‘Here.’ he said, sticking the hissing pipes in my ears.
It was Round the Horne, a radio programme that gave him more joy than all his beloved family put together.
“…hello, I’m Julian and this is my friend Sandy…”
This was too bad. This was whistling while Rome burned. I took command.
“Now look here Pater, Mater and I have had a chat with that medical Johnny next door and the upshot is you better pull your socks up. He’s not at all happy with your progress, and frankly I don’t blame him. It’s time to beat your ploughshares into swords and fight the fight. Gird up your loins and face the coming storm. Via veritas vitae!”
In reality I said;
‘Dad, are you turning into a lady?’
‘What? No. Don’t be silly.’
‘The doctor said you’ve got a Jemima.’
Dad was probably drugged because he just stared at me.
‘Go and get Mum.’ he said thoughtfully.
He was home the next day and the whole thing was never mentioned again.