A Fateful Meeting

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It was a beautiful late spring morning; Mr Banerjee had finished with the early rush and was busy stocking the shelves. His friend and business partner, Mr Markey, entered the shop greeting him with a cheery 'hello'.

Some ten years earlier and following the death of his wife, Banerjee had advertised for an assistant to help with the rigours of running the business. Markey, who had recently found himself alone and was not enjoying his dull job with the council, applied and given a six-month trial. The months had turned into years and the two men had settled into a quiet relationship built on mutual respect, a strong work ethic and an enduring trust and friendship.

For about an hour, the two worked away silently before stopping for a cup of tea.

"You look a little tired," remarked Markey.

Banerjee sipped his tea and sighed. "Yes, I am feeling a little weary today, I did not sleep too well last night and my legs were ever so fidgety and achy."

"Ah, restless leg syndrome, a prevalent complaint, I understand," said Markey, then added as a humorous afterthought, "did you know that there is a recognised medical condition called restless genital syndrome?"

"No, really, you're making that up, surely?"

"As God's my witness I speak no lie, "it's a bonafide condition, though as I understand, more commonly experience in women than men. My great Aunt Hilda suffered from it."

"How on earth do you know that?" asked Banerjee

"My great Uncle Wilfred told me, one day, right out of the blue, I was about fourteen."

"What did you say?"

"I thought he was joking, so I just laughed. Truth is he was a bit of a rogue, and I'm sure he was trying to shock or embarrass me."

Both men laughed at the idea of restless genitals, Banerjee adding, "I can assure you, old chap that it was just my legs."

"But seriously, how long since you had any time off?" continued Markey

"Oh, I don't know. A long time maybe, let me see..." Banerjee thought a while, "I had that afternoon off a couple of years ago for my cousin's funeral."

"Hell, Banerjee, that doesn't count."

"Well, now, I really don't know, it has been a very long time."

"Well, I want you to take the afternoon off; go out and take a walk; get some sun on your skin; breathe the air; feel the wind on your face."

"It does sound like a nice idea; you'll be all right, will you? I can come back later to lock up."

"No, I won't hear of it,  don't be silly; I can do it all in my sleep. You can tell me all about it tomorrow."

Banerjee smiled, his brown eyes lighting up, "okay, be jingo, I will take a few hours off."

The two men consulted a book of London walks and that afternoon Banerjee took the tube to Lime Street station where he alighted and began the 4.2 mile Three Mills and Canals walk. It was a perfect day for it, and as he set off down the Limehouse Cut, he vowed that he'd take a little more time for himself. Although entirely built up, it was surprisingly quiet, with few people out and about and for the most part, Banerjee had the world to himself, or so it seemed.

***

Dr Klein was an inmate at the Benfrew Centre for Mental Disorders where six months earlier, he'd been transferred after fifteen years at Broadmoor. He had shown significant progress and his medical team, headed up by Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Miriam Proud, had been working hard to get him rehabilitated and back into society.

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