Brian Davis came from the meanest of the mean streets of East London.
His father, a brute, taught him how to Look After Himself. This legacy bore fruit when a boy nearly twice his size was unwise enough to attempt to bully him. Brian nearly killed him – and only the disparity in size prevented him from receiving severe punishment. After this, the locals decided you did not mess with Brian Davis.
But Brian was not content to sit on a reputation. He discovered he had ENJOYED flattening the bully. He needed more of the same. Thus began a career of violence not seen since the gangs of the Sixties. He and his satellites ran every dodgy deal in the neighbourhood and dealt ruthlessly with anyone who was unwise enough to get in their way.
However, people eventually grow up and Brian was no different. Having now secured employment as a van driver and moved out to Basildon, incidents of road rage and punch-ups at the local pubs satisfied his need for blood. Then he discovered football. The game itself bored him, but the hooliganism afterwards justified the tedium.
Then eventually, Brian met Gwen. She had big boobs and a small brain, which suited Brian admirably. Gwen, in turn, was sure she could tame Brian and anyway, she liked a man who could handle himself. If truth be known, watching him beat the crap out of some muppet excited her. And Brian would always reap the benefit after one of his excesses.
One such time resulted, nine months later, in the birth of Eunice. Against all odds, she was intelligent, gentle and sweet. Brian loved the little girl more than life itself. He made sure that she NEVER witnessed any of his “mischief”.
However, as time passed and Brian’s criminal record grew, he realised that too many more incidents and he might end up in JAIL. That last judge had had NO sense of humour at all. And so it was that, reading “The Sun” one day, he came upon a report which drew his interest. It concerned the exploits of a radical “animal rights” group.
Now Brian loved animals – preferably well done, with chips and brown sauce. But it occurred to him that he might JUST have found the perfect “cause”. After all, while judges and juries frowned upon people engaging in “action” – as meat-eaters, they always felt guilty when the reason for it was a cause like animal protection. Any penalties handed down would therefore be reduced accordingly.
It did not take long for Brian to find and enter the group. And having done so, he set about knocking it into shape. HIS shape. Some members left, but the ones who remained were the ones he needed. Now established as their leader, he began a campaign that even they had dared not dream of. Its climax came late one September night.
A lab that used rats and mice for testing new drugs was situated just outside of town, in a former army barracks. Brian and his cohorts arrived and cut through the perimeter fence. They were met with no resistance. Disappointed, Brian decided they might as well have a bonfire anyway.
The Molotov cocktails they had brought were used to good effect and soon, the entire complex was ablaze from end to end. After a while, the sound of sirens could be heard in the distance and so Brian and his men made good their escape.
The following morning, while enjoying his breakfast, Brian turned on his TV, to see if there was any news about last nights’ entertainment. He listened as the first item came on. It concerned the death of a prominent research scientist, Professor Richard Searle. He had been working late in his lab and had apparently fallen asleep at his desk, when a fire had broken out.
The investigators had determined the fire was started deliberately and its smoke had overcome the professor, killing him before the flames even reached him. This was a common occurrence… Brian turned the TV off. He began to think. He had known this one would be hairy and so had not confided in Gwen. Only the lads were privy to the knowledge.
At work, he expected every moment that a cop would walk in to take him away, but nothing happened. Eventually, at lunchtime, he went to a phone box down the street and called his mates. It became obvious they were as scared as he, but were determined to keep quiet about it all. It was agreed they would lay low for a while – like, FOREVER.
Again, time passed and Brian once more settled into his old routine of occasional road rage, pub-fights and football violence, all the while making sure not to go TOO far. He did NOT need to attract attention. But after a few weeks, he realised if there HAD been a trail that lead to him, it had now grown cold and he could relax.
Then the fateful day came. Eunice was now five and looking forward to her first day at school, when one day, whilst playing with Brian in the garden, her pretty blue eyes suddenly rolled upwards and she collapsed.
Brian was beside himself as he waited for the ambulance. He was just carrying her to his car when it arrived. The crew put her on life support and Brian and Gwen jumped into the car and followed, at times hitting seventy through the narrow streets.
At the hospital, they waited. After an eternity, a doctor appeared – his expression was grave. He asked them to join him in his office. They sat down. “We’ve managed to stabilize her, but I’m afraid the prognosis isn’t good. She has Haxell’s Chorea.”
“What the hell is that?” asked Brian.
“I’m afraid it’s a progressive neuro-degenerative disease – for which there’s no cure.”
A long pause. “How long?”
“About a year. She’ll be able to carry on living with you for the first six months or so – at that stage, she will only suffer collapses like the one you witnessed. We have drugs that will help minimise those events. But after that, the seizures will start, at which point I’m afraid she’ll have to be hospitalised until – the end.”
Another long pause, this time broken by Gwen, “Will it be painful?”
“A little, but of course, we’ll minimise that as far as possible with drugs.”
Finally, his voice breaking, Brian asked, “But surely, in this day and age, there MUST be a cure?”
“Sadly no,” said the doctor. “The tragic thing is, someone WAS working on a cure and had recently announced a breakthrough. Clinical trials were due to start last month and undoubtedly, your daughter would have qualified as a candidate.
“But unfortunately, there was a fire. The head of research died and all of his records and specimens were destroyed in the blaze. And it seems his assistants knew little about the breakthrough.
“Actually, I was at medical school with him – his name was Professor Richard Searle…”
(c) Morpheus 2009 All characters and situations fictitious