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    Wombat Bill
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  • 1,205 Words

The Covids - 32. Are you Positive?

A few days later, Daniel’s mother, Beryl received a call from her best friend, Anthea.

“Hello Dearie, I’ve got some bad news. Remember when we had lunch at the Hunters Hill Bowling club last week and I introduced you to Pippa Woodford and she joined us for lunch.”

“Of course, but why do you ask?”

“It seems she has tested positive for Corona virus and all those that were at the club at the time are advised to watch out for symptoms and get tested if you are concerned.”

“Bugger! That’s all I need, to have to go through all that rigmarole. Have you been tested?”

“I’ve only just found out about it. Those tracer people from the health department just called. They’ll probably call you soon. I feel OK but I think I’ll have a test tomorrow, just to be sure.”

“Well I’m not sick so I won’t bother lining up for hours just to have some masked avenger stick foreign objects up my nose. Who knows, that’s probably how this thing is spreading. If they’re testing so many people how do you know if all their stuff is sterile?”

“That’s a bit cynical Beryl, I’m sure they do their best. Anyway, isn’t your grand daughter-in-law a nurse; why don’t you talk to her about it.”

“She’s more of an out-law.”


“You know she‘s not married to my grandson, they just live together.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake Beryl, that’s what people do these days. Get up-to-date. It’s the twenty first century you know. We all have to move with the times. Anyway, all that aside, I still think you should get tested or at least seek some advice.”

“Alright, don’t nag, I’ll talk to Colleen tonight. You know, she checks up on me every day. Seems like a damn cheek, but I suppose she means well.”

“Good, and don’t just talk to her, take her advice as well.”

“Yes, yes, I will do as you instruct.”

“Beryl, do I sense a certain reluctance, on your part, to take this seriously?”

“I said no nagging.”

“And that’s another thing, I’m your oldest friend, you know I only have your best interest at heart and yet you speak to me like that. We’ve always shared our concerns and supported each other. But now I don’t know where this new attitude of yours is coming from. Is there something else bothering you Beryl?”

“Well, actually there is, but I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Even with me?”

“Especially with you.”


“Yes, what?”

“I think I’ll go now, before we have an argument. I value our friendship Beryl and I don’t want to have a falling out. If you don’t feel you want to share with me, then I think we should leave it at that.”

“Funny, that’s exactly what Daniel said.”

“Daniel, your son?”


“Did you two have a falling out over something; is that what this is about?”

“You could say that.”

“Are you going to tell me about it, or are you just going to stew over it?”

“I suppose I could talk to you about it, but not over the phone. Next time you’re over.”

“Fair enough my dear. I’ll let you know how my Corona test goes. You keep safe and talk to Colleen.”

“Bye Anthea.”

“We’ll talk soon Beryl.”

Beryl did receive a call later in the day from the Health tracing team, but the conversation did not go well. Beryl refused to listen to the advice being given and when asked for an email address so she could be sent more information, she refused. When the tracer suggested she might have to send an adviser to her house, Beryl hung up and refused to answer the phone for the rest of the day.


Two days later, she did answer the phone and it was Anthea calling to say she had tested positive. “So what does that mean?” Beryl asked.

“It means I have this thing so I have to isolate, which isn’t really a problem, being a widow and Sam will drop around groceries for me and leave them on the door step. Other than that I still feel fine, so maybe it won’t be so bad after all.”

“I’m sorry to hear that Anthea, I hope you’ll get through it OK.”

“Thanks, but what about you, have you had a test or at least spoken to Colleen?”

“No and no.”

“Were you contacted by the tracing people?”

“Yes, but I hung up when she got too nosy.”

“For Pete’s sake Beryl, you need to take this thing seriously.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me.”

“I do, but I won’t say any more about it. I know you’re not listening.”

“Ah finally, you get the message.”

“Bye Beryl.” Anthea hung up without waiting for a goodbye.


Colleen was working an afternoon shift, so Jason did the daily check on his grandmother. During their brief chat she mentioned that her friend had tested positive to Corona. When Jason, not only suggested she go for a test, but offered to drive her, she refused and told him not to tell Colleen. “Why would I not tell Colleen? As your carer she needs to know.”

“I am not in care and she only needs to know what I want her to know.”

“Gran, you may not be strictly in care, but the reason we are living here is to help you through this pandemic. Of course Colleen needs to know.”

“Do you mean you will disobey my order?”

Jason paused before answering, and remembered how close he had come to being thrown out of the house when his grandmother had a disagreement with his father. “Gran if you are that definite about it then I suppose I must do as you wish.”

“I’m pleased you see it that way, my boy. We wouldn’t want to have any unpleasantness about it, would we?”

“Of course not Gran.”

Jason said his goodbye and left with every intention of telling Colleen.


“Now what I’m about to tell you must be kept between us.”

“Sounds serious.”

“It is.” Jason told Colleen about his conversation with Beryl and swore her to secrecy. She agreed not to let on to Beryl that she knew, but knowing would allow her to monitor Beryl with more knowledge.

“Are you going to tell your father?”

“I don’t know what to do, especially given the situation between them at present. He might just not care or he might have it out with her. Since that there is already bad blood, what has he got to lose?”

“Yes, it might be risky, if he confronts her then she will know who told him and that will make it more difficult for me to monitor her health.”

“Not to mention, she might throw us out again.”

“Oh, that; do you think she would?”

“She tried it before. We have to tread carefully here and juggle caring for her as well as keeping her on side.”

“Agreed, I’ll continue to check on her daily but not mention what I know.”

“No wonder I love you so much Colleen.”

“Good, now take me to bed and prove it.”

Copyright © 2020 Wombat Bill; All Rights Reserved.
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I think I love Anthea and as for Beryl....sadly I think she reflects the stubborn mindset of some people who either believe it’s not real, not as bad say they say, or is too much of a hassle to get checked. I hope she is ok though if she could get sick yet recover that’d be glorious karma for her attitude towards her friends & family. I mean that comment to Jason about them not wanting any unpleasantness clearly to me screams threat as I’m fairly confident she was hinting at throwing them out if Jason defied her wishes so I’d love to see her get taught a lesson in humility.

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I do believe Beryl should grow up and stop acting childish just because she is not getting her way. Everyone loves her but she is acting selfish on her part by not being a supportive person to everyone, including her family!

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