Sunday, August 06, 2006

Max Part Four

Max Part Four: The Ending.

After Marjorie’s death we had to wonder what would now happen to her dog. We continued walking him on a regular basis and just made enquiries when the opportunity arose. The staff said he had become more needy since her death, but I think that might have been an illusion – he had become a lot more demonstrative over the months he’d been a resident in this old people’s home probably because there were more people fussing him. Whenever we turned up to take him for a walk, he would make a fair bit of noise and roar up and down the corridors to let everyone know the rest of his pack had arrived and the were going OUT. As a little time passed we heard that things might become a little difficult, that the only place for Max might be the incinerator beside the vet’s surgery. Who would be prepared to take on an aging Alsatian suffering from epilepsy?

Marjorie’s daughter and partner invited us to her cremation in Chelmsford. Though anything involving religion tends to bring me out in a rash of contempt, I went along with Caroline. The service was mostly secular with only a little plea near the end for anyone to join in the Lord’s Prayer if they felt the need – the guy read it out without anyone accompanying him.

We were surprised and pleased to be given a mention for all we had done for Max and Marjorie and we learnt a little more about her. Nothing hugely surprising, but you realise on such occasions that the old woman you knew hadn’t always been old homebound and ill.
Afterwards we went along to a kind of wake in a pub in Chelmsford along with a few other guests including Marjorie’s ex-husband and partner – who had come down from Scotland. We learnt that if those running the old people’s home were willing to keep Max, the ex-husband would pay the bills. Of course, there were details to be sorted out…

Upon returning to our routine of walking Max we learnt that the ex-husband had balked upon finding out just how much it cost to keep an epileptic Alsatian in food and pills. It again looked like Max would be taking that trip to the vet’s. However, further negotiations took place about which we know few details. Marjorie’s daughter and partner took on the bulk of his care costs and we continued walking him.

Maybe, those of you who have been reading this have been expecting an unhappy ending. Well, there isn’t one. We are still walking Max and he is a much loved pet and resident of Downhall old people’s home. The end? Hopefully not for some years to come. The pictures here are from this morning’s walk.


Kirby Uber said...

ah. closure. of a sort. good old Max. honestly, i can't think of a better "ending" happily declinging with scores of people that love you / enjoy your comapny.

frankly i don't see how anyone could realistically ask for more.

Kirby Uber said...

dammit i meant declining. i hadn't had coffee yet.. and i type and spell poorly anyway.

Anonymous said...

So, it's not really 'the end' then, is it?

E.Jim Shannon said...

Hi Neal:

I like your Blog. I've never read you before but I picked up Brass Man Friday and when I'm done reading the book I'm currently reading (I'm a slow reader. Not busy, just slow) I'm going to get into reading BM. I'm not up to speed on your work, but has this "Mr. Crane" been in your other books? Should I read his first appearence or would I be missing something by jumping into BM right off?

I have a question if you don't mind. Don't answer if it's none of my business but what's the word count on BM?

Thanks for humoring me :-)

Neal Asher said...

Hello Jim,
I'm told that Brass Man can stand alone, but it also comes third in a series after Gridlinked, then The Line of Polity.

Brass Man is 151,000 words long. Hope you enjoy it!

Stargeezer said...

Thanks! Though I'm not sure it's the end.

E.Jim Shannon said...

Thanks for the reply.

I'll probably finish this book before the end of the month and start on BM soon but my B-day is coming up this month and I'll get the other two and start from there. My reading goal is 1 book a month. 141K? I like long SF books.

Hey,I'm slow not stupid:-)

Neal Asher said...

151k ... and Gridlinked and The Line of Polity are respectively about 135k and 175k.

Mmm, come to think of it I reckon in total I've probably cleared a million words with Macmillan.

Alex Cull said...

Hey, I'm glad things are currently okay with Max, I was beginning to brace myself for an unhappy ending there!

Yorkshireboy US said...

Live in the US of A and read "Cowl," " Gridlinked" and "The Skinner" this week while on a business trip to Florida. Now busy hunting down other stuff on "Mississipi" or "Nile" or somesuch. Cormac reminds me a little of Kovacs from Richard K. Morgan's "Altered Carbon." Not that there's anything wrong with that. You keep writing, I'll keep buying. How's that for a deal.