Authors: Peter Helton
I eventually found Dealey in the observation ward where his brother had been moved to. He was sitting in his wheelchair by the side of the bed, staring at the unconscious form of his brother who was connected to oxygen and feeding tubes. Monitors bleeped quietly. Dealey looked up, unsurprised and without moving a facial muscle, as though he had expected me. Perhaps he had. I found a slightly creased business card in my jacket, blew the fluff off it and handed it to him. He took it, glanced at it, then dropped it on the bed.
âWhat's the prognosis?' I asked.
âHe won't wake up,' he said hoarsely. âHe might never wake up.'
âYou can't stay in that wheelchair forever, you know,' I said quietly. âHelping your brother fake his wheelchair-bound life is one thing. But taking over from him just because he had another bike crash is something else. What if he stays like this? What if he died? Would you sit in that chair forever? Would you wear that silly moustache for the rest of your life?'
âI wasn't that convincing then?' he asked.
âI followed you to the Cross Keys. You finished each other's drinks after you had swapped chair and moustache in the toilets. You reached for the Guinness.'
Tom Dealey pulled the walrus moustache off his face with obvious relief and dropped it on the bed next to my business card. Then he got up out of the wheelchair, pushed it away from him and massaged his behind. âIt doesn't half make your bum hurt sitting in that thing all day. Sorry, bro,' he added more quietly. âBut I do hate drinking lager.'