Madge discovering that Graham Clifford didn't send her the letter and rose.
Office of the Daniels Corporation
Paul walks into the office, holding a mug of coffee, and asks Helen, who's sitting at the second desk, looking at a set of books, what the verdict is. She smiles that Home James appears in good shape. Paul thanks her for coming in, adding that Jane's been pretty busy lately. Helen retorts that she hasn't exactly been reclining on a deck chair *herself*! Paul grins at her that she loves it! Helen muses that she'd love it more when the replies to the invitations start arriving: Frank Darcy deserves a full house. Changing the subject, she hands Paul a note that she received that morning and tells him that she'd welcome his opinion. She adds that it's typed with no signature. Paul reads:
PAUL: 'Dear Mrs. Daniels. Re. your enquiry concerning Mary Barrett's whereabouts—'
HELEN (interjects): Remember I put that ad in the paper.
PAUL: 'Please advise by return mail why this information is important to you.' And a Post Office box.
Helen remarks that it's all very cloak- and- dagger. Paul comments to her that her only interest in Mary Barrett is to find her so she can forward her belongings to her. Helen says she'd be lying if she said she wasn't a *little* curious: she's too sceptical to believe that someone can disappear from the face of the earth! Paul, looking thoughtful, says he doesn't like it: why didn't they give their name unless it's some crank? Helen says:
HELEN: Maybe... but I'm prepared to wager that this might be from the woman herself.
PAUL (looking surprised): What - Mary Barrett?
HELEN (shrugs): Stranger things have happened!
Tony is teaching Charlene how to take a tyre off a wheel using a crowbar! Charlene, however, sighs that she's heard it all a thousand times; she could do better if she could really *experiment* on a car - one that didn't belong to a customer. Tony looks at Willy, which is parked nearby, and says he guesses they're pretty quiet today... Charlene beams at him and tells him to give her five! He does so, but she pulls her hand away and he muses:
CHARLENE: Look who's talking! I saw you dancing with Jane the other day - now *that* was cute! John Travolta, eat your heart out!
TONY: Well, she's a nice girl. She's a good dancer, too. She seems pretty keen on Mike.
CHARLENE: Yeah, they're good mates.
Before Charlene can respond, Des pulls up in his car. He climbs out and mutters in annoyance:
DES: I don't believe it. I do not believe it.
He adds that the car doesn't need a mechanic, it needs a psychiatrist! Tony comments that he has been covering some distance lately, what with visiting Daphne and her father. Des replies that he guesses so, but it would be nice if just once if he could drive past the garage without it getting nostalgic! As Tony goes to have a look under the bonnet, he asks how Daphne is. Des murmurs:
DES: Not too good. Her dad's running out of time.
CHARLENE: Oh no...
DES: Yeah. Daph seems to be able to handle it. She's pretty cut up about it. Doesn't look like she's slept for days.
CHARLENE: Well, she's still got you, Des.
Changing the subject, Des asks Charlene how *her* family is. Charlene smiles:
CHARLENE: The Ramsays? You kidding? We're jumping out of our skins!
Henry and Scott walk into the Waterhole - to be confronted by Madge snapping:
MADGE: Henry, don't you move. Don't you even *flinch*.
HENRY (warily): Yes mum...?
MADGE: Don't you dare 'yes mum' *me*. *You're* behind all this, aren't you. The letter... the rose... it's all *your* doing, isn't it?
Henry tries to protest his innocence, but Scott says quickly that it wasn't all Henry's fault. Madge retorts:
MADGE: Oh no, I realise that: someone had to write the note, and I did notice it wasn't written in crayon!
She adds that she could throttle the pair of them! Henry explains quickly that they thought they were helping; they wanted to show Harold he had some competition. Scott adds that they were *all* in it. Madge snaps:
MADGE: This is rich. There I was, sounding like a blithering idiot, thanking this total stranger for his thoughtful gift and his charming letter, while you lot were playing Let's Hurry- Up Harold. Well, for your information, you couldn't hurry Harold Bishop up if you put him in roller skates on a slippery dip!
As Henry tries to protest again, the door is pushed open. Henry is standing right in front of the door, though, and it hits him on the back of the head, causing him to bend double! Harold marches in and tells Madge tersely that he wants to talk to her. Madge, however, retorts that *she* doesn't want to talk to *him*. She then orders Henry to look after the bar until Ron gets there. With that, she storms out furiously.
Office of the Daniels Corporation
Sitting at her desk, Helen tells Paul that, by her reckoning, the surplus is accountable; she reckons Jane's doing a marvellous job. Paul smiles:
PAUL: Good, good. [Hints] Now, if you just knew how to fix sore shoulders, hey...?!
Helen refuses to take the hint! There's suddenly a knock on the door and Madge walks in. Paul asks her if she's there for the float, but Madge replies in an upset tone that she'd like a favour. Helen asks in concern what's happened. Madge tells Paul that she needs some time off - the sooner the better - starting today, preferably. Paul asks what the problem is, but Madge replies that it's personal. Helen asks if it's bad news about Edna. Madge, however, assures her that she's all right - although she adds that she's a little bit worried about her dad: she'd like to go up and make sure he eats properly and set his mind at rest. Paul tells Madge that she can have the time. Madge thanks him and says she'd better go and organise her flight. She heads out again, abruptly, leaving a surprised Paul to ask Helen:
PAUL: What do you make of *that*?
HELEN: She was certainly upset...
PAUL: Yeah, but Edna's operation isn't such a big deal, is it?
HELEN: Oh, I think that's the *least* of her worries. If I know Madge, she was covering something...
Tony is leaning into Des's car and he exclaims that he's found the problem: the wiper leads were crossing over the leads to the indicators! Charlene smiles:
CHARLENE: So you mean every time Des turned a corner—
TONY: The wipers went on!
He adds that it's definitely a car with a split personality! Charlene comments that it's a good thing *Willy* doesn't have that problem: *he's* just suffering from old age. She walks over to Willy as Tony adds:
TONY: And plenty of rust!
CHARLENE (sighs): It's so frustrating: cutting out the rust's about all I can do while I wait for spare parts.
TONY: Yeah, second- hand parts aren't easy to get for these little fellas.
CHARLENE: Yeah, neither's the dough to *pay* for them. Whoever said money was the root of all evil was obviously never busting to get their car on the road!
Scott runs up suddenly and asks Charlene if she wants the good news or the bad news. Charlene comments that it sounds serious. Scott tells her that her mum's found out about the letter and the rose and that they're behind them. Tony asks what the good news is! Scott muses:
SCOTT: Well, by the time she gets through killing Henry, she, um, might be too tired to kill *us*.
Charlene insists that they were only trying to help; they thought Harold needed a little... agitation. Scott tells her:
SCOTT: Well, it looks like we stirred up the wrong beehive - because the way she looked when she left us, she was about to go berserk.
CHARLENE: What do you mean 'berserk'?
SCOTT: Crazed... you know: troppo... radical. She was mad, Charlene - really mad.
Madge is muttering to herself angrily as she does some ironing in the kitchen. Helen comes in through the back door and asks her in concern if she's all right. Madge retorts that 'all right' would imply that she's in control. Helen asks her if she'd care to talk about it. Madge shrugs:
MADGE: Why not? The rest of the western world knows about it; why shouldn't *you*? Have a seat.
Helen sits down at the kitchen table and Madge does likewise. She then begins a story:
MADGE: Once upon a time, there was this man. Let's call him Harold, for argument's sake! Now, this Harold was pedestrian in the extreme: he moved at the speed of eroding granite. His idea of romance was a crocheted egg- warmer!
Helen bursts out laughing! Madge tells her that she's serious! She goes on:
MADGE: Do you know, one evening, we were walking along the beach. It was sunset and Harold said he'd like to do something crazy.
MADGE: He rolled up his trousers, took off his shoes and socks and built a sandcastle! Oh Helen, he's driving me *mad*! He's had me dangling on a string for *months* - so much so that *my* beloved children and *your* beloved grandson take pity on me.
HELEN (warily): I don't think I want to hear...
MADGE: They concoct a scheme. They invent a secret admirer to make Harold jealous. Now, this admirer sends me a letter and a rose - and the next time the poor bloke walks into the Waterhole, I make a complete and utter fool of myself.
HELEN: And you've obviously had enough.
MADGE: Helen, the worst thing isn't the humiliation, it's the knowing that it's so *obvious* - and *still* Harold doesn't budge. With dynamite under his armpits, Harold will not budge! Even though there's another man supposedly interested in me, he still won't set a date for the wedding - so I've packed and I'm going to Queensland to spend some time with mum and dad.
HELEN: But running away won't solve anything...
MADGE: At least it'll give me a chance to think. If there's one thing I've learnt out of this whole farce, it's that there are plenty more fish in the sea - and if Harold Bishop is too short- sighted or too cautious or too spineless to see that, then that's *his* lookout.
Des pays Tony for fixing his car. As Tony goes to get him a receipt, Des asks him how the training's going and if he's still jogging. Tony replies that he's been thinking of starting up martial arts classes at Lassiter's Gym, and he asks Des if he's interested. Des, however, replies warily that he doesn't think so! Behind them, Charlene climbs out of Willie and exclaims:
CHARLENE: Check this out - I just found it under Willy's seat!
TONY: What is it?
Des looks at the item in Charlene's hand and says:
DES: It's a two- bob bit.
TONY: How old?
Charlene turns the coin over and says:
CHARLENE: Would you believe 1932? That's over 50 years ago - and it's perfect!
DES: That would be worth a fair whack, I reckon.
CHARLENE: Must be someone's good- luck charm - like a lucky sixpence.
Des tells Charlene that he can have it valued for her if she likes. Charlene hands it over, but tells him that she does want it back - it might bring her good luck, and by the sounds of things she's going to need it when she gets home...
Henry and Scott head into No. 24 through the front door to find three packed bags in front of them. Scott looks at them and says:
SCOTT: What's all this?
HENRY (shrugs): Looks like someone's going somewhere.
MADGE (shouts from her bedroom): Yes - and you're very lucky it's not *you*.
She emerges with another bag and Henry starts to insist that they *explained* everything. Madge, however, snaps at him to save it: she's had enough of his explanations. She adds that, to tell the truth, he's done her a favour. Scott says he doesn't quite follow... Madge snaps:
MADGE: You have made me realise how very, very resourceful you are. That business with Graham Clifford was inspired.
Charlene comes in through the front door at that moment, but before she can say more than 'hi', Madge snaps:
MADGE: Oh, come on in, Charlene. Yes, they're my bags, and before you ask, yes, I'm going somewhere.
CHARLENE: Mum, if you're angry, that's ridiculous—
MADGE (snaps): I am going to Brisbane to stay with mum and dad - and while I'm gone, you three can get up to as much mischief as you like. You see, I am fed up with being the cook- cum- cleaner- cum- automatic teller. It's time you lot learned to fend for yourselves.
Henry starts to say that this is crazy; if she wants them to do more, just *say* so. Madge retorts:
MADGE: Oh, you really care about how I think, how I feel, do you? I don't think you give a *damn* about my sensitivities, and the way I'm feeling at the moment, the feeling's mutual.
Scott tells Madge that she doesn't seem to understand: they didn't fake the letter and the rose as a practical joke; they only want to motivate Harold a little bit. Madge, however, snaps:
MADGE: Oh yes - and that was my *next* point: your scheme seems to have worked in reverse, because as far as *I'm* concerned, Harold Bishop can take a very long run off a very short pier - and I'm going over there to tell him now. Excuse me.
With that, Madge storms out, slamming the front door behind her. When she's gone, Henry lets out a low whistle.
Harold is pacing the lounge room floor, working on the wording for a letter, when there's a rapid knocking at the front door. He goes to answer it and Madge marches in and tells him that she'll be as brief as she can. She goes on:
MADGE: I'm leaving.
HAROLD (blankly): I beg your pardon?
MADGE: Leaving, Harold. Going - as in not arriving. Leaving. I'm booked on the seven o'clock flight to Brisbane.
HAROLD (curtly): Isn't that where this Clifford chappy is staying...?
MADGE (tersely): It is also where my mother and father are, which is why I am going - partly.
HAROLD: Yes, well, quite frankly, Madge, I'm not impressed. I mean, first off, you were downright rude to me today; and then there's this... off on a whim and a prayer... Well, you know, if that's your decision...
MADGE: You'll accept it.
HAROLD: Yeah, well, you know me, Madge: live and let live. I do not make waves.
MADGE (snaps): Harold, you don't even make *ripples*. Most men I know would lay down their lives for the women they love - but you...: you're a blancmange! It may have escaped your notice, but time isn't doing either of us any favours - and I *would* like to be married sometime this century!
She starts to head for the door as Harold cries at her to be reasonable. Madge turns back to him and retorts:
MADGE: You've got one chance. One. You have a wedding date fixed and ready by the time I get back - otherwise we can call the whole thing off. Is that clear enough?
Harold nods at her. Madge snaps:
With that, she marches out, leaving Harold looking astonished.
Charlene is serving up dinner to Scott and Henry. Scott looks at what's on his plate and murmurs:
SCOTT: This looks... different.
CHARLENE (warns): Don't get cute - it's leftovers.
Henry tucks into his, but then spits it out and says quickly that it would probably be better with sauce. Charlene tells the guys that just because she's a girl, they shouldn't expect her to do all the cooking - and she and Scott have still got a budget to stick to. She adds that she's not going to do all the cleaning- up either, as she won't have time. Scott smiles:
SCOTT: That's right - you start Tech tomorrow night, don't you.
Henry says they'll draw straws to see who does it. Charlene, however, retorts:
CHARLENE: No, Henry, you're not conning me *or* Scott. You know, mum had a point: we *have* been taking advantage of her. The only fair way to do this is to make up a roster - and we can start tonight.
Looks of horror cross Scott and Henry's faces. Charlene tells Henry that he can wash and Scott that he can dry! Scott and Henry look at each other!
Harold has turned up at No. 28 and Des says to him in concern:
DES: There's no, er, trouble, is there, Harold? You look a bit peaky, mate.
Harold insists quickly that there's no trouble. He asks if Eileen's about, but Des explains that she's over at the Robinsons', giving Beverly cooking lessons. The two of them sit down on the couch and Harold explains that it was Eileen he wanted to see: he put his foot in it with her at the Coffee Shop today. Des replies that she mentioned it, but he told her she'd got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Harold sighs:
HAROLD: Oh Des... they can be such cryptic animals, eh?
DES (uncertainly): Women?
HAROLD: Yes. You know, Madge just said some truly horrible things to me, and I thought I knew her so well. But all the time, she was like a clock spring: taut... tense... ready to snap. Do you know, she virtually handed me an ultimatum: shape up or ship out. Huh!
DES: I wouldn't worry about it, mate: women *always* say things like that. They never mean it.
HAROLD: Oh, no, no, no, she meant it all right - but I'm still struggling to work out why she was so upset! Do you know, I followed her into the street, chased after her, turned her around, she was facing me... Do you know what she said?
DES: Er, no, mate!
HAROLD: She looked me straight in the eye and she said: "Harold Bishop, one day something's going to flash in front of your eyes so fast that you won't realise that it was your entire life." Huh! What do you think she meant by that?
Des just shrugs!
The next morning, Henry, Scott and Charlene are managing to make a mess as they all try to prepare breakfast in the kitchen! Charlene suddenly lets out a piercing whistle and tells everyone to cool it! She adds that they need to look at the roster. Henry mutters:
HENRY: The roster, of course - the solution to all our problems! Why didn't I think of that before?!
Scott turns to Charlene and thanks her for putting the washing in the machine this morning. Charlene tells him that it's all ready for him to hang on the line. Henry picks up a clipboard with some sheets of paper on it and muses that it's all there. He adds:
HENRY: Just think: if the Japs had one of these, they might've won the war!
Charlene tells the guys that they're going to have to get their own dinner tonight as she's at Tech. Paul comes in through the back door suddenly and asks Henry if he can work at the Waterhole again today, as he needs a replacement for Madge. Henry looks at the roster and mutters that he thinks so. Paul takes the roster, has a look and smiles at Scott that it looks like the roster he came up with when Jim was away! Scott muses:
SCOTT: There was nearly a civil war as to whose job it was to do the vacuuming!
Henry says to Charlene quietly that he *told* her one of those rosters wouldn't work. Paul heads out. Charlene tells Henry that he's going to have to get a move on. Henry just groans:
HENRY: Please, ma, come home quick!
Helen is walking along a street, towards a post box, when she sees Harold approaching. She says good morning to him, but he's miles away and takes several seconds to respond that he supposes it is. Helen remarks that he's not his usual chirpy self this morning. Harold mutters that that would be the understatement of the decade. Helen posts her letter and then says she's heading to the Coffee Shop. She asks Harold if he'd like to join her to talk. Harold nods:
HAROLD: I *would* like that - though to be quite candid, I'm at a bit of a loss. Madge said things yesterday that would scorch wallpaper. It was really quite distressing.
Tony is saying to Charlene in concern:
TONY: You didn't tell her *I* wrote the letter, did you?
CHARLENE: No one dobbed you in, if that's what you're worried about, but mum was mighty mad. I've never *seen* her so upset.
Des pulls up in his car suddenly and Tony sighs;
TONY: Don't tell me something *else* has gone wrong...
Des climbs out of his car and Charlene says:
CHARLENE: Let me guess: you turned a corner and the door fell off!
DES: Nope - the car's going great. Must be contagious!
DES: Got that two- bob bit valued.
He hands the coin back to Charlene as Tony says:
DES: The guy said if it was in average condition, it would be worth a hundred bucks.
CHARLENE (excitedly): Yeah?
DES: But seeing that's in *immaculate* condition, he reckons... now wait for it... would you believe three grand?!
A look of astonishment crosses Charlene's face and she exclaims that that's fantastic! She starts hugging Tony in delight - but Des stops her and says:
DES: Hang on - there could be a catch. We're not sure that the coin belongs to *you*.
CHARLENE: Of course it does: I own the car!
DES: Just a minute. Just think it through. Right, it was wrapped up in a cloth, so obviously it was well looked after.
DES: Don't you think the coin belongs to the person who owned Willy before you?
CHARLENE: Yeah, but they sold it to me. That means they sold the grease and the rust and everything else that goes with it.
TONY: Yeah - that's fair enough, isn't it?
DES (shrugs): It's up to *you*.
CHARLENE: Well, what would *you* do?
DES: Don't ask *me*. It's your decision, Charlene.
Charlene stands there looking uncertain.