Joe trying to attack Des in front of Mr. and Mrs. Udagawa but stumbling and landing on his back on the floor, leaving him apparently unconscious.
Helen is sitting on the couch, knitting, when Jim arrives home. He looks around asks if it's all quiet on the western front. Helen tells him that Nick is at the library, preparing to try to beat Matt in a studying competition! She heads into the kitchen to make a cuppa. Todd is sitting at the table doing his homework while Alison sits looking at a magazine. She comments that River Phoenix is a spunk!
ALISON: I wonder why his parents called him ‘River'.
TODD: Maybe he was a bit wet!
Jim comes in and asks if anyone would like a biscuit. He opens the tin to find it empty, and Alison tells him that she's already had some! Helen goes to the ‘fridge and, looking surprised, asks if anyone's seen the milk. Alison tells her that she drank it this afternoon. Jim asks in irritation what they're supposed to have in their tea.
ALISON (shrugs): I thought someone would get some more.
HELEN (demands): Who?
ALISON: I don't know.
Jim snaps at Alison that she shouldn't assume someone's going to run around after her, re-stocking the larder, every time she feels like helping herself. Todd chips in and asks Jim angrily if he has to make such a major production out of it. Helen tells him that they were merely trying to make a point. Todd, however, retorts that he wants them to leave Alison alone and get off her back. With that, the two of them stand up and head to Todd's room. Helen looks at Jim in astonishment.
The Udagawas have left. Gail is clearing up as Paul demands of Des:
PAUL: Des, what did you have to hit him for?
DES (astonished): I *didn't* hit him, he ran into me elbow. There *is* a difference, you know?
PAUL: Oh yeah? Tell that to Mr. and Mrs. Udagawa then, eh?
Gail, however, points out that the Udagawas couldn't get out the door fast enough once the violence started. Paul snaps at Des that this is the second time he's tried to help him and this is the second time he's screwed up.
DES: You make it sound like it's *my* fault. Anyway, *you're* not the one who's out of a job, so what are you going on about?
PAUL: I happen to do business with Udagawa. Now, what's he going to think about my ability to judge people if they carry on like you and Joe, eh?
Des repeats again that he never thumped Joe; he's the innocent party: *he's* headed for the dole queue and Paul is just worried about his reputation.
PAUL: A man's reputation is precious, that's why.
Gail appeals to them both to calm down, adding that she's sure Joe's pride has taken a serious blow as well.
DES (bitterly): At the moment, I don't give a *damn* about Joe.
Joe is sitting at the kitchen table at No. 32, holding his jaw and sighing at Kerry – who's preparing an ice pack – that Des didn't even have to hit him and he still went down like a ton of bricks. Kerry hands him the ice pack and he places it to his jaw, muttering as he does so:
JOE: He's not going to get away with it, I can tell you that now.
Kerry, however, tells Joe curtly that he brought the whole thing on himself: if he wasn't such a hothead, none of this would've happened. Joe exclaims that he thought she was there to give him sympathy, not read the riot act. He adds bitterly:
JOE: I should be over there fixing Clarkey's knuckles, seeing you're setting a date soon.
KERRY (exasperated): I've already explained why I said that. All right, it was stupid – but how many times do I have to tell you? I am nothing more than friends with Des and it'll never be any different; but if you keep this jealousy thing up, Joe, you're going to drive me away for good.
Joe looks at Kerry meekly. He then murmurs:
JOE: I can be a prize galah sometimes, can't I?
It's the next morning, and Jim and Helen are sitting at the kitchen table, having breakfast, Helen asking what they're going to do about that missing money. Jim sighs that they know it must have been Alison, but how can they accuse her when they haven't got a shred of proof? Todd comes in and Jim tries to make smalltalk about soccer, but Todd isn't interested. Alison joins them and Helen remarks that she's up bright and early. Alison explains that Katie woke her. Helen muses:
HELEN: I *knew* there must be a reason...!
Todd offers Alison some breakfast and she tells him to pile it on: a bowl of cereal for starters! Jim gets up to head off to work. Helen goes to get the others for breakfast. Left alone with Todd, Alison asks him why Helen made that catty remark about her getting out of bed. Todd shrugs:
TODD: Who knows?
ALISON: They don't like me, do they – Jim *or* Helen.
TODD: Don't worry about it: they're just oldies.
ALISON: They've really got it in for me. Don't know what I'm gonna do about it – at least, not right now...
In the kitchen, Jane is pouring coffee for Joe, muttering as she does so that she doesn't understand why he's always flying off the handle. Joe retorts that Kerry reckons he's hot-headed. Jane tells him that Paul went to a great deal of trouble to organise that dinner. Joe, however, exclaims that *he's suffered*:
JOE: Clarkey knocking me senseless with one hit... which I ran into myself... which was in a room full of people...!
Toby appears in the doorway and, having overhead Joe's rant, asks:
TOBY: Why didn't you hit him back?
JOE (shame-faced): Why? Oh... well... um... I was gonna, mate, I really was – I mean, that's what a bloke's supposed to do, eh, when someone has a go at them – but, um, I sorta, I sorta tripped over.
JANE (warns): Tell him, Joe, or *I* will.
JOE (indignantly): I *did* trip.
JANE (warns): Your decision...
JOE (sighs): All right, all right. You see, it's like this, mate: I *did* have a go at Des, but I sorta lost me balance and I whacked my jaw on his elbow, and that's the problem, you see: your old man's got what's known in the ring as a glass jaw.
TOBY: What's a glass jaw?
JANE: One punch and you're shattered!
JOE (quickly): Do you mind, Jane? Who's telling this story?!
JOE (to Toby): See, some people are born with it, mate; I was born with it. Sort of a mutation. It's not my fault. No. Sort of a... it's a bit of a weakness in the jaw. It's delicate. If someone whacks you there, you go down like a bucket of spuds.
TOBY: That must be why *I* nearly knocked you out that time!
JOE: Thanks for reminding me of *that*...!
TOBY: Don't worry, dad: you don't have to be a good father to be a good bloke – and if you ever get bullied again, me and Jane will look after ya!
Office of the Robinson Corporation
Paul is talking on the ‘phone. He hangs up and tells Jane in annoyance that Mr. Udagawa's in New Zealand for the next couple of weeks so he can't even apologise for last night. He adds that hopefully, time being a great healer, Udagawa will forgive him for recommending Des. Jane, however, comments that it seems to her that it wasn't really Des's fault either. There's a knock on the door and Gail comes in. Jane remarks that she didn't think she was working today, but Paul explains that Gail's getting a bit bored sitting around at home. Gail asks if she can sit in reception and do some work.
PAUL: I'm sure you two can get on all right for one day!
Back steps of No. 28
Kerry is sitting on the steps outside the back door with Sky and Jamie when Des comes out, holding his Japanese text books. He tells Kerry that there's no point holding on to them, and he asks her to sell them at the market. He adds that he was only keeping up Japanese to impress Mr. Udagawa, and after the impression he made last night, he doesn't see any point. Kerry points out that there's still the challenge of learning a new language. Des, however, tells her:
DES: The only challenge I've got right now is to service a mortgage without any job to *pay* for it. Hobbies like pottery and Japanese... they've taken on a second interest.
Kerry says she thinks that's silly: how's he going to spend his time with no job and no hobbies?
Mike joins them and Des remarks that he wasn't expecting him home this early. Mike explains that he hasn't got any classes and he's got some extra marking to do:
MIKE (tersely): ...and there's less chance of being interrupted in my bedroom than there is at school, isn't there? That's if it's OK with *you*, Des...?
Mike heads inside, leaving Kerry to remark coolly that it's a happy little household...
Alison, Todd, Jim and Helen are sitting at the kitchen table, having lunch. Jim asks if Beverly said what time she'd be home for dinner. Helen replies that it'll be late: she couldn't even make it home for lunch, she's so busy.
ALISON: Think of all the money she's making.
HELEN: That's hardly the point, Alison.
Jim stands up and says he'd better get back to the workshop, and he offers Todd a lift back to school. He tells Helen that he wrote a cheque for the paper bill, and she says she'll drop it in. She then goes on:
HELEN: You know, I can't work out how that money disappeared, not off the top of the ‘fridge. *You* didn't see it, did you, Todd?
Alison just shakes her head. Jim hands Helen a cheque and he and Todd head out. Left alone with Alison, Helen asks her to clear away the dishes, and she says they'll both do the washing-up when she comes back. She heads out. Alison just sits at the table and cuts herself another piece of cake!
Back steps of No. 28
Des emerges from the house and joins Kerry on the steps. He tells her that Paul just ‘phoned and he's going to try and smooth things over with Mr. Udagawa, but he's gone overseas. He then sighs:
DES: When I took long-service leave, I thought that's all it was; I didn't realise it was going to be permanent. Funny how things work out, isn't it?
Kerry pats his arm, comfortingly.
Joe is wiping up dishes, asking Toby if he didn't have lunch with Katie today. Toby explains that she wanted to play with the girls – and he didn't want t get teased for playing with them.
JOE: Who's teasing ya?
TOBY: Me mates: they reckon I'm a sissy if I spend too much time with the girls.
JOE: Ah well, they'll probably change their tune in a couple of years, mate. I'll tell you this, Toby: don't you let people tell you what you can and can't do; you make up our own mind who you want to play with.
There's suddenly a knock on the front door. Toby goes to get it on his way back out to school. The visitor is Kerry and she comes in and tells Joe that Paul tried to get on to Mr. Udagawa to explain about last night, but he's out of the country, so it seems as though Des's job has gone for good.
JOE (sighs): Why'd you have to tell me that?
KERRY: Just to make you feel even more proud of yourself.
JOE (murmurs): Thanks. Why'd it have to come to this?
Kerry just shakes her head sadly.
Helen arrives home and walks into the kitchen to find the table still in a mess. Looking annoyed, she calls for Alison, but there's no answer. She calls again more loudly. Alison emerges from her room. She's been trying on nail varnish and she asks Helen if she likes the colour. Helen just ignores her, demanding instead:
HELEN: Didn't I tell you to clear away these dishes?
HELEN: Then why haven't you?
ALISON: I was going to; I just didn't get around to it.
HELEN: Well listen to *me*, young lady, and listen very carefully: this is a very busy household and everyone has to pull their weight – and that includes you. I won't have you sitting around like a lady of leisure, not doing your share.
ALISON: But I'm on holiday!
HELEN: I don't care *what* you're on. Quite frankly, I can't understand why your parents allowed you to come away during school term – but while you're living with this family, you'll pull your weight like everyone else.
ALISON: You want me to *go*, *don't you*?
HELEN: No I don't.
ALISON: It's obvious you don't like me.
HELEN: Look, you're Todd's friend and we're more than happy to have you here – but don't *abuse* the privilege. Do I make myself clear?
Alison doesn't respond.
HELEN: I'll presume that's a yes. Now, will you clear away these dishes as I asked you more than an hour ago? And let's have no more of this perpetual laziness, please?
With that, Helen walks off. Alison looks down at the table – and her eyes alight on a bag that Helen has put down on one of the chairs...
Des is standing behind the kitchen counter, looking at the job section in the newspaper, when Mike emerges from his bedroom and asks Des if he's seen the gig guide from yesterday's paper. Des admits that he thinks he threw it out.
MIKE (mutters): Thanks very much.
DES: Well sorry – I didn't know you were going to use it.
MIKE: No, course you didn't...
Des tells Mike coolly that he can do without his smart remarks. Mike walks off. The front door bangs and Kerry comes in with Joe. Kerry tells Des that Joe has something he wants to say. Des snaps that he's not interested, but Joe tells him:
JOE: Des, look, I know you're crook at me, mate, and you've got every right to be—
DES: Damn right I have. I should deck you right *now*, mate, and make sure I do a proper job of it.
JOE: Des, I wouldn't blame you if you *did*, mate – I feel like the biggest wombat of all time; and I'm real sorry. You know what makes me feel even worse? Just knowing what good mates we used to be. I mean, you don't have many good mates in this world, do you? Not real ones. I just wish it could be the way it used to be. It can't – I know that; how can I expect that, the way I've been carrying on? – so all I wanna say is... I'm sorry. That's it.
Joe adds that he'll do his damndest to get Des his job back. Des murmurs his thanks, but sighs that his job's gone for good, no matter what Joe or anybody else tries to do about it.
Alison is doing the washing-up when Todd arrives home from school. He looks at her in surprise and remarks:
TODD: You washing the dishes?
ALISON (sourly): Can't get in trouble *then*, *can* I?
TODD: What trouble? What are you talking about?
ALISON: Why don't you ask Helen? Remember her? She's the one who said she doesn't hate me.
TODD: Of *course* she doesn't hate you.
ALISON: Oh yeah? You might think different if you saw the way she got stuck into me earlier.
TODD: Why, what happened?
ALISON (‘mimics'): “Clean the house, Alison... wash the dishes, Alison... you're a lazy, fat slob, Alison... All you are is a conniving little thief.”
TODD (astonished): What?
ALISON: She practically accused me of nicking the thirty bucks.
TODD (angrily): She had no right in doing that – and I'm gonna tell her, too.
ALISON: Let it go, Todd – I couldn't be bothered with it; not now, anyway.
Todd asks Alison what she means. She tells him that she can't stay there anymore; she's going to go back to Adelaide. Todd cries that she can't: he'll never see her again.
ALISON: What can I do? They've done everything but chuck me out as it is.
Office of the Robinson Corporation
Paul finishes some paperwork and sighs at Jane that it's been one long day. Gail comes in and asks if there's anything she can do. Jane says she's just got a few letters to type, but she can do them herself.
GAIL (offers): I'll do them.
JANE: No, it's all right, I can do them.
GAIL (trying to grab the papers): No, don't be silly. Here.
JANE: It's fine. I can type my own letters.
GAIL: Well you always used to type *my* letters, and I've got nothing else to do, so, um...
JANE: We can find something to do.
GAIL: I won't alter anything – I promise!
Jane smiles and gives in. She then asks Gail if she realises what a couple of idiots they've been lately! She adds that she knows it must have been difficult for Gail to take a back seat, and in future she'll try and be more aware of it. The ‘phone starts ringing and Paul answers. He listens and then tells the person that he'll send someone over straight away. He hangs up and tells Jane that Hilary's friend has just arrived from Adelaide. He asks Jane if she can go and look after her. Gail, however, says *she* can make sure she's safely settled. Paul thanks her, but warns her to be careful, as if she's anything like Hilary, she could be a touch difficult.
GAIL (shrugs): Whatever. I'm sure I'll manage to keep her happy!
Helen is chopping vegetables as she tells Jim curtly that before she went out she asked Alison to clear away some dishes, but all she managed to do was paint her nails. Jim tells Helen that the girl had Helen's ticking-off coming. At that moment, Todd and Alison walk in and Todd says tersely:
TODD: If Alison isn't welcome in this house, then neither am *I*.
JIM (looking astonished): Of *course* she's welcome.
HELEN: Todd, there are rules that she has to stick to, like everyone else.
TODD: You're just using that as an excuse; it's been obvious for days that you don't like her. Why haven't you got the guts just to come out and say so?
HELEN: Because it isn't true!
TODD: Yeah, well, it's not coming across that way. Anyway, Alison's decided to go home to Adelaide – and I'm going with her; so soon all your problems will be over: we'll *both* be out of your hair for good.