Toby and Bouncer heading off down Ramsay Street on a walk to Darwin to find Noelene.
Nick and Todd are in the kitchen making a snack for themselves, Nick and Matt. Helen comes in and exclaims that they shouldn't need anything to eat at *this* time of the day. She adds that *Sharon* - who's also sitting at the table - isn't eating. Nick just shrugs that Sharon's on a diet. Jim arrives home suddenly, holding a large box filled with avocados, and he tells Helen that Beverly rang and asked him to pick them up from the surgery. He adds wearily:
JIM: Any guesses where they came from?
HELEN: Jonathan Whiting?
JIM: She happened to mention that she liked them, so of course he has to go completely over the top.
The two of them head through to the lounge room, Helen telling Jim as they do so that he's going to have to *speak* to that man. When they've gone, Sharon sighs:
SHARON: I wish *I* could have an avocado...
NICK: Help yourself!
SHARON (exclaims): Nick, they're one of the most fattening fruits you can eat!
NICK: Well, Matt must have been eating them lately, then!
NICK: Evans called you a fathead today!
MATT (warns): Knock it off...
NICK (laughs): What did you get in the test? 38%?!
Sharon points out to Nick that he only got 42% himself. Matt tells Nick:
MATT: Mate, I'd bet my brains against yours any day!
NICK: Hilary and Helen have already done that.
MATT: Yes, I know... Well, we'd better go along with it, otherwise there'll be no end of trouble.
NICK (teases): You nervous, Matt?
MATT: No. No way. You're on, mate!
Todd suggests suddenly that the two of them should do a general knowledge quiz like those ones on TV. Sharon exclaims that that's an excellent idea - although they'll have to get a fantastic first prize so that the boys put some effort into it. Matt says it sounds good to him. Nick grins that it's going to be a pushover!
Joe and Kerry have arrived home from the party. They head into the kitchen, Joe saying they'll see if the little bloke's ready to apologise yet. Kerry sighs that she hopes Joe wasn't too hard on him. Joe starts calling for Toby - but Kerry spots the note on the table suddenly. She hands it to Joe, who reads it and exclaims that Toby's shot through. He shows Kerry the note and she reads:
KERRY: 'Dear Dad, I'm only in the way here. I'm going to Darwin to live with mum. I'm taking Bouncer. Hope you don't mind. Toby.'
Kerry cries that it's all her fault: she didn't give Toby much of chance to tell her how he felt. Joe, however, insists:
JOE: It's not you, darl, it's *me*: I was too rough on him before.
Kerry suggests that they'd better call the police. Joe, however, says Toby can only have been gone for a few minutes. He decides to check under the house and then take the ute out. Kerry says she'll call the neighbours.
Harold hands Madge a mug of tea and sits down with her on the couch. He suggests that they could drink a toast. Madge, however, murmurs that she doesn't feel much like celebrating. Harold tells her:
HAROLD: You *should*, what with the Carlyles giving us the price we asked for the house. Mind you, I knew we'd get what we wanted if we held out long enough.
MADGE (sighs): That's just the trouble: I don't know if it *is* what I want.
HAROLD: Oh well - it's out of our hands now.
Harold notices suddenly that Madge has a rolled-up sheet of paper in her hands, and he asks if it's a copy of the contract note. Madge admits:
MADGE: Not exactly - it's the original.
HAROLD (exclaims): Madge, I thought you said you signed that at the agent's office.
MADGE: Yeah, I know, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I asked for more timeó
HAROLD (demands): What is there to think about? We got the price we wanted; the sooner we get to Scotland, the better.
MADGE: It's all very well for *you*, Harold, but this place is my *home*. It caused me a lot of heartache, buying out my brother's share.
HAROLD: I thought you'd come to terms with that.
MADGE: Yes, so did I, but it's not that easy.
The 'phone starts ringing suddenly, and Madge gets up to answer it. Kerry comes on. Madge listens to her and then tells her that *they* haven't seen Toby. She adds that she's sure he'll turn up. She hangs up and tells Harold about Joe and Toby having a run-in and Toby disappearing. Harold remarks that running away isn't going to solve anything. Madge explains that Kerry asked if they can check up and down the street to see if he's hiding. She goes to the front door. Harold follows her, suggesting as he does so that they could sign the contract and drop it in to the estate agent's on the way. Madge, however, retorts in annoyance:
MADGE: First things first, Harold: we've got to get that little kid before it gets dark.
Jim is talking on the 'phone on the desk in the lounge room, saying:
JIM: I assure you, Mr. Whiting, she's not at home ... well, I know she normally is, but she had to make some house calls.
Helen joins him as he goes on:
JIM: Listen, about those avocados ... I *know* she likes them, but a whole carton? ... It's a what? ... A rash? Well, why don't you go to the hospital? ... No, all right, no, I'll tell her.
With that, Jim hangs up. Katie joins him and Helen as Helen asks how their neighbourhood hypochondriac is. Katie asks what a hypochondriac is. From the kitchen table, Matt says:
MATT: Katie, a hypochondriac is someone that imagines they're ill when they're not.
Nick sighs that *he* knew that! He adds that they'll see who the smartest is in their competition. Katie asks what competition they mean and Todd, who's standing by the sink, explains that Matt and Nick are having a challenge of the minds! Sharon asks who's going to write the questions. Todd suggests that Helen could do it. Matt, however, says he thinks the quizmaster should be someone who isn't close to Nick or him. Helen muses:
HELEN: Oh, you don't think I could be impartial...?
MATT: No, I didn't mean it like *that*...
HELEN: Well, who, then?
Katie says *she'll* do it! Todd points out that she's still in primary school, but she shrugs that she's smarter than Nick and Matt put together: her teacher says she's got a good mind. Helen suggests that perhaps Katie could be a competitor! The 'phone starts ringing again and Jim answers it in the lounge room. Meanwhile, Helen suggests that, although he also lives with Nick, they could ask *Jim* to be quizmaster. Matt and Nick both agree to this. Jim hangs up the 'phone and comes in to tell everyone that Toby has run away. Katie's face drops.
Toby is trudging with Bouncer across a park, but he says to the dog that it's time for a break - and some food. He opens his rucksack, though, and realises that he hasn't *got* any food. He declares:
TOBY: There's only one thing for it. We'll have to get to Darwin, then my mum will cook us some food. I'll see how far we have to go.
He takes his atlas out of his bag.
Joe is driving along in his ute, looking around for Toby.
Toby looks at his atlas and uses his finger to trace the route from Melbourne to Darwin. He then sighs at Bouncer:
TOBY: We're not going to get there *tonight*.
He looks back at the road and suddenly spots Joe's ute approaching. He runs behind a bush in order to hide. The ute drives past and Toby peers out from the bushes, looking relieved.
Sometime later, Toby wakes up. He's lying on the ground next to Bouncer, and he sighs and asks the dog why he let him go to sleep. He stands up, puts a jumper on and says they'd better keep walking, as it's going to be a cold night. Bouncer stands up reluctantly, looking tired.
Harold is seeing a man out of the house, telling him that he'll let him know as soon as he makes a decision. Madge comes in at that moment. Harold asks if there was any luck, but she sighs that Toby isn't anywhere to be seen. She then asks Harold if the man that just left was another applicant for the Coffee Shop job. Harold nods it was. He goes on that he was pleasant enough and reasonably well qualified, but it's a very responsible job and he can't just give it to the best of a bad bunch. Madge points out:
MADGE: There's no immediate hurry.
HAROLD: No - not until you sign *this*. [He indicates the contract] I wish you'd do it, Madge.
MADGE (sighs): Oh Harold, just give me time, would you? You're taking care over *your* decision; *I* need to do the same.
With that, Madge heads into the kitchen, adding as she does so:
MADGE: Maybe you're finding it difficult to give up something you've worked so hard for. I know *I* am.
Harold lets out a sigh.
The back gate to No. 32 opens and Toby and Bouncer slip through. Toby looks around and declares that the coast is clear - but at that moment, the door leading under the house opens and Katie emerges. Toby exclaims:
TOBY: What are *you* doing here?
KATIE: Looking for *you*.
TOBY: Why did you think I'd be in there?
KATIE: That's where you hid the last time.
TOBY: I'm *not* hiding; I've run away.
KATIE: Why'd you come home, then?
TOBY: Bouncer was tired and I didn't want him staying out all night.
KATIE: You gonna tell them you're home?
TOBY: No way!
KATIE: They're really worried.
TOBY (disbelievingly): Sure!
KATIE: They *are*. They've had the whole street out looking for you. Honestly, they're really upset.
TOBY (mutters): Serves them right, I reckon. I'll let them think I'm still missing.
KATIE: How are you going to do *that*?
TOBY: Hide out in here. [He indicates the area under the house]
He then asks Katie if she can bring him and Bouncer some food. Katie says she'll see what she can do. She walks off. Toby calls after her:
TOBY: Katie - promise you won't tell anyone where I am?
KATIE: Cross my heart and hope to die.
Jim comes in through the back door with Nick, Sharon and Todd. Helen asks if they had any luck, but Jim shrugs that there was no sign of the boy. He suggests that he should look further afield, but Helen tells him to have something to eat first. He goes and sits down at the table. Nick joins him and asks him if he can ask some general knowledge questions *now*, as he needs the practice. Jim muses that he's always fancied himself as a quizmaster! Sharon tells him that the quiz should have current affairs... news... that sort of thing. Jim hesitates before saying:
JIM: I know: who became known as the Iron Lady?
Todd grins that that's too easy! He sits down at the table as Nick stares into space, trying to think of the answer. Jim says to him:
JIM: I'll give you a clue: she's a very powerful woman.
A smile crosses Nick's face and he says:
NICK: Oh, I know this! Who's that swimmer who married Grant Kenny, the iron man? Lisa Curry!
Todd, however, says:
TODD: It's Margaret Thatcher, you fool!
NICK (mutters): How was I supposed to know *that*?
Sharon insists quickly that it's all right: one mistake isn't the end of the world. Jim says:
JIM: All right - here's another one: who created the character James Bond?
NICK (declares confidently): Sean Connery.
Jim, however, explains that he meant who wrote the book. Nick guesses:
NICK: Um... Jeffery Archer?
JIM (tells him): Ian Fleming.
TODD: Anyone want to make bets on this quiz? *I'm* backing *Matt*!
Sharon, however, tells Todd not to be so horrible: all Nick needs to do is study for the next few days. Katie comes in through the back door at that moment, looking glum. Helen asks her if there's any news of Toby, but she replies that there isn't. Helen tells her not to worry too much. Katie then asks if she can take out some food for Rupert. Helen exclaims that she's already given him half a lettuce, but Katie insists that he still looks pretty hungry. She asks if she can take him out some vegetables. Helen tells her to be quick. Back at the table, Nick sighs that he thinks Todd's right: this quiz is going to show him up to be a total idiot. Sharon tells him that all he needs is some coaching. Nick asks her if she can help him during free periods at school, but Sharon insists that he's got plenty of helpers *there*. She then announces that she's got to get back for dinner. She heads off, leaving Nick looking worried.
Kerry is standing next to Joe as he talks to a police Sergeant on the 'phone in the hallway. He hangs up and Kerry asks what the Sergeant said. Joe replies:
JOE: No luck. I'm getting back out there.
Kerry suggests that he take a break and get some sleep. Joe, however, retorts:
JOE: Oh, come off it, Kerry, what do you think I am?
He then apologises, saying he's not going to be able to sleep until he knows Toby's safe at home. Kerry tells him to at least have a cup of coffee. The two of them head into the kitchen, where Kerry picks up Toby's note and suggests:
KERRY: Maybe he'll even turn up before you have to go out again?
JOE (murmurs): Yeah, maybe...
He looks worried.
Back yard of No. 32
Standing by the door leading under the house, Katie hands Toby a carton of milk and two avocados and tells him that that's all she can get for him this morning. Toby sighs and asks if she can get him some more *real* food later. Katie replies that she'll try, but she can't keep saying it's for her rabbit: Helen's getting suspicious. She then says she'll go home and see if she can get Helen to make her an extra big lunch. With that, she dashes off again. Toby closes the door. Bouncer starts barking suddenly - just as Kerry comes out through the back door of the house carrying a rubbish bag. A look of relief crosses her face as she hears Toby ordering:
TOBY: Bouncer, be quiet! We're not supposed to *be* in here.
She goes to open the door, but then appears to change her mind, a sly grin on her face...!
Back yard of No. 32
A short time later, Kerry and Joe are both in the back yard, standing near the door leading under the house. They talk deliberately loudly, saying:
KERRY: Oh Joe, I'm so desperately worried about Toby.
JOE: Oh, so am I. I want him home more than anything in this world.
KERRY: I really love him. I miss him a lot.
JOE: Yeah, me too. Oh, I'd be flamin' broken-hearted if anything happened to my wonderful son.
KERRY: I hope he changes his mind about running away and... and comes home soon.
JOE: Oh, so do I. Yeah, I keep thinking of all the wonderful things we used to do together, you know, like, um... building billy carts and smashing Robbo's car with a cricket ball! Oh dear, oh dear, life's just not the same without him!
KERRY: Maybe he thought that I was trying to take the place of his mother? Well, I'm not - I just want to be his friend. And maybe he thought that you like Sky more than him?
JOE: Oh, that's not true. No, he'll always be my number one son.
KERRY: Come on, Joe, let's go inside. Maybe there'll be some good news soon.
JOE: I hope so, Kerry.
With that, the two of them head back up the steps to the house, loudly and pointedly. As they do so, Kerry murmurs that she hopes that did the trick. Joe replies:
JOE: It'd better, or I'll thump him!
Sharon walks into the Coffee Shop to find Matt sitting on his own at a table. She comments that she thought he was going home. Matt replies that he left it: Hilary probably wanted to have a cup of tea with Mr. Muir. He has several books open in front of him and Sharon asks what he's doing. He tells her that he's studying for the quiz. Sharon tells him that *Nick's* really going for it. Matt sighs:
MATT: Yeah, I don't stand much of a chance, then - I mean, this stuff is such hard going I can't concentrate on it. You know, I start reading about this or that and then I... I don't know... I lose where I'm up to and I can't remember what I just read.
SHARON: It sounds like you're trying too hard.
Matt then asks Sharon if she'll *help* him. Sharon points out warily that Nick is her boyfriend. Matt, however, tells her that Nick has got the Robinsons to help him, and all *he's* got is Hilary, and she pushes him so hard that he can't concentrate. Sharon gives in.
Joe and Kerry are in the kitchen, Joe sighing that the little monkey's taking his time. Kerry, however, tells him that it must be hard for Toby to show up again - it's like admitting that he didn't have what it takes to run away. Joe just snaps that if he's not up there in the next five minutes, he's going to go down and drag him up by the scruff of his neck! There's silence. The back door opens suddenly and Toby walks in meekly. He drops his rucksack on the floor. Kerry turns to him and exclaims:
KERRY: Look who it is!
Joe gives Toby a hug and smiles that they were so worried about him! Kerry asks him if he's all right, and Toby replies that he's a bit hungry - and so is Bouncer. Joe goes to get some food for him. Kerry tells Toby sincerely:
KERRY: I'm very glad you're home, Toby.
She then heads out to tell the neighbours he's back. Joe crouches down with Toby and says:
JOE: No kidding, mate - we was so worried about you. Where have you *been*?
TOBY: Well, I was going to Darwin - but I only got as far as Alice Springs.
JOE: Alice Springs?! Go on! What made you come back?
TOBY: It was Bouncer: he got homesick.
JOE: Oh, there you go. Oh, mate, I'm glad he did. It's so good to have you home.
Toby then tells Joe that he's sorry. Joe gives him a loving hug.
Jim sits down with Nick at the kitchen table and says he's found just what they want: it's a quiz book, although it's a bit old. Over by the stove, Helen says she's got to go and see Madge. She wishes everyone a good day and heads out. No one notices Katie picking up some extra bits of food from the counter before she, too, heads out. At the table, Jim asks Nick how many runs Don Bradman scored in his cricketing career. Nick, however, retorts:
NICK: Bradman retired about a hundred years ago! How am I gonna know *that*?
JIM: I *told* you it was an old book! All right: who wrote 'Alice in Wonderland'?
NICK: Wilbur Smith?
JIM: Lewis Carroll. How many legs does a spider have?
Before Nick can answer, though, Todd comes in through the back door, pulling an Old English Sheepdog behind him! He says:
TODD: Uncle Jim, look what *we've* got!
JIM (frowns): What do you mean 'what we've got'?
Todd explains that a man just delivered the dog for Beverly - and there's a note, too. Jim takes the note and reads:
JIM: 'Best wishes from Jonathan Whiting'. The man is off his head!
Nick exclaims that Katie's going to *love* the dog! Jim, however, retorts:
JIM: I'm sorry, guys, Katie isn't even going to *see* this creature. We can't keep him.
TODD (looking disappointed): You mean you're taking it back?
JIM: I most certainly am - and I'm going to put an end to this crazy, ridiculous gift-giving. Jonathan Whiting's gone too far this time. I'm going to sort him out - once and for all...