Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It, too, is partly set in the rural Tanzania I remember from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter Three, scene two: A week later.
Routine is fine, but it’s still routine.
After a couple of weeks into my stay at this hospital, I found myself in as deep a rut as I had been in for the past twenty-odd years in Dar. This time, though, I wasn’t free to just pop out to a bar or restaurant, or take a drive to ease the tedium. I did a lot of thinking between my adventures in the investment arena that was becoming, for me, a lot less boring than the import/export and general trading Papa was paying me to do. I had come to some conclusions, conclusions I had hinted at during my chats with Sophie. I had no idea whether she had taken the bait, but I now felt I needed to run my ideas past someone who, I hoped, would be likely to understand what I was feeling. My chance came when Max next video-called me.
“Been doing some thinking, Max,” I said. “After uni, I had a nice summer in Oxfordshire with my old pals Forbes and Finlay; not sure if you know them; then Papa packed me off to Dar to run his business. Been doing it ever since. And you know what, Max? Don’t want to do it any more.”
“What?” she asked, “You can’t just walk away from the business that you’ve spent twenty years building up, surely.”
“Look,” I replied, “I know I have responsibilities; I know when Papa croaks, the whole empire will be mine, but I can hire managers to do the day-to-day stuff. I should be able to slope off to do things that I want to do, things that will give me some level of satisfaction, of fulfillment. I don’t need to micromanage every aspect of the business.”
Seeming to be somewhat taken aback by this revelation, Max asked, “What will you do instead, Hannice?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “and that’s the best thing about it. I won’t have my every move mapped out for me by the need to control the minutiae of this bloody company. I can do what makes me feel good about myself, and still stay in overall charge.”
“Good for you, then, Hannice,” Max replied. “Don’t ask me to be permanent here, though; I have other interests, too, not all of which I can service from Tanzania.”
That gave me pause. “Can we talk about that another time?” I asked, “I’m not expecting you to run things there permanently, but I need to be clear in my own mind what I want to do. Once I have that, I can consider how my plans affect other people. How’s your book going, by the way?”
“Fancy asking me about that,” she said, “Apart from mentioning it to you in passing before your accident, I haven’t given it a thought. I picked it up again this morning; first time for months.”
“No mystery,” I said. “Sophie mentioned that you asked her to do some research.”
“You seem to be getting on very well with Sophie.” Her tone suggested a note of jealousy.
“Indeed. We were bound to get closer. She’s my physiotherapist, so I spend almost an hour with her every day, just on that. She is also helping me with some other, shall we say, more personal activities, until I get the hang of doing them myself. Turns out we think alike on a number of issues, and Sophie is a most affable companion. It is not unlikely, that whatever I decide to do in the future, she will be a part of it. Have to be, anyway, or I’ll need to find a new physio.”
Max looked pensive, then a cheeky grin crossed her features. “A thought just occurred,” she said, “you know Sophie’s surname, don’t you?”
“Yes, it’s Deigh,” I said. Then, after a pause, “I see where you’re going with this. What a partnership – Knight and Deigh!”
“It certainly has a better ring than Matham and Deigh, but can you afford the transfer fee?”
At that, the video image froze and Max’s speech became juddery. I killed the connection.