Sam's phonecall

Sam's phonecall is chapter 37 in the Family Affair saga; a trilogy by Bernard Preston.

A Family Affair consists of three books:

  1. The Bostonians
  2. Peter's Children
  3. The Return

Sam's phonecall is actually the last chapter of The Bostonians. Peter's Children and The Return are available as ebooks on Amazon for about a dollar each.

The call out of the blue came as a surprise: ‘Hello Janet. How are you?’

‘Better thanks, Sam. The last few months have been torrid, but we’ve turned a corner.’ Sam could detect the old self-assurance in Janet’s voice.

‘I was thinking about you in my prayers this morning, so I thought I would phone,’ said Sam.

‘Well, that’s nice of you Sam. Something has made the difference and maybe it was your prayers. You really do believe that stuff, don’t you?’

‘You know I do, Janet. Jesus loves you too.’

Janet responded with a ditty that sprang from a long-forgotten recess. ‘Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so … oh, sorry Sam, that was horrid. I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but Jesus lived so long ago.’

‘That may be so, Janet, but it still doesn’t change the fact the God loves us, just as we are. You must have gone to Sunday School once.’

‘A long time ago when the Earth was green,’ Janet ended playfully.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 2nd January, 2019.

‘Rats and cats and elephants, eh! Unicorns too. Now that was a long time ago, Janet. Tell me: how are you? You had lost so much weight last time I saw you.’

‘I’m fine, thank you Sam. The next few months were simply awful but we went back to Dr Tomlinson, and he made a wonderful suggestion.’

‘And what was that?’

‘Have another baby!’ She laughed nervously, not sure how Sam would take it. ‘What do you think?’

Sam hesitated: ‘I don’t honestly know, Janet. That’s a revolutionary thought. You know what I think about you and Santie. Well, how I used to think. I had a dream about you last night, Janet.’

‘Nothing indecent, I hope!’ Janet gave one of her throaty laughs.

‘No, of course not. I phoned to say how terribly sorry I am that I was so judgemental of you and Santie.’

‘Wow, that’s kind of you, Sam. You mean it?’

‘Yes, I mean it. I mean …Janet, I don’t know what I think any more. I still don’t feel that your relationship with Santie is right, but I’m really sorry for all the horrid things I said.’

‘Well, if we’re on the sorry thing, then I’m sorry to say that we said some very horrid things about you too. So we’re even!’

‘So, let’s move on. How are you going to choose the father?’

‘Out of a test tube, my dear, with some help from the medical students at Wits.’ Janet gave another laugh. ‘I’ve picked up about 5 kg, and I’ve just had my second period. The doctor says I have to have three first. But Santie and I have chosen our man. He’s tall, but not too tall. About six foot. Good looking, of course, and very sporty. A tennis player. All we know is that he is a medical student, and is on the verge of a provincial tennis team.’

A Family Affair

A family affair is Bernard Preston's pot boiler; I hope you've enjoyed it.

A Family Affair

Sam's phonecall

Sam's phonecall brings some great news for Janet.

‘I suppose they check their family history carefully.’

‘Oh yes, he has a good pedigree; no hereditary diseases. Humans will probably all have their babies that way one day,’ she joked.

‘Santie chose a guy with jet black hair, but then I read that blonde is recessive and in a hundred years time there won’t be any more like me. It’s a bit like choosing a bull from the Taurus catalogue.’ Janet gave another laugh. They chatted on for another few minutes before saying their goodbyes.

One thing continued to irk. More than that, it made Janet mad. Margery gave her another rape case. So angry, in fact, that within the week, she resigned when her boss wouldn’t give in. The next day Santie quit  as well. They had both had enough of Jansen, Hansen and Thomas.

They had been good years, professionally speaking, but they were glad to have an excuse to leave the ship that Jan Jansen had left floundering and becalmed in the legal doldrums.

‘What are we going to do now?’ Janet and Santie were sitting on their patio enjoying a long drink after their Sunday morning ride. ‘What would you like to do?’

‘First I would like to take a decent holiday. We haven’t been away for a proper break for over a year. What about the Drakensberg?’

‘Gorgeous. And then?’

‘I don’t know. I’m sick and tired of J,T and H anyway. Bored I suppose you could say.’

‘It’s definitely time to move on.’

‘Margery just tipped the scales for me, but I’m afraid it came so suddenly that I have no real insights, Santie.’

‘Fortunately it coincided with the end of our contracts anyway.’

‘Frankly I don’t really want to think about it for a few weeks. Let’s just take a break, and sleep on it.’

Santie nodded. ‘We’ve saved quite a lot of money, but I don’t care for the idea of sitting around for months. I would like to have a job to come back to.’

‘Well, yes, I’m sure you are right but I’m finding it very difficult to see the way ahead. One thing I do know – it mustn’t have anything to with defending rapists.’

‘How about prosecuting rapists?’ Neither of them had heard Sam arrive. It was the first time she had been to their home but during church that morning she had had a burning compulsion to go and visit Janet.

‘Hey, hello Sam! This is a nice surprise.’ Janet jumped to her feet, taking Sam’s arm and pulling up another deckchair. ‘A drink? We’re having an orange but I’ve got tea, coffee, beer, wine … what would you like?’

‘A juice would be great. Hello Santie.’ Sam went and took a seat next to her pet dislike. She wouldn’t admit to the word hate but she was finding that learning to love one’s enemy was not something that happened overnight. It was some years later that Janet pointed out to her that sometimes a good mixture of love and hate can be more powerful than either.


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Privately Santie thought Sam a hypocrite, and she wasn’t the saintly Christian that she made out to be. She certainly didn’t buy her explanation to Janet, that one became a saint in God’s eyes the moment one was born again.

If the Bible called her a saint, then she had jolly well better be saintly. Her reluctant confession to Janet that the slow, hard grind of becoming in reality what she professed to be, was proving harder than expected, carried no water with Santie.

‘Rumour has it that you two have resigned.’

‘Bad news travels fast,’ muttered Santie.

‘Good news, Santie’ said Janet. Turning to Sam, pouring her a glass of fresh orange she continued: ‘We both wanted out and this gave us the excuse. Margery gave me another rape case. I refused to take it and, when she wouldn’t back down, we both resigned.’

‘Tired of getting rapists off the hook, eh!’


‘Still no news of Jansen and KJ?’

Janet scowled: ‘They have vanished off the face of the earth. I phone Interpol every week, and I must say they have been fantastic but they haven’t turned up in Australia like Interpol predicted, but they haven’t left either. Not legally anyway.’

Sam shook her head. ‘Such a dear boy. How old is he now?’

‘Nearly three.’

‘Mark my words, there’s nothing permanently lost in the kingdom of heaven. So what are you going to do now? Any job offers in the pipeline?’

Santie and Janet shook their heads. ‘We haven’t even started looking. We resigned only this week. I’ve no doubt in this crime-, divorce- and rape-ridden world there will be a niche for us,’ Janet said.

‘I think I would like a spell in the big corporate world,’ said Santie. ‘I’m sure firms like Anglo American and Rand Merchant Bank must have dozens of attorneys writing contracts and protecting their interests. It would make a good change.’

Both Janet and Sam nodded. ‘Yes, that would look good on your CV,’ said Janet with a laugh. ‘I suppose I am doomed to protecting women’s interests in messy divorces.’

‘There is another option though it might be, professionally speaking, a backward step,’ said Sam.

‘And what would that be?’ Janet raised her eyebrow.

‘If you really feeling that strongly about rape, Justice is in desperate need of a female prosecutor ….’

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is a semi retired chiropractor and novelist. Sam's phonecall is the last chapter of Book I, A Family Affair.

Books II and III cost you the princely sum of about 99c each, depending on what Amazon does with the price.

Peter's Children

Peter's children is the second book in the A family affair trilogy. Sam's phonecall was the last chapter of Book I.


You have just finished Book 1 of A FAMILY AFFAIR. BOOK 2 has just become available for only a dollar.

Now you meet Peter Twycross whom Santie and Janet manage to bewitch into fathering four lovely children, all without him being any the wiser!

Meeting Daddy, the first chapter of Peter's Children, is available for free but it's much easier reading on your own Kindle or tablet. Best of all, it's only 99 cents for Books 2 and 3!

E books are the future. No overheads means big savings for you.

Go to F. Happy Families ... Ch 1 MEETING DADDY

What's potting in Bernard Preston's garden?

Bernard Preston isn't just a retired chiropractor and author; potting in his garden brings great joy, and fresh unsprayed, organic food in abundance into the kitchen. Many of his stories like Sam's phonecall and Meeting Daddy are hatched whilst weeding or turning a compost heap.

There are few things that bring more pleasure and health than fruit from your own garden. That could be a lemon or lime tree for your fresh bean salads, and an orange tree for juice (Orange Juice is NOT the same as OJ! There's a world of difference), or an Avocado for your nerves. Nerves are coated in fat (called a Myelin Sheath) and it's vital to coat your nerves with the healthy fats. But you may need some help from a proper tree planting guide.


Lower Back Exercises

Lower back exercises are for all, says Bernard Preston. None of us can escape heavy lifting, bending and twisting periodically.

They have nothing to do with A Family Affair, but Peter's father is an orthopaedic surgeon; he too needs to do lower back exercises. Peter has back trouble as you'll find in Sam's phonecall.

All gardeners, in fact EVERYBODY, needs to do a few back exercises before getting out of bed every morning. Just like you brush your teeth. Prevention. These exercises of mine will save you a lot of pain, and a heap of visits to the chiropractor, done EVERY morning! They take only one and half minutes. Whilst you're saying your early morning prayers... here you can see the exercises on YouTube. Easy. See if you can put us out of business! The surgeon too.


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Hyde Park Corner

From my soapbox which is where Sam's phonecall is being broadcast from.

Speaking of prayers, I don't feel duty bound to go to church every Sunday, but this morning Helen and I will be walking to church. It's only about a kilometre. It's wonderful to meet with the Lord and friends (actually we're really a big family; brothers and sisters in Christ) on a regular basis.

But seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise him. In bed with my lower back exercises, in the garden, in the clinic. He doesn't just live in cathedrals and churches.


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