"Flashes Before Our Eyes" is the 42nd episode of Desperate Schoolboys.
To celebrate passing his driving test, Rena plans a trip in an RV, however it ends in disaster. Ben becomes more paranoid over who is sending him the letters. Joe hopes to get closer to Katie. And when looking for information about Alex, Josh discovers something that will change everything.
It had taken Renato Abelho a while to get his driver's license. In the past, he had failed to do so due to mishap...
Flash to Rena trying to parallel park, only to reverse and crash into the car behind him.
Flash to Rena accidentally drifting into the cycle lane, causing a man on the bike to crash into the rear of the car and go flying over it.
Flash to a bird flying into Rena's windscreen, causing him to swerve in confusion and drive up on the curb where he drives over a bunch of tables outside a restaurant, making the customers run away in terror.
But his time had finally come...
We see Rena getting his photograph taken before being handed is freshly laminated driver's license.
...And to mark the occasion, Rena had planned a little trip for him and his friends.
We are shown a Winnebago driving down the road, inside, Rena is driving, and Ben, Liz, Joe, Katie and Mary are accompanying him.
But Rena still wasn't the world's best driver...
Rena is seen accidentally swerving and going into another lane, putting him on a collision course with a large truck. His friends begin yelling and cowering, but Rena is able to swerve the RV out of the way in time, causing everyone to sigh with relief.
And it wasn't the only time on this trip that everyone's lives would flash before their very eyes.
Ben Ashdale was experiencing some trouble. He was facing something that was challenging his very character. The calm Ben was turning paranoid...
Flash to Ben walking the streets, he frantically looks around him.
And his usual friendly and caring nature, was slowly turning into distrust...
Flash to someone calling over to Ben from their house door, asking for help, but Ben keeps walking.
It started with some notes...
Flash to Ben opening the first letter.
And then he started getting pictures...
Flash to Ben opening another letter, but this time it's a bunch of photographs. Amongst the pictures is: Ben sitting with Joe, Ben walking with Liz, Ben holding his baby sister. They are of Ben's everyday life, which someone is clearly stalking.
And then he got sent something else...
Flash to Ben picking up an unmarked/unaddressed box by his door. He opens it and finds earrings. He picks them up to examine.
We flash to Ben with Emma; the camera zooms in to reveal her wearing the same earrings.
As the flash ceases, Ben looks shocked.
We then flash to Ben at the police station. "I'm sorry but there really is nothing we can do," the officer says. "Can't you see where these pictures were printed?" Ben asks. "They were printed from the home," the officer tells him. "This person is stalking me!" Ben shouts. "But no threat on your life has been taken," the officer explains. "So this person has to kill me before you'll catch them?" Ben asks. The officer merely replies, "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do."
Sadly for Ben, he really had no idea how far the trouble would go.
Ben gets home from the police station, to find another note has arrived. He opens it and reads, Revenge has finally made it to your door. And it is going to take the life of someone close to you. Ben drops the note and looks sick.
Rena, Mary, Joe, Ben and Liz are seen gathered 'round a table in a café together. "Okay, so why'd you wanna meet us here?" Joe wonders. "We're planning a trip," Rena says. "A trip?" Liz asks. "Yes, I have rented an RV for the weekend to celebrate getting my license, so we can all hop and drive to our heart's content," Rena announces. "Um..." Ben starts, "I don't think our hearts will be content if we're in a vehicle with you... more splattered on the pavement." "No," Rena says, "I've been much better lately. When I was taking my driving test this time, I didn't crash or run anyone over or anything!" Rena says proudly. "Well, with credentials like that, I'm surprised you're not an F1 racer," Joe says. "Come on, guys, I've already put a down payment on the RV, I think it'll be really great," Rena tells them. The group all look to one another, and then back at Rena. "Can't wait..." Joe says shakily. "Hey, where's Josh?" Liz asks, looking around. "And Dean," Ben says. "I don't know," Rena says, "I called them too, I'm not sure where they are." "Does that mean he's not coming? When're we leaving?" Liz asks. "Tomorrow," Rena reveals, and his friends all look nervous. "Well, if we don't see him by then, I guess he's not coming," Joe says. "Mary," Liz interjects, "You've been really quiet, are you okay?" Mary grunts. "This baby had me rushing to the bathroom all morning to puke. And to add salt to the wound, it's now muffin-topping the crap out of me – I'm getting my bump," she says, standing up and lifting her sweater, revealing the small baby bump underneath. She sits back down and says, "On the bright side, my breasts are gigantic," and Rena nods, smiling.
Inside the Manning house, Josh is hiding at the corner of the upstairs hallway, staring at Alex's bedroom door, in wait of something. He then gets a call, he opens it and whispers, "What?...A trip?....Sorry, I'm busy..." Suddenly Joanna shouts from downstairs, "Come and get lunch, boys!" Josh stands still and watches as Alex leaves his bedroom, to go downstairs. Josh immediately drops the phone and runs into the bedroom, beginning to look around. He opens Alex's top desk draw and rummages around until he finds a passport. He opens it to see a picture of Alex but with the name Alex Norwood. Josh smiles and then goes out the bedroom, picking up his phone and after dialling a number, says, "Dean, I have our first lead."
Outside the café, Joe is seen taking out his cell phone and dialling, and on the other end of the line, Katie is seen answering. "Hey Joe," she says with a smile. "Hi," he replies, "So, Rena's got his license, and to celebrate, we're gonna take a trip in a Winnebago." "Who's 'we're'?" Katie asks. "Me, Rena, Ben, Liz, Mary and maybe Josh and Dean." "Right," Katie says, "And..." "And," Joe continues, "I was wondering if you'd like to come?" Katie pauses, before exclaiming, "I'd love to!" Joe smiles. "When are we going? Should I meet you guys someplace?" Katie asks. "Tomorrow," Joe answers, " We're leaving tomorrow. And we're meeting outside Rena's place, but, I could stop by yours, walk you there?" Joe suggests. "Sounds great," Katie says, still smiling, "I'll see you soon." The call soon ceases, and Joe appears elated with happiness.
Rena, Mary, Ben, Liz, Joe and Katie are all seen stood outside the Winnebago in Rena's driveway. "It's amazing, isn't it?!" Rena says happily, unlocking the door. "Well get in then," he tells them, and without talking, everybody files into the RV. "Bit cramped," Liz points out. "Cosy," Rena corrects her. "Smells kinda chemical-y..." Joe points out. "That's just the chemical toilet," Rena tells him, pushing a door open to reveal a shabby looking chemical toilet. "I guess I'll be holding it between pit-stops..." Joe utters, and Rena makes his way to the driving seat. "You coming to sit next to me?" he asks Mary, who grunts, looking faint. "You okay?" he asks. "I think I need to go puke again," she tells him. "Well, use the chemical toilet," Rena says. "Rena... I'd sooner throw up on you," she says, before running out of the RV and into the house. "We'll get going when she's back," Rena assures the others. "Yay..." Joe says falsely. At the back of the RV, Liz notices Ben's silent and depressed demeanour and asks him if he's okay. "I'm grand," he assures her. "Well, did you tell your face that? You're looking kinda glum," she points out. At this, Ben forces a smile, "I'm fine, Liz," he says, giving her a brief kiss, but Liz doesn't appear to believe him. "Well these seats are nice," Katie says, sitting down. "I know, right?" Rena says, "The last people to rent this had chronic diarrhoea, but I think they did a really great job with the steam-cleaning." "Ew," Katie whispers, before shooting back up to her feet. Soon after this, Mary returns to the RV. "You can all stop staring, I'm still gonna be pregnant when we start driving," she says gruffly. "Um, you got a little... on your face," Katie says, pointing at her own face, and Mary wipes the residual vomit from the corner of her mouth. "Well thank you for that, Katie. As if I didn't feel disgusting enough," Mary growls, before joining Rena at the front of the vehicle, sitting down in the passenger seat. Rena looks at her, "You look pretty," he tries, but Mary barks, "Just drive!" and Rena places the key in the ignition.
Ben sits down glumly in the Winnebago as Liz comes over and asks, "So Ben, what's been wrong?" Ben looks into her eyes, knowing he can't lie to her, and responds, "I'm being stalked." "What?" Liz asks. "Someone has been sending me letters and photographs...someone has been following me," Ben explains, "And then I got these." Ben takes the earrings out of his pocket. Liz gapes, "They're Emma's." Ben nods. "So what does it mean?" Liz asks. "Well obviously Emma didn't send them...but I think I know who did," Ben says. Liz asks, "Who?" "When I went to speak to Emma's father, he was so angry with me. And he said..."
We flash to when Ben spoke with William. (See "The Dog Days Are Over")
And I only hope that one day cold justice makes its way to your door.
Present-day. Ben says, "It was so much like the wording in the letters...."
We flash to when Ben opened his first letter. (See "The Dog Days Are Over")
What goes around comes around. And it's coming to your door.
Present-day. "It was William," Ben concludes, "But what does he want? Does he want to hurt me?" Liz holds him tight, "I'm sure he's only trying to scare you. But we need to go to the police as soon as we get back." Ben nods and holds Liz tight back.
At the local newspaper, Josh and Dean come through the door. "I don't know what you expect to find," Dean comments. Josh, ignoring him, goes to the server and says, "I'm looking for some information on Alex Norwood." "I can look at articles?" the server says. Josh nods, as the woman types Alex Norwood into the system, but there comes back no results. "Nothing. Sorry," the server says. "What about relatives? Anything about his parents?" Josh asks. "Do you know the names of the parents?" the server asks. Josh shakes his head. "Then it'll take me a while to get the information. Leave me your contact information and I'll get back to you," the server says, giving Josh a form. Josh begins filling it out. "His parents?" Dean asks. Josh explains, "Ted is his uncle. Apparently Alex's parents were awful people, and Ted saved him from them. I'm sure I'll find something that his parents. Something that will explain his behaviour." Dean doesn't look convinced, "I don't think you'll find anything." Josh looks angry and snaps, "Then why are you even here?! Why don't you fuck off and let me do this?! I'm sick of your negative comments!" "Fine," Dean utters, before turning and exiting the shop. Josh watches him leave and then sighs to himself.
The Winnebago is seen pulling up in a parking lot outside a service station; the door opens and everyone inside steps out of it, making their way inside. "So, are we still in Wiksteria?" Katie asks Joe as they walk together, lagging behind the rest of the group. "Yeah," Joe tells her, "We're just stopping for something to eat and then we're heading off." "Which means we can still make a run for it," Katie jokes, and Joe chuckles with her. He then takes Katie's hand in his own, and the two of them continue to walk this way. They soon enter the service station, still chatting, and join everyone else who are now standing in a restaurant-type area. "So what does everyone want?" Rena asks the crowd. "I don't think I want anything," Ben says, "I'm not feeling too well." "Aw, honey," Liz says, "Do you wanna go take a lie-down in the RV?" she asks. Ben nods glumly, before setting off, and we soon see him opening the Winnebago door and making his way to the back, before lying down. However, the camera zooms out to reveal that two Winnebagos are parked side-by-side, and Ben is sleeping in the wrong one.
An old woman, Rose, and her husband, Cecil, are driving the Winnebago that Ben has fallen asleep in. Rose speaks, "Oh my god, I just found that lighter I borrowed from the waitress in my pocket. I feel terrible!" "We are not taking it back," Cecil tells her. Meanwhile Ben awakes in the sleeping quarters. He looks at the drivers with alarm. "I really think we should just turn around, give it back and apologise," Rose says. "I think we ought to keep it," Cecil retorts, "Our old one is almost out of fuel anyway." "But we're criminals in the eyes of the law!" Rose exclaims. "There is worse criminals than us. Remember at the last gun show, everyone was swiping bullets," Cecil tells her. Rose comments, "That's true, we pay for our ammo." Ben is listening, mouth gaped and eyes widened. He gets under the covers of the bed and phones the police, "Yes, yes, hello. I'm being kidnapped! This is an emergency! I'm being kidnapped in a stolen Winnebago! I'm going west on the I-10....I can't talk any louder...no...I'm being kidnapped...Just save me!" Meanwhile Rose looks at the stolen lighter and says to her husband, "It's engraved! That's it, we're going back."
The RV is seen driving down the road when sirens approach from behind. "What the hell..." Rena utters before pulling over. "What's happening?" Joe asks from behind him. "I'm not sure," Rena tells him, "I don't think I was speeding." Rena then steps out of the driving seat and approaches the Winnebago door, opening it to an officer on the other side. "Sir, I'm going to have to search your vehicle," the policeman says. "What?" Rena asks confused. "Sir, we've had report of a kidnapping in a vehicle like this one, we're going to have to search it," the officer expands. "Um, okay..." Rena says. The policeman then steps aboard the vehicle and begins looking around, heading to the back of the vehicle. "Be quiet, our friend's asleep back there," Katie says. The policeman soon finishes his inspection and re-approaches Rena. "There doesn't appear to be anyone captive, do continue and we're sorry for the intrusion," the policeman says before stepping off of the Winnebago. Rena closes the door. "Well that was weird," he says, before getting back in the driving seat.
Josh is in the office of the Manning house, leaving a message for Dean, "Dean...I'm sorry that I snapped at you...just please reply to me." Josh sighs glumly, but suddenly the phone rings. He picks it up and says excitedly, "Dean?" But he hears, "Hello. Mr. Miller? This is the newspaper, I found a relevant article and so I'm faxing it now." "Thanks," Josh replies, with a sigh, as the fax machine begins printing off an article. He goes over and picks it up, suddenly he drops the phone. He looks at it with terrified eyes and goes white. The camera spins to reveal the article - it shows a picture of Ted, with the title Theodore Norwood WANTED for the Abduction of children. Suddenly Josh hears footsteps from behind as Ted walks into the room, seeing the article, "Oh, Joshy...I really wish you hadn’t seen that." Josh stares back at Ted, suddenly seeing more cold eyes. Josh spits angrily at Ted before running through the door, causing Ted to run after him. Josh runs into the dining room, where Joanna is setting the table, and shouts, "Mom! Mom! We have to get out!" Joanna looks at him confused, "What do you mean?" Suddenly Ted enters the room, taking out a revolver, as he says, "I think it's time for a family meeting...everyone take a seat." Joanna looks at him confused and frightened, "What's going on Teddy?" Ted looks over to Alex, who is standing looking unaffected - clearly having seen this side of Ted before. Ted says calmly, "That means you too, Alex. Sit down, boy." Alex immediately sits down, but Josh and Joanna are still standing in shock. Ted screams, "SIT DOWN!" Joanna and Josh then sit at the table, eyes widened with fear.
Back at the service station in Wiksteria, Rose and Cecil get out the Winnebago to return the lighter, leaving their keys. Ben appears from the back, jumps into the driver seat and takes off. Driving the wrong Winnebago, he phones Rena and says, "Put your fears to rest, I have the Winnebago back!" "What are you talking about?" Rena asks, "Did you have a nightmare?" "Indeed I did," Ben replies, "But don't worry, it's all over now."
Back in Rena's Winnebago, he gets up and pulls away the curtains of the sleeping quarters to see that Ben isn't there. He gapes and then asks, "Ben, where are you calling from?!" "From behind the wheel of the Winnebago," Ben says. Rena shouts back, "I'm in the Winnebago! You're in the wrong one, you idiot! You've stolen someone's Winnebago!"
Ben shakes his head, "Don't be absurd!" Ben begins looking around the Winnebago, seeing pictures of Rose and Cecil and other personal items. Ben realises what's done and screams, "OH MY GOD!" The distraction causes him to veer the Winnebago, he hauls the wheel back, then panics and turns on the emergency brake, causing him to fall from the seat after the Winnebago screeches to a stop.
Rena's RV pulls up round the side of the service station, which appears to be under construction as frames of scaffolding is set up outside it. Ben is seen standing beside it as the Winnebago door opens, and Rena, Mary, Joe, Katie and Liz step out. Liz runs up and hugs Ben and Joe asks, "What were you thinking getting in someone else's RV?" "Obviously I didn't know at the time!" Ben retorts. "Whatever," Liz says, "Point is, you're here now." "Exactly," Ben says. "Hey guys, is it just me, or does that scaffolding look kinda... shaky?" Katie asks, and all six of them stare up at it, to notice that it's wobbling. "I think it's gonna fall!" Rena declares. "Right, everyone back into the RV!" Ben shouts, but as everyone is filing inside, Mary trips and falls back. "Mary!" Rena yells, noticing this, but it's too late. The scaffolding is seen to be tumbling down, and Rena runs to save Mary, however, he is pulled back by Ben and Joe, who both realize any attempt to grab Mary would result in Rena being crushed too.
It is said that before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes...
Mary is seen lying on the ground, unable to get up, as the scaffolding falls down upon her in slow motion. The shot zooms into her eye, where the reflection of the tumbling metal is seen, before we are shown a flash of Mary arriving in Wiksteria ("Forever Reforming"), Rena discovering Mary in her underwear in an alley ("My Girlfriend, the Bitch"), Rena walks Mary home from school ("My Girlfriend, the Bitch"), Rena and Mary converse at Ben's party ("Boo!"), Rena and Mary share their first date in the latter's home ("Hail Mary"), Rena and Mary are locked in a basement together, and kiss ("A Spot of Bother"), Rena, Mary, Hugo and Rocky are happily having breakfast together, as Mary is told she's allowed to stay ("Who You Really Are, Part 2"), Rena pulls Mary from under the wreckage of the school clock tower just in time ("For Whom the Bell Tolls"), Mary comforts Rena at Christina's funeral ("Infinity, Part 1"), Mary tells Rena that she's pregnant ("Infinity, Part 2"), Mary announces her pregnancy at dinner ("Come on in for Dinner"), we are then taken back to the moment of the scaffolding falling...
But for Mary Strange, it was not only the past that flashed before her, but the future as well...
Flash to Mary giving birth to her child, then holding it for the first time. Flash to Mary bringing her son home from the hospital for the first time. Flash to Mary and Rena watching their son get christened. Flash to Mary tucking her son into bed as Rena reads him a bedtime story. Flash to Mary walking her son to his first day of school. Flash to Mary comforting her son when he cries. Flash to Mary watching and smiling as her son watches in awe as Rena, dressed as Santa, places presents beneath the tree. Flash to Rena, Mary and their child having dinner together. Flash to Rena and Mary clapping as their son stands on stage in a graduation cap and gown, receiving his diploma. Flash to Mary driving her son to college, and giving him a kiss on the forehead before he steps out of the car. We are taken back to the scene of the scaffolding.
...Unfortunately for Mary...
The scaffolding tumbles down atop of her as Rena is heard crying close by, picking up metal beams and throwing them away, with the intention of rescuing his love.
...It was a future that would never come to pass.