"Gracious in the Face of Danger" is the 41st episode of Desperate Schoolboys.
Ben struggles to keep his manners, becoming fed up with other people's rude and inconsiderate behavior and as the stress of receiving more letters gets to him. Joe begins tagging along on Katie and Fraser's dates. Some trouble is brewed when Rena and Mary choose godparents for their unborn child. And Josh attempts to bond with Ted, however this creates some problems for Alex.
Ben Ashdale was a person of good manners. He believed in going out of your way to help struggling strangers, little acts of kindness and always showing appreciation. Unfortunately not everyone was like Ben...
Ben walks into the Ashdale house. Suddenly he hears loud, piercing rock music beginning to play from next door. "What the hell is that?!" Ben shouts. Lydia walks over, holding her crying baby daughter, "It's our new neighbour...he won't stop with the racket! It's been non-stop!" "He's a musician," Walter adds. "A musician? Doesn't he ever stop for sex and drugs?!" Lydia exclaims, "How does a wild adolescent who can hardly play two cords afford a house here anyway?!" "His last album sold over a million copies," Walter informs her. "Well, I'll just add that to my reasons to die," Lydia says with disdain, walking off with the crying baby. Ben looks distressed by the noise and then turns back round, out the door.
...Some people were inconsiderate.
Ben approaches the student social club, where Joe is standing outside waiting for him. "Not like you to be late," Joe remarks, looking at his watch. "I just parked my new car when the person beside me threw open their door and scratched my side, then got straight out and walked off. Well, I left a withering note on their windshield: Dear discourteous driver..." Joe interrupts, "Oh, ouch! Ben, that won't do any good. You should go back and slash the air form their tyres!" "Oh, I couldn't do that," Ben says, "No need to stoop to such a level."
Ben and Joe enter the social club, when Ben notices a pink wallet on the ground. He picks it up, "Someone dropped their wallet." "Are they cute?" Joe asks. Ben opens the wallet and says, reading the licence, "Well, she's five foot six, weighs two hundred pounds and has corrective lenses." "Ugh, throw it back on the floor," Joe tells him. Ben shakes his head, "Well it's a good job that I don't share your 'Good deeds for babes only' policy." Ben begins to hand the wallet over to a waiter, when a small, fat girl with glasses shouts over, "Is that my wallet?!" Ben looks and hands it to her, "Yes, I found it on the floor." The girl opens it and says, "Where's my cash?!" "I don't know," Ben shrugs. "Yeah, right! I had four dollars in there!" the woman shouts, "At least you left my credit card, you thieving jerk!" The woman walks off, leaving a gaped Ben.
...And just unpleasant. But if the ugliness of people's manners wasn’t enough, Ben's stress had also been added to by someone who was sending him notes...
Flashback to Ben opening another note. It reads, If you prick a man he shall bleed. If you poison him he will die. And if you wrong him he will seek revenge.
Flash to the opening of another note which reads, And with revenge comes aggression, retaliation and pain to those who deserve it. Remember, it's coming to your door. Ben drops the letter, looking pale.
...Something that the police were doing nothing about...
Flash to Ben showing the letters at the police station, with a distressed Lydia. The policemen shrug, saying there's nothing they can do.
...And these are just some of the reasons, of how Benjamin Ashdale reached the end of his tether. And how the challenge towards his own manners started.
Back to present-day. Ben and Joe look around for a table at the busy social club. They see a couple getting ready to leave a table, and stand by it so they can sit once they leave. Ben complains, "Can you believe that girl? I do her a favour and she accuses me of stealing." "The world is filled with creeps like that. Haven't you figured that out yet?" Joe asks. "I still choose to believe that people are basically good," Ben tells him. The couple leave and Ben steps back, allowing them to pass by him. However as he goes for the chair, a boy nudges him to the side and sits on the chair. Suddenly Ben stares at him with a shocked face, "Excuse me, but we were waiting for that table." "So get another one," the boy remarks. "There aren't any!" Ben shouts, "Look, you knew we were waiting for it. You watched us politely stand aside to let that couple past and then you just jumped right in here." "Well you won't make that mistake again," the boy laughs. Suddenly Ben's eyes bug out. Joe urges him, "Ben, Ben...forget it, we'll just wait for another." "No, we won't!" Ben shouts, "This isn't about the table anymore, it's about human decency. Excuse me, when you treat me this way it then encourages me to be discourteous to another. And so on and so on." The boy rolls his eyes. Ben asks him, "You don't have any manners do you?" The boy says in a squeaky and condescending tone, "Well, I guess not." Ben shouts, "Then perhaps what you need is an etiquette lesson!" Suddenly Ben lifts the boy from the chair and roughly shoves him out the door. All eyes are on Ben as he returns to the table and says, "Well, sit down Joe." They both sit down, Joe looking shocked, as he grabs Ben's drink, hands it to a waiter and says, "My friend will switch this for a decaf."
Katie Vaala and Fraser Gale had now been dating for over two weeks, and their time together included picnics in the park...
Flash to Fraser laying down a blanket on the grass as Katie joins him, carrying a picnic basket.
Flash to Katie and Fraser sitting opposite one another in a restaurant.
...And trips to the movie theatre.
Flash to the two of them sitting beside one another at a movie, sharing popcorn.
But lately, they hadn't been able to catch a moment alone.
As Katie and Fraser are enjoying their picnic, Joe approaches them. "Hey guys, I didn't know you were here. I was meant to be meeting Rena but he doesn't appear to have shown up. Mind if I sit with you while I wait?"
While Fraser and Katie are sitting opposite in the restaurant, Joe is seen sitting at the adjacent table. "Oh, hey guys, I didn't realize you'd be here too. I heard this place does a great steak and thought I'd try it out. But since we're all here, we may as well eat together." He gets up out of his seat and carries it over to their table.
In the movie theatre, Joe is seen suddenly sitting next to Katie who's next to Fraser. "You guys are seeing this movie too? Cool. Heard it's great. Popcorn?" he asks, offering her his own.
Katie had begun to see Joe's constant intrusion as a hindrance on her relationship with Fraser. Fraser, on the other hand, was happy to have made a new friend.
At Katie's house, she and Fraser are seen sitting on the couch with a blanket over them. "Should I put the movie on?" Fraser asks. "Sure," Katie says, "I'll just go get some snacks." The two of them stand up and Katie begins heading for the kitchen, however, on her way there, there is a knock at the door, and she goes to answer it. Joe is standing on the other side. "Joe..." Katie says awkwardly. "Hi," Joe says, "I'm just here to return your pen." "My pen?" Katie asks confused. "Yeah, remember that time in school where my pen ran out of ink and you lent me one? Well I lost it but I found it again tonight and thought I'd bring it over in case you... need it," Joe explains. "Just, keep the pen, Joe, I don't care," Katie says, aggravated. "Oh, hi Joe," Fraser says merrily, approaching the door. "Hello," Joe says, returning the smile, "Oh, I'm sorry, are you two on a date? I should go..." "Yes," Katie says at the same time as Fraser says, "Nonsense." Katie turns to him, and Fraser, ignoring her gaze, continues, "We're just having a movie night? You should join us." "Well," Joe says, smiling wider, "If you insist." He then walks inside, closing the door behind him, and Katie follows him into the living room gruffly.
Ben and Liz are sitting in the youth club, as Ben finishes telling her what happened. Liz exclaims, "So you threw him out?!" Ben nods ashamed, "I don't know what was wrong with me...I just lost it...I apologised to him afterwards." "I don't see why," Liz says, "He had it coming." Ben looks at her surprised but before he can respond, Rena and Mary approach, joining them after a greet. "So with the baby on the way, we've been thinking about stuff to prepare for, and something we want to decide on is Godparents," Rena explains. Mary adds, "We've been thinking about all kinds of things: should they be relatives, friends, older, already be parents." Rena gets to the point, "We picked you guys." Ben and Liz look overjoyed, "Us?" "It's a symbolic thing mainly, like going to celebrations," Rena says. "But there is something else," Mary says more serious, "If anything happens to Rena and I, then it would mean that you two look after the child." Liz's smile drops, but Ben keeps smiling, "Sign us up." Suddenly Liz smacks Ben, causing Rena to suggest, "We'll let you two talk about it." Rena and Mary leave them as Ben says, "Liz, this is an honour. Why wouldn't we do it?" "We're teenagers. You really think that we could raise a child?" Liz asks. "Nothing is going to happen to Rena and Mary," Ben says. "But something could," Liz tells him. Ben sees the fear in Liz's eyes and nods, "Okay, we'll tell them no."
Josh is seen sitting in his room at the Mannings', door open, reading from a textbook at his desk. Soon, the door is opened wider and Ted walks in. "Hi," Josh says, briefly glancing upwards. "Hey," Ted says, looking down at the work, "You're doing maths? It's a holiday," he points out, chuckling. "Yeah, but I was set some homework for the summer and we were told that there might be a quiz when we return, so I'm just getting in some study-time," Josh explains. "Oh," says Ted, "Having any trouble?" "Actually, yes," Josh says, slamming down his pencil. "There's like a billion theories in here and nothing's going in. Could you help?" At this, Ted appears highly elated. "Yes I can," he says, "I just so happened to have been a rather celebrated mathlete in my high school days, and I got this really neat trick for remembering stuff." Josh smiles, and Ted goes to sit next to him to look at the work, beginning to talk Josh through it.
Ben and Liz are still sitting in the youth club when Joe comes over. Liz greets him, "Hey, Joe, how are you and that couple you're dating?" Joe gives her a fake smile as he sits down, "Actually it's been wonderful. We've been to the beach, shared a blanket during a picnic and shared a horse-drawn carriage." "Wow. Where was Fraser during all this?" Ben asks. "Oh, he was there too," Joe says, "It isn't how I want it but the more time I spend with them, the less they spend alone." "It doesn't bother Fraser?" Ben asks. "Fraser?" Joe asks, "No, he's actually quite taken with me. Thinks we've become chums. It doesn't even occur to him that I might be a rival, actually very insulting. But Fraser injured himself on our hike so I have Katie all to myself this evening. I'm not wasting the opportunity. I'm going to tell her exactly how I feel." "Wow. Good for you," Ben says. "How did Fraser hurt himself?" Liz asks. "He hurt his leg when he was carrying me over a creek," Joe admits. "Well, I hope it goes well," Liz says, "But be prepared, Fraser sounds fantastic." Joe looks at Ben, "So why do you look so down?" "My day has been awful. Remember how my new car was scratched? Well, I left it to be fixed and the car shop gave me a horrible rental. Something they call a Hunchback." "A Hatchback," Joe corrects. "It's bright yellow and has a large rear window that pops open," Ben describes. "That would be the Hatchback," Joe tells him. "Well there's a novel idea: naming the car after its most hideous feature. I presume it was between: Hatchback and What's that horrible odour?," Ben says, "I just don't understand what is happening to people. I handed in that wallet and I was accused of stealing." "A good Samaritan is nothing but a good target," Joe comments. "I'm not willing to be that cynical," Ben says. Suddenly the Waiter calls out, "Is the owner of a bright yellow Hatchback here? It's about to be towed?" "Isn't that your car?" Joe asks Ben. But Ben, unwilling to own up to the car, whispers, "Shhh, someone will hear you!"
Liz is walking down the street when she looks over to see Dean walking, she goes over and says, "Hey Dean. So I hear that Mary and Rena asked you and Josh to be their baby's godparents. Good for you." "Thank you," Dean replies. "Well won't be easy, as Democritus said, Raising children is a life-long experiment of battle and worry." Dean looks confused, admitting, "I don't know that is..." "Well anyway, I give you a lot of credit. Had it been me they asked then I would have been terrified," Liz comments. "Well, don't tell them, but I hate kids," Dean admits, "And I never plan on having any, ever." Liz looks surprised, "Really? Then why did you say yes?" "Um...we're just doing what any decent people would do for their friends," Dean replies, confused. Liz looks guilty and utters, "Oh." Suddenly Liz gazes off, with clear regret.
Ted is seen still helping Josh with his maths work. "So, do you get along well at school?" Ted asks casually as Josh copies down an equation from the textbook. "What?" Josh says, not stopping to look up at his stepfather. "Just my attempt at small talk," Ted explains, "May as well get to know you while I can." "I get on fine," Josh states, "Of course you get the occasional bigot or douche bag." "What do you mean?" Ted asks. "Just this morning, some dick in the park called me a fag," Josh says, scoffing. "Ah," Ted says, "Reminds me of my father. He was often unaccepting of ways he didn't understand. An ignorant man with no respect for others. And that's why I left home when I was seventeen." "You left home?" Josh asks. Ted nods, and Josh mentions that it reminds him of his own father, who at one point kicked him out. "Yes, well, life has no place for people like that," Ted assures Josh, beginning to right down the answer to the equation. "You know what?" Josh says, "I think I got it. Thanks, you've been a great help." At this, Ted smiles, before bidding Josh farewell and leaving the room. On the way out, he bumps into Joanna in the hallway. "Hello dear," he says, greeting her with a kiss. "You were in Josh's room?" Joanna asks curiously. "Yeah," Ted says, "Just helping with his schoolwork." Joanna smiles, "Good," she says, "I'm glad you two are bonding." "Me too," Ted states, before the two of them descend the stairwell together. However, we see that the door to Alex's bedroom is open a crack, and that he is standing on the other side, listening in. Upon hearing this, a jealous anger overcomes his face.
Katie rings the doorbell of Joe's house and Joe answers. "Katie... hi," Joe says. "Yeah, hi. What was so important that you needed to see me so soon?" Katie asks, seeming annoyed. However, Joe doesn't answer, he merely gestures the candlelit dinner for two that he's prepared. "Joe, what is this?" Katie asks. "Dinner," Joe states. "Seems a little... intimate. Don't you think?" Katie asks. "No," Joe says, "The candles are just 'cause we're trying to save power and this food needs eating before it goes bad and I thought, 'Gee, who just loves roast beef?', then I thought of you." "Right," Katie says, going to sit down. Joe pulls out her chair for her and she thanks him, before he goes and sits in his own seat. As the two of them begin eating, there is another ring at the doorbell. "Are you expecting someone else?" Katie wonders. "No," Joe says, confused, "But, um, you stay, I'll get it." Joe then stands up and proceeds to the door, answering it to Fraser. "Fraser... I don't understand... your leg..." Joe starts. "Is fine," Fraser says, "It was just a minor sprain, and I've survived worse," he assures him. "So... what are you doing here?" Joe asks. "Fraser?" Katie says, getting up from her seat at the table and approaching the door. "When you weren't at your house, I figured you might be here," Fraser explains, now speaking to Katie. "I thought we decided we weren't going to do anything tonight because of your leg," Katie says. "Yeah, but now it's better, we can do something. I thought we'd finish that hike we started earlier," Fraser suggests. "Fraser, I'm not hiking at night," Katie tells him. "But I thought you were enjoying yourself," he points out. "No, I hate outdoorsy stuff, I thought we discussed this!" "I thought you decided you'd try it for me!" "Yeah, I tried it, it sucked, I don't wanna do it anymore!" "Who are you to make such a broad statement?!" "Who am I? Who am I?!" Katie repeats. "If I may interject..." Joe tries, however, Katie and Fraser both yell, "Shut up!" simultaneously at him and continue their screaming match. Eventually, Fraser announces, "Fine, I'm leaving!" "Good!" Katie exclaims. "Joe, you wanna come?" Fraser asks, and Joe falls silent. "Do you want to come or don't you?" Fraser asks again. Joe looks to Katie to Fraser to Katie to Fraser again and sighs, "Fine," he says, and Katie storms out angrily, before Joe leaves with Fraser, annoyed.
Ben is driving in his bright yellow Hatchback. He is on the phone to Liz, "Liz, it's over. We said no to Mary and Rena. Josh and Dean are the godparents now." "It's not over!" Liz retorts, "They aren't any more prepared for this than us. Why shouldn’t it be us? Dean doesn't even know who Democritus is." "What?!" Ben asks. "Mhm. And you want that caveman to raise our kid?" Liz asks. Ben sighs and shakes his head, "Well, I've picked the car up. Coming over now....Right, see you soon." Ben hangs up the phone and then looks outside, where it is raining. He pulls to a stop, there is a teenage girl looking wet and cold, shielding her head with her purse, waving at him.
Someone else in need of a good deed...maybe I should just ignore her. No...what is wrong with you?! You're just going to leave her standing in the rain?! Then again, every one of my good acts today has ended up biting me in the ass.
Ben calls over, "Such nasty weather, may I offer you a ride?" "Oh, thank you," the girls says, getting in, as Ben drives off. "I didn't think anyone was going to stop tonight," the girl says. "Well, chivalry may be on life support in this town, but it's not dead," Ben says, "So where can I take you?" The girl smiles, "It's up to you. We can get a room, or we can do it here in the car." Ben looks shocked, "You're a prostitute?!" "Don't be nervous," the girl assures him. The car stops, "I'm sorry there has been a misunderstanding, you'll have to get out." "So why did you pick me up?" the girl asks. "I was trying to be a gentlemen, now get out!" Ben shouts. "I'm not walking back in the rain. Give me money for a cab!" the girl replies. Ben nods, taking out his wallet, "Fine...I haven't got much on me..." "Then how were you going to pay for me?" the girl asks. "I wasn’t!" Ben yells, "Oh, here's a twenty...now get out." As Ben hands her the money there is suddenly the quick burst of a siren as the lights of a police car begin flashing from behind. "Oh, god!" Ben worries, "Hurry up, through the Hatchback!" "It's too late. They've seen us," the girl says. Ben looks glum as he opens the window, "Hello, officer. Was I speeding?" "Don't I know you?" the officer ask the girl, "Didn't I bust you last week?" Suddenly the prostitute replies in a lower voice, the voice of a male, as he takes off his wig and shouts, "Give me a break, I'm trying to earn a living here!" Ben's eyes widen as he turns and looks at the teenage male prostitute.
At the Mannings', Alex approaches Ted in the otherwise empty living room. "I wanna move," he blurts out. "What?" Ted asks. "Us. The two of us. I think we should move on. We've spent far too long here, and I think we need to leave before our luck runs out," Alex explains. "Our luck isn't going to run out," Ted assures him, "And we're certainly not going to move. I love my wife, Alex, and I've really come to love your new brother." "He is not my brother," Alex states. "Yes, he is," Ted argues, "And he's going to be until I say otherwise, have you got that?" "Yes, dad..." Alex says, annoyed. "That a boy," Ted says, his smile returning, "Now, if you're worried about you're nasty little past getting out, you needn't worry. Your secret is safe with me." Alex looks up at his smiling father with a scowl and the shot moves to out in the hall, where Josh is seen on the other side of the door, listening in. He proceeds to run upstairs where he takes his cell phone from out of his pocket. "Dean," he says after dialling, "You're not gonna believe what I just heard." "Try me," Dean says on the other line, "What did you just hear?" "I'll tell you in person," Josh says, "All I'll say here is that I really have to dig a little deeper into my dear brother's past."
Liz knocks on the door of the Belindro house, as Rena and Mary open it. "What can we do for you?" Mary asks. Liz stands awkwardly as she admits, "We've changed my mind...Ben and I want to be the godparents." "We already asked Josh and Dean..." Rena says. "Yeah, I know, but you said yourself that Ben and I are the best people for the job. And you know what, you two aren't invincible, something could happen to you," Liz argues. Rena turns to Mary and admits, "It makes more sense for it to be Ben and Liz. I was never crazy about picking Josh and Dean." "You weren't?" Mary asks. "They aren't going to make it...I only said to them cause I thought you wanted them," Rena explains. "Meh...they're okay," Mary says, "But how can we say that they're out and Ben and Liz are in?" "I'll tell them," Liz offers. Rena waves her off and suggests, "Why don't they all be godparents? And if something happens...then Ben and Liz get the baby." Mary looks pleased and nods. Liz hugs them both.
The doorbell rings at Katie's home and she answers it to Joe. "Hey," he says, "Just wanted to check how everything went last night... are you okay?" "No," Katie admits, "After you left Fraser he came to talk to me, and... we broke up." "Oh..." Joe says. "Oh, what?" Katie asks. "Nothing," Joe insists. "No, what?" Katie persists. "It's just... I'm not entirely sorry to hear that," Joe admits. Katie looks at him, confused. "Katie, the reason I've been tagging along on all your dates isn't because I', friends with Fraser..." Joe begins. "Then why is it?" Katie wonders. "It's because... I have feelings for you," Joe explains, "And when you started dating Fraser, I was totally crushed, because it meant you were never interested in me, and—" "You're wrong," Katie says. "What?" Joe asks. "You're wrong," she repeats, "When... you say I was never interested in you." "What are you saying?" Joe wonders. "I'm saying..." Katie begins. However, deciding not to finish her sentence, she grabs Joe and kisses him full on the lips. The kiss goes on for a while, and once it's over, Joe is completely speechless. "I'll call you," Katie says with a smile on her face, before closing the door. Joe walks away from her porch, still unable to utter a word.
Inside the police station Ben is being led to the waiting area by the officer. "Did you really need to take my belt? Did you smell the people you had me locked up with? If I wanted to kill myself then I would have just taken a deep breath," Ben whines. Liz is standing in the waiting area and asks, "I've been here for two hours, what took you so long?" "Oh, I'm sorry...I guess between the pillow fight in the holding cell and the pre-mug shot makeovers, time just got away from me," Ben says sarcastically. "I've paid your bail," Liz says. "Thank you, Liz. I'll pay you back. I just didn't want to phone my parents...I don't know how I'm going to explain this to them," Ben says. "I don't think I understand," Liz replies, "So why did you pick up a prostitute?" "I didn't know she was a prostitute. I saw a girl stranded in the rain, so naturally I offered to help...in hindsight it was stupid...I should have just minded my own business...I certainly had enough warning from today to stop being such a bloody boy-scout all the time," Ben says. Liz looks at Ben in doubt and asks, "What are you saying Ben? That you're going to stop helping people?" Ben looks at her and thinks about the question.
In this world, you are expected to have good manners. Unfortunately the rules of etiquette are not always followed. You may sabotage a couple's date, to ensure that you get what you want...
Flash to Joe walking away with a pleased grin on his face, after kissing Katie.
You may shy away from a responsibility, because it just seems too much....
Flash to Liz walking away from Rena and Mary's.
And you may look for dirt on your stepbrother, because you just don't trust him...
Flash to Josh on the phone with Dean.
...But luckily there are those few souls in the world, who's, despite the challenges they face, rules of etiquette...
Ben is driving through the rain in his car, he looks to see a girl stranded in the rain. He stops the car, looks at her and ponders.
...will never fail.
Ben asks her, "Do you need a ride?"