Friday Flash Fiction -1000 – Take A Break

‘You’re not going to MRS again today are you Dane?’

‘Yes, it’s a nice day to be out digging, we’re hoping to bring up that gantry from the river bed today.’

‘What on earth is a gantry?’

‘Like a big metal bridge that held the signs for motorists.’

Mona smiled. ‘Motorists, motorist, such a romantic word…’

‘Why don’t you come down and join me for lunch, they’ve got Burger King up and running now.’

‘I’m not hovering over all those fields and through that wood. When they’ve got the flylane established, then I’ll come.’

69174833_2861246683905103_4026481636127277056_o

Mona sighed as she watched her husband glide off on his hoverscooter. This was not how she had imagined their retirement; the dirigible cruise had still not been booked and at the age of 75 Dylan had entered a second childhood playing with cars.

Dylan skipped across the lush summer fields, anticipating a busy day with two more cars arriving for restoration. Soon they would have enough vehicles for the traffic jam display and he pictured the gantry proudly straddling the 200 metre section of motorway with signs such as  SEVERE CONJESTION AHEAD, TWO LANES CLOSED, 20MPH…

There was great excitement as he emerged from the wood.

‘Hey Dylan, come and have a look, we think we’ve found a lorry; dig down a bit more and we should know for sure.’

It was too good to be true, a genuine HGV? Most lorries and trucks had been commandeered, legally and illegally, for housing after the fossil fuel ban. He imagined his grandchildren clambering up into the driver’s cab, but that day was a long way off, even if the lorry was in one piece it would take years of restoration. His friend read his thoughts.

‘Don’t get too excited, it is probably entwined in tree roots, we might never get it out. Anyway, you’re needed down at the river, they’re having trouble with the gantry, good job we have that school party in doing field work.’

DSCN0438

But before Dane reached the river bank he was summoned by another of the volunteers.

‘Great news, the bridge is finished, we need you to do a trial run.’

After a lifetime in the methane industry Dane wanted to work with cars not cows now, but he was the only expert they had, the only one who could persuade a herd of cows to walk across the recreated bridge that spanned their short section of excavated motorway. He only had himself to blame, he had found the faded old photograph and research showed that farms had been sliced in half by motorways and cows had to cross a footbridge to get to another field or their milking parlour.

33943525_2106775829352196_7984859036698804224_n

A couple of hours later the volunteers and school history students were gathered in Burger King for their lunch break. Dane was exhausted, walking over bridges was not what the local cows were used to. As the youngsters tucked into their burgers they looked disappointed, one of them spoke up.

‘Tastes just like our bean burgers, I thought we were going to get something exciting. What was so special about Burger King anyway?’

‘Beef Burgers’ replied Dane.

‘So what were they made of?’

‘Beef… from cows, dead cows.’

Their faces went green. ‘WHAT… you mean they killed the cows and ate them, that is disgusting. How did they get enough methane for the power stations if they kept eating the cows?’

36383486_2151618924867886_7305442467996762112_n

After lunch everyone headed over to see the wreck of the gantry. Lying on the ground covered in mud it did not look at all impressive and they were glad to leave it and go to the site of the lorry. The solar powered digger was hard at work but suddenly one of the team shouted STOP. He clambered down into the hole beside the strange hulk, carefully poking around amid tree roots and the dark soil, with the others wondering why he was so agitated.

‘It is, it really is, a petrol can, with the lid on. Of course it might have evaporated… and we’ll have to declare it.’

‘Nooo…’ said Dane ‘just to take the lid off and smell real petrol… if only we had a working engine to put it in.’

‘So who’s to know,’ said a cocky lad ‘we’re not going to tell, or maybe we can get special permission. For my finals exam project I could restore or even build a real internal combustion engine, I’ve been studying how they worked.’

Dane was taken up with the boy’s enthusiasm. ‘My grandfather actually remembered seeing an engine working, pistons going up and down… what a dream.’

33788849_2106775056018940_8612084103417692160_n

12 MONTHS LATER

 

MOTO SERVICES FIRST OPEN DAY

THE MORE PEOPLE THE  BETTER THE EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE.

RE-LIVE WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO STOP AT A BUSY MOTORWAY SERVICES

 at the beginning of the twenty first century.

SEE A TRAFFIC JAM, A REAL HEAVY GOODS VEHICLE AND COWS CROSSING THE MOTORWAY.

ALSO – SPECIAL SURPRISE EVENT.

Everything was out of Dane’s hands now, he was no engineer, but some of the old chaps and the students had worked hard and claimed it would work.

Crowds gathered in the fields above the short stretch of motorway. Gleaming with its new coat of red paint the car stood with its doors open. The president of the Motorway Restoration Society got into the front passenger seat, two other volunteers got into the back and a very proud student took the driver’s seat. A strange noise filled the air and the car moved slowly. Dane sniffed the air, some ancestral memory made the wonderful scent of petrol fumes so familiar. They had done it. The car chugged along to the traffic jam display, then edged slowly backwards, then forwards a little faster, everyone cheered it on. No one knew how long the precious canful of petrol would last.

68959574_403416460533417_7054972190181031936_n

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – The Old Forest

The editor was deciding which story to run with on the front page. His young assistant Lisa usually had strong opinions on what would attract readers.

‘This young man has been missing for three days; lives at home, steady job, good character. He had an argument with his girlfriend, drove off and hasn’t been seen since.’

Lisa frowned ‘I still think we should stick with the murdered stallion.’

‘It was a hit and run accident,’ the editor smiled ‘you’ve been reading too many of Mr. Oak’s letters. There’s another one today, shall I include it, or do you think the readers are sick of him?’

‘Yes link it with your leading item. He has got a point.’

‘Banning cars from the New Forest, penalising families because of a few idiots? Mind you, it would stir things up a bit, no good stories this week. Sam’s been out to interview the verderer who found the dead horse. Hmm… main headline Cars To Be Banned From New Forest then much smaller Should cars be banned from the New Forest?’

‘Me and Gavin are going to the forest tomorrow; a nice picnic, then we’re going to his boss’s home for a dinner party. He’s got a posh house hidden in the middle of the forest; I hope we manage to find it.’

Lisa didn’t tell her boss that tomorrow she was going to give Gavin news.

12

The picnic was a success; the early spring sun was warm enough for them to sit on a blanket. Lisa was banking on Gavin being pleased, now he had his promotion; she was delighted with his response.

‘That’s wonderful, let’s get married.’ Gavin had been reluctant to ask before; the thought of wedding fairs, months of planning and dressing up had appalled him. Now they had the ideal excuse for a small, quiet wedding very soon. ‘Let’s get married in the forest, a sort of hippy wedding.’

She laughed ‘Why not, but don’t tell anyone this evening, we’ll have to tell our parents first.’

15

They enjoyed the evening and their shared secret; even looking benevolently on the boss’s ghastly children.

As they drove home, Gavin teased her. ‘You’ll get a crick in your neck, looking at the speedometer.’

‘We have to be careful in the dark; we might not see a pony till it’s too late. I wish you’d let me drive.’

‘I’ve only had a couple of pints, you should take it easy now you’re pregnant.’

‘We should have stuck to the A 35, it’s creepy out here.’

‘You’re safe with me; this is the real forest.’

‘Did you hear the news this morning? They’ve found that bloke’s car in the forest.’

‘What bloke?’

‘The one who went missing; I told the editor it wasn’t much of a story, now it seems it is. There was no sign of him.’

‘Maybe he wanted to run away.’

‘Perhaps, the car was hidden in the trees, off a remote track. That’s the creepy thing, it might not have been found for years; some botanist was looking for rare plants.’ Lisa looked at the speedometer; the speed had crept up. ‘Gavin, I thought you were going to be more responsible now you’re going to be…’

Her sentence remained unfinished as they felt a bump and Gavin slammed the brakes on.

‘We’ve hit a pony’ cried Lisa.

‘It’s probably a fallen tree trunk, stay in the car while I look.’

Lisa jumped out of the car and they stood either side of the body, a pair of glazed eyes stared up at them.

‘Oh it’s a doe, she’s pregnant. You’ve killed her Gavin.’

‘It was an accident; animals should be asleep at night, not darting out into the road.’

‘We’re not on the road.’

Gavin followed her gaze; if they hadn’t run into the deer they would have crashed into a large old oak tree.

He was puzzled. ‘I’m a careful driver, I had a clear, straight road in front of me, it was narrow, but I had plenty of room.’ He went to fetch the torch from the car, then took Lisa’s shaking hand and led her round to the boot. He shone the torch the way they had just come, a tarmac road. ‘I’m sorry about the deer Lisa, but she saved us; this must be a dead end road.’

‘Let’s go now,’ she shivered we don’t know the verderer’s number, we can ring the police when we get home. We’ll go back the way we came and try and find the A 35.’

‘Or we could just ring nobody’ said Gavin hopefully.

They both jumped at a clumping noise; a large branch had landed on the roof.

‘Another lucky escape; that could have fallen on us while we were driving, hope it hasn’t damaged the paintwork.’

As Gavin tried in vain to pull at the heavy limb, Lisa spoke shakily.

‘It’s not fallen, it’s still attached to the tree. We must be on a slope, the car’s rolled into the tree.’

Gavin shone his torch and saw the driver’s door was jammed against the trunk.

‘I’ll get in your door and climb over. I’m going to put it in reverse.’ As he tried to start the engine he felt a heavy thump on the bonnet. ‘Quick, get in so we’re ready to go, hopefully that branch will slide off the bonnet. Lisa, this is no time for tree hugging…’

DSCN6661

On Monday morning the editor had too much to put on his front page and Lisa wasn’t there to help. He had just spoken to her hysterical mother on the phone. Lisa was missing and her boyfriend had been found wandering in the New Forest by the search party looking for the missing man. Gavin had been in shock and incoherent, so the police arrested him. Everyone knew they had both been to the forest and everyone knew Gavin was the last person to see her.

 

‘The Old Forest’ is one of the stories in this collection – only $1.27 for 27 stories.

 

Silly Saturday – Snakes and Stairs

Play the Gaia Game; how are you scoring at saving the planet, will you climb up or slither down?

21

Round One: Life

1.Have you been born?

Slide down the Adder for adding another carbon footprint.

2. Have you given birth to more than two children?

Slip down the Viper

3. You have assisted in the conception of four children, but they have become doctors and environmental scientists.

Climb the stairs, you have contributed to humanity.

4. Have you lived more than three score years and ten?

Descend the Python.

5. You have lived four score years, but ride your bicycle to the allotment where you teach the local school children to grow vegetables?

Take your nimble legs up two flights of stairs.

red colorful orange black
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Round Two: Home

1.Do you live in a city penthouse forty floors up?

Take the lift down to the basement – wait, you don’t own a car because you can cycle and walk everywhere in the city? Take the lift back up again.

2.Has your remote jungle village been discovered yet?

No? You are not contributing to world pollution. Take the escalator to the top floor. Oh, you haven’t got an escalator…

3.Have you installed solar panels on the roof of your house?

Take a flight of stairs.

4.You have concreted over your garden to park three vehicles and a caravan.

Go down the Cobra.

15

Round Three: Food

1.Would you describe yourself as a subsistence farmer?

Ascend the marble staircase… but you chop all the trees down for firewood?

Sorry, slide down the Anaconda.

2.Are you vegan?

Climb up to the moral high ground.

3.Are you vegetarian?

Stay where you are.

4.Do you eat meat?

Slip down the throat of the Boa Constrictor. No wait, there has been an appeal. You farm hill sheep and preserve the countryside and use some of your land for a wind farm.

5.Do you grow your own vegetables and keep chickens in your suburban garden?

Yes, but you’re so busy you use disposable nappies. Miss a go.

green and white snake on branch
Photo by Stephen Joel on Pexels.com

Round Four: Transport

1.Do you own a car?

No, climb two flights of stairs, easy for you as you are fit from walking everywhere…. but your partner has a car and chauffeurs you around? Topple down a flight.

2.You cycle everywhere and wear one of those vests that says one less car on the road.

Excellent, you earn enough points to eat meat.

3.You flew on holiday to Disneyland, return to Go.

4.You took your private jet to the other side of the world to help refugees?

Gaia says return to Go.

4

Round Five: Power

1.Do you write about the environment in your blog and sign petitions? Does your computer work on solar power? No – miss a go.

2.You got arrested for protesting about fracking. Climb the ladder.

3.You live as a hermit on a remote island.

Excellent, but before taking your next go describe your contribution to society.

dscn4725.jpg

Winner

The winner, Mr. Everly Green, has a small house just the right size for his wife and two children. His roof has solar panels, he has eight rain water butts, grows fruit, vegetables and bee friendly flowers among which roam chickens to fertilise the garden and provide eggs and roast dinners. He walks to work and does not go on holiday as he can’t leave the garden.

But hold on, his win is being contested; that bouquet of flowers he ordered from the florist for his mother’s birthday was composed of cut flowers flown in from Kenya and his prize winning front garden display used plants that came in plastic pots and trays on a pantechnicon from Holland.

Mr. Green must take the serpentine descent of shame.

gray snake on black rock formation
Photo by Ajayvir Pal on Pexels.com