Gadgets the great escape, p.11
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.11

           David Hancock

  The rockery at 36 Fairfield Avenue wasn’t like your average semi-detached suburban rockery it looked more like a massive landscaped alpine resort cascading from the top patio nearly 20 metres down to a second level patio which was strewn with garden furniture and parasols. And it was conveniently split into two halves by concrete steps. It was an easy place for the gadgets to hide in but it was also full of foreboding. Where most rockeries were happy with literally a few rocks here and there and some evergreen plants, 36 Fairfield Avenue demanded nothing short of small boulders to litter its landscape. The stones were a delight to look at. Creamy white Cotswold stone mingled with warm crystal pink granite, jet black limestone, hand-picked blue-grey sandstone and beautiful plum slate. In between the amazing large set pieces were rare stones like weathered tufa rock, orange maceroni fossil and eye-popping red lava. Every now and then the sloping rockery would level off to provide natural ponds that encouraged bird life. Some ponds would waterfall into each other from different levels.

  And if the rock formations were spectacular then the vegetation in between them was truly unique. Forget a few lime-hating heathers and the odd cyclamen the Abercrombies packed their rockery with high alpine androscaces and saxifrages. Then there were the more common hybrids with their texture variations ranging from smooth and velvety, to tufted and webbed. And the leaves were vibrant burgundy, peach, mauve, rose, and violet. Crevices and valleys were created along with scree conditions to turn the rockery into a complete wonderland.

  ‘We have to go through that!’ exclaimed Simon, the food vacuum sealer.

  ‘Yes and get in there quickly and hide. At the double,’ replied The General. ‘Unless of course you want to wander down the steps over there,’ he pointed, ‘in full view of the house. I don’t fancy your chances when Zack comes out to play though. Now get in that rockery as quickly as you can.’

  Deep Fat was also wondering what this ‘other world’ would be like. He found it difficult adjusting to the unknown. But he didn’t say anything, especially to Jane. He had begun to realise that Jane was regarding him more and more as a wimp and so he pledged to himself to try and be stronger and more fearless.

  ‘OK let’s go,’ said Jane.

  ‘No, after you,’ replied Deep Fat. Damn, he had done it again.

  Blade and Lee-Mailer edged their squad round the corner of the house on to the top patio just to see the rest of the gadgets disappearing into the rockery. ‘So far, so good,’ said Blade. ‘But the sooner we are in between those rocks and flowers the better.’

  That was when he heard the shouts of ‘help’ coming from the dustbin. ‘Help….help.’ It was Toaster who had come round from his blackout and found himself dumped in the bin. He had a dreadful headache, his bottom plate was hanging on by only one screw, his crumb tray was buckled and he was blackened. ‘Help,’ he shouted, ‘Help.’

  ‘Listen isn’t that Toaster’s voice?’ Blade said to Lee-Mailer.

  ‘You’re right and he has been dumped in the bin where he belongs, Leave him there.’

  ‘Yes, but…’

  ‘No buts Blade, don’t play the good guy now. Toaster has been the bane of everyone’s life in the kitchen. He is arrogant, bitchy and self-important. He treats everyone with contempt and his comeuppance is well deserved.’

  ‘You’re right Lee-Mailer, but he’s also another gadget. And I have a feeling he just might have learned his lesson. After all it was Jane who blacked him out and it was more than likely Zack who smashed him to the floor. The least we can do is have a look.’

  ‘Blade, you are crazy. We are in big trouble here. It looks like a storm is coming, we need to hide and you are bothered about a horrible little appliance like Toaster,’ Lee-Mailer said shaking his head and looking up to the sky.

  But Blade wouldn’t budge. ’You head off into the rockery with the rest of them, I’ll be with you in a minute.’ And with that he moved quickly to the dustbin where Toaster’s power cord was hanging out, and tugged on it as hard as he could.

  ‘Ahhhhh,’ shouted Toaster, who was dragged out of the bin in pain, tumbling on to the patio floor.

  ‘We meet again,’ said Blade as ferociously as he could.

  ‘I’m… I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ said Toaster trembling. ‘Please don’t be rash Blade. Put me back in the bin. It’s OK. I’d rather take my chances there. Nice to see you again, now just put me back.’

  ‘You always were a coward at heart Toaster’, replied Blade, letting the toaster sweat for a while. ‘What shall I do with you?’

  ‘Nothing, how about that? Nothing…just put me back. Don’t you think that’s a good idea?’

  ‘No I don’t. Now come here.’ Blade pulled on the power cord again bringing the gadget nearer to him. He got out one of his serrated edges, holding it up to Toaster.

  ‘No, please…please don’t hurt me… no….’ shouted Toaster.

  And then using the tip of one of his edges Blade quickly screwed back on Toaster’s bottom plate, shook out all the blackened toast that remained, straightened his crumb tray and gave him a wipe down. Then he hauled Toaster back to the dustbin.

  ‘Are you going to put me back in the bin,’ said Toaster incredulously. ‘Now that I’m all in one piece again?’

  ‘Well that’s what you said you wanted.’

  But before Toaster could answer he saw a box by the side of the bin with the words Purelit Toaster on the side and the penny dropped. He was going to be thrown out anyway because the Abercrombie’s had bought a new top-of-the-range toaster, the best you could possibly have. He hadn’t been indispensable, in fact he had been on the way out.

  Toaster looked at Blade shame-faced. He had treated Blade badly all the time they had been together on the worktop. And now the little carving knife had saved his life. Toaster felt humbled. The two gadgets looked at each other in silence, Toaster with his head hung low.

  ‘Now get into that rockery with the rest of the gadgets,’ said Blade quietly.

  And Toaster moved away to the edge of the patio.

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