Gadgets the great escape, p.16
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.16

           David Hancock
Meanwhile the torrential rain was beating down outside turning the rockery into a quagmire. Eddie the electric wok was another one to slip and went bowling over. His glass lid went flying and he continued to roll over and over until he landed with a big splash in the middle of a rock pool, and slowly started to sink. Water was pouring into his huge wok bowl.

  As he was starting to sink he thought about the irony of it all. He was a classic Dalston DAL 2409 and had been hidden behind the crockery in a cupboard for years until Blade managed to release him earlier on their escape from the house. For years he had been a prisoner and now on his first day of freedom he was going to drown.

  Eddie had managed to keep his spirits up after the Abercrombies found stir-fry out of fashion by tapping on the adjoining cupboard and slowly developing a code with the gadget next door whom he came to know as Fiona, a chocolate fondue fountain. Eddie had slowly fallen in love with Fiona even though he had never seen her until they met a few hours ago when they were freed. Then she was taken from him because she had to join Deep Fat and Jane’s squad while he was with Blade and Lee-Mailer. Now he was never going to see her again.

  As he reflected on how cruel things could be Eddie expected his life to start flashing before him. But in fact it went quite slowly. He could remember the early days quite well. It was a guy off the telly, a chef named Ken Hom that got Mrs. Abercrombie interested in Chinese food and made her buy an electric wok. Ken’s Top 100 Stir-Fry Recipes was a constant kitchen companion. It promised healthy and varied food, not just the Asian variety but also dishes like stir-fried fusilli alla carbonara. Then one day their eldest son, Zack, complained of stomach cramps and had to have two days off school. After that the stir-fry days were numbered and eventually Eddie was discarded to the cupboard.

  Fiona’s life on the worktop had been equally as meteoric, but it too came crashing down to earth. Originally she was a party piece. She may have been the exotic Fiona the chocolate fondue fountain to her many admirers with a sweet tooth as she showered a cascade of thick runny chocolate. But to her parents back in a factory in the USA she was simply Fonit CR223. But what a hit she became. There was no birthday party, no Christmas, no anniversary of any sort in the Abercrombie household that didn’t merit a special appearance from Fiona. And it wasn’t just the children that loved her. The grown-ups too liked to dip their fondue forks in the creamy chocolate. But as Mrs. Abercrombie became more health-conscious and aware of the growing obesity in society she decided that Fiona’s outings had to be cut back. First she was only used on holidays, birthdays and Christmas. Then it was just Christmas and then….no one noticed she wasn’t there any more.

  Fiona had told her life story to Eddie by the secret knocks they had devised, tapping on the adjoining cupboard wall. Oh how he had loved Fiona and even now as he was about to die a smile came to his face because he had seen the girl of his dreams, even if only for a few passing seconds, after all those years in solitary confinement.

  ‘Emergency, emergency,’ the Blender shouted to Blade and Lee-Mailer. ‘The electric wok is starting to drown.’

  It was at that moment The General, using Mary the mobile phone, got through to Lee-Mailer asking what to do.

  ‘Blade says stay where you are until the storm ends General and keep your squad together,’ Lee-Mailer relayed back. ’ We have a crisis here. Eddie is in trouble and Deep Fat has reported that Jenny the juice extractor is missing. Just keep yourselves safe while we try to sort things out. We’ll be back in touch.’

  The General noted the desperation in Lee-Mailer’s voice but told everyone to stay calm as he broke the news to the gadgets sheltering under the bivouac.

  ‘But surely we must be able to do something,’ said the warming tray. ‘We must be able to help. Let’s go over there and lend a hand.’

  ‘No’, said The General. ‘We have specific orders to stay here as a group. No one breaks ranks. Understood?’

  Blade was tired and starting to get snappy. ‘You,’ he said to the jar and can opener, you come with me. The rest of you stay where you are. Lee-Mailer you are in charge. When the storm stops move down the rockery towards the pool where we will be waiting.’ And with that the knife and the can opener began their hazardous descent of the rockery to the pool where Eddie was trapped. The ground had turned to sludge and every inch was sucking them in and slowing their pace. A rock stood in their way forcing them to take a detour.

  ‘Not much further now,’ said Blade trying to encourage the jar and can opener. ‘Just a few more metres.’

  Rounding the corner they saw the rock pool, which looked like a miniature quarry. Rocks practically surrounded the whole pond and rainwater was pouring down the rocks filling it up at an alarming rate. In the middle of the pond was Eddie the electric wok taking in water badly and listing heavily to one side. There were only moments until his bowl would be completely full of water and he would sink to the bottom of the pond. Blade knew he had to act quickly.

  ‘You know what to do. You must save Eddie.’ he told the can opener. ‘Best of luck.’

  Tying Blade’s long power cord around his waist the plucky little can opener crossed himself and then dived into the pond, swimming as quickly as he could towards Eddie. There were just a few more feet to go when the wok bowl was so full it started sinking below the water. It was the worst possible scenario for the can opener, but knowing his duty he dived below the surface. Into the murky waters.

  The wok was sinking quickly to the bottom of the pond and the can opener had to work as fast as he could. He knocked on the shell of the wok’s bowl. ‘Don’t worry Eddie,’ he shouted. ‘This is going to mean a little surgery but hopefully it won’t take too long. Just hold on. I’m going to try and release you from this shell

  Eddie was holding his breath and couldn’t reply.

  The plucky little can opener, who had never been given a name because no one thought he was significant enough to have a real name, put his teeth into the metal wok bowl creating a gash and chomped his way right round the electrical brain of the kitchen appliance, freeing what was essentially Eddie himself. As the metal bowl fell away the can opener quickly secured Eddie and himself to Blade’s power cord and gave it three mighty tugs to inform the carving knife to pull them in.

  But it was a struggle even for someone with Blade’s strength. The going was slow and the waters were choppy. The can opener was swimming as best he could but the weight of Eddie, even without his wok bowl, was holding him back. Eventually totally exhausted and with Blade’s energy almost spent they made it back to the small shore of the pool in an opening between the rocks.

  Back on dry land the mechanism that was all that was left of Eddie was spluttering and coughing up water.

  ‘Don’t worry,’ said Blade. ’We’ll get you another wok bowl. But you owe a lot to this little guy. He saved your life.’

  ‘I know,’ replied Eddie, finally coming round. ‘I can’t thank you enough, erm... I don’t even know your name, erm…’

  The can opener looked away embarrassed. ‘I don’t actually have a name,’ he confessed. ‘ No one has ever thought about giving me a name. I’m just a simple can opener, although I can open jars as well,’ he added proudly. ‘But I’m not a big significant kitchen appliance like you Eddie or Mr. Blade. I’m just a little can opener… I don’t have a name.’

  ‘Then you shall have one,’ said Blade who was listening to the conversation. What would you like to be called?’

  ‘I have never thought about it sir.’

  ‘Well it has to be something that matches your bravery. You shall be called Carl,’ added Blade, ‘ which means one who is strong, ‘And because of your deeds here to today you can add the words ‘the Mighty’ to your name. Kneel.’

  And the little can opener kneeled before Blade to receive his new name – Carl the Mighty.

  The juice extractor already had a name but that hadn’t helped her when she skidded and crashed down a slippery slope, banging into an Australian daisy bush,
and then tumbling out of sight.

  ‘Help,’ Jenny was shouting. ‘Help, I’m hurt…’ But no one seemed to hear the juice extractor. ‘Help’, she shouted again, but her voice was getting weaker and it seemed no one was going to save her because no one could hear her and no one could see her. She was all alone and injured.

  Ricky the rice maker asked Deep Fat: ‘Permission to go and look for Jenny sir.’

  ‘Um, what do you think?’ Deep Fat asked Jane. She looked at him and slightly shook her head. ‘Well you can’t go alone,’ she said to the rice maker. ‘Take the salad shooter with you. It’ll be better if there are two of you. And leave a trail with your rice so we will know where you are.’

  The two of them set off out of the little encampment with Ricky dropping grains of rice every step he took and both of them shouting at the top of their voices, ‘Jenny, Jenny, can you hear us?’ Then they would stop and listen, but no reply came.

  Meanwhile Blade, Eddie and Carl the Mighty remained by the side of the rock pool waiting for the rains to lessen while The General kept staring out of the bivouac on the other side of the rockery looking at the sky and tutting.

  ‘Jenny, Jenny,’ Ricky hollered at the top of his voice, ever more fearful for the juice extractor he loved, ‘Jenny, Jenny….’

  The time seemed to drag on… ‘I think the rain’s lessening,’ said The General trying to buoy up his squad. ‘Won’t be long now.’

  ‘I’m soaked through and I feel sick,’ said Eddie the electric wok who was actually feeling much better after recovering from his surgery and near drowning.

  ‘I hope you did the right thing sending those two to look for Jenny,’ said Deep Fat to Jane, dithering again

  But when things did happen, they happened all at once.

  The rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun came out causing the whole of the rockery to start steaming like a tropical swamp. Lee-Mailer sent out a text: ‘Start moving down the rockery to the second patio. Be careful.’ The General led his team, all of whom were unhurt, out of the bivouac and started off between the rocks and plants, making sure to avoid any mud slides. As the sun beat down and started to dry out the deluged rockery, the whole area began to smell and attract flies. Zalda The Ice Queen was the first to complain and held her nose as she tried to walk on tip-toe and avoid the mud.

  After their last shout of ‘Jennn….nneeee’ , and almost giving up hope the rice maker and salad shooter – Ricky and Sam to their friends – heard a weak voice reply: ‘Over here, over here’. It was Jenny. When they finally reached her they could hardly recognise the once elegant juicer. She was covered in mud where she had fallen and was nursing a badly twisted foot stand.

  ‘Don’t try to get up,’ said Sam, ‘We’ll lift you and see if you can put all your weight on your good stand.’ With that Sam and Ricky set the mud-coated juicer up straight. ‘Ahhh, ouch,’ she shouted. ‘Don’t worry, just lean on me,’ said Ricky, giving her a beaming smile.

  ‘What we really need is something to bind your injured foot and strengthen it,’ Sam added looking around him. ‘I wonder,’ he said spying some thick pampas grass. He went over to it and cut some down with the disc cutters from his shooter. ‘This might do the trick while we get you out of here,’ he said to Jenny. And the two rescuers carefully wrapped and tied the super strong grass round the little juice extractor’s bad foot. ‘Now that should help,’ said Ricky. ‘Now we’ll wait here for the others to catch up.’

  ‘Oh Ricky, oh Ricky,’ was all that Jenny could reply.

  ‘Which way down shall we go?’ Deep Fat asked Jane.

  ‘Which way do you think?’ she replied exasperated. ‘We follow the rice trail and that way we will be able to pick up Ricky and Sam and Jenny. ‘Now come on. Get the others on their feet.’

  Lee-Mailer also marshalled his troops and set off down to the pool where he was expecting to meet up with Blade. He was glad they were on the march again. The rockery had been beset with problems during the storm and he was just thankful that all the gadgets, for the moment at least, seemed to be alive. There was just one thing nagging in the back of his circuits. Toaster and Kettle, who were both on his squad, hadn’t said a word, offered to help or done anything at all throughout the storm. ‘I don’t care what Blade thinks,’ he said to himself. ‘Those two need watching.’

  When Lee-Mailer and his team got to the pool everyone congratulated the little can opener on his bravery in rescuing Eddie from what would have been certain death if he hadn’t managed to get the wok bowl off in time. Blade and Lee-Mailer discussed what to do next and sent a text to Deep Fat to find out how his squad was doing.

  Deep Fat and Jane had met up with Ricky and Sam. And Jenny had been helped by a surprisingly attentive coffee machine. ’Who put this binding on Jenny’s ankle?’ asked the Sympatico.

  ‘He did’, said Ricky and Sam both at the same time, pointing to each other. Neither of them wanted to be blamed.

  ‘Well whoever it was,’ laughed the coffee machine. ‘It was very well done. Congratulations, very professional.’

  The squad, with Ricky and Sam supporting Jenny, slowly moved down through the rockery. The same plans were relayed to the General. All everybody had to do now was to take their time and be careful. Within a short while they should all be together again.


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