Gadgets the great escape, p.23
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.23

           David Hancock
Back on the edge of the rockery Blade was getting more fearful for the life of his girlfriend. Crock Pot had taken his lid off but Forque was lying there, not moving, not saying anything. The other gadgets had moved down to be around the slow cooker and see what was going on. Deep Fat shook his head. ‘It doesn’t look good,’ he whispered to Jane. She looked at him with a certain amount of contempt but also an understanding for the deep love she had for the old fool.

  ‘Forque will be all right. I know it.’ said Jane. ‘We’ve all got to be positive.’

  ‘If you say so,’ replied Deep Fat not having the foggiest idea what Jane was on about.

  ‘OK,’ said Blade. ‘Everyone stay back. Sympatico, I need your help.’

  ‘Don’t let him anywhere near her,’ chimed up The General. ‘He is nothing short of a drug dealer.’

  ‘No you aren’t, are you?’ said Blade to the coffee machine.

  ‘No I am not,’ he replied quietly. ‘I know The General has been staking me out for some time. He has been watching me, and watching Crock Pot. But I am not a drug dealer, or at least not in the terms it is more widely known, But I am a doctor.’

  All the gadgets circling around Forque, who was still lying in the bowl of the slow cooker, fell silent.

  ‘I have been treating Crock Pot, as you affectionately call him, for severe depression. I know this should be patient confidentiality but if it’s all right…’ with a nod to Crock Pot.

  ‘Go ahead sir,’ said the slow cooker.

  ‘Sometimes when kitchen appliances are left alone for too long or put in the back of cupboards they can wonder what they were created for and why they are here. No one likes to be a reject.’

  ‘That’s me,’ whispered Deep Fat to Jane.

  ‘Hush, be quiet,’ she replied. ‘That’s all of us.’

  ‘And it can turn to loneliness,’ continued the coffee maker. ‘And that can turn to depression. There are ways we can combat depression, but usually they involve friends. And if you don’t have any, then you have to make them. It would have been easy for me to give Crock a strong Espresso to help him lift his spirits; a caffeine rush that would make him more active and feel less lethargic in his life. But what he really needed was a friend, someone to talk to. That was why he used to come round to me in the evening. I wasn’t selling him drugs, I was giving him friendship. If that is wrong, then I am wrong.’

  No one knew what to say.

  Blade broke the silence. ‘Can you help Forque? Can you help her, please doctor?’

  ‘I will try Blade, I’ll try. First we must lift her slowly out of Crock’s bowl and on to something straight and solid.’

  ‘Me sir, me sir.’

  ‘Who said that?’ asked Blade, his eyes running round all the gadgets that were gathered at the foot of the rockery.

  ‘Me sir,’ replied the sandwich maker timidly. ‘I know I am not thought of very highly because I am just a sandwich maker but I can stretch out fully and make a perfect bed for Lady Forque. Please sir let me help. I have been lonely all my life. I have been laughed at because of my name Neville. And well sir,’ his voice now faltering. ‘I just want to belong.’

  The sandwich maker, a Neville 720 made in Brazil, could grill, brown and heat two sandwiches at a time and make French toast and omelettes, though neither of his better functions had ever been used.

  ‘Why not, why not Neville’, said Blade. ‘Assume the prone position’,

  ‘Thank you sir, thank you so much.’

  Carefully Forque was lifted out of Crock Pot’s bowl and laid fully stretched out on Neville the sandwich maker.

  ‘Over to you Sympatico,’ said Blade.

  The coffee maker gently started to examine the carving fork. ‘Mmmm,’ he said, shaking his head slightly. ‘Looks like there is a definite curvature of the spine that must be straightened out. But first she must be cleaned. She is tarnished and dirty, not allowing enough light to get to her and rejuvenate her system.’

  ‘I’ll do it,’ said Fiona the chocolate fondue fountain. ’I’ll help clean her up.’

  ‘I’ll help to,’ added Zalda the Ice Queen. ‘After all this is women’s work.’

  I’ll get the water,’ said Deep Fat heading to the fountain to fill his bowl. He’s not a bad lad, thought Jane.

  Slowly Forque was cleansed, and with some aloe vera that Benzo the blender found in the rockery she was moisturised.

  ‘She’s still very weak,’ said Sympatico. ‘But I think she’s coming around.’

  When Forque did finally surface everything seemed as if it was in a mist. She couldn’t focus, she couldn’t see correctly and her back hurt like hell. She tried to lean up.

  ‘No, no, stay down darling’, said Blade, tears welling up in his eyes. ‘It’s going to be all right.’

  ‘This may hurt,’ added the coffee maker. ‘We have to move you on to your tummy. There is no other way we can deal with your spine. Be brave. The pain will only be for a while and then we can deal with it.’ As quickly as possible, and with the help of Ricky the electric rice maker and Simon the vacuum sealer Forque was pushed over on to her stomach.

  ‘Yay,.. yah.. wow,’ she screamed.

  ‘Now we can see the extent of the damage,’ said the doctor. ’The whole of her stainless steel handle is buckled. It needs to be straightened. This is going to be difficult. If we try to use force and re-bend Forque then she could be crippled forever. I just don’t know what to do.’

  Blade was wringing his power cord between his serrated edges. They had come so far and now there seemed no way he could make his girlfriend, the beautifully designed and totally balanced fork she had been when manufactured back in Taiwan. Everyone bowed their heads. Except for one little gadget.

  ‘It’s simple guys.’

  ‘Who are you?’ shouted The General.

  ‘Who am I? I’m on your squad mate, and reporting for duty.’

  ‘And you are?’ said The General sarcastically.

  ‘The warming tray mate, the warming tray. I can straighten her out mate, I can straighten her out. You don’t even know how many people you have on your squad.’

  ‘Impertinence. Impertinence.’

  ‘Sorry, dunno know it. Never had much time for after shave. But I can straighten that bird’s back right now. I tell ya,’

  The General started to splutter.

  ‘Be quiet General, what can you do young man?’ said Blade.

  ‘Watch me,’ And with that Warren the young warming tray leapt on to Forque’s back. ‘I’ll sizzle her,’ he said. ‘That’s what I’ll do, I’ll sizzle her.’ He pressed down, he pressed deep, the heat coming from him was enough for Forque to start to be malleable. The deeper the heat went, the more the buckles started to straighten.

  ‘One more time darling, I’ll have you straightened,’ whispered Warren as he pressed harder and harder on to Forque’s back and the heat ran through into her. She was becoming softer, her body was straightening out. ‘That’s it, just a little bit more now.’

  All the gadgets were gathered round watching Forque who was lying flat out on the sandwich maker being straightened out by the warming try.

  ‘I reckon that’s about enough.’ said Warren, standing back a little. ‘Yeah, that’s OK. Glad to be of help. Sorry you never recognised me General, I suppose I was the guy at the back when the medals were being given out mate,’ added the chirpy warming tray.

  ‘Of course I knew you,’ The General started to bluff. ‘I know all my squad. I just didn’t recognise you there for a moment. Anyway, job well done.

  ‘Yeah, whatever mate,’ replied Warren.

  With all three children confined to the house Blade decided to address the other gadgets. ‘Gather round everyone,’ he said. We are going to be moving out from the rockery in an hour. That will give Forque a little time to recuperate and it will still be light enough for us to continue on the next part of the journey. So I want you all to relax for a while and gather your things together.’

‘Where are we going next?’ said Deep Fat to Jane.

  ‘There is only one place we can go next…,’ said Jane, but before she could finish Blade continued speaking. ‘The next part of our journey may appear simple, but I have a feeling it is not going to be. We are going to have to cross the huge lawn, totally exposed and with nowhere to hide. We are going to be sitting ducks. Please be careful, keep your eyes peeled at all times and may God be with you all.’


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