Gadgets the great escape, p.33
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.33

           David Hancock
 
The mysterious figure on the lawn was getting closer to the gadget train but now it was moving very slowly and cautiously.

  ‘I’m going to go out and meet whatever it is,’ said Blade. ‘We can’t afford it to come any closer. It already knows we are here.’

  ‘Then be careful,’ said Lee-Mailer.

  ‘I will. Look after Forque.’

  Blade hadn’t gone more than half a dozen strides before the mysterious figure stopped in its tracks. Blade carried on and then heard a voice shout: ‘Stay right where you are. Advance no further. What do you want?’

  The carving knife squeezed his eyes and then realised he was talking to nothing more lethal than a garden rake.

  ‘We want nothing,’ said Blade with an even voice. ‘We merely wish to cross down to the woodland at the end of the garden.’

  ‘You cannot do this.’

  ‘Why not?’

  ‘This is not your territory. Turn back now.’

  Who’s territory is it?’

  ‘It belongs to The Garden Gang. Turn back now if you know what is good for you.’

  ‘We cannot go back, it is impossible. It is a very long story but we cannot go back. If we go back we are in great danger.’

  ‘You will be in worse trouble if you do not heed my warning. Go now while you can.’

  ‘Can I talk to your leader?’

  ‘No you cannot. You can only talk to me. I am the Speaker of The Garden Gang. And my patience is running out. You have 15 minutes to gather together your gang and move back. Goodbye.’ And with that the rake walked backwards until he was almost out of sight again.

  Blade returned to the gadget train and told Lee-Mailer and The General what had happened.

  ‘He’s bluffing,’ said The General almost immediately. ‘A garden rake, surely you’re not frightened of a garden rake are you sir?’

  ‘It’s not that, he said he was just the Speaker for a whole Garden Gang.’

  ‘Take no notice’, continued The General. ‘What can a bunch of garden implements do? We have proved we are valiant. We have proved our worth. I say we carry on.’

  ‘Time is running out sir,’ pointed out Lee-Mailer.

  ‘We can’t go back,’ said Blade with a shake of his head. ‘We will have to make a stand. Let us carry on.’

  As the gadgets started to move off again the rake appeared once more and this time addressed them all: ‘As Speaker of The Garden Gang I have already warned your leader to turn back. He has been foolish in not heeding that warning. There are no second chances. You have brought this upon yourselves.’

  Deep Fat was the first to break the silence and point towards the rake. ‘Oh my God. Look…look,’ he said. ‘Just look what’s behind him.’

  And there was The Garden Gang.

  Lined up behind the Speaker was a dazzling array of garden implements. On one end was a gigantic fearsome looking petrol-driven lawn mower on which a gardener would ride. It was huge, overwhelming and frightening. The gadgets were already weary and tired from hunger but the sight of the lawn mower made their sprits drop even further.

  The chainsaw didn’t help either, nor did the professional strimmer, water hose, fork, hoe, seed drill and spade. And what can you say when you are up against hand shears, a leaf buster, compost shredder and wheel barrow? Nothing. And that’s exactly what happened to the gadgets. They said nothing, just stood there looking at each other and trembling with fear.

  The only one who didn’t seem phased by The Garden Gang was The General. ‘Mmm, interesting,’ was all he said to Blade.

  ‘How can we fight them General?’ asked Blade.

  ‘Well first we must not give ground. We must wait for them to come to us. All the female gadgets must be put behind us and we must stand firm at the front. Let them come, let them advance and let them think they will overwhelm us.’

  ‘They are advancing now.’

  ‘Good, now wait.

  ‘This is not good, this is suicide.’

  ‘We need sugar, get it from Jane,’ said The General. ‘We need Carl the Mighty. Get Benzo and we need Eddie. I need another troop on the left. Look at that flank it’s weak. Deep Fat take Ricky and Neville. Oh yes, take that young kid Warren with you too. Lee-Mailer stay in control and switch off Marty and Mary just in case the Garden Gang can intercept communication. Crock Pot I’m going to need you at the front along with Simon and Kettle. I want all the women to stay behind the main line along with Marvin and Harry and the doctor. But don’t worry you will all be needed. We must all support each other and get through this together. To your positions.’ Then to Blade and Lee-Mailer he added: ‘We shall direct the battle from the front.’

  The General had taken complete control. ’I’ve been waiting for a battle like this for years,’ he murmured to himself, a sly smile crossing his face.

  The Garden Gang were using a defensive formation with the gigantic petrol-driven lawn mower in the middle surrounded entirely by the other implements. They looked imposing as they started to bear down on the little gadgets.

  ‘We have to knock out the lawn mower to stand any sort of chance.’ said The General to Blade.

  ‘But how, it’s completely surrounded and defended?’

  ‘We have to draw away the defence or wait until it makes a charge, but by then it might be too late.’

  The General shouted: ‘Deep Fat move all your forces over to the left, Carl, do the same on the right. Force the enemy to face you. And may God be with you.’

  The General looked behind him. ‘Zalda, come here,’ he ordered. ‘We need your help.’

  As The Garden Gang approached The General kept his nerve.

  ‘They are getting too close,’ said a worried Lee-Mailer with his Vocoder-sounding voice getting slightly higher. ‘We must attack.’

  The General nodded to the would-be computer and smirked. ‘I want to see the whites of their eyes.’

  ‘No…no. Take it to them.’ implored Lee-Mailer.

  Then smartly The General ordered Zalda: ‘Freeze all the grass in front of us.’

  ‘Yes sir,’ replied the Ice Queen. ‘Watch this and pray for global warming.’

  Zalda lifted herself up and blasted an ice storm. The whole lawned area in front of the gadgets went frosty. Zalda sent out another blast of cold air from her in-built ice cream freezer and the frost started to thicken and turn into ice. summoned up all her might and blew again. The ice rink she had created kept spreading out - 15 metres in length at least. She was exhausted as metre by metre the ice got thicker and harder.

  The Speaker of The Garden Gang shouted in alarm: ‘Everybody halt, right now.’

  But it was too late. The first of The Garden Gang to approach the rink was the spade who slipped and skidded on to the ice, sliding this way and that with a look of panic and fear staring out of the top of his handle. He was down and landed right at the feet of Lee-Mailer, The General and Blade.

  ‘First one to us,’ said The General with a wink at Lee-Mailer.

  ‘Don’t be so hasty,’ said Blade. ‘Look.’ He pointed to the rest of the garden implements who had split into two groups and were moving round the sides of the ice rink Only the petrol-driven lawn mower was left standing at the top of the ice staring down at Lee-Mailer, The General and Blade.

  The General quickly looked to his left flank where he had positioned Deep Fat, Ricky, Neville and Warren and ordered them to move forward and approach the enemy on the edge of the ice. He did the same with the right flank where there was only Carl the Mighty, Benzo and Eddie..

  ‘There is only three of them on the right,’ said Blade. ‘I know this might be your battle General but I’m going with them for support. The odds look overwhelming. Call up Marvin and Harry as well, we need every gadget we can.’

  ‘We need reserves Blade. That’s why I’m keeping Crock Pot, Simon and Kettle back here with us in the centre. They are big odds and we may take casualties but I want to break their lines first. But you are the boss Sir, and I can’t prevent y
ou from doing what you see fit.’

  And with that Blade was off to the right flank to help Carl, Benzo and Eddie.

  Lee-Mailer handed over the garden spade to Simon: ‘Take him back behind the lines, get Sympatico to look after him and make sure he is secured.’

  ‘Will do,’ replied the vacuum sealer.

  Moments later Simon was back carrying the bag of sugar that The General had requested from Jane Dough. ‘Thank you Simon,’ said The General. ‘Now I want you to take that over to Carl The Mighty on the right flank. Blade is over there as well and he knows what we have to do with it. Go, go quickly boy.’

  ‘Yes sir.’

  On the left of the ice rink Deep Fat and his team were squaring up to the water hose, the leaf buster, the strimmer, the wheel barrow and the hoe.

  ‘We are outnumbered,’ said Ricky the rice cooker to Warren.

  ‘That’s just the way I like it,’ answered the warming tray as cocky as ever. ‘Anyway who on earth counts a hoe as being any good in a rumble?’

  ‘Everyone stay calm, and don’t flinch,’ announced Deep Fat looking at a trembling Neville, the Brazilian sandwich maker. ‘Let them make the first move.’

  ‘Forget that,’ replied Warren. ‘Watch this.’

  And with that the warming tray spun himself on to the ice rink, spinning round and round as fast as he could, sliding at break-neck speed over the surface. The strimmer, the leaf buster and the rest of the Garden Gang all turned to look at little Warren as he hit the centre of the rink. It gave Deep Fat a split-second opportunity. ‘Now’ he shouted to Ricky and Neville, ‘Attack.’

  ‘And don’t forget me,’ screamed the warming plate, who immediately changed direction and started spinning towards the garden implements at full force. ‘Here I come.’

  Caught off-guard and not knowing which way to look the implements were in disarray. The leaf buster didn’t know whether to switch on it’s blower to try and keep the gadgets at bay or its vacuum to try and suck them up. It was just the break that Neville needed. He started firing dirt-and-stone sandwiches he had made right into the nozzle of the leaf buster. ‘Bullseye’, he kept shouting in Brazilian as the sandwiches started clogging up the buster, the stones causing its motor to slow up and overheat. Clank, clank, whirr, whirrrrrr….was the sound coming from the leaf buster when suddenly it just cut out all together and lay there completely lifeless.

  Meanwhile Warren came hurtling off the ice rink spinning as fast as he could. The hoe didn’t stand a chance. The warming plate sliced through the wooden stave in less than a second and then went flying off in the direction of the water hose which was trying to wrap itself around the fryer and strangle Deep Fat.

  ‘I told you hoes were easy,’ said Warren as he passed Ricky, giving him a wink.

  The battle on the right side of the rink had also started in earnest.

  The rake, the chainsaw, fork and seed drill, seeing what had happened to their gang members on the left, attacked with a sudden ferocity. Simon the vacuum sealer had just arrived with the sugar when he saw the garden implements bearing down.

  ‘You’d better stay here,’ Blade said to Simon. ‘We are going to need you.. Go and join Carl and Eddie.’

  No sooner were the words out of Blade’s mouth than the chainsaw came hurtling at them making an ear-piercing noise as the saw blades moved to high-speed. It was bearing down on poor Benzo, the glass blender. There was no escape. The bumbling Russian blender tried switching itself to pulsate mode but there was no way out. With one mighty whoosh the chain saw sliced straight through Benzo’s glass bowl, shattering it. And then the saw lifted itself up and with all its might came down trying to cut through Benzo’s metallic base. But it hadn’t taken account of the thickness of the gleaming chrome metal that encased Benzo’s motor. The chainsaw glanced off sending up sparks. It came at Benzo again…

  At that instant Blade attacked the chainsaw. A carving knife up against a saw. It was foolish in the extreme, but the move drew the saw away from the blender.

  The General who had been watching the right flank, immediately ordered Marvin and Harry from behind the lines to go and get the injured Benzo and bring him back to Sympatico, the doctor. ‘And you,’ he said to Crock Pot, ‘You go and help out there on the right.’

  ‘But,,,’ protested the Damini 670 slow cooker,

  ‘No buts,’ snarled The General. ‘Go.’

  ‘Yes sir.’

  Marvin and Harry, the meat mincer and the hand electric mixer, were soon on the battlefield helping take Benzo back behind the lines. ‘Good luck,’ they shouted to Crock Pot, as their paths crosses.

  ‘Are you sure you are OK supporting Benzo?’ said Marvin to Harry. ‘He’s not too heavy is he?’

  ‘No, not at all Harry my friend. But thank you for being so thoughtful.’

  Back on the left flank Deep Fat was getting more and more entangled in the water hose as it wound itself around and around trying to squeeze the life out of the fryer..

  ‘Help’, he managed to squeak out between gasps. ‘Help.’

  Warren went back into action, fresh from chopping up the garden hoe and still spinning after coming off the ice rink he hit out at the hose pipe gashing it here and there as Deep Fat struggled to get free. Meanwhile the rice cooker had jumped into the wheel barrow and was pumping out kilo after kilo of rice until the barrow started to heave under the weight of the long grain, short grain, brown rice, basmati, in fact anything that Ricky could dream up. The wheel barrow had been stopped in its tracks, but still Ricky kept churning out more rice until the wooden sides of the barrow started to fall off under all the weght…and then the barrow collapsed all together.

  A cheer went up from the girls behind the line, and a special shout came from Jane Dough when she saw that Warren had managed to release her beloved Deep Fat.

  But the elation changed when Lee-Mailer pointed across the rink ahead of them and said to The General: ‘Look, look General, it’s the lawn-mower. It’s coming across the ice. It’s coming straight towards us.’

  The petrol-driven mower was cutting a slow but steady swathe through the ice as Blade went into battle against the chain-saw, and the seed drill started threatening Eddie the electric wok.

  ‘Come on, come on you useless lumbering excuse for a cutting machine,’ said Blade taunting the chain saw. ‘See what a finely honed Taiwanese Bay Long electric knife is like and eat your heart out.’ As the taunting continued the chain saw started getting angrier and angrier and didn’t notice the slow cooker creeping up slowly behind him.

  ‘Hey Charlie chain saw, what happens when your chain comes off, does your brain drop out?’ shouted Blade. With that the furious chain saw lunged at the electric knife and just as it was off balance Crock Pot hit the saw from behind with all his might causing it to fall over. And quick as a flash Simon the vacuum sealer wrapped up the saw with polythene bags and there it was lying on the ground unable to move.

  ‘Another one down,’ muttered The General with a smile.

  The seed drill, who had watched the easy defeat of chain saw thought better of taking on the gadgets and ran back to join the rest of the Garden Gang who were now lining up behind the lawn mower as it made its slow way across the ice.

  The General shouted over to Carl The Mighty: ‘It’s up to you, we are counting on you, do your best.’

  ‘Yes sir.’

  Carl knew what he had to do and he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. He anchored himself to the ice with the fitting of his can opener and started pulling himself across the rink steadily but surely, dragging the bag of sugar behind him.

  The lawn mower continued its stately progress over the ice and the rest of the Garden Gang, except for the ones that had been captured, were now lined up behind the mower.

  The Speaker of The Gang, the garden rake once more called out to The General: ‘You stand no chance, give up now or bear the consequences.’

  ‘Tell that to the prisoners we’ve already captured, ‘laughe
d the lean mean grilling machine. But deep down inside he wasn’t so confident. He whispered to Lee-Mailer: ‘Get everyone to the front and I mean everyone. Just leave Sympatico and Jenny back to look after any casualties and Marvin and Harry to guard the prisoners. Those skirmishes on the flank went well for us, but it isn’t over yet, not by a long shot.’

  ‘Yes sir,’ replied Lee-Mailer.

  With the Garden Gang advancing in the wake of the lawnmower, which was cutting a path through the ice, the gadgets all lined up to face them.

  ‘That was your last chance.’ said The Speaker.

  ‘Bring it on,’ shouted back Warren in an act of bravado.

  ‘They mght not have to,’ said Blade to the General. ‘Look, the ice, it’s melting. We don’t have to just stand here any more. ‘Let’s take it to them.’

  ‘Good thinking,’ replied The General, who then shouted at the top of his voice: ‘Charge.’

  All the gadgets started running through the slush as fast as they could towards the advancing lawnmower. It took the Garden Gang by surprise. In the ensuing confusion no one noticed the little jar and can opener making its way towards the lawnmower and dragging a bag of sugar.

  CHAPTER ELEVEN

  ZACK ON THE TRAIL

 
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