Gadgets the great escape, p.37
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.37

           David Hancock
 
What had been going on would one day become the subject of legend in the gadget community. When the ice started melting and turning to slush and The General shouted: ‘Charge’, mayhem ensued. Blade led the attack on the Garden Gang slashing out at the hand shears and leaf buster. The gadgets on the left and right flanks including Ricky and Neville and Benzo and Eddie waded in against the compost shredder, the hoe and any other implement with whom they came into contact. The fighting was ferocious and fierce. Bonzo head-butted the seed drill, Simon and Crack Pot smashed into the strimmer. The gadgets and the Garden Gang were slipping and sliding and covered in ice and slush.

  Then The General made a bold move and ordered Lee-Mailer to call up Harry and Marvin from behind the lines, and even the girls.

  “What!’ exclaimed Lee-Mailer. ‘We can’t throw Fiona, Jenny, Zalda and the rest of them into a foray like this. It’s suicide.’

  ‘Wrong,’ said The General sternly. ‘That’s exactly what we are going to do. From here things look evenly balanced, it could go either way. Our reserves could decide the outcome of this battle. Call them up now.’

  ‘But General…’

  ‘No buts, you heard what I said. Or would you like to be court-martialled for disobeying an order?’

  Lee-Mailer, the communications chief, reluctantly did what he was told and signalled to everyone behind the line except for Sympatico and Forque, who were to stay there in case of casualties, to come forward. Without hesitation they moved forward towards the battle.

  Jane was looking everywhere for Deep Fat and then spotted the fryer fighting alongside cocky Warren the warming tray against the fork and hoe. In all the commotion no one noticed Carl The Mighty reach the lawn mower and quietly unscrew the petrol cap on the machine. Then as quick as lightning he poured the sugar he had been given earlier into the tank. The effect was quick. The lawn mower started to stutter and splutter and then it stopped dead in its tracks. A shout went up from the gadgets as the Garden Gang looked in astonishment to see that their major weapon had conked out. But instead of retreating they threw themselves even harder into the battle.

  Jenny and Jane Dough joined the fray fighting shoulder-to-shoulder. That was when Deep Fat spotted the bread maker that he loved and instinctively moved towards her to protect her.

  ‘Jane,’ said the gormless fryer. ‘It’s me.’

  As Jane turned the professional strimmer made a move towards her.

  ‘Look out,’ shouted Deep Fat and lunged in front of the bread maker to save her from the strimmer’s cutting edges. He pushed Jane out of the way but at the same time took the full force of the sharp biting blades which sliced through his outer shell and cut cleanly into his steel basket. The brave little fat fryer let out a gasp and then rolled over on his side unconscious.

  Marvin and Harry, who had seen the incident, knew exactly what to do and quickly gathered up Deep Fat and took him back behind the lines to the care of Sympatico and Forque.

  Meanwhile the battle continued to be waged, but slowly the gadgets were beginning to get the upper hand. Blade hacked into the already cut water hose, slicing it into shreds. But as he turned round he found himself facing the chainsaw again. The trusty tungsten steel carving knife didn’t even flinch, he was faster and lighter than the mighty chainsaw and that was where he saw his advantage. Dancing nimbly Blade lunged and parried at the chainsaw. mechanism each time deftly unscrewing a nut here with the tip of his knife and then moving away. Three, four times, he moved in to exploit the situation. The ugly chainsaw tried to use brute force but he was too slow to catch Blade and then something astonishing happened, the chainsaw just fell to pieces on the ground. Blade had successfully managed to unscrew all the nuts and bolts that had held the contraption together.

  The garden rake – The Speaker of The Garden Gang – watched on in horror as one-by-one he saw the implements being defeated at the hands of a bunch of kitchen appliances.

  ‘Halt,’ he yelled above the noise of the battlefield. And then with as much dignity as he could muster he shouted to The General: ‘We surrender.’

  Strangely it was not a cause for jubilation or celebration amongst the gadgets. They were simply too exhausted. Wearily they started moving back from the battlefield on the orders of The General. The majority of the gadgets were walking backwards because they didn’t trust the Garden Gang not to attack them from behind even though they had surrendered. It had been an intense battle with no love lost on either side and the gadgets were not willing to trust their enemies an inch.

  ‘We accept your surrender,’ The General said to The Speaker. ‘Tell your men to stay exactly where they are and not to move and to allow us freedom to traverse your territory whenever we should so decide. Swear this.’

  ‘I swear it in the name of The Garden Gang,’ came back the reply from The Speaker.

  Crock Pot the slow cooker, and Simon the sealer were sent amongst the Garden Gang, with some trepidation it must be said, to disarm them of anything that could look like a weapon. But the Garden Gang didn’t put up any resistance. They too were exhausted after the fighting and wanted to rest. And anyway being a disciplined force they would not countermand orders from their Speaker.

  Back behind the lines things were much more frantic as gadgets hobbled in, many of them with minor injuries that were easily treated. A dent here, a bump there, a scratch and lots of mud and filth; a good rest and most of them would be all right. Most of them that is, except for Deep Fat.

  Deep Fat’s injuries were extensive. When he had thrown himself in front of the strimmer to save Jane Dough he didn’t think for a split second about his own safety, just that of the bread maker he loved. Sympatico, the doctor, was examining him and slightly shaking his head when Jane came rushing in almost hysterical.

  ‘Is he going to be all right? Tell me he is going to be all right,’ she was saying.

  ‘Please Jane stay back. I have to examine him, but I can tell you his injuries are extensive. Now if you will please just stay back.’ Then Zalda and Jenny appeared and ushered Jane out of the doctor’s presence. The injuries certainly were bad. The old fryer had taken the full force of the strimmer’s cutting blades on his shell, almost hacking him in half. His frying basket had been slashed, but far worse was his delicate heating element which seemed tto have burned out. Sympatico was working as feverishly as a brain surgeon to try and re-construct Deep Fat’s central functioning system. Forque was by his side, wiping the sweat off his upscale coffee jug as he worked. The doctor was getting more and more frantic. Deep Fat wasn’t responding to anything he was doing. His lights just weren’t coming on.

  ‘Come on Deep Fat, come on, you can make it,’ he kept saying under his breath. ‘Look how much we’ve all been through, come on, stir yourself.’ But eventually Sympatico had to admit defeat and the top-of-the-range Spanish coffee maker started misting up as he turned to Blade’s girlfriend and said: ‘There’s nothing more I can do. I’m afraid he’s gone.’

  ‘Oh no,’ cried Forque, ’Oh no, not Deep Fat.’

  Jane, who had heard everything, pulled away from Zalda and Jenny and ran towards Deep Fat trying to throw herself on the fryer. She was sobbing hysterically as the other female gadgets moved forward to gently take her away. She shrugged them off: ‘No, leave me, leave me, all of you leave me,’ she sobbed. ‘I want my Deep Fat. Oh Deep Fat, what have you gone and done now?’

  When Jane was exhausted from crying she allowed Fiona and Forque to take her away to be comforted.

  The story of Deep Fat’s death raced round the other gadgets and soon revenge was being demanded. ‘We have them at our mercy. Let’s finish them off I say,’ said a surprisingly belligerent Benzo, the usually placid 12-speed glass blender.

  ‘Yes,’ agreed Neville the Brazilian sandwich maker. ‘Where I come from it is a matter of honour that we avenge the death of our dear friend Deep Fat. We must make them pay for what they have done.’

  Now everyone wanted to have their say and tempers were running
high when suddenly a teary-eyed Jane Dough stepped amongst them. ‘Be quiet, all of you,’ she said. All the gadgets hushed immediately. ‘The death of one gadget as good and kind as my Deep Fat is a death too many,’ she continued. ‘To add to it as an act of revenge is meaningless and senseless, so let us hear no more of it. Revenge is an act of cowardice. How many other accessories or implements would you like to see living with the grief that I am suffering just so you can have the satisfaction of being victors. If anyone should demand revenge it should be me because I will have to bear the loss of this good fryer for the rest of my life and far more deeply that any of you. But I say no, no more killing.’ And with that she left the circle of male gadgets and went back to the comforting arms of the women folk.

  There was silence for a moment and then of all gadgets it was Lee-Mailer, the South Korean wireless communicator and browser, who spoke first. ‘As most of you know,’ he began. ‘Deep Fat and I were never really close friends to say the least.’ A slight chuckle ran through his audience. ‘I can’t even remember how it all started now but I do remember he was one of the first kitchen accessories I met after I was bought by Mr. Abercrombie. Obviously I’m not a kitchen utensil myself but my box was opened on the kitchen worktop right next to where Deep Fat used to stand and there I was a gleaming model C1721eZX manufactured by Cane Industries. I remember nodding to Deep Fat and him nodding back to me. ‘And what do you do then?’ he said to me. ‘I’m an emailer and internet browser,’ I replied. ‘And what’s one of them when they’re at home?’ came back his sharp reply. That stung, so I simply replied: ‘It’s too complicated for you to understand.’ And I suppose, as silly as it sounds, that was the beginning of our animosity. ‘Oh well don’t mind me,’ said Deep Fat. ‘And don’t come running when I’m making some squash croquettes or some cheesy fried oysters.’ And with that he turned his back on me.

  ‘The funny thing is,’ continued Lee-Mailer his voice dropping a little as his modem lights blinked with sadness, ‘The silly old sausage never made any squash croquettes or got anywhere near oysters. About the only thing he ever made was chips.’

  ‘Yes,’ piped up Eddie the electric wok. ‘But they were the finest chips in the world.’ And then he started to blub very quietly.

  ‘So I’m told,’ said Lee-Mailer. ‘So I’m told… Anyway, all I’d like to say is that although we were never kindred spirits I don’t think we really hated each other either. I know I never really hated Deep Fat. He was a bumbling old fryer but he was also good-natured and kind. I only wish if I had the time all over again I could have been more of a friend to him.’ And then Lee-Mailer started to cry.

  ‘Don’t upset yourself,’ said Jane Dough, who approached when she heard what Lee-Mailer had been saying. ‘He wouldn’t have wanted that.’ And she put an arm round him.

  Drying his tears Lee-Mailer continued: ‘So I agree with Jane. The best memory we can give to Deep Fat is not to seek revenge but to seek reconciliation with our enemies and ensure a lasting peace.’

  The last bit was too much for some of the gadgets. ‘What on earth is the geezer suggesting,’ whispered Warren to Simon the vacuum sealer, ‘That we become friends with the Garden Gang!’

  ‘Sounds like it.’

  ‘No way mate, you can count me out.’

  ‘Well said Lee-Mailer.’ On hearing the voice all the gadgets turned to stare at The General who looked a formidable figure with his grill plate wide open. ‘We may have defeated The Garden Gang for now but if we remain enemies with them they will remain enemies with us. We don’t know what further dangers lie ahead, and lets hope they are little, but we can’t afford to have an adversary at our back as well. So I will talk to The Speaker and get his guarantee there will be no more fighting between us.’

  ‘It is the sensible way,’ added Blade, standing with one of his knives wrapped gently around his girlfriend Forque. ‘And although I am not really your leader it is what I want. And I am sure it is what my dear friend Deep Fat would have also wanted.’

  ‘Then it shall be done,’ said The General who was a canny old soldier and knew he had to appease the more rebellious and younger gadgets. ‘But maybe we should leave something on the battlefield to remember us by. Warren, Simon, any of you other young lads want to come and help?’

  ‘What have we got to do?’ said little Sam the salad shooter.

  ‘We are going to push over the lawnmower so that it is on its side. It will be a sign of both our defiance and our power.’

  ‘Yay,’ shouted the gadgets.

 
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