Gadgets the great escape, p.46
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.46

           David Hancock

  ‘Can you hear me Zack,’ Blade asked again. ‘Can you hear me?’

  Then suddenly Zack came round. ‘Yes, yes.’ he said. ‘Of course I can hear you, why shouldn’t I?’

  ‘It doesn’t matter,’ continued Blade. ‘The thing is Jane says it’s OK for you to go to Deep Fat if you still want to.’

  ‘Of course I do’, he replied matter-of-factly, his nasty side gone again. ‘Now what can we find in this old shed that I can take with me That hammer over there might be useful, and how about that wrench and those spanners. Someone get them.’ Suddenly Zack was giving orders but this time with authority instead of bullying and the other gadgets were willingly doing his bidding because of it.

  The General took Blade to one side. ‘Sir,’ he said. ’I think we are going to have trouble because of the boy.’

  ‘Yes I know that. But not the trouble you might be fearing. Call Lee-Mailer over here we need to discuss this.’

  The three of them sat in a huddle. Blade was the first to speak: ‘Zack’s father is going to come looking for him first thing in the morning and the daylight will give us away. It means we will all have to go into hiding in the Magic Forest again or…,’ he looked thoughtful.

  ‘Or what,’ interrupted Lee-Mailer.

  ‘Or we have to move on to somewhere else. Somewhere we will never be found.’

  ‘But where sir? The troops have had enough’ said The General.

  ‘I know.’

  Then suddenly their conversation was broken up by the ringing of Marty the mobile phone. Lee-Mailer flipped the handset open said ‘Yes’ and passed the phone to Blade: ‘It’s for you.’

  ‘Yes everyone,’ Blade spoke into the phone. ‘Zack is also here….Really?….But we may have to move ourselves…..We are working on that…. How?… Really….There’s not much time….By morning at the latest….Good wishes to you too.

  ‘What was all that about? asked Lee-Mailer.

  ‘I’ll explain later. Let’s see what Zack is up to.’

  Zack had gathered together what he needed and told Blade her would set off for Deep Fat’s resting place in the morning.

  ‘I’m sorry boy but we don’t have the time. Take your torch, whoever you want on your team and go now. And make sure you are back before sunrise to be on the safe side.’


  ‘Because I think your father will be here early and if he is we’ll be caught. So I want all the gadgets to be away from here by then.’

  ‘Nah,’ said Zack. ‘Dad won’t be here before it’s time to go to work. And anyway I can deal with him.’

  ‘We can’t take that chance Zack. Now go, and the best of luck.’

  Zack grabbed all the things he had found in the shed and put them in a dirty hold-all that was lying on the floor. Then he looked round and said: ‘So who’s going to show me the way?’

  Most of the gadgets were hesitant and fearful of Zack’s reputation for being a nasty violent bully. Then The General stepped forward: ‘Come on squad,’ he shouted, ‘Double up. You, you, you, you and you.’ he added pointing at Marvin, Harry, Neville, Warren and Ricky. ‘Fall in. Let’s get going.’

  Blade and Lee-mailer looked at each other dumbfounded at the sort of authority The General commanded as the meat mincer, hand mixer, sandwich maker, warming tray and electric rice cooker all formed up behind The General and Zack.

  ‘I want to go too’, said Jane Dough, but she was restrained by her friend Jenny the juice maker who quietly told her: ‘ I think it best if we leave the men to do this. Besides we don’t even know if anything can be done so don’t get your hopes up too high Jane.’

  ‘I’ll go,’ said Dr. Sympatico. ‘I failed Deep Fat last time, this may be a second chance.’

  ‘Well don’t forget to get back before the sun rises to be on the safe side,’ emphasised Blade.

  With The General leading the way and Zack holding his torch the squad left the Wendy House and headed east towards the Enchanted Lake. This time they had no problem with sounds scaring them and warning them of danger as they went through the Magic Forest. The only thing worrying Zack was the fact his trainers were getting muddy from all the wet leaves and squelching underfoot and he was worried what his dad would say – and that really was a first for Zack.

  There were fewer gadgets this time and because The General was route-marching them they got to the Enchanted Lake quite quickly, but only to find that none of the gadgets could remember exactly where they had put Deep Fat.

  ‘Well don’t look at me,’ said Zack quizzically. ‘Didn’t you mark the spot at all?’

  ‘Yes we did mate,’ replied Warren. ’We did it with two flippin’ tiny broken pieces of fence post and the resting place was covered with twigs, but there are so many broken pieces of wood around here it’s hard to tell. Bloomin’ heck, old Mr. DF could be anywhere.’

  They searched inside the broken fence around the side of the lake where they remembered being but there was no sign of Deep Fat’s grave. They kicked up pieces of broken fencing and old tree branches and found nothing. ‘Time is getting on,’ Sympatico reminded the others. ‘We have to get back before it’s light.’

  Then suddenly Ricky the electric rice cooker shouted: ‘Over here, I think I’ve found him.’

  Back in the Wendy House Blade was explaining his phone call from The Speaker of the Garden Gang. ‘It seems the Gang want to come here and join us,’ he said. ‘I told The Speaker we might have to go into hiding again and very soon if my hunch about Mr. Abercrombie arriving here early to get his son is true. But he said not to worry and that the Garden Gang had a plan. Whether or not they have I don’t think the Wendy House is safe for us anymore as a permanent base. We will have to move on.’

  There was an audible groan from the other gadgets.

  ‘I know, I know,’ said Blade. ‘You have all had enough.’

  ‘It’s not just that,’ piped up Kettle. ‘I’m sure I speak for most of the other gadgets when I say that I don’t wholly trust the Garden Gang. We have already told them they can’t come to the Wendy House. What is this great plan of theirs? I think they are just looking for another fight.’

  There were murmurs of, ‘Hear, hear.’

  ‘Well we can’t stop them but I promise you we will all be vigilant until we find out exactly what they want and if they do come in peace,’ replied Blade. ‘Now I suggest everyone get as much rest as they can before daybreak. And don’t worry, sentries will be on watch.’

  Zack, The General and Sympatico rushed to Ricky’s side as the rice cooker was hastily removing twigs and earth to reveal a dirty old broken fat fryer. Zack moved forward and pulled Deep Fat out of the ground and cleaned off as much dirt as he could. The old Zack would have thrown the piece of scrap metal in the pond just to see it sink but instead he examined the fryer closely murmuring now and again and shaking his head. He turned to The General and Sympatico. ‘Well the casing is ripped and could do with welding. All I’ve got is this old soldering iron I found in the shed. That will have to do for now. Get the warming plate over here to warm up the solder,’ he said to Sympatico.

  ‘The frying basket is bashed about but that doesn’t matter,’ he continued while fiddling with the fryer’s controls.

  ‘What is it young man?’ asked The General anxiously.

  ‘Mmmm,’ replied Zack. ‘Dead as a doornail.’

  ‘We told you.’

  ‘I don’t mean ‘dead’ that way. It looks like the heating element has gone. Was this fryer ever turned on with no fat or oil in it?’

  ‘Yes I think so,’ interrupted Sympatico. ‘When Blade found Deep Fat in the cupboard he had been emptied and cleaned and totally degreased. He has never been filled up again.’

  ‘Then that explains it. The element overheated. You should never use a deep fat fryer without any oil in it. Right, let’s look,’ continued Zack as if talking to himself. ‘Here it is…I thought this looked a bit of a posh fryer.’

  ‘Yes it’s a Sango DS 178,’ s
aid Sympatico.

  ‘It has an override fuse for when the element overheats and here it is,’ Zack announced as he pulled out the old blown fuse. ‘Now all we need is a new one. The problem is, we don’t have one with us. So let’s get back to the Wendy House as quickly as possible.’

  Harry and Marvin once again took up their roles as stretcher-bearers while Deep Fat was hoisted on to a flattened out Warren the warming tray. This time their progress through the Magic Forest was slower even though they knew they should hurry because the gloom was lifting and it was starting to get slightly lighter.

  ‘Hurry,’ demanded The General. ‘Blade insists we get back before the sun rises, and it has already started.’

  ‘We can’t go any faster. Deep Fat is heavy enough as it is and we don’t want to drop him,’ insisted Marvin the meat mincer,’

  ‘Oh blow’, said Zack, ‘Give me the fat fryer.’ And with that he put the cooking gadget under his arm. ’Now let’s get out of here.’

  Jane Dough was standing in the doorway of the Wendy House peering into the gloom. ’Where are they?’ she kept saying. ‘They should have been back by now.’

  ‘Don’t worry, they’ll be here soon,’ said Jenny comfortingly. ‘Come inside, it’s no use just standing there. It won’t make any difference.’

  Meanwhile Rebecca Abercrombie was shaking her husband and saying: ‘Seb it’s getting lighter. It’s no use just lying there, go down to the Wendy House now and find out if Zack is all right. Go this minute.’

  ‘OK,’ he agreed getting out of bed and yawning. ‘But a few minutes isn’t going to make that much of a difference.’

  And the General was still cajoling his troops. ‘Come on you lazy lot,’ he was saying. ‘Move faster. Every minute you dawdle is going to make a difference.’

  Sharp-eyed Sam the little salad shooter was first to spot someone heading in the direction of the Wendy House, and it wasn’t Zack and the gadgets or even the Garden Gang.

  ‘Sir,’ he said to Blade. ‘It looks like someone or maybe even two someone’s are up there on the top patio.’ He pointed in the direction of the house. And he was right. It was Sebastian and Lucy. Mr. Abercrombie’s five year-old little daughter was wide awake when she heard her father get up, and she begged him to let her go with him on the adventure to the Wendy House.

  ‘OK, poppet,’ he relented. ‘But make sure you wrap up warm. Come on, let’s go and fetch Zack back to the house.’

  The sighting on the patio caused consternation. ‘Right, I want everybody outside and round the back of the Wendy House and into hiding as quickly as possible,’ ordered Blade. Just as the gadgets were filing out of the Wendy House Zack, The General and the rest of the team were arriving with Deep Fat under Zack’s arm while Sebastian and Lucy had reached the lawn. It was the whirring sound above the Wendy House that caused Zack to look up, and then everything seemed to happen at once.

  Zack rushed into the Wendy House, rummaged around and found an old fuse which he threw to The General who opened his grill to catch it while Marvin, Harry and Warren quickly eyed up the situation, grabbed Deep Fat and with Dr. Sympatico and Ricky all headed round the back of the garden shed. The General was hot on their heels as Zack kicked off his trainers and dived fully clothed into his sleeping bag and pretended to be asleep just as his father and his little sister arrived at the door.

  Zack looked up, pretending to rub the sleep out of his eyes, and said: ‘Oh hello dad, is it morning already?’ And then seeing little Lucy added: ‘Hey Lucy,’ with a smile and in a really friendly voice that so scared his sister she tried to hide behind her father who was also suspicious of his son after noticing the filthy muddy trainers in the hut. But Sebastian was distracted from his thoughts when he heard a whirring noise. ‘What’s that?’ he said.

  ‘Nothing,’ replied Zack quickly. ‘It’s been going on all night. I think it’s from another garden behind us.’

  ‘OK son, but it sounds strange. Anyway how are you?’ continued Sebastian as Zack climbed out of his sleeping bag. ‘And why have you got all your clothes on? And why are your trainers muddy?’

  ‘I’m fine dad,’ said Zack, hanging his head contritely. ‘I’ve learned my lesson now can I go home please? And I’m sorry about the trainers. I promise to clean them when I get to the house. I had to go to the loo in the night and that’s why I put my clothes on, but it was wet and muddy out there,’ he added quickly. ‘Can we go now?’

  ‘Of course we can son.’ But when they got out of the Wendy House Sebastian suddenly said: ‘That whirring noise, it’s getting louder.’

  ‘It’s nothing dad honestly. Now let’s go,’ and he started pulling his father along. ‘Come on I’ve had enough of that creepy place.’ Zack had his sleeping bag under his arm and his fingers crossed behind his back praying his father would not look round or want to explore behind the Wendy House. ‘Please dad I want to be home.’

  ‘You are in a rush. But you do seem to have changed a little. So come on let’s go and meet your mum, she’s been worried about you.’ And with that he ruffled Zack’s hair. And for once Zack didn’t protest.

  The Garden Gang had formed themselves into a helicopter with skill and ingenuity. They had stripped out the engine from the ill-fated lawn mower, tied together the handles from the fork, hoe, spade and seed drill with left over pieces of water hose to form the propellers and got them to turn by using the belt from the chainsaw. The wheelbarrow was harnessed as a makeshift open-air cabin while the hand shears were used to guide the helicopter from the steering column which was really the leaf buster. The compost shredder handled the exhaust and the whole contraption was flown by The Speaker of the Garden Gang.

  As the helicopter came whirring down behind the Wendy House The Speaker announced: ‘Well look lively, everyone get aboard unless you fancy your chances on an auction site. We haven’t got all day. Come on.’

  Blade eyed up the situation with amazement and then started shooing the gadgets aboard. ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’ he kept saying. ‘Don’t worry it looks like they are here to save us.’ Some of the gadgets scrambled into the wheelbarrow squashing each other while others held on to the sides as the helicopter began to ascend. Zack, who sensed what was going on behind him, kept praying his father would not look back.

  The General slipped the fuse into Deep Fat and warned Jane not to switch him on until they could find some oil. ‘But I’m sure he is going to be all right,’ he assured the bread maker. ‘The little soldier seems to be looking better already.’

  Back at the house Rebecca was relieved to find her son had come to no harm and although she didn’t dare believe it she thought that Zack did somehow seem better behaved. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, she thought. But putting her fears aside she hugged Zack close to her and said: ‘I hope you’ve learned your lesson.’

  ‘Yes mum I have,’ he replied quietly, while from behind her back Jake pulled a face at his brother to try and unsettle him.

  Lucy was more direct. ‘Are you going to be a good boy now?’ she asked her brother.

  ‘What do you think Lucy?’ said Zack bending down to whisper in her ear. ‘Jenny and Sam send their love and I promise they will be in touch next time they are round this way.’

  ‘You mean. Oh…’ said Lucy wide-eyed and with her mouth open. ‘You mean…’

  ‘Yes Lucy, yes I can.’


  To find out more about the author, David Hancock, please go to his website at:

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