Monday, 9 September 2013


Interesting photo and had to think a bit outside the box for this one.  Apologies to non-Brits who may well wonder what the heck I'm going on about.  :)

Photo copyright David Vale.

Maintenance Man

With a contended sigh, Edgar walked through the double doors of the Holomaticon XT2500 and allowed excited senses to take in some very familiar surroundings; a smile crossing his lips at the welcome sound of an automated voice.
‘Instructions please?’
Having been away from the machine for three weeks due to maintenance problems, Edgar’s response babbled from his lips.
‘Please repeat.’
Edgar took a deep breath.
‘Austria, Europe, circa. 1925.’
The metallic voice appeared pleased with his decision.
‘One moment please.’
For twelve and a half seconds there was only silence but,with the onset of a soft, inviting hum, the room before Edgar’s eyes began to swim with a range of multi-coloured lights, before settling gradually into recognizable focus.  As expected, he was standing in his favourite city, upon a much-loved bridge spanning the river Danube below.  Small groups of people bustled about him as his eyes once again grew accustomed to the unique lighting of the XT2500 system.  With a growing smile that lit up his face, Edgar marveled at the scenes before him, before a jagged noise of static rudely pierced his thoughts.
‘Hey Ed…how’s it looking?’
Silently cursing his supervisor’s voice, Edgar managed a composed response.
‘So far so good, Bill.  The lighting seems fine, olfactory and audible systems appear back online and I’m just about to test for A.I. functional ability.’
Edgar approached a group of three, dressed in sombre clothing yet engaged in happy banter.
‘A good day to you all.’
The taller of the two men returned his smile, while the remaining man and woman appeared intent on continuing their conversation.    
Tossing a mental coin in his head, Edgar chose test question #3 from the maintenance manual.
‘It’s a beautiful day, sir, but I think perhaps it may cloud over later.’
The man nodded his head intently.
‘Well, you know, it’s just something we've been working on in training and, you know, it just came off today.’
Edgar paused, before repeating his test question with a clearer and slower pronunciation.
The man nodded again and removed his bowler hat to scratch behind his left ear.
‘Well, you know, Wrighty took it down the wing and, you know, Gigsy pulled away some defenders with a darting run and, you know, I was just in the right place at the right time, I guess.’
Edgar shook his head and attempted test question #4.
‘I wonder what the heights of fashion might be this year in our fair city?’
The man nodded and started at the ground.
‘Well, you know, a hat-trick is always nice, but as the Gaffer always says, it’s not about one player, it’s always, like, you know, about the team.  I think, you know, that’s always what’s important, like.’
The woman, standing to his left and adorned in an expensive head to toe dress, turned away from her conversation and took Edgar’s elbow; her voice booming out in a pronounced Scottish accent.
‘Ya know, Gary, I can’t see this team winning anything this year.  I’m sorry, but you simply cannot win a Premiership with a bunch of kids.’
Edgar found himself taking a cautious step backwards from the small group, who all calmly smiled and returned to her conversation.
To his left, Edgar noticed a line of blurry images appearing further along the bridge.  Although not sharply defined, he could clearly see the lower parts of several torsos; complete with white socks, blue shorts and football boots.  Behind him came the sound of the English National Anthem, mixed in with a second, rousing song about some lions being situated on a shirt.
Nervously, he reached to his left shoulder and clicked a button.
‘Bill? I think we may still have a problem…’

© Kev Milsom (2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment