Pitter, patter goes the rain outside my window.
Pitter, patter go the tiny feet.
What these two have in common,
Sure does have me beat.
It is always nice to start with a poem I find, helps to get the brain juices flowing.
Mrs. Jones was sat at home that Saturday night, watching the Lottery Draw on TV and trying to forget about the weather. She rightly ought to have payed more attention as, at that very moment, her cat was doing a passable impersonation of Admiral Nelson as it bobbed its way down a garden path closely resembling the Yangtze in spate. Mrs. Jones, or Hetty to her neighbours, was waiting with bated breath to see if she had won ten pounds. She had long ago given up hoping to win the Jackpot, their being a greater chance that Nessie might be found or that Scotland would win the world cup. Thus she put all her hopes and aspirations into getting three numbers out of the six correct. If you never aim high, you will never get that worked up about losing.
Five minutes later and Hetty was to be found making a cup of tea while marvelling at the regularity with which she was able to guess this weeks bonus ball. A further ten minutes later and she was still waiting for the kettle to boil. Surmising that the power to the kettle was off, the little light on the side not being lit, Hetty traced the cable down to the wall socket which was now exactly eight point three two inches under water. "Hmm", thought Hetty, "wondered why my feet were cold." Luckily for our soggy footed heroine the power had gone off only moments before she had placed her feet in the water. She ought to
have noticed the lights going off though. Being sufficiently wise to realise that the telephone probably would not be working either she decided to explore the outer world for signs as to the reason for this breakdown in the fabric of the civilised world.
Thus she ascended the stairs, dryed her feet, remembering to dry between her toes, and placed a pair of stout boots upon her feet. Realising that she had forgotten to put on any socks she removed her boots, remedied the situation, and returned the boots to their rightful place. Wrapping a warm cardigan about her ample frame she descended the stairs into what was now eight point four nine inches of water and claimed her raincoat from the hall stand. Fastening this tightly about her she picked up her umbrella (the one with that nice floral pattern that she had won last Christmas at the works do) and opened her front
door. This raised the water level to eight point five two inches as a little wave trundled in the door and through the house.
Hetty peered out into the gloom but could see diddly squat and so set forth into said gloom. She was somewhat surprised to meet her cat in the middle of the street, floating along on its feed bowl and looking like it was ready to have a sharp word with the person responsible. However as she picked it up she was even more surprised to see Mr. Khan from three doors up. Her surprise was mostly due to the fact that he was dressed in his best Chay Blythe costume and appeared to be piloting an old bath with a number of rubber rings attached to it. His "craft" bobbed its way down Quoiting Green road, while Mr Khan stood at the "tiller" (actually the side of an old tea chest guided by a toilet brush) halooing at the top of his lungs. Mrs. Jones replied in as ladylike a manner as she could muster considering the conditions, "Oi, over here."
Soon it was that Mrs. Jones was sat in the "bow" of this bath with a cat in one hand and a cup of milky tea from Mr. Khan's flask in the other. Mr. Khan had been very polite and helpful as she had clamboured in but why he had to blow that whistle was beyond her. Having been informed that the majority of the residents of the street were sheltering in upstairs rooms Hetty decided that it was their duty as the only people with a mode of transport to go down to the council offices and give them a piece of her mind. So off they set, only hitting two partially submerged vehicles before exiting Quoiting Green Road.
The council offices were in a state best described as busy. If one were to be a touch more scathing one would perhaps use the words utter chaos. The head of the works departement was involved in two simultaneous telephone conversations. One to the main depot demanding that more sandbags be placed around the ground floor windows while the second was to his travel agent, enquiring as to the availability of cheap holidays in the Caribean. The Lord Provost was involved in a heated arguement with the office of public records as to whither or not the Provost should go down with his burgh, so to speak. This arguement reached a crescendo when the Provost picked up the public records (in the form of the convenor, a five foot three, blue rinsed dragon of a council employee) and attempted to throw her out of the window. Unfortunately for the somewhat agressive official the lady in question had just recently attended a course on self defense. Thus it was that Provost Mitchel, un-elected supremo of the city of Auchdoon and champion whist player of Scotland three years running, left the building in a cloud of glass.
As it happened the SS Pride of The Punjab with its crew of Mr. Khan (Captain and chief engineer), Mrs. Jones (Chief submerged shopping trolley spotter) and The All-Powerful Amsterdam (Cat and thus above all this work lark) were bobbing along under the window at the time. As a small point, Hetty did not call the cat the All-Powerful Amsterdam. She called it
Graham. The somewhat more officious title was thought up by the cat to impress females. Quite unsuccesfully I might add. Thus it was that Provost Mitchel did land, thump, in what looked remarkably like a bath tub to him. Struggling up from his less than comforting landing he was greeted by an irate housewife.
"You! What are you going to do about it? Answer me!"
"Er, do about what madam?" he asked, wondering why respected member of the local Chamber of Commerce Mr. Khan was gurning at him and saying, "Grrr".
"This flooding you silly little man. My carpets have been ruined. Can't you call the fire brigade or something."
"Unfortunately no. This sort of thing comes under the Global Warming Effects Act. All the pumps have been sent south to keep London dry. They did send us a bucket instead though."
"A bucket! I have never heard of anything so daft since my Gerald claimed to have met Kilgore Trout down the pub." screached Hety Jones, getting a tad over excited.
"Grrr, arrr!" growled Mr. Khan, beginning to enjoy the buccaneering idea.
"Now if you would just calm down a minute and take me back to the council buildings I am sure something can be done." said the Provost, making those wavy hand gestures that for some reason are supposed to calm irate people down. Never understood how that works myself. Neither, obviously, did Mrs. Jones.
"Calm Down! Calm Down! How dare you!" Mrs. Jones stood up, rocking the Good Ship Rampant Ferret (Mr. Khan had a bad imagination for ship names when a fantasy caught hold.) alarmingly.
"Ahar and avast" cried Mr. Khan
"Careful" shouted the Provost.
"Miaowww, hissss" shrieked Graham.
"And take your desk too!" cried a blue rinsed voice from on high.
"Thunk!" went the meeting of bath tub and desk.
"Shiver me sploosh!" exclaimed Captain Blackbeard Khan.
"Splosh, erk, woosh, oof!" went various bodies into the water.
"Crack, hiss, blurble!" went the doughty bathtub, doing its best Titanic impersonation.
"Vroom" went the motorboat carrying the head of the works departement.
"I'll be back in a couple of months, probably, Provost." shouted the head of the works departement as he rushed to catch his plane.
"My boots are leaking," bobbed Hetty, "has anyone got a towel?"
Copyright 2000 Brian "Munchkin" Milton