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Tuesday 21 February 2012
U.F.O. Chaser Extraordinaire
On this portentous day with palindromic date
of 21.02.20-12, Shrove - "Sorry" - Tuesday, on
this day on which the world, the cosmos, might
be tempted to heave up its unguent back
and scatter humans to the outer fringes of existence,
on this most likely of all days,
Mark, Detective Secretary of The Things in Space Society -
Blipper to his friends - is cycling home. The bliss!
The open road, the peaceful night as dark as pitch...
His joy is interrupted by his front lamp going out.
Almost simultaneously, on yonder hill
a radiance, a phosphorescence bathes
the world - the whole of it, so far as he can see - in light.
Push and puff to reach the top
to find the source
so clearly sent
from outer space. He gasps
from lack of oxygen, from disbelief.
A light-emitting diode - the largest
ever seen - and in the shape
of one of those old phone booths. Psychedelic.
Radiant. Metallic. Space ship.
Quite beyond a doubt. It throbs with light...
and the telephone is ringing.
Unlike all phones he'd heard before.
Jangle of a dozen noises.
Jangle of nerves, he picks it up.
Jangle of whirrings now, tappings, tickings
and escaping steam. High-pitched screams
of slipping belts and centuries old technologies.
Tick of clockwork in the throes of going bust.
"Hello! Whose there?"
he bellows at the mouthpiece.
are coming from it. Indescribable.
Like alien tongues reflected from a sheet of
and filtered through a bag of nails.
And then a voice he recognises.
Joseph from the office. Laughing.
"Gotcha this time, eh?"
A Magpie Tales story.