Lunch in Launceston
[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…In this episode (6.2.2) while lunching in Launceston’s Cataract Gorge, Wilhelm and Letitia witness the harassment of peacocks.
Note: I have changed the character’s name from Will to Wilhelm to add an extra layer to this character’s personality and how in 1967, he had taken on all the airs and graces of a pseudo psychiatrist.
Just another indication that this reworked novel draft that had been marinating in the “drawer” for more than 10 years, is a rework in progress.]
Call Me Wilhelm
Wilhelm guided the steering wheel with one index finger. With his other, he conducted the orchestra playing Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, playing on the classical ABC Radio Station, thus masking the tape of his recent performance in his head.
While Frieda slept the previous night, Wilhelm had sidled up to the computer, switched it on, connected it to the IGSF satellite and then linked it to IGSF’s Admiral August Fahrer with face-to-face television-visual mode.
The Admiral reclined on a kangaroo-skin rug, eating a sausage in bread. In the background of the screen, Jemima, his granddaughter hunched over the flames of a modest fire.
‘You took your time there, Al,’ August said through a mouthful of bread.
‘It’s way past my bedtime, Wilhelm,’ Jemima grumbled. ‘Ten-o’clock! I hope you’ve been behaving yourself.’
Wilhelm rolled his eyes. ‘I have her. Your mum. You didn’t tell me she was such a whizz on the computer.’
Jemima laughed, ‘You didn’t ask. Better the less you know the better.’
‘Oh, and another thing,’ Wilhelm said, ‘My name’s Wil-helm, sir. Not…’
August smiled. ‘You’ll always be Al to me. Remember how we met?’
‘What? You mean your wife? Or me?’
‘No, you as Al. Remember I came home from war? And there you were, in my house. Everyone else had gone. Including my wife.’
‘What happened to your first wife, Grandpapa?’ Jemima asked.
‘Don’t ask,’ Wilhelm murmured.
‘She vanished into a parallel universe. Like our socks do, dear.’
Will rubbed his pounding temples. The snow of interference descended on August’s and Jemima’s images. Their voices distorted and muted. Wilhelm hammered the “enter” key, but the screen continued to fade.
Screaming added to the hammering in his brain. Wilhelm cradled his head in both hands and begged it to stop.
A small voice behind his ear wailed, ‘I’m right here!’
‘Go away! Leave me alone!’ he cried. Then rummaged in the medicine cabinet for the bottle of Valium.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: Campfire © L.M. Kling 2010