APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 8 August, 1999


And That, Kids, Is How...

Tom McGrenery

[Welcome to new member Tom McGrenery. Tom had trouble coming up with a title for this piece; "Biggleswade" didn't seem right to him. I renamed it "And That, Kids, Is How..." I don't know if that's much of an improvement, to be honest. -Ed.]

It was kind of strange to come back home after so long. The cycles change a town, even a small, isolated place like New Biggleswade. I'd already had to hitch from Oxford in an elderly Camel with its aircon on the blink and a cabin full of stuffed springer toys. The MILICIA had put in a whole new section of road between Hexton and Codicote - some new electronics engineering base or something. I could barely recognise the area. New houses, new roads, even a few new villages some ambitious estate agent had created on the spur of the moment. Unsettling.

The familiar features were welcome, as I'm sure you can imagine. Toland's Hill still had school kids loafing around on it at lunchtime, just like there always were. Those same posters in the window of the hairdresser's, all sepia tone and soft focus. The traffic island where we tied up Marc with a paper hat on his head as a special birthday surprise. I still have the photos of that day. Somewhere.

Anyway, after I'd sat down, had a cawfee and was feeling significantly better, I headed back up to Toland's Hill. The road through the park had been closed for some time, apparently, so I went across the riverside plaza where all those mums and toddlers go to feed the wildlife.

I was a little out of breath by the time I'd walked halfway up the hill. I must be getting old. Old or lazy. The plan was that I would walk up the hill to a bench at the top. If the man sitting on the bench was wearing a green shirt, there was a manila envelope full to capacity I had to pick up. If the green shirt was not present on the guy, I was to use my initiative.

Today, I had chosen to keep my initiative in a discreet shoulder holster with a spare 7-shot clip in my jacket. Just in case.

All for nothing, I was glad to see. As I hiked the last few steps to the summit, where the slope becomes steeper, I saw a man in a green shirt.

Later that night, I was waiting in the dry autumn air at a car park on the edge of town. I'd been there for rather longer than I wanted, but it had given me time to find a shady spot under a tree to sit in. Which was nice.

Anyway, just as I was about to call it a night and go back to my dingy but pleasantly cheap motel, something new arrived on the scene. A silver-blue Iguana came haring out from the town centre. So far, so good - all according to plan. What I hadn't counted on, however, was a woman in urban combats hanging on to the Iggy's head.

She looked fairly young as far as I could tell in the moonlight, and se had the old shaved pate and tattoo combo of the Blue Crescent. For someone into "benevolent communism", she was looking pretty mean, but that could well have been elated to the arterial nature of the blood leaking from her right thigh.

I guess the pilot was too busy trying to shake Little Miss Crescent to really pay attention to where he was going. That would explain why the gear tripped on that motorbike.

So anyway, the Iggy stopped rolling and finished up face down about ten metres away from me. Crescent Girl wasn't looking too hot but she was still conscious, which, all things considered, wasn't bad going.

I checked my piece was still in its holster and helped her up. Least I could do, seeing as she seemed to be doing all my hard work for me.

She was still reeling about a bit, so I was too busy holding her up to notice what was going on. More fool me, I know. By the time looked up, the Sand Cobra had landed and a whole bunch of mooks were pointing hand artillery at me.

And that, kids, is how I met your mother.

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APAGear II Archives Volume 1, Number 8 August, 1999