Sunday, 30 March 2014

Modern Fable

"The faulty ring pull on the can of cat food meant I had to open the tin with a regular tin opener. A process that the can clearly was not designed for. It was near the end of the laborious opening revolution that the can began to distort. There then followed a slow explosion that left me and my shirt front covered in tasty and meaty morsels, served in a highly pungent gravy that, as far as my blocked up nose could tell owed a lot of it’s existence to fish based products of an unknown type. Perhaps today was not to be my lucky day after all."

Upstairs in the bedroom and for the second of two consecutive days, one after another that is, a young and lost pigeon had been tapping at the window. When I say tapping I mean flying into the  window glass as if it was not there and flapping it's wings. Then doing it again and then retiring, tired out to somewhere up on the builder's scaffolding for a rest. Then it would return. From time to time one or other of the cats would sit on the windowsill and try to out stare the pigeon. It was a game that meant a lot to the cats, they practised intensely and seriously. The pigeon didn't quite get it and broke the staring match pretty regularly. The cats remained a full hunting tension all through these encounters. I liked to break them up by pulling on the cat's tails, gently but firmly. The spell of the pigeon and the dreams of a successful hunt were then broken in the cats, for the time being. I suspected that the pigeon had mistaken our house for the railway bridge along at Torryburn. Our overall orientations were the same as was our distance from the river, or so I thought. It was an explanation I could believe in.

It was about then or maybe during a fast drive up the M90 that I lapsed into daydream mode. A voice that might have been a pigeon voice told me a story about how in their early days the SNP and Labour Parties joined together to attract Korean money into Scotland. Big money. They decided that to attract industry and Korean satellite activity they'd build the biggest building in the civilised world behind some trees in Dunfermline. They did this quite successfully but at the expense of a few schools and hospitals and some cream teas and mini-buses for the aged. The huge building was duly opened by the Queen or Barack Obama's representative with pomp, circumstance and a detachment of bagpipers. The ceremony could be seen from space and ariel shots were sold to local businesses as a means to recoup some of the cash. Sadly the great factory plan failed when the Koreans realised that their current suite of products had been over taken by technology gleamed from some alien information and blueprints shown on the Discovery Channel one Sunday night. In the snap of a finger the industry had moved on and the triumph that was the Scottish building turned into an empty disaster and a great white elephant. The Scottish Government were puzzled by this chain of events but issued a statement to say that they were confident that a boom in white elephants was just around the corner. We were riding a crazy wave on the edge of emergent technology whilst all around us Korean restaurants and take-aways shut up shop and moved south to London or Manchester. The promised boom never arrived, head hung low and school leavers found other ways to pass the time. Ironically this involved them buying thousands of smart phones based on the new alien technology that had so scuppered the big Korean plan.

Five years later the day came when the now worthless plant had to be demolished. To avoid embarrassment a new blackout was declared and many more trees were planted. An innocuous and anonymous housing estate was also built around the edges as well as a Dobbies and golf range. The ordinary people hardly noticed the demolition works and slowly and piece by gravelly piece the concrete chunks that were designed to last a thousand years were crushed up a shipped to Spain to be made into Ford Fiestas. Nobody ever mentioned Korea ever again unless in the context of some silly joke about fast food or K-Pop. A number of locals did take the plunge and buy Korean cars. This was seen as a comforting indicator that the healing process was truly underway.

The strange thing was once they'd cleared the site and moved the rubble they discovered a deep subterranean lake that had been covered up by the huge building. The lake was so deep it was described as bottomless. In the lake there were blue fish. A kind of fish nobody had ever seen before and they were there in their thousands and they tasted good. Here was the opportunity we'd been waiting on. Out of the jaws of defeat and disaster a new and tasty blue fish industry emerged. It was quite a success and the numbers of accidental drownings, barbed wire impalements and food poisoning scares were never as high as were quoted in the official statistics prepared by the Sunday Mail. The locals just laughed it off and tucked into their sweet blue fish and got on with their enhanced leisure pursuits. It was just like the good old days. Looking back I'm sure that the aliens, having revolutionised the phone industry with their bright and uncalled for ideas and put us out of that business decided to compensate the lowly Scots by sending in the blue fish. A parting gift if you will. 

When I came around I was just level with Glenfarg.

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