My daughter Sally-Anne married Billy-Joe, and for years they have lived at home with us. It’s time; my wife, Elly, agreed. Since Sally and Billy are expecting twins, they should have their own place. It would stop all the fighting and arguments about space and who owns the washing machine.
We bought one of them prefabricated homes and put it down by the creek, not too far as Elly wants to be near the grandchildren. But just far enough to keep us all apart; sweet and happy.
The trouble is, Sally won’t agree about who gets to look after Grandma.
This week’s picture, to me, is a reminder of the Burma -Death Railway built with forced labour by the Japanese Army during WW2. It is estimated that 90,000 labourers and 16000 allied prisoners of war died during it’s construction. The brutality of the period reverberates with us still, in books and in films. One film, The Railway Man, is an adaptation of the account of a British Army Officer, Eric Lomax, captured and tortured by the Japanese. Years after the war Lomax confronts his Japanese counterpart and they become friends. As they say; time heals. Perhaps, but only for some.
My story has nothing to do with that tragic period.
Their shift had ended 200 years ago, and the bearded miners packed the “Journey’s End” pub. The flaming fire warmed the room, but at midnight the atmosphere turned sullen.
John sipped his ale.
Outside, a train screeching to a halt stirred all the men to drink up and leave. John followed them into a fog of hissing steam that obscured a locomotive. The miners climbed into the carriages, and the engine pulled away in the dark above dilapidated tracks. John marvelled at this silver miners’ mystery.
He returned indoors to his bitter ale, and the crowded pub of bearded miners.
When I opened the photo prompt this week I saw the humour of having such a robust security device. Yet, I noted the craft in the metal work so my story recognises this skill. Having worked with metal I understand the satisfaction of creating aesthetic pleasing items, no matter how simple they look.
Below the story I have added a crafted bespoke gate, which we fitted for a customer.
My story contribution to Friday Fictioneers reflects how the apprentice system needs resetting in this technological age.
A Chance Opportunity
Elliot hated the written blacksmith test. The pen snapped in his hand and he slammed the desk. ‘I’m sorry, sir. It don’t make sense.’ he said and wiped his eyes.
Mr McKay looked over his newspaper. ‘Take your time, lad.’ He watched as Elliot clawed at his hair. He was the worst-case illiterate and innumerate of anyone in the rehabilitation class. Words and letters jumbled around in the boy’s mind. However, he expressed eagerness in his eyes and was a skilled metalworker.
“A last chance,” the judge had said. “Join honest society and make use of your pilfering hands, constructively.”