Brief Encounter

George and I lead a simple life. We talk a lot, or rather, I do. George is quiet, some would say aloof, but I do love him.

One morning this summer I drew back the curtains in our bedroom and saw a large ball in the middle of the lawn. Sometimes we would find a toy cast over the fence by the children next door, but this was larger than anything we had encountered before. It was a dull silver, like those large balls people use in exercise classes. George and I were not sure we would be able to return it easily.

We had breakfast while we considered what to do, just a single slice of buttered toast and marmalade for me. I opened the back door and we ventured out to investigate.

It was still early morning and the grass was dew-damp under our feet. The ball had blocked our view of the bird table during breakfast and we both liked to watch the sparrows fussing about their business. We tried to roll it to one side, but it was surprisingly heavy, and we couldn’t move it.

I thought I heard a faint buzzing noise from deep inside and put my ear to the smooth, warm surface. I heard a series of clicks and took a step backwards. A section, about the size of a tea plate, swung outwards. A miniature staircase unfolded, one step at a time, until it reached the grass.

George had stood his ground. Two creatures, no larger than mice, walked down the steps. High-pitched, screeching voices hurt my ears and I had to cover them with both hands.

But I didn’t suffer for long. George dealt with them. For such an old car he is a surprisingly good mouser.

Published by Bruce Aiken

A maths and physics student who ran away to art college and has worked as a freelance creative ever since.

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