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Subject: Heatwave in the City Chapter 21 This is a work of fiction. Everybody in it is entirely my own creation. Don’t even think of suing me for putting you in a story, because I haven’t. If you happen to be resident in one of the places mentioned, or to belong to any of the institutions mentioned, don’t even think about telling me I haven’t portrayed them accurately. Work of fiction. The name of the institution only occurs because it is common knowledge so I couldn’t get away with pretending it was otherwise. If I’ve borrowed your Church, school, police station, laundrette – I haven’t. I’ve merely used the name on the building because people walk past and see it every day. Work of fiction. None of the people in the story exist, so none of the things that happen in the story can have happened to them. The world, however, is the one exception to this – the world which has in it so many wonderful people that writing fiction of this sort becomes an obligation – for me; not for everybody. You’ll have found your own place in the scheme of things, and can be wonderful in your own way. This is a story of love. It isn’t a story of sex, though that might get mentioned. There is no pornography here. Some of it is cross-generational, but it isn’t about perverted love either. Some is what nowadays is termed “gay”, but the same applies. If you think you might be offended by that, the time to go and read something else is now. Still reading? Then enjoy, and remember, you don’t pay to read these stories, but it does cost Nifty money to bring them to you. Please consider donating to Nifty fty/donate.html Heatwave in the City by Jonah Chapter 21 Flying through the air isn’t something that comes naturally to humans. It has to be artificially imposed on them and, when it is, it will be met with either fascination or terror. It isn’t normal for a human to glance down and say to himself, “Oh Look, I’m 40,000ft from the ground,” and then resume reading his newspaper. If the above applies to the human species in general, just imagine how much more it applies to boys. Our boys had all flown before, but they were not about to be apathetic about it. Not one of them was ever apathetic about anything. It often seemed that Airbus Industries had spent a lot of time trying to immunise us against what was happening to us. “We will design seats for you to go to sleep in – watch the in-flight movie – eat a meal – anything but look out of the window, which we have made incredibly small just so that you won’t know what the aircraft is doing.” Well none of that works with young boys. To be fair the cabin crew realised this and, two hours into the flight, the boys were, in turn, invited to the flight deck. If they thought that would make them less exciteable, they had sadly miscalculated. It was seven o’clock on Saturday morning when we touched down at Heathrow. We were back in Harrow by half past eight. There was a note appended to the refrigerator. Fridge Empty! Breakfast at mine. Monica. There was no way of arguing with that. When had there ever been a way of arguing with that woman? Luggage deposited in the nearest bedroom (mine) and off we set for Pinner. Of course Monica wasn’t preparing breakfast. Monica had a fully trained and qualified chef living on the premises. That was a thought which sped our weary footsteps. I’m pretty sure another thought sped Jake, and Liam. Luke wasn’t dragging his heels either. The door was flung open before anybody got a chance to knock. Monica herself had to attempt to asphyxiate each of us in turn. At the back of the queue, I got to the living room to find Jake on the sofa, a bouncing baby boy on his lap, gurgling and screaming replies to everything his Godfather said. Everybody else had to gather round so it was impossible to get near. “Breakfast in ten,” said Joe, “if anybody’s interested.” Several people assured him that they were. Then they turned their attention back to Jacob. Joe shrugged and returned to his kitchen. Miriam stood next to me, smiling at the scene. “Don’t worry,” I told her. “They’ll maybe give him back eventually.” “It’s just good to see you all back,” she replied happily. Breakfast was a somewhat noisy affair, though the actual chomping was done in silence. Joe didn’t cook the sort of meals you talked through. As soon as the plates were empty the chatter resumed. As I left the table I found myself standing face to face with Joe. “What’ve trabzon escort you got planned for this morning?” he asked. I hadn’t really thought about it, reasoning that after seven hours of flight, the boys wouldn’t want to do much. “I was thinking Paddington, then Waterloo.” he continued. “Nobody’s seen many of those 800 units, plus there’s the Heathrow Express, because I bet you got a taxi. ” I nodded. “We did,” I said, “but I don’t know if the boys will be up to trainspotting.” “Who’s for a bit of trainspotting?” Joe asked loudly. There was an enthusiastic clamour that left Joe looking triumphant. “Joe Davis,” said Monica. “What do you think you are doing. They’ll be exhausted.” “Good, they’ll sleep tonight then,” replied Joe. “Besides, me and Jacob have got to go back with them anyway – to take the contents of their fridge back.” “They’ll be mouldy by now Joe,” I said. “Not those,” Joe replied. “We ate those a fortnight ago. These are their replacements that Monica got yesterday.” I looked at Monica “Monica…” I began accusingly. She was completely unabashed. “If you think I’d begrudge a few groceries so that my little boy can see his Godfather….” she replied. I shook my head. There was no arguing against that sort of reasoning. She would certainly have put more back into the fridge than she’d taken out of it, but I’d never prove it. “I’d better come with you then, since Jacob isn’t going trainspotting,” said Miriam. “Dinner will be at six,” said Monica, putting on her coat. “Wait a minute,” said Joe. “I cook the dinners around here.” “Not if you’re going trainspotting you don’t,” replied Monica. “You’ve obviously voted yourself a day off.” “Well I’m not going trainspotting,” said Jake, “so it looks like Monica and me are cooking dinner. It’ll be at six.” That was the signal for the whole extended tribe to put on shoes and coats and set off for Harrow. Jacob’s pram was laden down with plastic shopping bags, but he didn’t mind a bit. He was surrounded by happy people and only too glad to be a part of it all. In fact the walk to Rayners Lane took nearly twice as long as it should, because children will play. Actually, the younger children were openly scornful of this, but Joe and Jake didn’t mind. They played just the same. They kept making everybody laugh and , as soon as anybody laughed, Jacob immediately outdid them. We had no sooner let ourselves back into our flat than we were preremptorily ejected from it again. Jake would not hear of us helping to install the groceries in the fridge and the cupboards. “We’ve got all day to do that,” he told us. “Now vamoose!” We vamoosed. From Rayners Lane tube we got the Met to Kings Cross and St.Pancras, then a quick race around both stations and the old Circle line to Paddington. Brunel’s old terminus was nothing like I remembered it from my childhood trainspotting days. I was not old enough to have seen Swindon-built steam locomotives in here, but the various diesel-hydraulic classes that were exclusive to the Western Region were always fascinating. “Westerns”, “Warships”, and the handsome “Hymeks”, were to be seen alongside the “Blue Pullman” units ” (which were actually diesel-electric and not unique to Paddington either – the London-Midland had some at St.Pancras), and were the stuff of dreams for countless young boys, but they had all vanished into history. There were 25Kv overhead wires in Paddington – something that would have been unthinkable when I was a boy – and assorted electric multiple units were lined up ready for the off. The mainline ones weren’t very assorted. They were the slug-like, high speed 800 class IEP units. There had been controversy over the introduction of these and, never having ridden on one, I couldn’t pronounce for one side or the other – I only knew that they weren’t built at Swindon. The mighty works fathered by Brunel, and Sir Daniel Gooch produced nothing any more, it’s work having been outsourced to Japan. Our boys didn’t care. They raced around the back end of the station, always known as “the Lawn” at Paddington, and then found ways of getting to the sharp end to watch new trains coming in, and the others departing. We soon declared eating time and Joe recommended the Cornish Pasties from The Pasty Shop, on the main concourse of the station. We selected pasties, which had various fillings, including vegetarian options and were freshly made and delicious. The Upper tunalı escort Crust provided us with fresh orange juice. We then took the Circle line again to Embankment. It is possible to take a tube train to Waterloo, but our boys would not let us deprive them of their walk across the river. It isn’t so common to stable units on Hungerford Bridge as it used to be, so you can often see both ways on the river from there. True, the steelwork of the bridges (the Hungerford bridge itself and the two Millenium footbridges attached to it), gives you a somewhat obstructed view of the seat of government, and its famous clock tower, but it’s London. Kori and Liam were so excited that we wondered if we could ever get them off the bridge. Even the faceless concrete edifices of the South Bank Centre held memories for them of their last visit. That was the day before we met Joe and before Jacob was born. Peter, being Peter, couldn’t resist putting it into words and I couldn’t disagree with him. Nobody could have predicted how our lives changed since these wonderful people had become a part of them. London Waterloo is not a station for trainspotting. Nowhere is these days, but the sheer size of Waterloo makes it impossible. You’d have to keep walking backwards and forwards and even then trains would slide in where you’d just been and disappear again before you got back there. That’s the down side to spotting at Waterloo. I was accompanied by five boys (six if you count Joe) who never see a down side to anything. A lot of the time I simply stood still and reasoned that, if I stayed in the same place, they would find me again when they were ready. It worked to a certain extent. Every so often a boy would appear, clasp me round the midriff, lay his head against my chest and, after a quick hug, disappear to resume his spotting. Most of the time it was one of Jake’s or my boys that did that but, on one occasion, I noticed a fair-haired kid of about eight attach himself and seem disinclined to let go of me at all. He had obviously seen one of our boys do it and thought it a good idea. His mother eventually disengaged him saying, “I’m sorry. He does that.” I was astounded. This is London, and a stranger just spoke to me. I resolved not to tell anybody. It would never be believed anyway. Next time Peter appeared to do it I held onto him. Stay here,” I told him. He didn’t argue. Eventually Liam appeared and I did the same thing. I figured Joe would come back when he realised the boys weren’t around. Sure enough I only had to round up two more boys before Joe and Luke came looking for us. “How about a run out to Clapham?” I asked Joe as soon as he turned up. He appeared to think about this, but the answer was inevitable. I went to buy tickets. We found a train on platform 1 that was first stop Clapham Junction, so we boarded it. It deposited us on the middle platform of the busiest railway station in the world. Now Joe and my boys had been here before, but Kori, and Liam were flabbergasted. It was probably the thought of a world record residing outside of the United States. That, of course, was unfair. Kori and Liam had been brought up by Jake, and he would never have taught them to think like that. Indeed it had been his idea to come to England in the first place. In any case, the sort of American who thinks that way is the product of English jokes. I’d never met one in real life. Kori, Liam and Peter had taken to spotting from the footbridge, since it gave them a better chance of getting things that came into either side of the station. I needed to stop them doing that. The station staff couldn’t help but notice, and it would get us thrown off. I saw Peter apologise to a middle aged lady in whose way he had managed to get as she hurried to platform 14. If she missed her train as a result of that encounter she would certainly complain. “Off the bridge boys,” I told them. “It’s for passengers, not you. Choose your platform, then find a bit of it where the passengers aren’t.” Eventually we congregated at the London end of platform 8 and watched events unfold from there. It became a competition to see who would be the first to spot a train approaching from the London direction, which was academic because, by the time it arrived, another three trains would have passed. Sometimes there would even be a train in the platform that everybody was too busy to notice until it departed. tunceli escort After an hour or two of this we finally hopped on a train to Victoria. There were more trains in there, but we’d already seen many of them pass through Clapham. It was easy to catch a Victoria Line train to Kings Cross and a walk down the Euston Road brought us to Euston. I briefly reflected that Sammy would have been excited to see Euston Fire Station. Tickets were purchased from there to Harrow and Wealdstone, and the boys found us a unit and positioned themselves for watching the yard and depot at Willesden. Needless to say, the mood of excitement had not abated much by the time we got back to our flat. A certain amount of chaos was already underway. Monica and Miriam were firmly in charge of culinary work, whilst Jake had been firmly abolished to nursery duties. Since Jacob could now walk (admittedly with a certain amount of humorous falling over) he could get into all sorts of things, with no little encouragement from his Godfather. His mother had ordered him out of the kitchen for his own safety, but he kept “escaping” from Jake. Of course, order and calm was restored as soon as I arrived, accompanied by five excited boys and an excited adult. Yeah, right! I ascended to my bedroom, to escape the turmoil, and to change into more comfortable attire. The luggage had been distributed between rooms so it was more ordered than I had left it. I had no sooner undressed than, “Jonah is our stuff in….. oh sorry.” “It’s alright Liam. I think Jake has put your stuff in the boys’ room.” I should really fit a lock on that door. Dinner was a merry affair too. It seemed that I was going to have to get used to wall-to-wall hilarity, but it was not to last. Shepherd’s pie with carrots, mash and mint sauce was good. Bread and butter pudding with custard was good. Getting cornered by Monica in the stairwell afterwards was less good. “When were you going to tell me that you’re all off on your travels again next week?” I took a deep breath. Belatedly I remembered that I had not told Jake that Monica didn’t know about Norfolk. It had to come sooner or later, but I was not happy about having to do it this way. Oh well, attack is the best form of defence. “When I was sure you wouldn’t be sharpening the knives again,” I replied. “I’ll sharpen more than knives,” she replied. “Jonah you know how I feel about….” “About Jake living in America?” I said. “Well that IS where he lives and there’s nothing we can do about that. Now I’m not responsible for the trip to Norfolk next week either, but the thing has been arranged and I’m not prepared to have the boys’ holiday spoiled by having to account to you for everything that any of us does.” “I’m not asking you to do that Jonah,” she wailed. “Then what was your question?” “When were you going to….. Oh…… well Jake had better come home with me tonight so that his Godson gets to see him.” “Monica, that has to be Jake’s decision.” “He already made it.” That was a surprise. “Of his own free will, or under duress? … No…. don’t bother to answer. I won’t believe the answer anyway.” “Where’re you going in Norfolk.” “Weybourne, there’s a steam railway there.” She smiled. “Yes….. well….have a good week” she said. I was surprised to get off that easily. Perhaps Jake had smoothed the way a bit. I returned to the living room to find a Monopoly tournament in progress. Another lucky escape. Monica and I decided to do the dishes. We both agreed that challenging Liam at Monopoly was not for us. We both relaxed with a soothing cup of tea and spectated. At long last Monica said she was ready for home. That was the signal for Joe, Miriam, Jacob and Jake to get ready to accompany her. The lady had her private army. It wasn’t long before we were ready for bed either. The boys (sans Luke) were in their own room, with the airbeds on the floor for Kori and Liam. Luke and I had my bed to ourselves. How long do you suppose that lasted? TO BE CONTINUED If you’ve enjoyed this story, you’ll probably enjoy other stories in this series by the same author. This is the latest in a series that includes “A letter from America”, “Stranger on a train,” “Marooned”, “the Boston Tea Party”, “Immigrant,” and “A Cantabrian Operetta”, all the foregoing are on Nifty’s Adult/Youth site. “The Pen Pals” is on Young Friends. You might also like “A Neglected Boy”, by Jacob Lion, also on Adult/Youth. You can find links to all these stories, as well as some illustrations on Jacob Lion’s website bly/jonah-stories.html My thanks go to Jacob for providing this facility as well as for his kind and generous support without which I would never have written any of them.

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