Time- By tiffinata.

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Time- By tiffinata.

Postby tiffinata » 25 Jan 2015, 09:48

Sometimes things are not what they seem.

It was a bright cold day, and the clock was striking thirteen.

Ginger opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling, wondering for a moment what had woken him. He shivered slightly at the cold and snuggled further under his warm blankets.

The spot of mould from a leak in the roof of his bedroom at Rawlham attracted his attention. Surely it was a different shape from yesterday? Yes, definitely. It had resembled a cat then. Today it was more like a spitfire. The propeller on the shape began to twist and turn. Ginger blinked. It must be a trick of the light, he thought. The shape began to shift and it flowed towards him, like a swarm of wasps. He began to slap at the shape as it engulfed him. A buzzing sound became louder and louder and he felt himself dragged upwards into darkness.

***

It was hot when Ginger woke. He gave a little moan. His head throbbed unmercifully and his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth.

“Here, get that indaya, mate,” said a drawling voice. Something cold was thrust into his hand and he drank deeply, coughing at the bitter taste of the amber brew. It miraculously cleared his head.

“Thanks,” Ginger raised himself into a sitting position and stared at the man who stood before him.

The slim young man looked back at him with hazel eyes that held a quantity of humour. A half-smoked cigarette hung from his lips. On his head, he wore an Akubra that had seen better days. His Sam Browne belt held a brace of rabbits on one side of the waist and a few steel traps from the other. A rifle hung negligently across his back. Well-worn boots enclosed his small feet. At his feet sat a Blue Heeler.

“Biggles!” Ginger gasped. “What are you doing got up like that? Is it dress up night in the mess and no one told me?”

The dog growled. A hand, almost feminine despite the hard- earned calluses, removed the cigarette. “Must be mad as a cut snake, eh Nipper?” the young man looked at the dog and shook his head. “D’you expect me to gallivant around in me best bag of fruit? It’s not even Sunday. And me with me livin’ to earn.”

“Oh, sorry,” Ginger apologised dazedly. “Who are you? You look like someone I know.”

“Jim the Rabbitoh, complete with the tools of me trade. This ‘ere is me mate Nipper. And who might you be?”

“My name is Ginger,” he looked around. A few twisted trees, their cream and grey bark peeling in twisted ribbons, provided minimal shade. The golden grass shimmered in the almost unbearable heat. There was not an aircraft hangar in sight. “Where am I?” Ginger asked weakly. It was definitely not Rawlham.

“Geeze, you must've been pretty far gone on the turps if you can’t remember that. You’re between five and nine miles from Gundagai.”

“Where’s that?”

“Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia. On the banks of the ‘Bidgee. ‘Bout half way between Sydney and Melbourne.”

“Australia!” Ginger uttered an exclamation of disbelief. “What am I doing here and how did I get here?”

“You’re a pretty long way from home, mate. I should think you’d remember ‘ow you got ‘ere."

“The last thing I remember is waking up in my room at Rawlham RAF station in Kent, England.”

Jim looked at him sharply for a long moment, wondering whether he was dealing with a drunk or a lunatic. Finally, he shook his head. “P’raps we should get you into town, mate and to see the Doc.,” he said, concluding that Ginger was neither and had probably spent too long in the sun. “Mad dogs and Englishmen,” he muttered to himself.

***

A short while later Ginger sat in the relative comfort of The Royal Hotel, reading an article about Hitler’s famous speech. “Yair, I reckon that ‘Itler wants to take over the world,” one of the men propping up the bar slurred. “Mark my words, we'll be at war soon enough.”

Ginger looked at the old fellow in some puzzlement. “But we have been at war for the past four years, sir.”

“Nah, all we’ve ‘ad is drought and depression for the past four years. Gettin’ so only people like Jim the Rabbitoh eat well. A war ‘ud be a bonza thing. There’d be plenty of jobs in the armed forces and a good feed.”

Ginger looked down at his paper. The year was 1935. He closed his eyes for a moment. What on earth was happening?

The clock above the bar was striking thirteen. The voices surrounding him sounded further and further away. The room rocked slightly, as if hit by a gust of wind.


***

Ginger opened his eyes and found himself in a Chinese village, surrounded by hundreds of chattering people. “Where am I now?” he wondered. Childish hands grabbed at his and he was dragged to the centre of the village.

“They are saying ‘come, sit down and eat with us’,” a masculine voice said in a well-modulated British accent.

“Where am I?” Ginger asked. “Hoisin,” the man replied and came into view. He was a good half a head taller than the villagers, and was as thin as they were. His hair was blonde and a wispy hay coloured moustache adorned the top lip of his rather effeminate face. He wore the simple robes of his calling. The most incongruous thing about him was a small rimless monocle.

Ginger blinked. “Who are you? You remind me of someone I know,” he asked slowly.

“Father Ethelbert, progeny of a noble household and product of Eton at your service.” He bowed slightly.

A pretty girl ran up to Father Ethelbert and spoke to him. “She asked me, ‘What is your name’.”

“Ginger.” The girl laughed when it was translated to her. She ran back to her friends, calling out his name and blowing kisses.

Ginger was mortified. The blonde man removed his monocle and polished it vigorously. “Don’t worry laddie,” he said quietly. “Your name has many meanings in their culture. It can mean ‘Strong, vital, energetic’. The plant itself has many medicinal and culinary qualities. Ginger root is given to a newlywed couple as they leave for their honeymoon,” Father Ethelbert gave him what might have passed for a lecherous wink.

A tall girl took Ginger’s unresisting hand and pulled him over to where she and the pretty girl sat. They piled his bowl high with rice and something savoury smelling from a cooking pot. They sat on either side of him and began to eat. Ginger took a bite of his own food.
It was delicious. Sweet, salty and tangy all at the same time, with a hint of warmth from ginger and garlic. He began to eat rapidly, realising how hungry he was. He glanced down and saw what looked like a bird’s claw and the tasty food in his mouth turned to ashes. He sat and stared at it.

“The girls want to know why you have stopped eating.” Father Ethelbert inquired after a moment.

Ginger showed him the talon. “A delicacy, I’m afraid. One which I have never become accustomed to,” he said a few words and a girl removed the bowl and replaced it with a different meal. Ginger sniffed. It was fragrant with lemongrass and ginger. He began to eat, savouring each delicate mouthful.

Suddenly he stopped. He felt a hand resting on his thigh. He turned to look at the pretty girl next to him with some bemusement. She smiled in a seductive manner and unmistakably winked at him, gesturing him to put the bowl down. He did as asked. Her hand slid around his back and left him with little doubt of her intentions. Although rather surprised at her forwardness (they had barely been introduced), Ginger leaned towards her, closing his eyes in eager anticipation.

Somewhere in the distance, the clock was striking thirteen.


***

Ginger opened his eyes to find a large bloodhound was lovingly kissing him.

“Get up!” a familiar voice snapped. In front of him stood two men. Ginger stared at the stocky man. His longish untidy hair could have done with a cut. His clean-shaven face had a smattering of freckles. Ginger realised with something of a shock that there was no friendliness in the normally humorous eyes. Four stripes adorned the sleeve of his Royal Flying Corps khaki tunic. A heavily booted foot made contact with Ginger’s thigh and he gasped in pain.

“Sabotaging our aircraft, were you, you Hun swine?” Ginger sniffed and looked around. There was an open can of fuel soaking into the ground near a group of ancient biplanes.

“Algy! What on earth? It’s me, Ginger. Don’t you know me?”

“Stand up when you address Colonel Montgomery Lacey, Hun,” snapped his subordinate.

Ginger reluctantly stood up and looked at Colonel Lacey.

“Papers,” the Colonel snapped, holding out his hand. Ginger put his hand in his pocket and withdrew it. A sheaf of papers he never knew he had fell onto the ground. The second man swooped on the fallen papers and handed them to the colonel. “Forged, the lot of ‘em, I'll wager.”

“Thank you, Second Lieutenant Raymond.” Colonel Lacey glanced at the topmost one and stiffened.

“Ah- proof positive. That man is a spy. Take him away and shoot him,” he barked.

Ginger began to struggle as the Second Lieutenant bound his wrists together. “Algy, no! There’s some mistake. Algy! For God’s sake listen!” Ginger’s voice rose hysterically.

“My name,” said Colonel Lacey fixing Ginger with a frigid stare “is Colonel Montgomery Lacey. A name you would do well to remember.


***


Ginger stood with his back to the red brick wall of his prison. He had refused a final cigarette and a blindfold.

“Atten-shun! Ready. Aim…..”

Ginger closed his eyes, certain that his last moment had come.

Somewhere a clock was striking thirteen. There was a loud crack.

***

“Finally! Algy- now that damned clock has fallen off the wall would you put it in the hallway and arrange for it to be repaired or get rid of it? It's been striking thirteen all morning and driving me mad.

"My goodness Ginger's hot! We'll need Doc Lorton in here quickly, Henry.
Ginger's come down with malaria, poor chap."
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby SaintedAunt » 25 Jan 2015, 10:18

I find it curious that everybody so far has chosen to set their challenge fic in WWII - well sort of. I am about to post the first of three very short pieces.

This is very imaginative, tiff :yay:
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 25 Jan 2015, 10:35

Very good, tiff :D oh my goodness, I was giggling with the portrayal of Jim the Rabbitoh. That was hysterical - especially as poor Ginger would have been fairly clueless as to what he was saying. :imao:
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby Fairblue » 25 Jan 2015, 11:52

This is excellent, Tiff. And hilarious. I love all your reincarnation of the boys! :lol:
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby Fairblue » 25 Jan 2015, 11:53

SaintedAunt wrote:I find it curious that everybody so far has chosen to set their challenge fic in WWII - well sort of.


Must be some sort of osmosis, SA. :)
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby Frederique » 25 Jan 2015, 12:08

Brilliant, tiff :claphappy: - especially this:
tiffinata wrote:“Algy! What on earth? It’s me, Ginger. Don’t you know me?”

“Stand up when you address Colonel Montgomery Lacey, Hun,” snapped his subordinate.
:roflhappy:
"Where the dickens did you spring from?" he inquired.
"Oh, I was just hanging around, you know, in case I was wanted," returned Algy lightly.

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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby kylie_koyote » 25 Jan 2015, 13:11

Lol!! I loved all of it but especially the Chinese girl. Hahaha.
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby Kismet » 25 Jan 2015, 18:47

I liked this, thanks, Tiff. You've got the shifting nature of dreams down beautifully. I especially liked Colonel Lacey and Second Lieutenant Raymond.
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby tiffinata » 26 Jan 2015, 00:20

Sitting by this monument on the way back from Canberra inspired the first bit.
Been cooking with ginger and garlic all week for the second bit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_on_the_Tuckerbox
http://thedogonthetuckerbox.com/poemsfolk_songs
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 26 Jan 2015, 01:41

Fairblue wrote:This is excellent, Tiff. And hilarious. I love all your reincarnation of the boys! :lol:


Marvellous Tiff! [wish I had your imagination, lol]...still wiping tears of laughter from my eyes: "“Father Ethelbert, progeny of a noble household and product of Eton at your service.” He bowed slightly.' hahahaha! :lol:
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby Spitfire666 » 26 Jan 2015, 09:14

Loved this tiff, and enjoyed all the incarnations, but especially Jim the Rabbitoh. :lol:
If there's one thing certain in this uncertain world it is that Algy won't go home without us.

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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby OzBiggles1963 » 26 Jan 2015, 10:10

Spitfire666 wrote:Loved this tiff, and enjoyed all the incarnations, but especially Jim the Rabbitoh. :lol:


Don't forget Jim's 'workman-like' hands: "...almost feminine despite the hard- earned calluses..." ;)
They've been working together for so long that each seems to know by a sort of telepathy when another is in trouble. One never seems to get them together. Get one & the others come after him. To give the devil his due they make a formidable team.
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Re: Time- By tiffinata.

Postby tiffinata » 26 Jan 2015, 21:34

Thank you all.
Glad everyone had a laugh.
'....you cannot flout Nature with impunity. Treat Nature with respect, and she will tolerate you, even encourage you; but treat her with contempt, and your days are numbered.' Hits the Trail
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