It had been an inconvenience. Owing to the huge amount of looting going on during the week that the government banned all cigarettes – just for the week mind you – it was dangerous to venture outside from early dusk to late dawn. “Stay inside” was the government’s cry. It was both a command and a warning. Those seen venturing out after six in the evening would be shot.
The curfew had at least one good thing coming out of it; there were no traffic accidents between dusk and dawn. For the whole week there were no deaths on the roads. Those whose lives had been spared because of the curfew naturally had no idea that their lives had been spared. If there had been no curfew they would be dead.
Of course, being a writer gives one a bird’s-eye view. We know who was spared and who was not. I’m telling you now: Elwin Frisby was spared. He had sat at home in a bad mood. Here he was nineteen years old, and locked up at his parents’ home on a Saturday night. A Saturday night! What a difference it may have made to his mood if he had been able to be told that if it wasn’t for the curfew he would be in a body bag lying on a shelf in a morgue somewhere.
There are other things we writers glean from our bird’s-eye view. Elwin Frisby eventually married Anita and they had three children. One of them was Cornelius. Cornelius became the greatest tyrant in the history of the country. Thousands died at his hand. He was a raging megalomaniac.
How much better it would have been if years earlier there had been no curfew and his father had been killed off in a car accident. But who was to know?
Mrs Mallard Duck had found the perfect place for a nest. It was not too far from the stream where she could go to stretch her legs, and it was close enough (although a good way back) from the road to give some interest and variation to an otherwise monotonous twenty-eight days of sitting on the eggs to keep them warm.
Mr Mallard Duck wasn’t a great deal of help, although he did offer a bit of company occasionally when Mrs Duck went swimming and feeding in the stream. But goodness me! Twenty-eight days is four weeks, and four weeks can feel like four months (in fact four years) when there’s little else to do than count the cars and trucks that whizz by on the road.
But it was all worth it! After those exasperating four weeks all nine eggs hatched. And what pretty babies they were! Mrs Mallard Duck would soon take them to the stream for their first swim. But first, she must show off her brood by waddling them slap-bang down the middle of the road.
Miranda had a premonition that she was going to die in a road accident – and that very day. The only thing for it was not to go out in her car, but she had arranged to pick up the cat deworming pills from the vet’s that afternoon, and they were long overdue.
“Don’t be silly,” thought Miranda. “I can’t let these silly feelings dictate my life, otherwise nothing would ever get done. I shall go into town and pick up the cat’s pills, but be careful nonetheless.”
On the way back home from town, Miranda spotted a large concrete mixer truck approaching on the other side of the road. Miranda almost froze. This was it. It was part of her premonition. The concrete mixer truck would be the instrument of her death. She tried to slow down but instead she froze.
The concrete mixer truck came nearer. And nearer. It passed! Miranda was free! Saved! The premonition was a silly notion after all. “Thank goodness!” thought Miranda.
In her relief she missed the corner, ploughed into a bank, and was killed.
Jane and David had a small lifestyle farm next to a going-nowhere, country road. Chickens would not infrequently get run over while dust-bathing in the unkempt, pot-holed road. One day, their favourite little black hen was run over, leaving seven babies motherless.
Frustrated and angry, Jane and David placed a letter in every neighbour’s mailbox. Can’t you drive with more care? Can’t you slow down? We have chickens that use that road. Our favourite chicken was run over…
“Did you get the complaining letter in your mailbox?” asked Farmer Eric of Farmer Phil.
“Yeah,” said Farmer Phil. “It kind of killed my fun.”
Rachel decided to drive her mother to visit her mother’s widowed brother-in-law. It was a three hour drive. They hadn’t seen each other for several years.
Uncle Herbert had prepared lunch for his sister-in-law, Maureen, and his niece Rachel. They had a lovely time chatting away and catching up. Then it was time to drive home. Uncle Herbert said, “Goodness me, that’s not the quick way home. Turn off down the road at Harrisville and you’ll cut a good half hour off the journey. After turning, just follow the road.”
So Rachel and her mother turned off at Harrisville.
“I never realised where this shortcut was, but I’ve always heard people talk about it,” said Maureen.
On they drove. Four hours later Rachel declared “We seem at last to be getting somewhere”. And they were! One last turn in the road, and lo!
Lydia was returning from an early morning shopping spree. To get back home she had to drive across a railway line. How lovely the sunshine of the morning! How bright the promise of the day!
As she neared the railway line, the sun caught on the sign that warned of the approaching rail crossing.
“Wouldn’t it be funny,” thought Lydia, “if this was a warning. Sunshine on the railway crossing sign almost blinding, and perhaps heralding (like a prophecy from above) that I am to be hit by a passing train! Oh the inevitability of fate! The railway sign is highlighted for a reason! I must be extra careful as I cross!”
The reflected sunlight streamed straight into her eyes. WHAM-BANG! Lydia went into the back of the car in front of her.
Justin lived in the country. He had to go into town in his old truck to pick up some corn mash for his chickens. He got held up at the Farmers Co-op where he bought the chicken food, because he bumped into an old friend from way back and they got talking. So now Justin was running late. He was in a bit of a hurry to get home because he had to feed his three dogs.
He had just driven up a winding hill road and was about to descend when he saw it. There was a body lying on the road. It was a lonely bit of road; maybe one or two cars a day came by. Perhaps the body had been hit by a car or something. Anyway, Justin drove on. He didn’t have time to stop. He had to get home and feed his dogs.
He felt guilty. He should’ve stopped. What a waste. Several miles down the road, Justin came to a halt in his old truck and turned around. He couldn’t leave the body on the road, for goodness sake.
When he reached the place, the body was still lying there. Justin picked it up and threw it onto the back of his truck. Dead rabbit was always a treat for his dogs.
Cain and Elliott bought a house together on a little no-exit road. The road was lined with flowering cherries, and was called Flowering Cherry Lane. Cain and Elliott called their new home Blossom Cottage. In Spring the road was a picture.
There were only three houses on the road. It was practically deserted. About two cars a day, from the homes, used the road. The cherry trees growing along the verge of the road, apart from providing beauty, gave Blossom Cottage a great deal of privacy.
But – oh! my goodness! – how dangerous! Someone had written to the newspaper and complained. They had gone for a walk and happened upon Flowering Cherry Lane. There was no foot-path! No pavement! No sidewalk! How dangerous is that? They had to walk along the side of the road.
The serious issue was solved. The Town Council had the cherry trees chopped down. A digger uprooted the unsightly stumps. A footpath was created.
Thank goodness common sense and safety prevailed over… over…
…prevailed over… over…
Flowering Cherry Lane! Such a pretty name for such a dull, no-exit street.