2 years ago…
Crash Condemns Carmichael
Yesterday a serious road accident left Mr Stanley Carmichael facing a spell in court next fortnight.
The eighteen-year-old driver, recently passed his driving test, was rocketing the roads on his motorbike, pursuing a ‘dare’ from one of his friends, Morris Daniels. He was speeding down Grange Road when he took a corner too fast and smashed into the St Anne’s Park railings right in front of a large black Rolls Royce. The Rolls braked quickly but could not avoid a public bus, which swerved and rolled onto its side after crashing into the side of the Rolls Royce, fortunately with no injuries.
It was only a matter of time before three ambulances were called out from Westfield Hospital. Stanley Carmichael was thrown off his motorbike onto the pavement where he suffered only scratches and bruises, while Sir Harold David Harrington, Mayor of Harrington City, in the back of the Rolls Royce, was crushed between the seats and killed instantly. Lady Guinevere was also crushed, but not fatally, and suffered multiple internal injuries and grave spinal damage. Her current condition is critical, but an experienced surgeon is unconvinced that if she survives, she will be able to walk again. She may suffer from amnesia or some form of brain damage. The chauffeur, Connor McDonnell, was knocked unconscious by the airbag, but has now recovered.
Morris Daniels, following a few cars behind Carmichael, saw his friend’s accident and instantly turned the other way, says witness Mrs Boonville.
“He just saw the man take the corner way took fast, turned around and sped back down the one-way road without looking back. But he skidded at the end of the road, and his bike fell. By the time I’d jumped out my car and ran to him, his heart had already stopped. I think he had a heart attack. I’ll never see such a strange thing,” says Tracey Boonville.
It was confirmed later that Morris Daniels has had a heart problem from birth, and perhaps the weakness flared up at the realisation of his and his friend’s folly. No relations have yet stepped forward to claim the body.
Stanley Carmichael, unharmed, has been detained to appear in court next fortnight to account for speeding and causing a nasty car crash that answers for the deaths of Sir Harold and Lady Harrington, mayor and mayoress of the city.
“I hope that this will be the end of the stupidity of young folk,” says pedestrian witness Mr Harvey. “I suffered long ago when my kitchen window was broken, vandalised by some young hooligans, and now maybe the rest will take their warning. I want to here no more of these petty children taking advantage of older folk.”
There is some debate on whether Carmichael had had one glass too many at the time of the crash, but he will answer for his behaviour in court in two weeks’ time.
Mayorship: Sixty-Three-Year-Old Bachelor or Twenty-Five-Year-Old Mother?
After the recent deaths of Baronet Sir Harold David and Lady Guinevere Harrington there has been fierce debate on who will take up the role of the mayorship of the city. Darrell Harrington, their son, has automatically inherited the title of Baronet from his father, which has passed through several generations, and will henceforth be known as Sir Darrell David Harrington, Baronet. But the mayorship leaves more trouble.
Nomination and proposing was conducted in court on 24th February, and there were two candidates for the mayorship. One was Mr Maurice Greene, a sixty-three-year-old bachelor with a degree in Law and a lot of support from conservative and traditionalist parties. The second candidate was Sir Darrell’s wife Lady Violet Harrington, a young though learned and successful politician.
The candidates delivered powerful speeches on 27th and 31st July, and also on 5th August, the voting date.
“Harrington has always been a traditional city, which upgrades with the times but keeps its conservative outlook. I promise to maintain these high standards and raise support for our many charities and facilities,” appeals Greene.
“I believe this city has a lot of potential in many areas, and in many ways we have been falling below average expectation over previous years. With your votes I can uphold the honour and the justice of our city, and we can rise higher up the list of cities in the country. We have been a dormant population; now we will rise with glory and pride and look boldly into the future,” claims Harrington.
Vast applause greeted both of these speeches, played through speakers in every street in Central Harrington.
“I like the way this city is and I’m not changing anything for anyone,” says mother of five Katie Woodshaft. “I will vote for Greene.”
“I agree entirely with Lady Harrington,” says sixteen-year-old Melika Cooper. “This city has been sleeping, but now we will awaken. The young generation has been forgotten about in past years, but now we will come forward and be trained for when we shall run the city.”
Voting commenced that evening. During the time of waiting the two candidates revealed their fears.
“People say that I will not give the young people a chance, but it is the people of today we must worry about in the long run, and the people of today we will worry about,” Greene says. “There is no point in ignoring the people of today.”
“I know many say my methods are too enthusiastic,” Harrington confesses, “and yet what this city needs is enthusiasm. We have lost the joy and teamwork of life: we are just plodding along alone and dragging ourselves through treacle in the dark, so to speak.”
There are differing opinions on age also.
“I heard that Violet Harrington is just twenty-five years old, and has four children,” says grandmother of seven Elisa Collingdown. “That is far too young to manage a large city, and anyway, will she put the city or the family first? We need a committed manager, not a young woman with a large family.”
“I think sixty-three is far too old to be competing for such a position,” twenty-one-year-old Dawn Piccadilly says. “He will have to retire in a few years, and then our city must have another change in leadership.”
It is a fact that in the past there has only been one mayoress of the City of Harrington, the remarkable Enwina White, who covered for Sir Rupert Harrington in the Winter of 1731, and according to records defeated the hunger and famine of failed crops of that period.
The results of the voting were revealed on 8th August. Lady Violet Harrington had won by a narrow margin, and the daughter-in-law of the previous mayor became mayoress a few weeks after his death.
“I am delighted,” Harrington says. “This is exactly what I want to do with my life, besides my four children, and it is a perfect role for me. Today is also my elder son’s birthday, so this is one of the best days of my life. I promise to devote my every energy into the city I love.”
“I am sorry I am not mayor,” says Greene. “And yet I can’t help thinking it may be for the best that someone young and vivacious will run a rapidly growing city. If this position had been offered fifteen years ago I would have the first to take up the job.”
The mayorship has been handed over to Lady Harrington, the first mayoress in two hundred and seventy-six years, and there is no doubt that she will run well and wisely. Already she has arranged to install the latest equipment in schools during the October holiday, and entirely renovated care homes for the old and sick. So far nothing has suffered under Lady Harrington’s reign; many things have in fact gained more than they have in years.
So Daz did get his wish. He deceived his parents, and perhaps only he will ever know the satisfaction he felt in being rebellious, rather than the guilt we would hope to observe, and arrived at Harrington University a year and a half later.
Vi was one of his first acquaintances in the great free world of university, but gradually he came out of his shell and was soon a well-liked member of society, and not for his name and origin. Oh no! Daz, backward in friendship before he’d met anyone except Vi, had the task of undoing his parents’ snobbish attitudes by proving to his new cronies that their son was not completely conformed to their ideas. In fact, we may safely say that he felt shocked by the fact that his parents’ ways were so perceivable even to the juvenile public as utterly uninterested in politics as he was.
Encouraged by the blessings of friendship, and perhaps inspired by the thought of Vi Piccadilly, who was coming out of her own shell of shyness as he was, and enjoying life and society to the full as he was, but always sparing time to sit and talk with him occasionally, talk about those things people with mutual understanding talk about, Daz was no afraid when his parents finally tracked him down.
They visited early in the term (I’m sorry you must meet again with people whose deaths you were a few minutes ago dictated all the particulars of, which you must forgive me and my insuperior writing skills for). Lady Guinevere directly demanded a private room to talk with her son. But Daz refused, preferring to have it out with them on the steps to his boarding house, feeling oddly confident at the thought of his friends waiting for him by the fountain in the centre of the campus, and Vi watching them subtly from a bench a few hundred yards away.
And so he stood up to his parents, for about the first time in his life, and as the gradient of Lady Guinevere’s face changed slowly to plum purple, Daz seemed to grow taller, despite his general rather meagre impression of a man’s altitude.
Eventually Lady Guinevere clicked her fingers and stalked back to the Rolls Royce waiting a few metres away, so powerless in speech and hearing that she could not even find the words to scold the chauffeur for the fact that she must walk six steps to the car.
Sir David, generally a fat grumpy man with a large moustache, who said little and did still less, eyed his son up and down with his lazy eyes, which on this occasion were beams of calculation shining in rivers from the puffy round pillowcases he called his eyelids.
Eventually he nodded with something like approval. “Well done, son,” he said. “I thought you were getting too namby-pamby for a Harrington boy. As a reward, you may stay at University. But you will study politics when you have graduated.”
Daz lost all his confidence in the astonishment following. He spluttered his thanks. “How’re you going to tell mum?”
Sir David looked grim. “It’s none of her business. I’ve made my decision. Send all your bills to me, and I’ll settle them. One word of advice.”
“Alcohol has a bad influence on the brain. Just don’t drain our bank accounts and your thinking power on it.”
Daz nodded. “Thanks Dad.”
But Sir David had already waddled away and was driving off in the Rolls Royce without a backward glance. Only O’Donnell in the driver’s seat gave Daz a grin of congratulation.
And Vi, wonderful Vi, was waiting for him on the bench with a huge smile on her sweet face.
Daz married Vi, as we have seen, and they became baronet and mayoress, a team together, both at the age of just twenty-five. They have four children, and live in Little Banton, that moderately uninteresting division situated next to Grange Village, in Harrington House, a large modern place alive with youth and colour. Harrington Hall was turned into a state's building, but Daz does not go there unless he must, preferring not to be reminded of his oppressed childhood.
Their four children I will now describe to you, although firstly I will say that so far all four have inherited their parents' 'short' gene. It may be a little early to tell, but so far they are all short and slight.
The eldest is Mary Heather, named after her grandmother, who is Heather Mary. But Vi and Daz did not particularly take to the name Mary, so Heather she became, and Heather she will remain (no pun intended, even if 'became' and 'remain' had rhymed successfully). Heather is now five years old, with soft light brown hair and sapphire-blue Piccadilly eyes. Unfortunately she has not the virtues we associate with the eldest of many. Heather is a selfish girl, self-centred and demanding, convinced of her supremity in each and every area, and very dignified for such a young girl. Her sole friends are a young woman known to this world as Lindy-at-the-garden-centre, her grey kitten Princess, and Pippie Longstocking Kerin (her mother liked the books), her bosom best friend, and just as selfish as she. Perhaps we may sympathise with Heather. Being the eldest of four, all very close together, and having such busy parents, doubtless meant she was left to herself a lot, and now craves the attention she never got.
The second child is four and started at school just last month. David Torquil, named using a Harrington family name and a McLeod family name (Heather Mary was a McLeod, if you recall). Torquil, as he is known, has very dark hair, Vi having claimed at his birth that some of her black hair dye somehow found its way through the unbilical cord, and enormous green eyes courtesy of Daz. Unlike his sister, Torquil is quiet, shy and unassuming. Careful and meticulous, Torquil finds a great comfort in the stars of the universe, and likes to sit for hours on the balcony after dark.
The final pair are twins, Errol-Roy and Vivienne-Mae, born the June after the crash, so they are one year and four months old to this day, in fact. They both have dark brown hair, Errol with green eyes, Vivienne with sparkling blue. So far it is difficult to tell, but Errol finds joy in watching the football on TV, while Vivienne is animated and lively, loves the colour red, listens eagerly when her parents talk French or German, and sits with wide eyes when Vi occasionally gets the chance to practice her saxophone. Whether any of these observations will be of any significance in Vivienne's later life, or not, we won't know for a few more years. Well actually, I do know. I know the entire life story of every person I mention in this piece. But I am not going to tell you everything now. You must read on and find out for yourself, if you really want to know.