Mr. Alina Accepts and Tells Lucian How He Feels Before Forcing his Head into the Dinner

"Let me show you something," said Mr. Alina.

He showed Lucian round to his house and moved his hand in a sweeping gesture to indicate the meal.

"Look at that. I made that meal for you. I was up early this morning. I was up half the night wondering about what sort of seasoning would make it just right, how much sugar you'd like in your rice pudding (not too much, I decided, because you're sweet enough already), how much Malibu you'd like your boar's head pickled in... it really mattered to me because I love you. There. I've said it now. I love you. And you couldn't even be bothered to turn up."

"Oh... my... days! That's freakin'... effed up!" said Lucian in disbelief. "Look, you're a bloke. And you're old. I'm not into you. And I don't eat that kind of crap. Oh my days! This is just so... effed up, man!"

"Oh, it is, is it?" asked Mr. Alina. He grabbed hold of Lucian's head and forced his face into the dinner.

"Eat... eat... you like? Yes? More, please?" He briefly relaxed his grip so Lucian's head came up and he could gasp for air. On the word "PLENTY" in what you're about to read he plunged Lucian's head back into the dinner, this time even more deeply. "Well, if you insist, Lucian - there's PLENTY more here!"

After a while he released Lucian who ran, coughing and choking, back to his house.

Mr. Alina thought for a bit and then decided he needed to go over to apologise. He knocked on Lucian's door. After a while Lucian opened it. He had a towel and was mopping down his head.

"Hi. Come in. Perhaps we can chat about this over a beer?" said Lucian. He welcomed Mr. Alina in and opened the fridge door.

"Have a look in there and choose your... POISON!"

On the word "POISON!" he forced Mr. Alina's head into the fridge which he'd just turned down to below freezing as he'd been expecting his visitor.

"Freeze... freeze... you like? Yes? More, please?" He briefly relaxed his grip so Mr. Alina's head came up and he could gasp for air. On the word "PLENTY" in what you're about to read he plunged Mr. Alina's head back into the fridge, this time even more deeply. "Well, if you insist, Mr. Alina - there's PLENTY more here!"

After a while he released Mr. Alina who ran, coughing and shivering, back to his house.

The next morning Lucian set off nice and early in his smart new suit ready to join the ranks of the employed again. The events of last night were out of his thoughts. He thoughts were almost entirely to do with his new job... punctuated by his daydreams. He realised he must try to stop muttering any of those thoughts aloud or people would think him crazy. He allowed himself one before reaching the 'bus stop. "Your fun is short-lived, however, as you hear a sound you'd never wanted to hear again as long as you lived - it's the sound of a man panting in between barking like a dog," said Lucian to himself under his breath. He stopped in his tracks as he realised that he had just sunk into a hole in the pavement and was now swimming about in drain water. That hole hadn't been there yesterday, he thought.

"Oh, it's a shame about that hole in the road," said a familiar voice from above him. Standing on the pavement next to the hole was Mr. Alina. "I really must get onto the council about it. Pity I didn't do it earlier, really. It might have saved that lovely smart suit of yours."

Later that day Mr. Alina was relaxing into one of his white cricket chairs by the white village table in his garden when all of a sudden the house was plunged into darkness. He went inside and discovered that absolutely nothing was working. He came out again to check on the garden lights. No, they were out, too, and yet all the surrounding buildings were fine as were the street lights. He heard somebody muttering, "Driving your rental slowly towards the farm house, an eerie sense of dread falls upon your shoulders..."

It was, of course, Lucian. Mr. Alina hid under the white country church chest but it was too late - he'd been spotted. He heard the crunch... crunch sound of Lucian on the gravel and then the sound stopped.

"Oh, it's a shame about the electricity being cut off like that," said Lucian loudly, apparently to thin air. "And how strange that it only affected that one house."

The next day Lucian was on his way back from work. There was an awful smell. Mr. Alina greeted him cheerily as he looked up briefly from clipping his hedges with some shears and then carried on with his work. Lucian noticed that Mr. Alina had a clothes peg over his nose. Lucian said, "Hi," back in a very cold and off-hand sort of way, without even looking at his foe.

"Oh, it's a shame about all that sewage, isn't it?" asked Mr. Alina.

Lucian stopped in his tracks. He'd already travelled a few steps beyond Mr. Alina and now came back to face him over the hedge. "What sewage?"

"Hasn't anyone told you? Dear, dear." He shook his head and carried on clipping the already-immaculate green hedge.

"Come on, don't muck about, mate - what sewage?"

Mr. Alina pointed sadly at Lucian's garden.

"There was a lorry on its way to the City Sewage Treatment Plant at Neasden today and it seems that one of their sat navs went horribly wrong and... well, somehow they thought that your garden was in fact the depot they were aiming for and, unfortunately, they have sprayed your garden with untreated sewage. The upside is that you'll get all that lovely phosphorus and nitrogen that gardens so love. I'm quite envious really. The downside is that your garden's going to stink for a bit. It's why I've put this over my nose." He indicated the clothes peg. "I recommend you get one. It's amazing what modern technology can produce these days, isn't it?"

The next morning Mr. Alina was awoken by the sound of someone's loud whistling. He looked out. It was his handsome neighbour walking slowly past and whistling as he went.

"Oh, it's a shame about that bypass," said Lucian loudly to no-one in particular whilst shaking his head.

Mr. Alina looked left, looked right, looked dead centre and saw nothing so he went back to sleep.

An hour or so later he heard a terrible sound from without and looked opened his curtains. A massive yellow mechanical digger was there. A man was speaking through a loudspeaker.

"Mr. Alina? You have one hour to come out. We have orders to destroy your house to make way for a bypass for the B195. This road must be completed to ease congestion in Sherrardspark Wood. Your co-operation is appreciated in advance."

Mr. Alina came out in his dressing gown and lay in front of the mechanical digger but it was all in vain as the whole planet boiled away into space later on that day.

Thank you and good night.

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The End

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