Friday, October 14, 2011

The Red Telephone Box, for Real Toads

Kerry, of the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, offered three photos of Britain's iconic red phone boxes to generate ideas for a writing challenge with no specific parameters. Try as I would, I couldn't get poetic about them, although I'm sure many people in Britain can, and will, as they continue to become a thing of the past.
Therefore, I offer this small bit of fiction, with a bow to the people of Scotland for giving a town this distinctive name, which fairly leapt out at me from the Google map, as I was thinking of Kerry and today's challenge. Anyone else mentioned in this story is a figment of my very own imaginary garden.

The Red Telephone Box
When Scotland Yard appointed the local bobby in a remote Highland farming town to be their man on the spot in Skarfskerry, he agreed, but said the cellular phone they issued him wouldn't work, as it was too far from a BT tower.
Because he rented a room from the MacKenzie sisters, and had no phone of his own, he was told to use the telephone box at the end of Skarfs Lane, the one in front of Messy Jack's rundown cottage.
Photos supplied as prompts by
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
Soon an uproar was heard, and an uprising was being planned, because the phone box (the only operable one in town after BT began getting rid of them) suddenly sported a printed sign reading "Coins not accepted here" on its door.
None of the villagers would use a credit card in a phone box. In an interview with the Skarfskerry Weekly Telegram, Mrs. Angus MacLeach said, "I've always used coins and I'm tae auld tae change now."
"Besides," the bobby reported, "when I use it, everyone gathers 'round to listen to everything I say. They're out there listening now, even as we speak, to coin a phrase, as it were."
"We'll get you your own phone box, then," his supervisor told him. "We'll let you know, as soon as we know, where our men have installed it."
In their infinite wisdom, Scotland Yard's Telephone Installation Branch decided to locate the special red box on the back side of a hill, where none of the villagers would overhear top secret (in the supervisor's opinion) phone calls. It wasn't at all convenient for the local bobby, of course, but his motorbike was equipped with special tyres. He could ride to within fifty yards of the box, whose phone would work only if he called a particular number in London.
One evening, toward dusk (which comes early that far north in the autumn) the bobby's trusty motor bike hit a rock and threw him to the ground, seventy-five yards away, where his left leg broke in at least one place, mayhap twa, he later told the doctor.
"And that rock," he told his supervisor, "was not there the previous day, I swear."
Ignoring his supervisor's London-bred opinion that nine-tenths of Scotland consisted of rocks, he announced he no longer wanted to work for Scotland Yard. "It is dangerous to a man's health. I couldna get frae ma bike tae the phone box, ye ken, and I may have frozen if a nice young lady hiker hadna come ower yon hill."
"Do you mean to say," demanded his supervisor, scandalized, "you gave my private Scotland Yard number to a strange young woman?"
"Och, I wouldna do that," exclaimed the bobby, "but even your telephone installers couldna disable a red telephone box's ability to call 999."

© Kay L. Davies, October, 2011

To see how others responded to the photos of Britain's telephone boxes, please check out Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.


WebbieLady said...

Poor ol Bobby! Cool story... I think he hit the newly installed red telebox, or not?

And 999 is the emrgency number????

Fran said...

Great story - poor bobby. We still have three red telephone boxes in our village, all in working order. Yes WebbieLady, 999 is the emergency no in the UK xxx

Kerry O'Connor said...

Oh this gave me a laugh this morning, Kay. Who would have thought there's a Skarfskerry in Scotland? It's now on my places to visit before I die list, along with with Ring of Kerry in County Kerry, Ireland.

Vernz said...

woooahhh, so cool... I didn't know too 999 is the emergency # in Scot land.. I kept laughing at the British accent words..

I couldna help but laugh.. hahah..

Yes, been dang busy lately Kay.. thanks for the visit :)

SquirrelQueen said...

Good one Kay, thanks for the laughs. While I love all the newest technology it is sad to see the telephone boxes and booths disappear. There is one of the old wooden phone booths in our local post office, it is still in use.

Jo said...

Omw, Kay, that's brilliant! Thanks for a laugh this morning. Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend. Please pat Lindy for me. Shadow and the Kenyan Cats (sounds like a name for a band, lol!) say thanks for all the headrubs mum gives them from Aunty Kay. xxx Hugs Jo

kaykuala said...

It's amazing, Kay! A simple idea can move the whole community.
To encourage reading, I once got everyone in the office to bring 3 books and we started a makeshift library. When I left, the mini 'library' was running smoothly and had to designate an assistant to take charge. Even family members and outsiders started bringing books to donate. Lunch hours were cut short just for browsing! I don't know if is still running now with the internet offering an alternative.


Ebie said...

Cool story Kay! Your imagination goes beyond....

I had a "prepaid cellphone" now I have the android (since March), but it is still surprising that I did not have cell service in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes.

BTW, there was a real hot springs, Keough Hot Springs, halfway between Bishop and Mammoth, and sure you can dip your toes there.

Marian said...

couldna stifle my giggling reading this wonderful story! thank you.