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KLM Flies From the Old Gum Tree

KLM Flies From the Old Gum Tree

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Published by Jude Ellery
Nigel Interlude #4 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One
Nigel Interlude #4 -- originally appearing in Man and Ball Issue One

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Published by: Jude Ellery on Oct 05, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Nigel felt a little green around thegills. The pressure in the first classcabin was uncomfortable, to say theleast. The stewardess had offeredhim a piece of chewing gum to helphim adjust to the sudden change inaltitude. She was certainly a prettyone, hair shining like corn in the sun,eyes as blue as the ocean, and a gor-geous smile.Amazingly, she had been charmed by his little history lesson on the ori-gins of chicle. It had been nice tocome across something that Manhadn’t completely overhauled, de-spite it being around for five millen-nia. Basically, chicle had becomechicklets. Chewing gum was simpleand the simple things were the best.An aeroplane, on the other hand, was
KLM Flies From The Old Gum Tree
Illustration:CHRISTOPHER LEE >
not a simple thing. Build a contrap-tion out of dense steel and iron, stuff it full of people, use an explosivechemical propellant to rocket it intothe heavens and then try to avoidlightning storms, mountainsides andinnocent migratory birds mindingtheir own business, before somehowtouching gently down to Earth again,on the other side of the planet. Itwas insanity to even consider such acontrivance!Yet, Man claimed air travel was safer than crossing the street. So, he had been daft enough to give it a try, justfor the experience. Safe? Right.Tell that to – where was it again? Hetapped a few keys. Ah yes, Locker- bie. Tell it to those folks or the poor sods in the World Trade Center. Of course, he wasn’t making the expe-rience any better by spending it re-searching air disasters.Thankfully, it was only a short flight,from Vienna to Amsterdam. Havingretraced his path back from the alter-nate Budapest, he’d decided to keepon with his reconnaissance of themodern world before he did any-thing rash about the state of theGame.The last War fascinated him. It hadcertainly reshuffled the deck in Eu-rope. Many of the old powers weregone or reduced to bit-part players inthe game of houses, and new nationshad sprouted up all over the place.He needed to get his bearings andHolland was the perfect place to dothat.They had managed the War, comingout relatively unscathed, despite being trapped between the Jerriesand his lads for the duration. TheDutch had always been like that.Here they were, tucked into a tinycorner of the continent with bulliesFrance, Germany and England onevery side. And let’s not forget theSea, which had been battering their defences for centuries, hoping toswallow them up. Yet, they had heldtheir own, thrived even.Until the Swiss took over in the earlytwentieth century, they had been theworld’s bankers. Amazing, whenyou think about it. A tiny countrysurrounded by giants who all owedit money, and they had somehowmanaged to keep their heads at-tached to their necks. You had to re-

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