Sunday 15th May 2011
A mode of transport described
EACH step along the way is a long way, as we are often told.
The path brought us to a stile, beyond which lay a greystone highway with a fierce yellow border. In a siding stood four metal cages.
An elderly female was opening the rear section of one of the cages. Two dogs emerged, to whose collars she quickly attached leashes – even animals here were lackeys, apparently. I wished to greet the woman, but Fuang hissed a warning and placed a finger to his lips, cautioning silence.
From a leggings pocket he took a small device and pointed it at the nearest cage. Amber lights flickered in response and Fuang opened a door in the side, hastening me to enter and be seated. Dials and gauges were arrayed along the front shelf. On a longer seat behind mine were a jacket of the same colour as his leggings, a black box, many bound papers and countless discarded wrappings.
He inserted the device into an aperture below the wheel in front of him. The roar of a male voice filled the cage. Fuang scowled, pressing a button on the shelf, at which the din abruptly ceased. Had we been issued an order or warning? Was that the voice of one of the giants?
Fuang grasped the helm, moved a floor lever, and looked over his shoulder, probably to check that the female guard would not prevent our escape. Suddenly, the cage began to move. To my astonishment, it moved not upwards or forwards, but backwards.
I have since been conveyed in many such vehicles, but progress is often hindered by congested highways and occupants can become irritable, resulting in the cage rage associated with noble beasts similarly deprived of freedom. Cages also occasionally accidentally damage or destroy those who accidentally get in their way.
It would be sensible, therefore, if the giants were to reinstate a regulation favoured at the time of the earliest powered cages, for, surely, these transports should again be preceded by a pedestrian bearing a red flag as a signal of potential peril.