The Magic Roundabout

(500 words)

Lambda could see the lights of the supermarket through the shrubbery and across the canal, but here on the pathway to the road it was sparsely lit and the adjoining children’s play area was dark and desolate. He looked around, then, with no one in sight, leapt over the six-foot fence and sat on the roundabout. He took a key ring out and played with the cold metals, toying with ideas. Finally, randomly flicking through them, ‘Fuck it,’ he thought. Holding one tight he began to kick the ground, the roundabout spinning in response. “Make the connection. Make the connection!”
Round and round. Round and round, then … he was in a colossal room with stone walls. The floor was earthen and there were gigantic wooden benches and tables. Huge logs blazed in an enormous fireplace, throwing out sparks like twinkling fireflies.
The floor began to vibrate, and something began to approach. Thud – thud – thud. A deep voice began to boom out. “Fee Fi Fo Fum.”
Lambda quickly flicked through the key ring to the glowing silver ‘home’ key. Gripping it tightly, he began the mantra, “Make the connection …”
Wham, he was back on the roundabout, which was now slowly coming to a halt. He breathed a sigh of relief. Why waste precious energy fighting an evil giant?
But at the back of his mind whirled thoughts of Jack and the Golden Goose. No, he must help elsewhere. Once more he selected a key, this time a tiny brass one. “Make the connection …”
He found himself on a vast concrete walkway, surrounded by skyscrapers. Around him were beings, they looked human, all walking the same way as him, but engrossed with small silver screens. Reflected in a ground-floor window he could see himself in a red leather jacket, the others, intent on their anonymous journeys, clad in sombre blacks and browns. Then the sky went dark. Lambda looked up to see an enormous black disc above, blotting out the sky. Surprisingly, no one around him seemed to take any notice!
With one giant leap for mankind, he flew to the top of a skyscraper. There, he could look directly into a lens at the bottom of the craft. Some kind of device was being readied. The kind of device that would vaporise the ‘zombies’ below, he surmised. He reached into his jacket for a small metal sphere, then into another pocket for a launcher. With practised precision, he launched the nuclear seed right into the centre of the lens.
Without waiting for the fallout, literally, he once again grasped the home key. “Make the connection …”
Back on the roundabout, he noticed an approaching couple and quickly turned on his invisibility shield, hearing them laughing and swearing as they passed. He looked over at the supermarket lights. Life could be exciting as a superhero but he needed to eat, after all. Deciding to leave the worlds to their problems he headed to the hot chicken counter.

Featured in the book, Letters from Reuben and Other Stories: 40 Little Tales of Mirth

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