There's two tents pitched on the pavement
just up the road from us. They're those little red and white
ones that telephone companies put up to protect the engineers from
the elements when they're carrying out repair work. Nothing unusual
about that you might say. They're always carrying out repair work.
Normally I'd agree except that these ones have been there for
months just about blocking the footpath.
Cause for concern. It's not that
that's worrying though. The thing is that lots of men go into the
tents but no one ever seems to come out! It's possible that I am
just not around when they come out. Nonetheless, it seems fair to
say that anyone who passes the end of our road as much as I do
should see somebody come out of the tents sometimes. Pretty spooky
When we first realised that they had been around for an
unusually long time, I thought that maybe some poor chap had been
unhappy at home and had been forced to take up residence. Perhaps
one tent was a bedroom with an 'en suite' hole in the ground for toilet
facilities. The other being a kitchen for a fry-up and and a place to make a cup
of tea. We discounted this because we never heard any noise from
the inside such as a T.V, a radio or the fizz of beer cans
The mystery vans. There are usually
two large telephone company vans parked at the scene during the
day. There is a sad lack of activity going on in, or around, them.
You might be of the opinion that this is also what one might
expect. However, it does seem like the 'Marie Celeste' of the
telephone work site most of the time.
Stupid thoughts. Could it be that
these are not work tents at all but the entrance to a vast secret
underground tunnel system run by extremists dedicated to the
overthrow of the Borough Council. Probably not. They'd use a double-stacked Portacabin.
Maybe it's the entrance to the to the underworld. The next time
I'm walking by and perhaps hear scratchy scraping noises from
inside I'm going to poke my head in and ask if he's the gatekeeper.
Maybe the occupant would say 'ZOOOL' in a
deep throaty voice with smoke coming out of his ears. Maybe I watch
too much television.
Getting real again. We made the usual
assumption people make about strange goings on around holes in the
ground. It could be a government nuclear attack shelter. I
resolved that, should any warning of such an attack come to our
ears, I would run up the road with the wheelchair, tip my wife
through the entrance and jump in after her before they had a chance
to slam the door shut. This would ensure our continued existence at
the cheap price of only a few broken bones.
In the end we decided that the mysterious tents were not a
shelter for two reasons:-
Out of all the people that have ever thought this about strange
structures only a very few have ever been right. Since we're not
the lucky guess types (as proved by the
lottery) we probably would number amongst the countless
millions that were wrong.
There isn't anyone of the ilk of Tony Blair, John Prescot or
Mungo Jerry living on our estate. For them to come from London
they'd have to travel like the proverbial bat out of hell down the
M.3 to get to the end of our road in time.
The suspected truth. We thought the
most likely explanation of this mystery lies with the coming of
cable telephone and television to our area. Since the system has
become operational, a number of customers have deserted the old
telephone company. This must inevitably lead to redundancies and
of course, redundancy pay-outs. That's where these tents come in.
The company 'heavies' are driving lorry loads of unsuspecting
engineers to what they think is just another job and then sending
them, one by one, into the tents on the pretext of passing the man
before a spanner. Once in there they are never seen again. The
truth is that these tents are for getting rid of engineers in ways
that I hardly like to think about and all it costs the phone
company is one spanner per man. A big saving by any way of
thinking. All they have to say to the relatives is that he was all
right the last time they saw him.
This theory was reinforced the other day when I drove by and saw
an arm sticking out of the tent flap in a beseeching, imploring
sort of manner and then it slowly disappeared. If your thinking of
switching phone companies I'd think twice if I were you otherwise,
like me, you'll have to live with blood on your conscience.