Rings and Fings - Episode 5B

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Rachael watched from her doorway as Len stopped his tractor so the broken Volvo it was pulling was adjacent to a workshop built in stone on the side of the barn. It had an arched brick roof and solid wooden doors. Once it had been used for shoeing horses and fixing farm equipment.

Her dad had refurbished the space but still used some of the original tools that the old farmers had kept in excellent condition. She loved being in there when he was working, all the sparks and banging. He often invited her in, standing there sweating and smiling, lifting up dark goggles to reveal glowing blue eyes. He would tie her hair back with string and place over sized goggles on her. Holding heavy tools she would bang away at things, her face glowing with the multi colored sparks he would produce. Whatever he was building, or fixing, she would never know.


Len unhooked the car and gathered up his rope, pulling and twisting skillfully. He had a quick chat and laugh with the tall traveler who had just climbed out of the Volvo.

She regarded the strange man all dressed in ancient black layers. “How can he wear those clothes in this heat?”

It was a glorious day, a breeze straight from the glistening blue sea rolled its way up the valley cooling her face.

How she could wear these clothes, she thought. She felt the awkward bandage strapped around her head. It was about time for a bath and fresh gear.

Len pulled himself back onto his green tractor; he turned the key and it chugged into life. The iron horse was ready for another day of labour; another day from the scrapheap. Keep on working. Len performed a tight three-point turn, and then with a wave he headed back down the lane to the road.

“Thank you Len,” Rachael managed to shout as he trundled away.

“Arr,” he replied without turning around.

It was really all she ever heard him say. It must have been his favourite word. But then again maybe that’s just how he spoke to townies.

Rachael was quite sure that in the pub with the other farmers, there were more elaborate conversations about birthing, motors, yields and fields, and other farm stuff.

Or maybe they did just sit around sipping ale and saying “arr” to each other.


“Okay,” she thought. “Okay,” she said as she started towards her car and the traveler.

He was walking around the car staring at it earnestly and scratching his chin.

“Why did you get my car?” she asked.

He stood up straight as though he was shocked that she was there. He smiled and bowed his right arm across his chest the other pulling off that tri -cornered hat.

“What is it with this man and bowing?” she wondered.

“Good morning Madam,” he said smiling and straightening up to his full height. He elaborately replaced the old hat on his head, “Did you enjoy your break of fast?”

“My what?” Oh, breakfast, yes very nice, amazing actually,” she replied.

“So it was definitely him then,” she thought,

“How did you do that? I mean I know I was asleep, but the time to…do that?”

“Simplicity itself,” he said looking at various points in the valley. “You are surrounded by farms, all in all they provide everything that you could possibly ever need, and I thought after your accident and the events of last night that you could do with a hearty meal.”

“Hearty is an understatement,” she thought.

“Look,” she said shaking her head as though she as trying to loose cobwebs, “I appreciate it but. . .”

Legion

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You missed a spectacular storm last night,” he looked up into the blue sky as if to indicate where storms took place.

“A storm?”

“Last night when I placed you in our room, a great storm occurred, the one I told you was coming.” He waited for a response from the incredulous girl.

“Look, I think I appreciate you putting me in my room, and after I nearly shot you of course, but I…”

“The cat was most concerned about you.”

“What?”

“The Feral who guards you.”

“Guards me?”

“Yes,” said the traveler slowly as if he was explaining that the sun comes out during the day.

Rachael, looking slightly stunned said, “Well, okay, thank you, but I am not too keen on strangers putting me to bed.”

“I left you your weapon,” he added excitedly, “and the cat.”

She shook her head, “Why did you get my car?” she repeated.

“The aarrs were unable to.”

“The what?”

“The aarrs, they came into the field,” He gestured to an unseen field back down the road, “But they could not grab it with their machine”

Rachael shook her head, glaring at him, “Do you mean the A.A.?”

“Yes them.” He gestured back in the same direction again as if to give confirmation to the confused girl.

“Well, I am insured, you have probably messed up some kind of insurance thing for me, getting my own car and that.”

Now it was the traveler’s turn to look confused.

“They seemed quite grateful, ‘cheers mate’ they said, then Len came along inquiring as to the accident, so I said to him the aarrs cannot retrieve it, so he said, ‘aarr, I’ll get it out.’ So I said, excellent, and so hey presto, jiggery pokery, abracadabra, and ta da! Here it is.”

“Thanks, I think, but…”

“Did you receive the rent?”

Rachael was incredulous again. “The what?”

“The rent. I put it at the north end of the table, as is tradition, great table by the way.” Rachael nodded just to join in.

“Cross sticks, what the hell does that mean?” she silently mused.

“It is the symbol of the renter, so that you would know.”

He replied as though he could hear her thoughts.

“Well, okay, whatever, I’m not sure I want a renter, I mean, I really appreciate the food and all.”

It was quite easily the nicest thing that anyone had done for her for years, but who was this man?

She rubbed her bandaged head again, “Stupid bandage.”

“Aren’t you a traveler? Shouldn’t you be, well traveling? Throwing your rings around in town squares and fairs, and such?”

He looked beyond the farmhouse, deep along the valley. “I have business in this valley, anyway.” He turned to her, “I can fix your cart.’

“My cart?”

“Yes,” he said pointing to the wrecked Volvo. “Does it not need fixing?”

Before Rachael could answer the tall man pulled at the passenger door’s handle.

Rachael looked wide-eyed as the door detached itself from the car.

The man in black jumped back as the door rocked in front of him on the rough gravel.

He regarded the errant door, and scratched his chin again, “I should probably get started,” he said earnestly.

Rachael tried to speak, but no words came out.

She turned about and marched back to the farmhouse.

Once again she rubbed her bandaged head, “Grrr, I want this thing off!”

“If I am not in a coma, then I am having a very weird week so far.”

The sun and the breeze regarded the Earthshine as the girl entered the farmhouse.

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