Punk and Steam
By Wakefield Mahon
The pipe burst and Vincent cursed. Fifteen minutes to quitting time and he had to track down a leak and Vernon Joules did not believe in that new-fangled overtime for his steamworks employees.
Vincent resisted the urge to leave the problem for the night shift. Darcy was a dapper chap, but he didn’t know a bolt from a wrench.
A bit of ingenuity and a lot of elbow grease later, Vincent was done.
Exhausted, Vincent began to enter the nearest pub he could find, a new place called Dairyman’s Ghost, when he was nearly decapitated by some sort of flying contraption.
Vincent started at the sound of a young woman’s voice as the driver took off her goggles and helmet.
“A woman, riding about in such an odd contraption, what does your husband think of this?”
She stared at him as if her were mad. “I don’t have a husband, or a fiancé for that matter,” she paused as a grin grew across her face, “at least none that I know of.”
Vincent didn’t understand much of the wild woman, but he wild abandon intrigued him. He didn’t realize he was staring until she cleared her throat.
“At any rate, as I nearly ran you over, it’s appropriate I should compensate you. Let my buy you a cup of tea.”
“YOU want to buy ME…”
“Just recompense mind you. And my name is Susan”
Vincent shrugged. It was a new pub; perhaps no one would notice him there.
All hopes of anonymity were shattered when the waitress informed Susan, they only served chilled tea.
Susan jumped on top of the table and shouted, “Anarchy! That’s what the world has come to when a woman can’t get a hot cup of tea in London. The world’s gone mad!”
The waitress glared. “The only mad one I see is on my table.”
Vincent tried to help Susan down from the table, but she pulled him up. Stunned at first he looked around the room and all the eyes fixed on him. “My friend has a point. No hot tea, on such a winter’s day? I have to agree it’s rather peculiar.”
“Gunnar, we have a couple of trouble makers in here.”
“That would be our cue to leave” Again Susan grabbed Vincent’s hand and they dashed out of the pub and into her flying contraption. Susan laughed as two large men chased them down the street while they hovered just out of reach.
At last Susan delivered Vincent to the modest flat where lived.
“This was fun,” she said. “You should come meet my parents for tea on Sunday.”
Vincent smiled. “I would like that very much. Say, I’ve a question before you leave.”
“Did you build this contraption?”
“No I stole it from my Uncle Verne. He and my father run Joules Steamworks. Have you heard of it?”
Vincent saw his life flash before his eyes, then – looking at Susan once more – decided it had all been worth it.
Inspired by Punk Rock Girl copyright ©1988 The Dead Milkmen