June 25, Intergalactic Explorations XXXVII: now we do worry.

T set out to enjoy his fifteen minutes in the pool. No chance of either dog joining him; they had discovered total immersion at Will Turnstone’s back garden pond before they had really found their earthly feet. They had also discovered their ability to dissemble in outwitting the overweening builder’s dog who liked cold water even less than they did. There had not been anyone worth misleading in Ossyria.

Soon T was in that state between thought and vacancy that is the bliss of solitude, gazing up to the cloudless sky, then out across the shipping lanes and the vessels at anchor, awaiting their pilot and clearance to proceed to Tilbury or Sheerness docks.

A heavy thrumming overhead jolted him back to what passes for normal in Margate. A helicopter was flying due North towards the container ship out near the horizon. As he towelled himself he watched the machine hover over the ship, but too far off to see the rescue.

The evening news on television told of a Phillipino seaman with acute appendicitis being flown to a London hospital. ‘A heart-warming story,’ said T, ‘but what will happen to him when he’s better? Will he be stranded here in lockdown, away from his family for even longer, till he can get another berth going home?’

None of them could answer that poignant question. ‘Back in Ossyria, would we worry about such an underling?’ Ajax mused. ‘But now we do.’


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