Minding, p.2
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       Minding, p.2

           Anushka Haakonson
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prepared for the worst. It did not come from Struan. There was a barrage of screams from inside the club. Bert saw Struan’s eyes grow huge in disbelief seconds before he got a whiff of the trouble. Closing his eyes in frustration, Bert turned around to look it in the face. He wished he had kept his eyes closed, and found a way to close his nostrils too. The dripping, slimy thing gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘Auld Reekie’. The evening light, appearing quite bright after the gloom of the club, seemed to daze the horror. Gilbert’s tired brain could not identify the creature, but he guessed that it had come through the portal in Carol. Some of the slime looked suspiciously like blood.

  Gilbert yelled at Struan to get out of the way as the creature began to slime towards them. Struan did not move. He was too curious. Besides, he wanted to see his annoying older brother in trouble.

  Gilbert had no time to worry about Struan. The monster had captured Jamie who, in attempting to slip by it, had merely succeeded in slipping. Gilbert was not quite sure how to deal with the menace. So he did what he always did when in doubt; he threw an energy bolt. Green smoke hid the monster, still clutching Jamie, who could be heard gagging horribly. Gilbert wondered through the much-increased stench if Jamie would choke to death. The smoke cleared to reveal an enraged monster sliming towards its tormentor – Gilbert.

  Gilbert ran down Market Street thinking furiously. He was half glad the thing was chasing him, allowing him a chance to lead it away from the crowded parts of city, find some way to save Jamie (who at last glance had passed out), and send it back to where-ever slime monsters came from.

  Gilbert pelted across the roundabout and shot into Princes Gardens, hotly followed by the monster which narrowly missed hitting a bus. Struan, in turn, followed the monster. Automatically choosing a path that avoided the last of the park-goers, Gilbert thought frantically of a way to get rid of the monstrosity. He ran over a little bridge spanning the railway, and down to the bottom path, partially hidden from traffic by the trees. Inspiration struck. Salt! Salt might do the trick. Gilbert whirled around conjuring up a truckload of salt then dropped it on the pursuing monster. Jamie, still in the monster’s clutches, had regained consciousness. His scream was cut short by the shower of salt. Gilbert stood waiting to see if his plan had worked, not worrying about Jamie whose feet were sticking out of the pile of salt kicking furiously, not too far from where Struan stood watching.

  Slime oozed out of the salt pile to reconstitute itself into the slime monster. Gilbert started running again. The monster pursued. Struan began digging Jamie out. A frustrated Gilbert led the frustrated monster to the west end of the park. Gilbert was fast running out of ideas. He needed time to look in his book for a suitable spell of portal raising or vanquishings or something! Gilbert bitterly regretted not learning how to read and run at the same time. He had almost reached the fountain. He looked around desperately for ideas. Then he saw the advertisement. It was worth a try.

  Gilbert leapt for the statue on the fountain, clawing at it for a few seconds while his feet slipped, before he found a hold. He swung around to the far side of the statue using it as a slime barrier. Then he quickly said his spell.

  The monster slimed into the fountain intent on its prey. It took a half a minute to realise it was taking an awfully long time to reach the human. Even more perplexing, the human seemed to be getting further away. It directed its ‘eyes’ to its ‘feet’. Shocked, it emitted a high-pitched scream (reminding Gilbert of the 1kHZ tone) and tried desperately to heave what was left of itself from the fountain. But it only succeeded in foaming up the dishwashing liquid in the fountain – Fairy Liquid, naturally.

  Gilbert watched with relief as the slime monster dissolved. Now, all he had to do was wash out the fountain – dispersing the remnants of the monster and preventing it from reforming. For once that night, luck was on Gilbert’s side. Massive rain clouds, the kind that said ‘If you’re thinking of sunshine for the next seventy-two hours, think again’, were menacing the last of the light. Gilbert thankfully set a rain attraction spell so that the fountain would be deluged, before going to help dig Jamie out.

  Gilbert wondered why his gran had been so alarmed. Struan was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Besides, Struan would not have gone to the club if he had not wanted to annoy Gilbert. Gilbert sighed. Such was his life. He helped Struan bundle the traumatised, mercifully silent, salt-encrusted Jamie into a cab and escort him home.

  At approximately 22h30 that night, Struan’s gran’s vision came true whilst he walked huffily home with Gilbert. He was so busy glaring at Gilbert that he failed to see the danger at his feet. His right leg was maliciously broken by a banana peel. It was the fall that did the damage, but no one could deny that it was the malicious banana peel that instigated the fall. Gilbert giggled silently as he waited for Struan in Casualty, getting undeserved suspicious looks from the receptionist. He could not help himself. This whole evening – all the hostility, the tension, the stress, and the danger (not to mention the stink) – all because of a banana peel! Who said the universe did not have a perverse sense of humour.

  The End

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