Well, Not London Bridge
“Harry,” said Dearest Duck, “what’s all the racket?”
“My Duck,” said I from the basement, “I’m looking for that old erector set chummy Daddy’s Boy used to have when he was a youngster. Didn’t consign it to a flea market did you?”
“What do you want with that old thing?” she asked when I finally lugged the broken box of mechanical bits and bobs upstairs.
“I’m thinking about making a proposal to the Queen of Dunderland, or her bridge-building minions anyway.”
You’re familiar with that brow-arching action Dearest Duck does sometimes when she questions my mental stability. Well, she did it then.
P’raps you’re also wondering why I rooted out the erector set.
The catalyst was a visit to Castle Hill. I was showing off the view of Placentia to kinfolk who were especially attentive to the dilapidated Sir Ambrose Shea Bridge. Proud as pudding, I tried to impress them by saying that a Brand-Fire-New Bridge was in the works.
“About time by the looks of it,” said one insensitive cousin.
No more than an hour later back at our abode, I flapped open The Newspaper and…
Sir Ambrose’s replacement was assigned to the cellar.
Seems, the only Builder Bob even interested in constructing a new bridge was requesting millions of loonies more than the Q of D would permit being culled from the government’s frugal coffers.
“We’m going to re-visit that whole bridge-building idea,” or words to that effect, said the purse strings holder.
The first suggestion, that a team of welders might stand on guard constantly to patch portions of the bridge’s grillwork when chunks of it corroded and tumbled into the Gut, caused me to wax biblical and reflect on a parable—the one about mending old garments with new cloth.
This explains—kinda—why I was tinkering with Daddy’s Boy’s boxful of rusting Tinker Toy pieces. I envisioned myself designing a structure and presenting it to The Government as a proposal that would fall within the Exchequer’s economic zone.
For two weeks, with Dearest Duck’s reluctant permission, I hunched over the dining room table mumbling and grumbling at the hodgepodge of metal scraps spread across the tablecloth. I erected admirable models of imposing edifices, then—displeased—hammered them apart. I knew Dunderland’s dollars would never be planked down to transform my archetypes into magnificent Gut-spanning architecture.
I failed. I wept copiously into countless cups of herbal tea.
Yet I fancied other ways to cross the Gut, if and when we arrived at its shores.
Even Dearest Duck who—as you know—oftentimes [sometimes?] motivated by sheer desire to see her honey happy, hesitantly supports my ideas, scoffed at my first proposal.
That last sentence likely crossed your eyes. More simply put: Dearest Duck mocked me unmercifully.
“Government could upgrade and pave the back road from Dunville to Southeast and subsidize all drivers travelling to Placentia. Might be cheaper in the long run,” said I.
“Long hike for walkers,” said Dearest Duck, disdainfully.
I laid out a second suggestion, one that might be more feasible—or at least more thrilling—than returning to a ferry ride from beach to beach.
I’ll just whisper it in case there are doubters—Dearest Duck not withstanding—who might instantly scorn this stout-hearted scribbler.
Ramps could be built on either side of the Gut. Automobiles—or walkers—would leave the road and access the ramps like driving—or walking—onto a ferry—sorta.
Once on the ramp, and after paying a token toll towards future Bridge construction, travellers would be fitted into a contraption resembling a shuttle pod or a capsule on a Disney World ride. Once all safety measures were in place, the pod could be hauled back on a spring like a pinball marble, a spring digitally calibrated according to the traveller’s size and weight and serious stuff like that.
Then the spring would be released and like Evil Knievel cannon-balling his cycle across the Grand Canyon, the traveller would be catapulted across the Gut into a welcoming down-ramp on the opposite side.
If you’re not buckled up in knots laughing, you might actually ponder my modest proposal.
Think it could work?
Think it’s within economic grasp?
Thank you for reading…and not laughing. Or laughing.