Alison R Reed (also writing as Marianna Bell and Michael N Allison)

Time Traveller's Visit to Walsall, continued

Two days later, the Federation of United Governments gave immediate permission for the TM to investigate a 'highly significant' piece of archaeology, as recommended by their most eminent Discoverist.

The machine was flown in by two anti-grav planes and lowered down onto the exact co-ordinates provided by Jhojo whilst Freder and Dhoshi watched in fascination; neither of them had actually experienced the TM in operation before.  Naturally they knew the theory after all is was elementary science downloaded to all children in first school, but the reality was breathtaking.

They locked their communicators into the TM's bandwidth and held their breaths.  Chief Discoverist Jhojo began the countdown. 

"Tree - Dee - Een!" and the TM, located exactly over the small concrete relic, quietly hummed into life. 

Year confirmed: 2007.

A shimmering image formed. 

The TM was at a conjunction of five streets, a small merry-go-round on the entrance to one, in front of which stood a dark statue of a woman in a long dress; blue and white striped fabric on a black frame indicated a market stall to the left whilst to the right was a disembodied head from which sprouted a huge circular disk.

Dhoshi turned up the sound.

"Yeah, man, respect, ha ya doin'?" said a lad as he swaggered past, trousers hanging low round his bottom and the crotch almost at his knees.  He bumped fists with another lad and clapped him on the back.


"Hey!  Wot's that?" said a girl with dark skin when she suddenly noticed the TM.

The youngsters crowded round.

The girl stared at it, intently.  "It's makin' a noyize!  Nah, day you throw st-ones at it, JJ, yo'll brek George!"

"Well, wha' else is there to do wiv it?" replied JJ, a lad with pale skin, red pimples and a straggly beard.

"What's George?" muttered Freder.

"God, Sheree, it talks!" JJ shouted and Sheree pushed him out of the way.

"Wot are yo?" she yelled, her face distorted by the TM's viewing equipment.

Jhojo replied in Polylang, "I'm a TM from the year 5087."

"What's it sayin'?" asked a girl dressed entirely in black with a white face, black eyes and lips who had come over to investigate.

"I day know, Aymeee.  It's spaykin' forin," replied Sheree.

"I'm from the future.  Tell me about George," Jhojo tried again.

"What's it sayin' now?" asked Aymee.

"Somethin' about Geroge, I thi-nk," and as she shrugged, the image dissolved.

Freder, Jhojo and Dhoshi looked into their communicators.

"What's George?" they asked in unison.

"I'll check the recordings," said Jhojo as he fiddled with his wrist controls.  Dhoshi and Freder lost contact with him whilst he ran the TM's findings.

25 mins later the connection resumed.

"Well?" said Dhoshi and Freder. 

"That was excellent!  The TM got some superb gen!  We've isolated several different dialects and languages; the air quality analysis including particulate levels and food aromas was superb; we've established tribal customs, and population density can also be estimated.  Tremendous!"

"Yeah, yeah!  But what's George?" asked Dhoshi.

"Is it a statue?" suggested Freder.

"Sort of..."

"Go on, tell us!"

"You'll never guess!" teased Jhojo.  "Not in a million years...!"





(For those of you who don't know Walsall, there is a concrete statue of a hippopotamus in the town centre!  I believe it was nick-named after the pink hippo George in the long-running children's TV programme, Rainbow.


This was also a winning competition entry.  It's been included in a book of stories about Walsall which is on the shelves at the Walsall Local History Centre in Essex Street.