Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er – the story continues two years later:
Chapter 17: Cognitive Dissonance
Two years later:
“Luuuke!” Jared was angry.
Luke returned the now half empty book of stamps to Mum’s purse. “It wasn’t me!” he lied.
“Who else would put a sticker over my webcam? I want to skype and I can’t get it off!”
“I jus’ needed to borra it for a minute an’ I dint want anybody spyin’ on me.”
“No one can spy on you, idiot! You have to turn the webcam on yourself!”
“You’re the idiot if you think they can’t turn it on and watch you when you don’t know they’re watchin’ you. I saw it on that film about the man who had to escape from the government. And it was on that programme about the lawyer whose daughter was bein’ spied on coz she didn’t close her laptop and they switched on her webcam from somewhere else not in her house!”
Jared wasn’t listening. He’d heard it all before. He referred the problem to a higher power.
“Mum,” he called downstairs, “Luke’s been messing with my computer again and I can’t get the sticker off! He’s not supposed to touch my stuff!”
Mum’s hands were immersed in hot water. She didn’t have the energy or the inclination to referee her sons’ squabbles so she pretended she hadn’t heard. Jared turned back to his brother.
“The next time you touch my stuff I’ll take your walkie talkies and smash them with a hammer!”
Luke, secretly thankful to Jared for reminding him, stuffed his walkie talkies into his rucksack and went downstairs. He had a bus to catch.
When he got to the bus stop the bus was already there. Joe was trying the driver’s patience by rummaging slowly in his pockets for his fare, bringing out one small coin at a time in an effort to delay the bus’s departure. When Luke stepped on behind him he found his two pound coin and put the driver out of his misery. Luke did the same and the boys ascended to the empty top deck and sat down on the front seat.
“Happy New Year,” said Joe.
Luke was frantically searching his bag. “Yeah, happy …. did you bring your notebook?”
“I forgot mine,” said Luke, annoyed. “Did you write down where we’re s’posed to be meetin’ the others?”
“No,” said Joe, “but I remember. We’re meeting them at the library.”
Luke frowned with uncertainty.
“We always meet at the library,” Joe reassured him, “the first Saturday of every month. At the library.”
Luke shook his head. “I know that’s what we normally do, but last time that woman kept watching us and Tania thought she was trying to listen to our plans so we said next time we’d meet somewhere more private. I wrote it down. Don’t you remember?”
Joe’s recollection went further.
“Yes, I remember that, but then Isabel said she didn’t think the woman was listening and Tania was just paranoid and there wasn’t anywhere else we could meet that was warm and dry and she thought we should meet at the library as usual.”
Luke still looked uncertain.
“Twelve o’clock. At the library. As usual,” Joe reiterated.
“Okay,” said Luke, finally giving up the search for his notebook, “good.” He leaned back in his seat and put his feet up on the window ledge in front of him.
The boys hadn’t seen each other since Christmas so the half hour bus ride was a good time to catch up. Luke pulled an impressive-looking, hard plastic case out of his rucksack.
“I got these from me Mum and Dad,” he told Joe, and opened the case to reveal two walkie talkies. They were green, brown and black in a camouflage pattern, with buttons under a screen and a short antenna sticking up on one side. In addition the case contained a charger, ear pieces, belt clips, and survival bracelets with built-in compass and whistle. “They work as far as three kilometres apart, so we’ll be able to talk to each other if we’re on a mission and we’re doin’ different bits of it and we have to keep watch and tell the other one if someone’s comin’.” Joe hesitantly reached for one of the bracelets. “Oh yeah, and we’ll both wear one of these – go on, try it on,” encouraged Luke, “and then if we get lost, or if the walkie talkie battery dies, we can survive with these coz there’s a whistle so we can blow it and hear where each other is and know if it’s north or south.”
“They’re brilliant,” said Joe, obviously impressed.
Luke carefully retrieved the bracelet and put it back in the case. “What did you get?” he asked.
Joe reached into his bag and pulled out a smart pair of binoculars. “I like bird watching,” he explained.
“Score!” said Luke, “these’ll be good for missions too coz we’ll be able to see if someone’s comin’ from a long way away before they see us.”
“I use ’em for looking for UFOs too,” said Joe, lifting the binoculars to his eyes and looking through the window at the skies ahead.
“Spaceships?” asked Luke, interested.
“Yeah, I saw a documentary about aliens coming to Earth and it said they were real and they’ve been coming to Earth for years and they’re watching us to make sure we don’t send bombs into space and they stopped the Americans when they did try to send some up there.”
“Really?” asked Luke, wide eyed, “so they’re good aliens?”
“Yeah, they’re good, stopping bad people with bombs. But the people who make the bombs are trying to keep the aliens secret because they want to keep making the bombs because they get a lot of money from it. So they want to make people scared of aliens by making fake alien ships to attack Earth so that the Earth people will want them to attack the aliens,” Joe took a breath. “But really it’s not the aliens because the aliens are peaceful and we shouldn’t be attacking them we should be making friends with them coz they could help us save the environment.”
“Wow,” said Luke, “sounds like a good film. D’you think it’s true?”
“Oh yeah! It’s true. They had lots of evidence and lots of people have seen them and some people have been killed to shut them up or blackmailed to change their stories. I know it sounds made up but it’s not. You should see the film.”
“Yeah. What’s it called?”
“Have you got it on DVD?”
“No, it’s on Netflix.”
“We haven’t got Netflix.”
“Neither have we but I signed up for a month’s free trial on Janet’s computer and there’s a week left so you can watch it at mine.”
Luke nodded. He really wanted to see it.
“Come round after school on Tuesday.”
“You’re lucky Janet lets you borra her computer. Jared gets in a right hump when I borra his.”
“Janet won’t be there,” explained Joe.
The boys got off the bus at the radio station and walked through the pedestrianised High street to the library. It was only ten to twelve. They were going to be early for once.
The January meeting of the Secret Society of animal stick up for-ers commenced thirteen minutes later.
The story continues on Monday 😀
but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole chapter here 😀
and if that doesn’t satisfy you 😉 the next eight chapters are now available in paperback:
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