Uniforms

Ludwig Tomato-Scissors entered the fire station’s open door, attracted by a uniform seen hanging from a hook on a pillar behind where fire trucks were parked. That uniform radiated magnetism against those big, red trucks.

Putting it on, greatness beset him. Sparkling with confidence, he faced some firemen and screamed: “Unfurl the main hoses. Refill the forward tanks. Unleash the short-range extinguishers. Re-strap the canvas body catchers. Pump up the hard-grip traction tyres. Charge the batteries. For God’s sake — move!”

The firemen observed a uniformed man whose pointy nose and small, round glasses covered a rodent-like face; the man screamed: “Switch on the main-thrust sirens. Don the black-fume gas masks. Rev up the V-12’s. Orientate hoses with God-like purpose; for God’s sake: move!”

His voice boomed from a loudhailer he’d taken from a locker.

“He’s wearing my uniform,” one of the fireman said.

“Shoot down the departure poles. Reset the high-building hose caps. Polish the blue-siren casings. Unwind the short-range water blasters.”

“He’s nuts,” another fireman said.

“Re-oil the Hudson flame breakers. Pack the Schopenhauer oxygen depleters.”

“I’m ringing the police,” another fireman said.

“Unbolt the Stravinsky tank caps. Spin the Bloomsbury hose wheels. Unlock the Kingsford water injectors.”

Tomato-Scissors was still screaming when the police arrived.

“Grease the Chevalier wheel axles. Prepare the Thompson oxygen extractors. Cast out…”

“Come on, sir,” a policeman said, leading Ludwig to a police car.

A fireman handed over clothes he’d found in a toilet.

“Are these your clothes?” a policeman asked Ludwig who screamed: “Unlock the Stetson handbrakes. Shoot up the skyscraper ladders. Stand firm against…”

“Okay, okay,” a policeman said.

From the police car’s back seat, Ludwig continued: “Rescue wenches from flaming heights. Fire liquid darts into burning, concrete carcasses. Persuade scared beauties to leap from high balconies onto stretched canvas circles. Enter flames with no regard for death. Pluck wenches from annihilation’s claws. Mock terrifying infernos. Laugh at barbecue demise.”

They got him to take off the uniform and put on his clothes. He looked sheepish and timid, watchfully looking around as if he had just woken from sleepwalking.

“Are you all right, sir?” he was asked.

“Yes,” he replied. “I’d never felt such power.”

Studying the policeman’s uniform, his eyes glazed. His chest heaved. Froth covered his mouth. He tried ripping off the policeman’s uniform.

They handcuffed him. He calmed down and said: “Imagine if I put on your uniform. I’d feel like God.”

They charged him with trying to imitate a policeman.

“Not true,” he told the magistrate. “I imitated a fireman.”

His eyes glazed as he dashed off the dock and grabbed the magistrate’s wig; putting it on, might expanded his head.

“I condemn you all,” he screamed, “to weeks of torture for your dissolution. I command that you all be thrust up the backside with foot long needles and your intestines pulled out and scraped with wire brushes while you…”

Two policemen grabbed him; the wig fell to the ground. A bewildered calmness overcame Ludwig as he noticed the wig lying inexplicably on the floor.

“How the hell did that dead sheep get there?” he yelled.

That got him three months in prison. The sentence rose to six after he stole the chief prison guard’s uniform and ordered all the prisoners to be released.


About Kim Farleigh

Kim has worked for aid agencies in three conflicts: Kosovo, Iraq and Palestine. He takes risks to get the experience required for writing. He likes fine wine, art, photography and bullfighting, which probably explains why this Australian lives in Madrid; although he wouldn’t say no to living in a French château. 135 of his stories have been accepted by 83 different magazines.

>> Kim Farleigh's author page

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