The Lay-by of Sissyfoot
By Honda Prelude
Tiz a weird thing, the business of names. The oddest inhabited planet in this regard thus far discovered on my astral travels is Revertia; a relatively new rock and far too young to have evolved omnivorous, psychotic bipeds by the normal processes. It so happened that a flagship from Planet Ertia in the oldest region of the galaxy had to crash land there many moons ago and the survivors had no means of escape, or even of sending messages.
Why didn't I notify 'the authorities' of their existence, you may ask. 'Have you left them stranded?' you could well add. Well, onethly, 'the authorities' never take any notice of astral travellers, or of anyone else with the slightest sign of imagination, and, twothly, after one gets to know Revertians, it feels a really good idea to leave them where they are.
They had all sorts of high-tech gear when they arrived, including spreadsheet software for hyper-financial dealing in n-orthogonal quasi-dimensions, mega-computers to run the software, and bugger all data to feed into it, except this: Amongst all the gear that survived their landing they had no piezo-electric lighters, no carcinogenic-tube lighters, no high voltage supplies for making sparks and only one ultra old-fashioned match. To the uninitiated, this a lump of wood with sulphurous gunk on the end that bursts into flame when subjected to friction. Primitive? Yes indeedy, but it works.
One survivor responded to their predicament by panicking and lighting the match straight away! There's always one maniac of this type in a large enough group as you may have noticed.
'Quick, keep it alight!' wailed the onlookers. 'We have no other source of heating or cooking!' and thus the scramble for survival in their new world began.
The striker of the match, Mr. Rich Marketingexecutive, became the first full-time employee of the newly colonised planet. Mr. Rich Marketingexecutive the wood gatherer. He was rapidly followed into employment by Miss Sue Footpedicurist the herb gardener; Mr. Alton Riskassessor the shepherd of ox'n; Ms. Paunchy Magistrate the midwife; Lady Charlotte Stockmarketwhizzkidesse the cook; Mrs. Sharon Mediaanalyst the butcher of ox'n and Bill Overdue the hovelbuilder...
All was fine and dandy, give or take backache and blisters, until one bright spark had the idea 'I could own several hovels and let them. I'd be able to go on holiday several times a year and wear my pyjamas all day. If I had any!'
'Imagine the slavery,' complained the others. 'Spending our whole lives working for One.'
So much for history.
On the road connecting the two Revertian settlements there is a large ox'n-cartpark; their only one. It's the only large, flat, easily-cleared piece of ground that lies on the road, has stunning views, and is surrounded by bushes and grassy hollows suitable for courtship rituals and biological experiments of a reproductive nature. The view over the valley is of needle points of neo-conifers and the fluffy pillows of pseudo-oak trees wherein the parrots, apes and hummingbirds all hum. The parrots are parroting the hummingbirds and the apes likewise. It is the sort of spot that bipeds throughout the known universe, whether they be omnivorous, carnivorous or vegetablevorous; psychotic, vegotic or mineralotic, cannot resist visiting with recorded music to further enhance the mood.
One Brightspark spends his days circling the ox'ncartpark anti-clockwise with a broom. He is tethered to a large post in the middle of the clearing and he sweeps up the leaves and other evidence of nature's processes. He wears overalls, a large sun hat and bedroom slippers in the shape of fluffy bunnies. Having completed his circuit, One finds it is time to start again. The other Revertians bring One Brightspark roast ox'n and boiled p'taytoes to keep him fuelled.
This picturesque spot is known as The Lay-by of Sissyfoot.
Bye for now,