THE WINDMILL

14 Jul

It was a windy day. A very windy day. The windiest day ever, and it smashed with ferocious determination against the windmill’s sails, forcing them to rotate until they exceeded the safe speed they were designed for, and spun like a child’s toy ever faster. And that windmill was two hundred years old! It was showing some signs of the ravages of time before all this happened.

And the wind blew harder whilst his cat yowled.

It wasn’t so much a storm as a holocaust. Blame whoever you like, there was a holocaust and that brought about the wind. Somewhere, quite a few somewheres if the truth be told, there was a great deal of explosive noise, a great deal of radiation and a great deal of death, but here, where the windmill was, there was just a powerful wind.

The miller thought God had farted, but he was wrong because the smell was all wrong. But he still had to hang on to safety rails and other fixed objects as the windmill started to lift off the ground.

The sails weren’t designed to make it lift off the ground, but hey, ho, neither were they designed for a wind like this. And in a wind like this they acted very much like the propeller of a world war one aeroplane in full flight and tugged the windmill free off the ground, and with the miller in it, confused, terrified and filled with remorse that he had rowed yet again with his good lady wife over a trivial matter of whose turn it was to wash up after breakfast and why did she have to wear such a dowdy apron.

It had been trivial. He knew that. He’d known it at the time but had cast his own stupidity to the winds (quite different winds to this big one) and had it blown back into his face.

The wind became stronger, and, spookily, eerily, it glowed.

Winds shouldn’t do that, he muttered, and the cat scratched him because it was terrified and couldn’t think of anything else to do.

Bloody cat, he moaned.

And the wind became even stronger. It battered the ancient bricks of the windmill, but they’d stood a great many years and managed to stand up to it. After all, the brickie who’d put the windmill together had been a craftsman. He’d known all about stresses and strains, though truth to tell he hadn’t any experience whatsoever about the kind of winds that might be brought about by a holocaust.

When the windmill had been skilfully built nobody had suspected there might be such a thing as nuclear wars, though they did have muskets.

The wind hadn’t finished with it yet. With a howl like that his demented cat might make when burning its paws in a gigantic black witch’s cauldron it soared upwards. It had to. Up was the only way that wind was going to take it. Any other direction was impossible due to current surges and the like.

The Miller tried to look out of the windmill’s window (broken by the wind), but he had no head for heights and anyway a gigantic sheet of impervious plastic was blown straight from the plastic sheet factory down below and onto his window and got sucked into place by a variety of different pressures best understood by plastic-sheeting scientists, providing him with an unexpected brand new window. But before it totally fogged his view he got a wonderful heart-warming glimpse of a multitude of very violent nuclear explosions, and he actually saw the moment when the Houses of Parliament (which should have been miles and miles away, but weren’t) was vaporised.

Serve them right, he muttered, and decided there was nothing for it but to sit down and mash a pot of tea.

The sitting down was easy enough, but his kettle was empty and the tap wouldn’t work, so there was no water. Ergo, no tea.

Sod it, he rumbled.

Then, as soon as he was sitting comfortably in his favourite chair, a Windsor-styled delight that had been new even before the first bricks had been laid and the windmill started, the wind started in serious as if it hadn’t been serious before.

Whoosh! thought the Miller.

And Whoosh went the windmill.

Somehow a trick of science combined with the mischief of a holocaust in full blast made the sails of the windmill spin ever faster, and as they spun they almost groaned because, to tell the truth, they weren’t designed for such frantic movement. But they had been lovingly crafted by a skilled cabinet-maker and stood valiantly up to the strain as a wind from the heart of a billion disturbed atoms stirred them.

The dense plastic sheet that covered the window combined with the way the windmill door had slammed shut at the first suggestion of a wind meant that there wasn’t much of a breeze inside the mill, just the almost unbearable racket coming from outside as timbers threatened to splinter but didn’t. And this went on, it seemed interminably, or at least if not interminably, for hours.

Darkness fell. The Miller wasn’t quite sure whether it was a proper night-time sort of darkness or the beginning of a nuclear winter, which he’d read about and which threatened to create a brand new and rather radioactive ice-age that would last beyond next Sunday. But whatever caused the darkness it’s very existence reminded the Miller that he ought to try and get some sleep because there could be hazards ahead.

So he lay back in his Windsor-style chair and closed his eyes.

He dreamed, that night, of politicians and the way they had blithely discussed the essential purchase of a whole range of nuclear weapons for the defence of the realm. They had pontificated about the way enemies would be thwarted when it came to future wars and would never dream of attacking a country that possessed a massive nuclear arsenal.

Then he dreamed of the way some scientist bod had suggested that the resultant clouds of nastiness from such weapons would never be confined by national borders and would spread like poison across all the globe. Start a war, they had said, especially a nuclear one, and the toxins will come back to sting you.

As the Miller slept, clouds formed, like aerial seas, oceans miles above the ruined Earth, great heaving things, but not liquid so much as turgid glowing mist, and the Windmill reached them and started bobbing on them like an ark seeking a Middle-Easter mountain top. And while that happened the Miller broke into a snore.

Slowly some big bits of matter sort of joined together making islands in the sky, and the Windmill, as luck would have it, settled on one of them, really neatly. And the Miller snored on.

So he didn’t see the remnants of the total destruction of everything that had gone on down below. He was unaware of the confused expression on the dissolving faces of politicians who suddenly and out of the blue concluded that there was no such a thing as a balance of power that brought guaranteed safety to all of mankind because of the nature of stock-piled weaponry.

He did, however, have a cosy little dream in which he and his good lady became friends again, and he even held her hand and gave her a gift of diamonds.

Freshly forged diamonds they were, crafted in the heart of a nuclear furnace, but just as precious as the real McCoy none-the less.

And when he woke up, hours later, really refreshed and full of the joys of spring, the sun was shining like it should and the windmill, though at a somewhat jaunty angle, was all there and raring to grind some corn into flour.

The trouble was, he had no corn and didn’t know where he would find any.

© Peter Rogerson 13.07.17

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