from the past through to the future. . .
"Look, will you put that over there, and give me the bloody invoice?" the strange woman with the council-estate facelift commanded, and you put down the huge crate you were carrying where she ordered you to.
Rubbing your back, you stand upright again, only to be confronted with the sharp rejoinder "Have you not done your manual handling training?"
Well, no, you hadn't. You hadn't realised you'd start life on this island as a delivery man, using a team of budget horses to traverse the Improbable Island trampways.
"Um, no miss. I haven't." God, you're sharp. SHARP.
She seems to size you up, gormless and weedy as you are. Brown work-coat looking mussy and stained already. It's like being sanded by an enthusiastic chippy.
"Are you not in a clan?"
She looks away, obviously bored with you, whilst she shuffles some obviously important papers and then, regarding them one final time, she files them under 'B'.
"I said, are you not in a clan?" huffing, she looks up at you again, "A clan. Are you simple?"
"Simple, miss? No. What? Is this a clan? A clan hall?"
"Yes. We're the General Engineering Racketeering n' Musical Guild."
You know that hasn't explained anything. You don't like to tell this horribly severe looking woman that you haven't quite grasped it, "Ahuh."
"We're the clan for people who like to.. ." she looks down at her papers again, as if for some succour, "Um.. . Have hobbies."
You look at her under your eyebrows, she's worried! "Hobbies?" incisive bastard that you are, you've dived under her defences and struck the killer blow!
She murmurs something, it sounds like bloddybernard but you're not sure. You continue, "For people with hobbies? You mean.. . Like stamp collecting and trainspotting?" the disdain purely drips from your words like a poinard covered with bloody entrails.. .
You certainly put paid to her, and her hoity-toityness.
"And for people who want to have a sing-song. And general comedians.. ."
"Yes, we're a clan for people who simply want to have a nice chin-wag, and perhaps spend some time building model villages."
"You what?" you manage to bluster.
"Bernard and Merlin, well, they had the grand plan.. ." resignation in her voice?
"They didn't really want to get all involved in this hitting thing lark" this delivered with a side order of vitriol and a relish made entirely of bile "So they set up a new clan. Brand new."
"And they found this," there's a sweep of her arm her, at the faded opulence and dusty glamour of what you're fairly sure used to be the old Bingo Hall that Mad Tony told you about, "And they've been redeveloping it. Making it habitable."
Well, it's pretty grand. It could be lovely. There's a huge hall, with the beginnings of a stage at one end. Huge swathes of red velvet are piled on the raised dais where the stage is being built. Line upon line of fairy lights illuminate the place - but not so much as the grand dome.
Which is grand.
"Fergus made it. He was the obvious choice. Being a floating head."
So what? What does she want now?
"The box? Which company did you say you were from again?"
You hadn't, hadn't said that is. "Um, from IPS." Improbable Parcel Service. "You know, the ones in brown."
Brown. You're like bloody David Niven, you are. Like Cary Bleedin' Grant. "It's full of model aircraft parts." you don't need to say much else, you've seen her eyes glaze over, finally. You hand her the form, which she scrawls upon, and hand her her top-copy. With ne'er a glance over your shoulder you leave the GERM clan hall behind you.
"GERM, not caring to understand what you actually meant since Season One"
. . . and into the present.