Jamie’s Email chapter of work in progress by Iris Carden
Martha had suggested they keep the bus charged, and stocked with basics in case they had to leave quickly. Angela, Maria, and Adam had agreed.
They were starting to plan what they would pack when Angela received an email from Jamie.
So we’re headed south to the neighbours for a bit.
Sorry to leave you, but remember “those who fight and run away” and all that. That’s what Eric’s friends are saying, anyway.
You’ll never guess what we were all talking about last night. Remember those railways? Those ones underground? Hadn’t thought about them for a long time.
We were talking about that, and I thought if I were on that railway, I’d want you on board, Martha too.
Anyway, I’m doing well, Eric and the kids are too.
Lots of love to you, and to Martha and the others from all of us,
Angela read the email out.
“South to the neighbours must mean New Zealand,” she said.
“And those who fight and run away live to fight another day,” Martha said. “So it sounds like the military leaving was a tactical retreat. They haven’t given up.”
“They shouldn’t have run away at all,” Mary said.
“If they couldn’t win as it was, perhaps they retreated to try to get reinforcements from other countries to help, like those Americans you said would save us,” Martha said.
“A railway underground. Sounds like they’re planning an underground railway and want us to be part of it, to help people escape.” Adam said.
“Why talk in all these riddles?” Edward said. “Why not straight up say what she means?”
“Obviously she’s afraid the message will be read by our new colonial overlords,” Martha said. “She’s using phrases we will be familiar with because of our history and culture, but won’t be recognisable to anyone who has learned the language in isolation from our shared social experience.”
“What a lot of gobbledegook!” Edward replied. “You can’t speak plain English either!”
“That’s the point, Dad,” Angela said. “The aliens have obviously learned plain English. They haven’t learned this other stuff we can say without using plain English. Jamie wants us to be part of an underground railway. The aliens don’t know what that is, but we do.”
“Right,” said Maria, “so what are we going to reply. I’m in favour of helping.”
“So am I,” said Martha.
“And me,” said Adam.
“Well not me,” Mary said. “It’s obviously dangerous.”
“Me either,” Edward said.
“But I’m in,” Angela said, “And four against two is a definite majority.”
“Under my roof, it’s my rules,” Edward said.
“So what are we writing back?” Angela asked.
After much consultation and a great deal of disregard of her parents, Angela wrote back.
It was so good to hear from you.
Let me know when you’ve made it to the neighbours’ place.
That railway you mentioned sounds great. Things are strange here at the moment, but I’d love to ride that with you and so would our friends. Let me know where I can get a ticket.
I hope you enjoy your holiday and look forward to seeing you, and Eric, and your friends back here soon. Let us know when you’re coming and we can help with a welcome home party. We’d love to kick things off with a bang.
Lots of love to you and Eric and the babies. Give the babies each a hug from Auntie Angela and Aunty Martha.
Angela, Martha, Maria and Adam