Biographical Non-Fiction posted April 28, 2015


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The end of the year assignment so please look at the notes

Mrs Muddle

by dmt1967

The clock struck 1pm as I waited for my instructor to return from lunch. The light flickered, and my eyes wandered to the door for the umpteenth time. Come on, where are you? I’m dying for a fag.

I heard a clatter on the steps and the jangle of keys. Is that him? Please let that be him.

The door opened with a creak and my lecturer walked through.    

He unclipped his keys from his belt and opened the door. As he switched on the light, he turned his head in my direction.. ‘What can I do for you, Jackie?’

‘Can I do some extra work in the welding room tomorrow lunchtime?’

He frowned and rubbed his chin. ‘I won’t be there, Alan will, I can’t see a problem..’

I thanked him and headed off to class.
                                                *****

I arrived as Alan opened the door.

 He looked at me and nodded. ‘You know how to set the equipment up. If you need me, I’ll be next door.’

There were workbenches down both sides of the workshop. I selected a workstation and began to set it up. The gas hissed as I turned them on, and made sure equal levels of oxygen and oxy-acetylene filtered through the pipes. The yellow flame turned to blue and I set the torch back on its safety clip.

I walked into the stores and picked up a couple of pieces of low carbon steel, walked back to my bench and set them up- one overlapping the other.

I picked the torch up and tacked the two ends together. A bead of sweat formed on my forehead as I stuck my tongue out and started to weld.

The metal heated up until a pool appeared. Steady does it. I dipped the copper rod into the pool and moved the melted liquid alone the piece. I got it… yes…yes…yes. No, it’s running away…no…no…no. Damn, I ruined another piece... Drat, will I ever get this right. Come on you stupid lumps of metal, stick together.

Try as I might, I could not get the two pieces of metal to fuse together. I sighed and placed the torch back on the cut-off clip.

I put both elbows on the bench and held my head in my hands.

Ted, the departmental technician walked past. He stopped by my workbench. ‘What’s up, Jackie?’

I glanced in his direction. ‘I can’t get this piece right. I get a nice pool, and it flows nicely until the end, then it runs away and I burn the end.’

Ted frowned. He took two pieces of low carbon steel out of his pocket and overlapped them. He tacked both ends up and turned to me. ‘Right, you weld one in front of me, and I will tell you where you’re going wrong.’

I sat back down on the stool and picked up the torch. I held the flame over the metal until it melted and became liquid. I dabbed the end of the copper rod into the pool, and continued the process until I reached the end of the metal. My hands shook as I neared the end. Almost there… only a few more dabs… nearly, damn, it happened again.

Ted stroked his chin. ‘Are you left handed?’

I nodded.

Ted grinned. ‘Well, that’s your problem. You’re holding the torch in the wrong hand. Go get another couple of piece, and tack them up for me. I will show you.’

I did as he asked, and he demonstrated the left-handed technique.

I thanked him and set myself up for another attempt. As I sat down and pulled my goggles over my eyes, another student walked in.

‘Hi, Jackie. You all right?’

I nodded and grinned. ‘Ted taught me how to weld left-handed.’

Josh raised his eyebrows. ‘You better be careful. You will be welding towards the flame instead of away from it.’

I promised to be careful, and he started setting up the welding station near the door.

I picked up the torch once more, melted the metal and started to weld once more.

My face turned red and my hand shook as I tried to emulate the left-handed method. The pool appeared and I smiled. It began to grow, and as it moved along the metal in a more controlled manner, I dipped the copper rod into it every so often.   

This is it… it is working… I am almost at the end…

My face turned crimson as the heat of the naked flame rose. I sniffed the air; someone’s having a barbeque. Smoke rose from the naked flame beside me. I glanced down and caught sight of my overalls. I’m on fire… I’m on fire… I’M ON FIRE!

I dropped the torch and ran over to Josh. I waved my arm in his face.

He turned his head, and his jaw dropped. ‘Sir,” he yelled. ‘Jackie’s on fire!’

Alan ran out of the adjoining room and tried to put me out. He patted my sleeve, but that only made the flames devour the rest of the material as it tried to reach my face.

‘Ahhh,’ I cried as I waved my arm around the room.

‘Don’t do that,’ Alan yelled. ‘Do you want to blow us all up?’

Ted disappeared, but soon reappeared with a wet tea towel. He threw it over the flame, and patted them out.

Finally, the flame extinguished, and we could see the damage. A blister rose up on my left hand, and my whole arm turned as red as a tomatoes.

‘Go run it under the cold tap,’ Ted ordered.

I ran to the bathroom, and gulped back the tears. The burning sensation in my hand hurt, and the water wasn’t helping.

Alan appeared in the doorway. ‘Do you want an ambulance?’

I shook my head. ‘No, I’m all right,’ I lied.

Alan nodded. ‘Well, if you’re sure.’

I smiled. ‘Yes, I got classic car restoration tonight. I will go have a coffee, and be back for that.’

I walked into the clock room, grabbed my coat, and headed out of the workshop and the college gate.

I walked to the coffee shop around the corner, sat down, and ordered a coffee.

Once it arrived, I took a sip of the hot liquid. My hand shook so much, some spilt into the saucer. Other customers stared at me, and I pulled my sleeve down over my burn.

The door burst open, and I glanced up. I smiled at the man who entered. He sat on my table, and glared at me. “What do you think you’re doing,” my husband growled.

‘Having a cup of coffee.’

Tony clenched his fist. ‘The college phoned. I’ve been searching everywhere for you. Alan should have made you go to hospital, never mind what you said. He…’

I raised my good hand. ‘I did the next best thing. What do they say? ‘A cup of strong coffee is good for shock?’

Tony rolled his eyes and pulled me to my feet. ‘That’s sweet tea,’ he spluttered as he pushed me out of the door and towards the car.   
 
                                                        *****
Something good came out of this experience. I gave up smoking. The flame from the communiser looks very much like a flame from a cigarette lighter, and I couldn’t bring myself to use either again.

What’s that old saying? ‘Every cloud has a silver bullet?’ Or is that the thing that kills werewolves…? I could never get those sayings right.  
         
       


Recognized


This is another assignment, and the big one. It is worth 50 % of my marks, so I would really appreciate it.
The things the examiners are looking for are,
LANGUAGE, this refers to clarity and precision; metaphors, stylistic flourish etc.
VOICE; this refers to creation and sustaining the voice; tone, dialogue, point of view etc.
STRUCTURE; this refers to organisation; showing and telling in the right places.
IDEAS; this refers to the content or theme.
PRESENTATION; spelling and grammar

What do you think of the title? The word count needs to be between 1200 and 1300.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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