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Chapter 11 continued from Friday:
With a wheelbarrow full of three different leaflets which told the truth about the dairy industry, Luke headed for the car park. The wheelbarrow was heavy and the cars were parked quite close together on uneven ground, so it was rather difficult to stop the barrow from tipping. But Luke was strong and determined so he only lost control of it a couple of times, and on those occasions the cars he grazed were already scratched anyway. He put one leaflet under a wiper blade, on the windscreen of each car. He’d seen it done before with car-wash flyers in the supermarket car park.
Some wipers were easy to lift, some of them required a bit of force, a couple of them came off, but when that happened he was luckily able to find a window or a sunroof open so he tossed the leaflet inside. Considerate as always, he tossed the wiper blade in with it.
After some time – he had no idea how much – Luke had leafleted most of the cars in the car park. He had intended not to miss a single one but when he saw an angry man, waving a wiper blade, fast approaching his position, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retreated behind the long queues for the portaloos. He had almost half a box of leaflets left and wanted to use them. It wasn’t long before he found an opportunity.
The ice cream van was parked close to the line of trees which skirted the market. It was doing a roaring trade. Luke felt that it wouldn’t do any trade at all if there was any justice in the world. He was sure it wouldn’t if everyone knew the truth. That thought gave him an idea. This idea, he was well aware, was not, strictly speaking, legal. But it was moral and that meant he was right to do it. He would do what Robin Hood would have done, whatever the consequences. He was an outlaw after all.
He left his wheelbarrow in the shadows behind the trees and ran back to a craft stall he’d seen earlier. The lady on the craft stall was demonstrating how to make paper maché models. She was doing the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ bit, revealing a stiff, hollow, paper pig ready for a coat of paint. The tub of wallpaper paste that she’d been using in an earlier part of her demonstration was tucked away under her stall.
“I jus’ need to borra a bit,” Luke told himself, “I’ll bring it back before she misses it.”
Within minutes he was pasting leaflets all over one side of the ice cream van, unseen by the ice cream seller or his treat-seeking customers who stood in line on the other side. He worked fast, knowing he might be spotted and stopped at any moment. At the same time he was encouraged by a feeling that some great spirit was watching over him, enabling him to complete his mission unhindered. The spirit of Robin Hood? It couldn’t just have been luck that he’d been able to get his hands on exactly what he needed for this job. The label on the side of the tub of paste read:
suitable for paper maché, scrapbooking
wallpaper application & billboard posters
NON TOXIC * STRONG * DRIES TRANSPARENT
WARNING: WHEATPASTE POSTERS, ONCE APPLIED, ARE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.
It couldn’t have been more perfect. Luke fearlessly pasted over colourful illustrations of lollipops, ice cream cones, and a happy cartoon cow who bore no resemblance to her real-life counterparts. The van’s lies were soon obliterated by pages of facts and figures about the cruel reality of dairy farming, including miserable photographic proof. When the side of the van was completely covered in leaflets, as high as Luke could reach, he stepped back to see the full effect. It was good.
Unable to believe how well this was going, Luke slipped unseen, back the way he’d come. He re-emerged from behind the line of trees when he reached the craft stall and returned the paste. Then he tucked the remaining four leaflets in his back pocket and pushed his empty wheelbarrow from stall to stall, looking for Nan and Grandad. He looked for ages until eventually he came close to the organisers’ table and heard his own name over the Tannoy.
“Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van. Would Luke Walker please go to the ice cream van, near the car park and the toilets.”
Story continues tomorrow 🙂
To read the whole of Chapter 11 now, click here 🙂
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