Stickers!

Luke Walker: animal stick up for-erchapter 17, continues from yesterday:

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Inside the busy department store Luke and Joe headed to the food hall at the back. It was like a supermarket only posh. High on the walls were colourful photographs of grazing animals alongside stylish pictures of meat and fish dishes with captions like “Committed to Animal Welfare” and “RSPCA Freedom Foods”.

Luke turned to Joe.  “The leaflets said this shop is sellin’ ducks from factory farms so stick these on anythin’ with ducks in,” he said, handing Joe half the stickers. Then he reconsidered and took them back. “No, it’s busy so we’d better stick together. You pretend to be shoppin’ – get a basket – an’ I’ll put the stickers on.”

Joe fetched a basket and the two outlaws headed for the chilled section. They walked along the large glass-fronted cabinets and whenever they saw anything labelled ‘duck’ Joe reached up and pretended to be rummaging, picking things up, looking at them, putting them back, choosing something else. All the while Luke, screened from onlookers by his friend’s authentic movements, commenced putting stickers on plastic-wrapped trays of duck spring rolls, duck breasts with plum sauce, and duck legs with Hoisin sauce. Then they moved on to the freezer section and Luke stickered a pile of whole ducklings with giblets while Joe casually kept watch. After that they progressed to the tinned meat aisle but there was a man restocking the shelves. Luke whispered something to Joe who shook his head.

Luke frowned. “If you won’t do it, I’ll have to do it and you’ll have to do the stickers on your own!” he whispered.

Joe accepted the commission, preferring that to the alternative, so Luke approached the shelf-filler.  “’Scuse me,” he said politely, “I’ve lost me mum, can you put an announcement out for her?”

“Sure,” said the man, helpfully, “come with me.”

As soon as Luke and the man were out of sight Joe, as fast as he could, began stickering stacks of tinned duck cassoulet, duck confit and duck liver pãtè. He had to keep pausing, trying to look casual, every time someone entered the aisle, but as soon as they left he resumed. Sometimes the stickers were frustratingly difficult to peel off their backing paper but he took deep breaths to calm himself and persevered. When he heard the announcement for Mrs Kathryn Janeway to meet her son at the customer service desk he knew his time was up. With only one sticker left, he made his escape before the shelf-filler returned. The two boys rendezvoused in the toy department and left the shop unhindered, but not before Luke affixed their last remaining sticker to a yellow toy duck.

****

“What’s your name?” asked Isabel.

“Andy,” said the suited man, “what’s yours?”

“Isabel. Why do you dress like that?”

“In a suit you mean?”

“Yeah.”

“To look respectable.”

“Like an estate agent?”

Kris laughed.

“Well, that wasn’t exactly what I was going for,” said Andy.

“Oh, sorry,” Isabel apologised. “Like a bank manager then? Or a teacher?”

Kris laughed again.

Andy sighed. “Not like anything in particular,” he said, “just a regular upstanding citizen as opposed to a scary, pierced, tattooed, hippy dippy punk, like someone I could mention.”

“Heyyy!” Kris was mock-offended.

“I think she looks nice,” said Isabel.

“Yeah, she’s cool,” Tania agreed.

“Thanks guys,” Kris smiled.

“Yes yes yes, she’s very cool,” said Andy, “but she looks like a weirdo. If we want to persuade ordinary, mainstream people to take us seriously they have to be able to relate to us. We have to look ordinary. Approachable, respectable, non-threatening.”

At that moment a policeman arrived.

“Afternoon folks, have you got a permit for this stall?”

“Don’t need one officer, we’re not collecting money,” Andy replied.

“How long have you been standing here?”

“Got here about twelve o’clock didn’t we?”

“Yeah,” said Kris.

“And you’ve been here the whole time? All of you?” Kris and Andy nodded. “What about you two?” he asked Tania and Isabel.

“We got here about quarter past one,” Isabel told him.

“And where were you before that?”

“The library,” said Tania, deciding that their brief time in front of the RSPCA shop wasn’t worth mentioning.

“Nowhere else?”

“No.” The girls felt their faces flush.

“Can anyone vouch for that?”

“Is there a problem officer?” Andy intervened.

“Spittles have found stickers on a lot of their duck products. They’ve had to take a couple of hundred pounds worth of stuff off the shelves.”

Everyone behind the stall tried to keep their faces expressionless.

“Any stickers here?” the policeman asked as he browsed the stall, “you’ve got leaflets about Spittle’s factory farm duck. Did you do it?”

“Certainly not,” said Andy truthfully, “we’re just here to provide information.” The policeman looked sceptical. “Look,” Andy gestured to all the literature on the stall, “no stickers.”

“Nevertheless,” the policeman continued after a moment’s pause, “Spittle’s would like you to move away from their store.”

“We have every right …” Kris began to object.

Nevertheless,” the policeman repeated with emphasis, “I would like you to move your stall away from this store.”

“No problem officer,” Andy replied, “we can do that. No problem at all.”

Wearing a serious, ‘don’t mess with me’ expression, the policeman looked hard at Andy and Kris before nodding and turning away.

“This is exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid!” complained Andy. “Now they think we’re thugs.”

Kris shook her head. “I call that a win,” she said, “we weren’t going to get that duck off the shelves by just standing here handing out leaflets.”

“We’re playing a long game here Kris,” Andy argued, “we have to keep to the high moral ground. We can’t force the issue or it won’t stick. We’ve got to persuade people to do it for the right reasons, so they won’t renege later on.”

Kris shrugged as she continued piling leaflets into her battered shopper on wheels. The girls, who could see both sides of the argument, quietly exchanged glances before retrieving their clipboard. Andy folded the table and all four of them relocated outside the Arndale Centre.

“D’you think Luke and Joe will be able to find us?” Isabel asked Tania.

“I hope so,” said Tania, “if they don’t get here soon we’ll have to go. Our bus leaves in ten minutes.”

“Are you all going home together?” Kris asked.

“No, we don’t live in the same village,” said Isabel.

“Don’t worry then, if you’ve got to go, you go. I’ll explain it to them when they get here. If they get here.”

“Thanks.”

“Did you reach your target?”

“Nearly,” said Isabel, smiling, “Two hundred and ninety four.”

“Not a bad day’s work then,” said Kris.

The girls thanked her, said their goodbyes and made tracks for the bus station.

****

At the public toilets Luke was having trouble with the automated hand-washing machine. He’d been dispensed liquid soap, no problem, but after covering his hands with it he’d been unable to get any water. He moved his hands from left to right, trying to activate the sensor, but nothing happened.

“Don’t bother,” said Joe, wiping his hands on his trousers, “it doesn’t work.”

Luke was annoyed at the sticky mess. “We’d better get back to the others,” he said, grabbing a handful of toilet tissue.

“They’ll be gone by now,” said Joe, “their bus was at three.”

“Oh. Shall we go then?”

“Okay. Unless you wanna see the new Spiderman.”

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For more Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapters 17 to 24 are available in paperback:

Luke Walker and the Secret Society of animal stick up for-ers

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Good instincts

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

Mum opened the bedroom door.

“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”

“erm, no thanks,” he said without looking at her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?  You haven’t been yourself since we went to the Maybury Centre.”

Luke didn’t say anything.  Mum tried again.

“What happened to upset you?  I thought you’d like it there.”

Luke let go of his trains, sat back and looked at her.

“I’m fed up.”

“Why?”

“Coz I’m fed up of grown ups not doin’ what they say.”

Mrs Walker waited for more.

“Maybury is a animal sanctry wot says it teaches people to be kind to animals.  A man from Maybury even came to give a talk at school to tell us not to keep animals in small cages, or let them have puppies.”

“Okay,”

“So why do people whose whole job is lookin’ after animals and teachin’ other people to look after ’em prop’ly, still let animals be killed for food?  Why don’t they care about them animals?  Why do they on’y care about some animals?”

“What makes you think …”

“They sell dead animals in their cafe.”

“Really?  That does surprise me.”

“If I can’t trust people whose job is lookin’ after animals then I can’t trust nobody.  ‘cept myself!”

“Ooh, that’s hard.  No wonder you’re fed up,” said Mum sympathetically.

“And Joe,” he admitted.

“Well, that’s something.  But you know Luke, you shouldn’t give up.  You should tell them how you feel.  You should tell them you are offended by their decision to sell meat in their cafe.”

“I did tell ’em.”

“Good.  And what did they say?”

“Nothin’ sensible.  Jus’ said it was okay coz it was rangin’ and stainable.  Rubbish!”

“Tell them again.  Write them a letter.”

“What’s the point?  They won’t take no notice o’ me.”

Mrs Walker was sorry her son felt so discouraged.  It was a terrible thing to lose your faith in humanity at such a young age.

“The thing is,” she told him, “you never know when someone might listen.  The only thing you can be sure of is that if you don’t say anything, they definitely won’t get the message.”

Luke looked at her and didn’t say anything.

“Come with me, come and help decorate the tree,” she said.

When they got to the living room Jared and Dad already had things well underway.  The tree was gleaming with glittery gold and silver tinsel and different coloured shiny baubles.

“Mm, pretty good,” said Mum, “but it’s missing something.”

“The star for the top,” said Jared, “I’m just about to do it.”

“Something else,” said Mum and she left the room.

A moment later she was back with a small box from the kitchen.  She handed it to Luke.

“No Christmas tree is complete without a few sweet treats,” she said, smiling.

Luke looked in the box.  It was full of chocolate Santas.  On the wrappers were the words:

Moo Free Organic Chocolate,

DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN

Luke’s jaw dropped and his eyes lit up.

“Are these for me?”  he asked.

“No, greedy boy, they’re for all of us!  Why don’t you hang them on the tree?”

“But, … how come …?”

“I found your leaflets,” Mum explained.

“What leaflets?”

“The ones stuffed in the back pocket of your black cords; the black cords you shoved under the bed and forgot about I don’t know how long ago.”

“Oh, I wondered where they were.”

“Well I found them and I checked the pockets before putting them in the wash, and there were these leaflets.  One with a picture of a cow on the front entitled ‘The Dark Side of Dairy’ and one with a cute little brown and white piglet on the front entitled ‘Think Before You Eat’.”

“And you read them?”

“And I read them.”

“And that’s why …?”

“Yes it is,” she paused for a moment, searching for the right words.  “Luke,” she went on, “you have good instincts.  When you started this crusade for animals you did it on instinct.  You hadn’t been told any of the shocking facts and figures that are in those leaflets, you just knew it wasn’t right.  And you did something about it.  You spoke out bravely and you acted.  You broke the rules when you felt you had to and you endured punishments, but you never wavered; you never stopped fighting.”

Luke nodded.  He wasn’t sure why his mum was explaining something that she must have known he already knew, but he waited.  It would become clear eventually.  She continued.

“So I don’t want you to give up hope now.  I want you to know that if you keep trying, you will make a difference.  You have already made a difference for Curly and Little Squirt and the rabb.., er, the damsons, but even more than that, you’re a good influence on other people.”

Now, those were words Luke never thought he’d hear from his mother.

“You have been a good influence on us.”

At this point she took his hand, led him into the kitchen and opened the freezer.

“What d’you fancy for Christmas dinner?” she asked.

Luke looked in the freezer.  It was full – Mum always did a big shop for the Christmas holidays – and there were quite a few unfamiliar boxes and cartons.  He lifted them out one at a time to read the descriptions:

Cauldron Wholefood Burgers

Made with Chickpeas, Cauliflower, Aduki Beans, Broad Beans, Spinach, Onions, Garlic & Potatoes

Cauldron Wholefood Sausages

Made with Grilled Vegetables (Peppers, Courgette, Onion), Beans & Wheat

Cauldron Aduki Bean Melt

“The combination of aduki beans, spinach and mushrooms deliciously filled with mango chutney and carefully coated in breadcrumbs gives a satisfyingly moreish taste.”

Biona Red Lentil Sun Seed Burger

A flavoursome vegan burger made with red lentils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a subtle hint of spice. Made using all natural, organic ingredients and free from artificial colours or flavours. Perfect loaded with your favourite burger toppings, added to salads or dipped in sweet chilli sauce as a tasty and nutritious snack.

Can be eaten hot or cold.

Dee’s 6 Leek & Onion Vegan Sausages

The perfect partner to velvety mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, our Leek and Onion Sausages will become an instant family favourite on your weekly menu.

Dragonfly Organic Bubble & Squeak Tatty

Our Tatty is a vegetarian burger that has a real bubble & squeak feel about it, made using locally sourced cabbage and onions

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Country Pies

Vegetarian pie made from a shortcrust pastry base, filled with rehydrated textured soya protein in a rich onion and beef-style gravy, topped with a puff pastry lid.

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Vegetarian Cumberland sausage-style filling wrapped in puff pastry.

And there were three flavours of luxury organic vegan ice cream:

Booja Booja Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle, Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple and Booja Booja Caramel Pecan Praline.

Luke was no longer fed up.  He smiled broadly at his mum.

“Are these for all of us?”

“Yes they are.  For all of us,” she said happily, “and I got them from Besco’s.  They sell them in mainstream supermarkets Luke and that just shows how much progress you’re making.  That’s what happens when you speak out and you keep speaking out.”

Mrs Walker was treated to a rare hug which lasted a good half minute, and then Luke ran from the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” she called after him.

“I’ve got some letters to write!” he said.

Happy Christmas everybody!

We hope you have a good one!

❤ ❤ We’ll see you in the New Year! 😀 ❤ ❤

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A penchant for wandering off

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

“Luke!  There you are!” called Mum, “you do have a penchant for wandering off.”

Luke had no idea what a ponshon was but decided to take her word for it.

“Look what I’ve got!” she said.  She sounded excited.  “I won it!  Well, I bought so many tickets I almost bought it!”

Luke looked at the slightly torn, slightly scratched, slightly coming apart at one end, box she was carrying.  He could hardly believe it.

“Is that the same as ..?” he asked her.

“Exactly the same!” she said.  She sounded so happy.  “Here you are darling, this is yours.”

She was holding a Hornby R.793 King Size Electric train set.  It was exactly the same as Grandad Pete’s.  Grandad Pete was Mum’s dad and he loved trains.  He was a volunteer fireman at his local steam railway and he used to let Luke ride the engine with him when they visited at Easter and August bank holiday.  His Hornby train set had three locomotives – a King Henry VIII, a Class 29 (type 2) Bo-Bo, and a Class 3F Jinty Tank.  Plus it had coaches, wagons, trackside accessories and buildings.  It was brilliant.

Whenever they went to visit Grandad Pete, Luke and Grandad went up to the loft and played with the train set for hours.  It was always set up.  Always ready to play.

Grandad died the day after Luke’s seventh birthday.  He left Luke the train set in his will because he wanted it to go to someone who loved it as much as he had.

Sadly, Mum, because of an unfortunate series of events which were of no interest to Luke, accidentally backed over it with the car.  Luke had been devastated.  Mum equally so.  She couldn’t replace it because they didn’t make them like that any more.  And Luke didn’t want just any train set.  But now she’d found one.  And it really was exactly the same as Grandad’s.  Luke was momentarily lost for words.  He looked up at Mum’s glowing face.

“Thank you,” he tried to say but the words caught in his throat.  He was overwhelmed.  “Can we go home and set it up?” he asked.

“Now?” she asked, “are we done here?”

“I’m done here,” he replied.

***

On Christmas Eve, Luke pulled down the peak of his blue engine driver’s cap, blew his whistle and called,

“All aboard!”

The train pulled out of the station.  It picked up speed and smoothly rode the tracks through Lego town, across the Scarf-River bridge, under the Bed-Tunnel through Bed-Mountain, and onto the Blue Pillowcase Coast.  When it got to Seaside station it stopped to pick up Batman, Spiderman and a couple of soldiers on leave, before continuing on its journey to the end of the line.  There was a near accident when a giant brown and white dog stepped onto the track but tragedy was averted when a quick-thinking observer lured the animal out of harm’s way with a Digestive.

Outside, a car door slammed.

“Luke, Jared – Dad’s home.  He’s got the tree!” Mum called from downstairs, “come down and help me decorate it.”

Jared thundered down the stairs.  Luke was too busy.  Batman was late for a job interview – the train must keep going.  As it sped towards the old suspension bridge, the driver noticed two of the shoe lace suspenders had snapped, and the others looked like they’d struggle to take the strain.  He applied the brake but it was too late, the train was going too fast, it wouldn’t be able to stop in time.  Suddenly Spiderman climbed out of the window and ran along the roof of the train to the front.  He spun his web and ….

Mum opened the bedroom door.

“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”

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Story concludes tomorrow 🙂 or you can read the whole chapter right now 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction