Dec 06, 2021
2 mins read
Outside, the sun beats down on the rough but trying town. It fights through the smoke and the soot and the ash, gilding the grey stones. Spring is greening the avenues, and the birds sing out. Under Smoke City is all bluster and bombastic cheer, station, square, docks and factories shining in the bright day.
Eric Cobham hurries passed, with quick steps, on the way to his fortune, to finance his wife's dreams.
ERIC COBHAM : Where's your dignity. Calm down.
Spring winds through the city as an Iskander winds springs.
HAJAR ISKANDER : Slow, can you do that? You will never run well if you run fast.
Spring even rides the silver waters of the lake with the plain sails and steamers beneath the swollen and swaying airships, calling to the leaving Lovell.
JOHN LOVELL : There is no reason to return to that God-forsaken hole.
The breeze from the lake brings more memories to Captain Flynn.
CAPTAIN FLYNN : No, I'll not drown with your ship, by God, whose ship is this? Have I not my own, my Seahawk?
Muna Lut says very softly to herself as she looks out on her station platforms from the neat-as-a-pin porters' offices,
MUNA LUT : It's only spring and still the low traffic season yet, though the bank holiday's soon.
And in Marjory Proops' perfectly clean and sparkling kitchen where only the smallest and neatest appliances go for restful retirement, the curlers and the nightgown are still in evidence although the only appliance expected to work for its living has boiled several times to refresh and reheat the brewing flower-painted pot, while the wrinkled, worn lady of the house squints and sips her way through the local paper with strong tea.
MARJORY PROOPS : Theft in Green Avenue, no arrests. Taken: mother's gold jewellery (various), Iskander watch, father's portrait, christening silver, insurance job. Fire at some factory, some old hole, lost goods, no-one hurt, money, boss gone. Police service budget cuts and downsizing. People waiting for hospital beds should be sent over the lake for treatment and appointments. Puppy saved. Some rich girl marrying some rich boy in the big Follardby church in a big white princess dress. The usual small ads for the usual tat. Under Smoke City still a dirty hole in Greenshire,
THE ADVERTISER : A thriving hive of modern industry on the edge of a glorious green national park. Unfettered from the strictest British legislation through our palatinate history. We have become the home of British manufacturing. Yet this has come at a very real cost as our community drowns under the constant flood of new workers. We see our own replaced with offcomers foreign to our silver lake’s shores. They do not even try to fit in. Not like the earlier waves of settlement that made our city great. The city can take no more. These immigrants are driving down the wages of the local-born and send the money their home lands. They spend nothing on local goods and do nothing but take our jobs, our money and our homes from us. They steal the food from our children’s mouths and expect to marry them. If this goes on we shall all be in the Workhouse. With our foreign-speaking mixed blood grandchildren. May God defend us from this flood because our leaders are too busy chasing the mighty sterling. This must stop so we remain, the eternal, Under Smoke.
MARJORY PROOPS : and then a small ad for a Polish speaker. What morals!