Claim To Flame

Another monthly flash fiction tale.  This one’s theme was “flame”, or any variant thereof.

I swung myself into the beer garden of The Crooked Stump, finding Brad, Terry, Stephen and Jules already there.

“ADAM!” they roared as one.

I waved back at my mates as best I could without overbalancing.  They had chosen a round wooden picnic table not far from the fairy tale toadstool slide in the children’s playground.  Of course they had.  Not only was it a splendid evening, but Jules needed a place to take a puff.

“Hey mate, discharged eh?” remarked Brad.

“Or did you just smack the nurse on the arse and get kicked out?” Terry hooted.  Cue wild, puerile laughter from the rest of them.

I carefully eased myself onto the edge of one of the seats and stowed my crutches under the table.

“Not likely, given he was a man,” I replied, wincing as a sudden pain shot up my leg.

“That foot still painful, mate?” said Jules, a cigarette poised before his lips.

“Sometimes,” I groaned.

“You’re bloody lucky you didn’t lose the whole thing,” said Brad, looking pale.

“The doctors said it could have been a lot worse if I hadn’t got boots on,” I told them, “Or the lawn mower had a more powerful engine.”

“Well, count yourself lucky, Adam,” said Stephen.  “You’re back out in time to enjoy the rest of the summer.  How was your stay in hospital?”

“Not bad,” I shrugged, “Competent, friendly staff, clean wards, good facilities.  I even made friends with one of the patients; Caroline Eastman.  She manages a theatre not far from here, when she’s not having her ankle set in plaster.”

“Asked you to meet her backstage some time, eh?” Terry quipped.

“Do your thoughts ever come from above the waist, Terry?” Brad protested.

Apropos of this, Stephen decided to change the subject.

“Tell you what, Adam, we were discussing old TV, Power Rangers, Playdays and all that.  Remember any good shows?”

“What about The Elementals?” I suggested.  “Did you guys watch that?”

“DID I EVER?” Brad blurted out.  “Who was your favourite?  I liked Flood the best, you know, with his icicle darts and that magical surfboard he rode on.”

“For me, it was a cross between him and Typhoon,” said Jules, tapping ash into the ashtray in the middle of the table.  “Remember how he could fight using thunderstorms and tornados?  KABOOM!”

There was laughter and general assent at this.

“I tell you what,” added Stephen, “Not many kids liked Tremor much, but he had a sort of charm for me.  Sure, he was a big, dumb man-boulder, but he was kinda loveable, like a little brother or something.”

“Yeah, you would like him, you weirdo,” Terry snorted, “But can we just talk about Flame for a second?  God, she was gorgeous!  She was like my first crush!  Remember that red hair that flickered upwards when she was covered in fire, and that yellow suit stretched out over her boobs, or those legs?  Christ, Jessica Rabbit’s a dog compared to her!”

“Yeah, she was hard to beat,” I agreed drily.  “I tell you what, let me get my phone out a second…”

I connected to the pub’s WiFi network and opened YouTube.  Then I looked up The Elementals outro so I could play it to them all.

“Alright! I lived to hear this music!” Brad cried joyfully.

Stephen broke into a smile and Jules began humming along to the rocking beat of the theme song.

“Adam, you’re a star,” Terry smiled.  “I tell you, if I could…  Hey!  Don’t pause it, you muppet!”

“Don’t throw a hissy fit, Tez,” I chuckled.  “Take a look at the names right there.  Any seem familiar?”

My four friends’ eyes went as round as saucers.  On the screen, they quite clearly saw, under the credit title Voice Talents, the name Caroline Eastman.

“That’s right, boys,” I said, grinning from ear to ear.  “I shared a hospital ward with the lady who played the hottest heroine of our childhood.  And she’s promised me and whoever I bring with me a discount if we ever come to see one of her plays.  What do you say, Terry, guys?  Fancy going to meet Flame?”

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