I was thinking about blueberries this morning and how you wouldn’t get them in space. You can’t get them in a lot of places on Earth either but in space it would be very difficult. Or on Mars. For some reason people are thinking about living on Mars. Like they’ve just given up with all of the problems on Earth and they’ll just start over on another planet. But what if they can’t. What if they can’t leave behind the things that made life here on this planet a problem? Not just blueberries, but things in their hearts that nibble away at happiness and make a restlessness that doesn’t have a reason. On the other hand maybe a fresh start isn’t such a bad idea. At least that’s what Suschewalden’s only hairdresser, Mrs Bowsplint, put about as the reason for the town’s most enigmatic and eligible bachelor’s reason for moving to the hamlet.
Not a bad reason, not a specific reason, but precisely the sort of reason that made sense. Not that anyone bothered to argue while they were having their tresses coiffed. No one with any sense argues with a person wielding sharp scissors inches from your head. The subject of this perennially fresh discussion was Dee Hadrikson, short for the unknown correct full name of W.D. Hadrikson. Never mind that he seemed perfectly happy to continue his existence as sole police officer, and a few other offices, of the town. Never mind that he seemed content to unravel the sometimes prickly relations and situations of a small town where everyone, except the tourists, knew everyone else. Never mind that he received regular mail and packages from people also called Hadrikson – this she had on good authority from the shop keeper’s wife who also worked as post distributor. He was obviously lonely and needed someone special in his life, and Mrs Bowsplint was not a woman who gave up on people who needed her help.
So on this particular fine day as Officer Hadrikson offered practical advice and gentle commiserations to the tourists stranded in their little town due to an unfortunate incident involving a large fish and their windscreen, his quiet ordered life was about to be assaulted. As the annual Fish Fall came to an end, the final day was always marked by a dance and supper. Usually involving quite a few fish dishes. The clean-up would begin in earnest the next day with high pressure water hoses borrowed from the fire department. The entire town would smell of fish and lemon detergent for at least another week. However the affair was one of the highlights of the Suschewalden social calendar and everyone would be there. A prime hunting ground for singles of all ages.
But the only single person Mrs Bowsplint had in her sights was Dee. Her only problem was deciding who would be on her shortlist from the promising unattached young women of the town. She pondered her choices as she combed and snipped at her station which was strategically placed so she could view the entire street through the large plate glass window. Only part of her mind was on the professional patter she kept up with her customer. Although her mind sorted through the flow of words and filed away snippets for later perusal, rather like an algorithm prowling through the data flow streams picking out key words and images. The run-away dog that flashed past the window was instantly noted—collar, trailing leash, breed, coat colour, direction of flight and a dozen other details. Had a large law enforcement organisation known of Mrs Bowsplint’s talents they may have either been very concerned or offered her a job. However, today her talents for dog catching would not be required, as in hot pursuit was an attractive young lady in training gear.
In the few seconds it took for her to traverse the shop window, Mrs Bowsplint had noted her classic profile, her attire, hair colour, hair style and aerobic fitness. What she hadn’t been able to note was young woman's name or address - and Mrs Bowsplint knew everyone's name and address. There was someone new in town.
New people were always of interest to Mrs Bowsplint. Especially when they fit the criteria on her shortlists. She didn’t for a moment pause to consider that her fit dog-chaser might simply be a passing visitor or already be in a committed relationship. She trusted her instincts when it came to such things, and had a feeling a certain young woman would be needing a haircut soon. After all, everyone needed to feel fresh when they made a new start in a new place, where they hardly knew anyone.
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Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.