He was an experienced Navel Arkitect and had been designing and building Arks for many years since he qualified at Southampton University. For reasons associated with his family and work pressures, he kept an office just off Lambeth High Street in London although he often had to travel to ship building yards around the world – frequently China and Korea where the ships were built these days to keep his client’s costs down.
He had been working on Arks and container ships over the last few years. He subbed out the ore carriers and other bulkers to his contacts as he built up his specialist skills. His most unusual job had been about ten years ago when he had been commissioned by an agent to design and build a wooden ship to carry a breeding pair of all the animals on the Earth and enough of their special feed to keep them going for a period of forty days and nights. He never did find out who the client was as it started to rain and then kept on raining during the build and animal collection and he only just managed to complete the job before the whole Earth flooded. He gave the job the code of Mark One Ark or MArk1 for short. As there was a bit of a shortage of trees in Lambeth, he subbed out the actual building work to a company called Gilgamesh plc in Middle Potamia. It went quite well except that he had to work in the new, to him, units of length called cubits – not to be confused with the computing term of Q bit.
He headed out of he office for lunch today at his favourite pub, The Old Bull and Bush, a few yards down Lambeth High Street. As he walked down the road, he was surprised to hear and see fire engines rushing down the High Street in the same direction as himself. As he neared the pub, he saw a plume of smoke rising from the beer garden. He asked one of the many bystanders what was going on.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked.
‘It seems that the barbecue in the beer garden got tipped over and it set light to the original bush that the pub is named after – no Old Bull,’ said the bystander.
‘That’s a shame as all the sound equipment for the outdoor disco was hung from that bush wasn’t it?’ he queried.
‘Yes, but you seem to know all about it, how’s that then?
‘I’ve done some work in the past for their children’s play area and I’ve been a customer for many years,’ confirmed Archie. ‘I’ll go in and see what needs to be done.’
‘You be careful then mate, them barbecues can be dangerous,’ warned the bystander.
‘Don’t worry, I’ve got my Hi Vis jacket in my rucksack.’
By the time Archie got through the health and safety cordon into the garden, the bush was only smouldering, so not really burning but the landlord was testing the audio system to see if it was still working. He asked if Archie would stand there and listen while he went inside to test the microphone.
‘Would you stand here and listen while I go inside and test the microphone?, asked the landlord. It was not a problem for Archie.
‘No problem,’ said Archie.
Archie expected the landlord’s voice to come out of the burning bush but a voice he didn’t recognise said, ‘Is that Archibald Noah there or Archie Pelago?’
‘Err, yes, I am Archie Noah’ said Archie, ‘although I don’t normally use the bald bit as it is obvious that I am losing my hair and I don’t like drawing attention to it. I don’t normally talk to bushes in a pub garden anyway as it will get me a strange reputation.’
‘Well you should stop using the hair from your armpit for a comb-over then, it’s too obvious in this wind. I was your client for the last Arken project and now I have a another project for you. Apart from a few issues, I was quite impressed with the last Ark you designed, I thought it was a real Ark de Triomphe. Well, that is excusing the fact that you forgot to carry out the risk assessment about having carnivores and herbivores on the same deck; I will never forgive the lions for eating the last unicorns. I’d like another Ark, but bigger this time than that one. I want it to have fifteen stories instead of three.’
Archie thought that fifteen stories would be impossible and too big for all the animals anyway.
‘But I have locked all my cubits away and, anyway fifteen stories is impossible. That would be too much room for all the animals’ protested Archie.
‘Not only do I want fifteen stories but I want all those decks to be filled with fish. And not only do I want no animals and all fish but I want there to be a specific type of fish. I want them all to be carp.’
‘The MArk2 to have fifteen stories and all to be full of carp? That is ridiculous!’ protested Archie.
‘You are a righteous man and I am the lord thy god so you will bend to my will,’ thundered the bush.
‘Well, you are the Man, I suppose, but who is this Bill who is in charge and why do you want all this anyway? Is there another flood coming guv?
‘No, it’s because I can, I am omnipotent after all. I have always wanted a multi story car park.’
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