Picture credit Lois Elsden.


Tales from the Strangled Ferret.

10 – Missing

Jack sat in the chair, in the ‘Ferret Project Office ( FPO ) that was an old shipping container. It was painted a dull reddish colour – what is called Red Admar. in the Royal Navy. It is a general purpose anti rust undercoat, resistant to salt water corrosion.  Down each side of the container was “MAERSK’ in big letters – the shipping line that used to own it. The container was good for the job because it was waterproof and secure. It was not very comfortable, no carpets, no fancy swivelling chairs, no expensive carved wooden desks, just the basics necessary to do the job, somewhere to brief people on the next task, somewhere to huddle around the small electric fire with a mug of builder’s tea at break time and somewhere to store any valuable materials and tools overnight.

He was under a lot of pressure. Jack was not really a project man, like Lame. He was more of an accountant, better with spreadsheets than handling a project that required parallel thinking. He was ok with handling the budget, that was what he had been used to before he retired, but he lacked knowledge of the building trades and he didn’t think in the same way as the men working on the site.They had an easy familiarity with the way buildings were built. They understood, without thinking about it, that studding went up before plasterboard and plasterboard before skimming and it was no good starting the decorating before the second fix was complete. Jack didn’t have this background knowledge so he didn’t see the problem with getting the plumbing in after the floors were complete or getting the electrics in after the plaster boarding was finished. This added to the costs and had tradesmen hanging around and tripping over each other. He badly needed some practical help.

George had finished the harvest, the winter ploughing and drilling the winter wheat so he was fairly quiet. Jack debated silently to himself, would George help or would he add to the chaos. Jack knew he had a clear picture in his head about sequences – after all, it was no good trying to harvest wheat before it was ripe or dry enough to store without sprouting. He thought he would give him a try, surely he couldn’t make things worse?

He called him in and sat him down with a mug of tea. ‘How do fancy taking over as Project Manager while I look after the money side of things, George?’

George looked at Jack, ‘are you trying to wind me up, I’m a farmer, not a project manager?’

‘Would you at least give it a try? With Lame missing, I am really snowed under and I don’t really understand building work.’

‘Well, ok then, I’ve got some jobs to sort out on the farm this afternoon and then I’ll be here first thing tomorrow, I keep farming hours so I’ll be in about 5. Is that OK with you?’

‘Err… yes, that’s fine. I’ll be here to let you in. Thanks for this George, I really appreciate your help.

‘No worries mate. I’ll bring my Apple MAC Air and If you can put the project plan on a data stick this afternoon so I can transfer it and get all set up ready to go by about 6. Have you been using MS Project? I prefer MAC project but I guess I can make do.’

Jack sat there open mouthed. This was a side of George he hadn’t seen before.

The phone rang.

‘FPO, Jack speaking,’ he said.

‘Don’t say my name but do you know who this is? Please do not tell anyone that I called you’ asked the voice.

‘Well, err, yes, OK’ said Jack.

‘I think the complexity of the present time seems to demand an awakening of our dreams if we are going to survive. Selfishness is born in the gap where transformation has been excluded. Only a seeker of the solar system may spark this explosion of consciousness. If you have never experienced this paradigm shift of unfathomable proportions, it can be difficult to believe. Jack, look within and fulfil yourself. Although you may not realise it, you are self-aware. Have you found your quest? It can be difficult to know where to begin. The infinite is calling to you via superpositions of possibilities. Can you hear it?

‘Are you OK? You seem a little strange to me, not at all the person I used to know. Where are you?’

“My conversations with other warriors have led to an unveiling of supra-internal consciousness. Throughout history, humans have been interacting with the nexus via superpositions of possibilities. Humankind has nothing to lose. Suffering is born in the gap where potential has been excluded. We can no longer afford to live with greed. Where there is turbulence, beauty cannot thrive. Reality has always been full of pilgrims whose essences are enveloped in wonder. We are at a crossroads of sharing and desire. We are in the midst of a mythic evolving of growth that will enable us to access the multiverse itself.

Imagine a redefining of what could be. You may be ruled by discontinuity without realising it. Do not let it erase the truth of your path. Bondage is the antithesis of non-locality. Only an entity of the cosmos may discover this rebirth of presence. You will soon be guided by a power deep within yourself — a power that is amazing, ever-present. Through acupuncture, our chakras are enveloped in awareness. As you reflect, you will enter into infinite beauty that transcends understanding.’

‘Where are you?. Let me come and fetch you. It’s sounds as if you need help. Let me help you.’

‘I have to go now, there are other intergalactic entities that need to mesh with my consciousness.’

There was a click and then silence. Jack hung up.

‘Who was that,’ asked George.

‘Err well, I can’t say at the moment, I have to decide what to do. I’ll see you in the morning George.’

‘OK, see you bright and early tomorrow.

‘G’night then George, I’ll stay here for an hour or so to try and sort out the budget.’

George went out the door and fired up his tractor to set off home to Ferret Five Furlong Farm.


George turned up on his John Deer at 5 the next morning. Jack was waiting in the container for him with a mug of tea and a warm electric heater.

‘If you grab that desk over there, George, there’s a socket behind it for your lap top and here’s the project plan – it is MS Project, as you expected, but we can get any software you need, just let me know. I need to go out all day so I’ll see you when I get back.’

‘OK Jack, just leave me to it and I’ll try to sort it out.


Jack got back to the FPO at 3. He saw that George was still there so he made him a mug of tea and then sat down for a chat. ‘How has it gone today, George,’ he asked.

‘I’ve made a few changes so I’ll just run them past you as we touch base and see if we are singing from the same hymn sheet.’

Jack was intrigued, he hadn’t heard George talking like this before. ‘What have you done so far George?’

‘I’ve changed the hours of work by introducing a shift system so that the different trades don’t get in each other’s way. They have all agreed to do this at no extra cost.

I’ve reduced the plumbers by 3, the brickies by 2 and the joiners by 1, we will still get the same amount of work out of them as they work more efficiently on the shift system. As they are now working shifts, I have arranged a handover meeting of  30 minutes at 1400 each day and ordered bacon sandwiches free for everyone, paid for out of the savings I have made. As we have a diverse workforce here I have ensured that the sandwiches are made with Halal bacon.

I’ve modified the critical path on the project plan so we should have the project finished 2 weeks and 3 days earlier. This will save us quite a bit of money. We will also  start selling beer two weeks earlier so we should get the turnover and profits going quicker.

There are a few more changes I would like to make but they will take a little longer so I shan’t get those in place until tomorrow afternoon, I just targeted the low hanging fruit first.’

Jack sat there with nothing to say, just grateful that things were going so well now that George was on the case. He now had time to wonder about that strange phone call and if there was anything he could do to help someone who was clearly not himself. Should he call the police and pass it on to them or try and sort it out himself?


© Richard Kefford                                                                                                        Eorðdraca


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