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Web Site Story

by Robert Rankin

A Sneak Preview

Prologue: Brentford And Beyond

It was joy, joy, happy joy.

Happy, happy joy.

A big fat smiley sun rose up above the rooftops and beamed down its blessings onto the borough known as Brentford.

In the memorial park, the flowers awoke in their well-tended beds, yawned open their petals and grinned at the sky. Sparrows chorused in their treetop roosts, fussed at their feathers and made their plans for the day ahead. A milk float bumbled up the Ealing Road and stopped before the Flying Swan. Where Mr Melchizedec, cap upon his red-faced head, placed two pints of the finest gold-top onto the well-worn step. He tousled the head of a snoozing Tomcat, returned to his float upon unfashionable footwear, whistled a tune of his own composing and continued upon his way.

It was good to be alive upon such a day and Mr Melchizedec knew this.

Others knew it too. Others who chose to stir from their cosy beds, throw wide their curtains and gaze out upon such a day.

Such a day was a Monday, the third of Rune in the year two thousand and twenty-two. And it was a very good day indeed.

It was a very good day for at least three reasons. Firstly because the sun was shining, which always made for a very good day.

Secondly because it was the first Monday in the month, which under the new administration, made it a bank holiday. All first Mondays in the month now being bank holidays. And thirdly, because this was Brentford, where it is always very good to be, no matter the day or the weather.

The folk of Brentford were happy folk. They had always been happy folk. And, if left alone to be it, they would no doubt always be happy folk.

Not that being left alone was an easy thing to be. The world that lay beyond the great triangle that enclosed the borough: a triangle formed from the Great West Road, the ancient River Thames and the Grand Union Canal: had a tendency to encroach at times. Fads and fashions tried, mostly without success, to elbow their wicked ways within. The good folk of the borough were ever alert. Ever vigilant. Ever prepared to defend what was theirs. Because what was theirs, was special.

It didn't look much, Brentford. Just rows of terraced Victorian houses, a single outcrop of flat blocks, some shops and pubs and this's and that's and whatnots. It simply seemed suburbia. But it wasn't. It was more and it was special.

How special? Why special? Ah.

There was a magic here. A magic that was hard to put a name to, hard to quantify and pin down. But it was there, in the brickwork and the slates, the paving slabs and cobblestones. It slept and it dreamed, but its dreams reached out to the folk who lived there and touched their lives and made them glad.

Beyond the great triangle was another world apart. Here things moved at speeds that troubled the glad Brentonians. Here was technology and change. Ever change. And change can be a thing to fear, for change for the sake of change alone, is rarely change for the good.

So to speak.

And change in that big wide world beyond had been quite plenteous of late. And how this change had come about and what it would mean to the folk of the borough has much to do with the telling of our tale and so should best be touched upon here.

So let us touch upon it.


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