John’s watch buzzed, distracting him from the task at hand. Rolling his eyes he continued to complete what he was doing. Thirty seconds later the vibration from his watch was even greater this time, making his teeth chatter. Thinking the next vibration may shatter his wrist, John reluctantly dropped what he was doing and looked at the face of his watch flashing a message back at him.
SCHOOL PICK UP AT 4pm – DON’T BE LATE THIS TIME, DAD!
“Oh fuck,” thought John, why does school pick up always slip his mind? He knew why really. It was because he resented it greatly and it meant every working day was reduced by at least two to three hours, whilst he tried to get his bone idol teenager back and forth from school. Not a day went by where he didn’t contemplate home schooling Matilda or starting her early in the family business. Then he realises what a pain in the butt she is and gladly carts her off to school.
Dashing out of the building leaving the job half finished was going to piss off his employers but he decided it was worth the risk and who else was going to pick his kid up? John’s wife died many years ago and he’d not found anyone to put up with him since then. If he was lucky he could do the pick up, walk his daughter home to chill out and then he could be back to finish the job within an hour.
Problem was John needed to be at Matilda’s school in 15 minutes and he had no car today due to an unexpected shunting incident earlier in the week. His brain had fed him this information along with the only solution seconds ago but he was hoping it was wrong. There had to be another way to get to the school on time! There wasn’t.
John’s face was on red alert as he raged at the world for putting him in this position. Strolling up to the nearest entrance of the Devil’s Walkway he saw the cameras in every tree filming him. He knew nobody took this route unless they had a death wish. However, facing his overly dramatic daughter for being late was much worse. He walked down the steps towards the sunken path which led all the way to his destination taking in deep breaths to calm his nerves.
The second his feet reached the pathway a loud alarm sounded followed by a voice saying “WELCOME LATEST CONTESTANT TO THE DEVIL’S WALKWAY! OVER THE NEXT MILE YOU WILL ENGAGE A SERIES OF OPPONENTS IN COMBAT. YOUR ENTIRE JOURNEY IS BEING LIVE STREAMED FOR ALL TO SEE. REMEMBER, THANKS TO THE SUPPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT THERE ARE NO LAWS IN THIS WALKWAY SO ANYTHING GOES. GOOD LUCK AND MAY YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION IN ONE PIECE!”
Rolling his eyes at the cheesiness of it all, John loosened his tie, pulled out his shirt and began to sprint down the path hoping he could out run whoever and whatever got in his way. He remembered when this got approved by the local council and all the opposition it continued to receive on and offline. The problem was he was so deep in thought that he didn’t notice the huge round piece of metal heading for his face.
Knocking him off his feet and sending a huge soul shuddering sore sensation through his head, John lay on the floor, dazed, full of regret for taking this path in the first place. He closed his eyes trying to stop his head spinning when someone came into his blurry line of sight. With his hazy vision subsiding he could now see that the person who hit him in the face appeared to be an elderly lollipop lady. She gave John a friendly grin, so he grinned back hoping for mercy and more time to recover. Sadly her smile soon evolved into a grimace as she lifted the pointy end of her metal lollipop spear over her head. John’s eyes shot open, he blinked three times quickly and took in a huge and possibly final breath. This had gone tits up far too early on and now he needed to think fast. Mrs Lollipop thrust the spear downwards towards John’s chest whilst making a humongous scream. With her eyes tightly shut the spear stopped dead in the air supposedly when it pierced John’s chest. Mrs Lollipop was surprised he hadn’t made more noise whilst dying. Her eyes opened to assess the carnage and they met John’s hands that were tightly holding the spear inches away from his rib cage. Before she could even compute what was happening John, still holding the pole tightly, shoved the round metal lollipop on the other end into her head sending her toppling backwards. Flailing his legs around towards the ground, John shot up still holding the deadly road crossing tool.
Mrs Lollipop was struggling to stand and a trickle of blood was coming from her mouth. Before she could retaliate John mouthed “Sorry!” and swung the round metal scythe towards her face. Slicing through the lollipop lady’s head, it slowly slipped and then slopped onto the ground closely followed by the lifeless rest of her.
John had hoped he could avoid any combat today but when it’s him or them, his training kicks in. Not the best use of his special set of skills but as long as he got this over with quickly, hopefully not many people would see the live stream and cause an international incident. Looking quickly at his watch he had ten minutes to get there!? Back on the run, lollipop in hand, somehow John had to speed up.
Either side of the walkway was enclosed by high fences and bushes so all he could do was keep going forward. Fifty metres ahead he thought at first he was seeing double but two additional lollipop ladies were waddling towards him with fierce looks on their faces. He didn’t have time to deal with them separately so, continuing to run towards his opponents, John began to wrestle the round lollipop head off its pole. Seconds away from facing double trouble he managed to separate the circle of death off its fastenings and immediately flung it at one of the angry ladies. Hitting her hard in the chest she collapsed to the floor, whilst John ran at speed towards the other lady and javelined the pole into her throat without losing his stride. Three down, many more to come and only eight minutes left to get to school pick up.
“CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE ENTERING PHASE TWO…”
Ignoring the commentary blaring out of the hidden bush-based speakers, John could see his prayers had been answered when his latest opponents appeared around the bend. Heading towards John at pace were four Lycra clad men on their high end bikes. The hatred John had for these sad “knob ends” was off the charts. Laughable excuses for men thinking they are part of the Tour De France whilst they disrupt roads and footpaths with their delusional pathetic pastime.
All four of the cyclists fanned out, blocking the entire walkway and then sped up ready to run John over. Matching their speed, John waited until the last second and leapt towards the saddo cyclist on the left with his knee up, connecting cleanly with their jaw sending them flying off their bike into a bush. The other three bike-based buttheads screeched on their brakes and leapt off their metal steeds to help their fallen compadre. They all engaged with John at the same time causing him to receive multiple hits to the face, arms and legs. He blocked a few, his bruised lip started to throb, but he couldn’t sustain this for long. Grabbing the helmet clip of cyclist prick number two, John unclicked and wrestled the fluorescent hat off their smug head and immediately thwacked them in the face with it. John wanted to see how much impact and damage these helmets can sustain as he dished out his own brand of justice. Every hit he gave these disruptive bastards felt so good. One of them got a helmet punch to the gut followed by a Lycra wedgie for good measure. Within 30 seconds the bravado from these Lance ArmWeakAsFucks had dribbled away and they were lying in individual pools of blood, tears and loose teeth.
John grabbed one of the bikes and cycled off down the lane towards the next phase of soon to be bruised and injured members of the public. The hope was that now he was on a bike he could swerve any further delays. The standard congrats from the speakers whaled out towards him but again he blocked it out. His plan to swerve danger went out of the window when an elderly lady with a dog stepped out in front of him. Slamming on the brakes, the back tyre of the bike left the ground momentarily but John was able to stop in time.
“Thank you dear!”
He smiled at the old dear. Before John could realise she meant thank you for making her job easy, she swung her dog at his face. This calm, cute little shaggy thing had evolved into all terrifying teeth and doggy phlegm. John caught the dog by the face, specifically both sides of its furry jaw, and with it still barking dog obscenities towards him, he threw it back at the old lady at pace. The dog embedded itself in her face. She disappeared off the side of the path with her feet in the air and that was the last thing John saw before cycling off. Other doggers appeared but he was able to speed past them. Those angry owners let their dogs go so they could chase him. John now had an angry snarling procession behind him ready to bite him in the arse if he slowed down or stopped.
He only had four minutes left until pick up and the dogs had thankfully stopped chasing him. He really didn’t want to lower himself to hurting pets today. His mind was so on reaching the finishing line that John didn’t even see the two pensioners he passed on their mobility scooters. With the finishing line in sight, John heard the roar of the engines. Looking behind he saw two elderly men zooming down the path towards him like a scene from Fast, Old and Fucking Furious. Despite being in their 80s both pensioners looked much younger than the veiny cock faced, wrinkle machines of Vin Petrol and The Pebble.
A moment later he was part of a souped up mobility scooter sandwich and these pensioners were ready to squish their two revved up slices together. Before John’s sandwich fate was sealed he leapt towards the laughing pensioner on the right hand scooter. Landing just behind this elderly threat, John chopped at their neck causing them to pass out. The scooter ground to a halt. John carefully picked up the pensioner - who was heavier than they looked - and left them at the side of the walkway.
Climbing aboard the speedy scooter, John checked out the controls and it seemed to be easy enough. His swift review of the vehicle was rudely interrupted by the other pensioner who had stopped 20 metres down the walkway. They proceeded to shout threats down the path towards John.
“Hey! I’ll make you pay for what you did to Wilf. You’ll have to get through me to reach the finish line!”
Rolling his eyes knowing what needed to be done, John hated playing games of chicken with people because they never ended well… for them. With two minutes left until pick up, John slammed his thumb down on the mobility scooter accelerator and shot off towards the aged antagonist. Time had run out for John to be nice and considerate. If he was late for pick up the wrath would be long and painful compared to anything he was about to do. His speedy opposition was heading towards him with their false teeth barely staying in their mouth.
The acceleration of these scooters was insane but with years of remaining calm under pressure, John waited until the last split second before making his move. Clambering himself up onto the seat, John let go of the accelerator, leaping forward into the air and flying over the head of the other scooter. The bewildered pensioner, distracted by the flying human soaring over his head, forgot to brake and became part of a huge fireball cremation incident that could be seen far and wide and on multiple platforms. The memes and gifs were live seconds later.
Finishing off his life saving leap with a tuck and roll, John didn’t wait to assess the damage as he crossed the finish line, heard some cheesy nonsense from the loud speaker and headed up the incline, out of the gate, across the road towards the school. Checking his watch he saw he was only a minute late. Not bad, considering. Even though John had been serving up secret varieties of pain for decades, his levels of strength and resilience never failed to surprise him.
“I see you’ve been busy” said Matilda strolling up to her dad to check out the damage up close.
“Could’ve been worse. There’s some lollipop ladies who won’t be walking normally for a while” smirked John causing his bruised lip to hurt.
“I know! It’s all over social media.” Matilda tutted at her Dad a few times whilst shaking her head. Suddenly a thought crossed her mind realising John didn’t bring the car.
“How are we getting home?”
Staring into the eyes of his darling daughter, they shared a moment together. John, conveying the struggle he’d just gone through to get here nearly on time. Matilda, realising her Dad had not only embarrassed her online but now they were going to have to do it again to get home.
Stamping her feet hard into the floor Matilda let out a long sigh and then a growl of frustration until her hands were raised and curled into clenched fists.
“Okay old man, let me show you how it’s really done.”
Watching his daughter furiously barge past him towards the alley way, John felt a warm sense of pride knowing what was about to happen.