Suitable for all readers



Roller Coaster



  by Polly Amber



Thunderbirds is a Gerry Anderson creation, licensed by Carlton International Media Limited,  The Redmond family and Al are my own creations. This story is G rated. The Happy Valley Amusement park is fictitious. I have never been to Kansas so if there happens to be a park with the same name it is merely coincidental. 


In the midst of a turquoise blue Pacific ocean, the small island looked a haven of peace and tranquillity.  Waves slowly lapped a palm fringed shore.  From the air the island appeared to be uninhabited, but on closer inspection anyone flying low enough would be able to make out the luxury villa belonging to billionaire Jeff Tracy and his family.  Today in the Tracy household there was anything but peace and tranquillity.  In the spacious lounge the television set was on at full blast and the sports commentator was whipping up excitement for the most important ball game of the year.


"Ten minutes to the ball game," called Gordon, a copper-haired young man of twenty two.  He was immediately joined by the male contingent of the Tracy household, his father and three of his brothers.  They jostled for prime position on the sofa as they gathered around the television set.  One of the brothers was absent, but his portrait gazed serenely down on his siblings as they settled to watch the match.


Scott, the eldest brother regarded the portrait with a frown.


"Don't you dare, John.  Not this afternoon.  This is the most important game of the decade.  The Kansas Rangers against New York Bears."


"It would be just our luck to get called out in the middle of the game.  Things have been so quiet lately I'm sure we will soon get a call.  But please God! Not now!"  Virgil raised his eyes skywards and clasped his hands together.


"Budge up," instructed youngest brother Alan, as he squeezed on to the sofa between Scott and Virgil .  Tin Tin who had just walked into the room with the boys’ Grandmother remarked that she couldn't see what all the fuss was about.  It was just a ball game!


"It's not just any old ball game, Tin Tin. That's the Kansas Rangers. I've been a fan of theirs since I was your age. I'm right there with you boys."


Gordon gave her a hug and let her have his chair.


"Good for you Grandma!"


Tin Tin, for once had been let down by her staunchest female ally.  She shrugged her shoulders and decided to seek a bit of peace elsewhere.


"Well I suppose I could make myself busy in the kitchen. I'm sure you will all want refreshments for half time."


"That's my girl," said Alan somewhat patronisingly.


"Yeah Tin Tin, a  cold beer would go down nicely right now," hinted Scott.


Tin Tin stalked out of the room in a huff.



   Back at the stadium the commentator was marking time by relaying general interest stories about the town hosting the game. This game was very important for them.  The sports stadium had been revamped to the cost of several million dollars.  The town's Mayor had spruced the place up a bit, in anticipation of the extra revenue the tourist trade would bring in.  The streets had been swept so clean you could eat your lunch off them and brightly coloured flowers adorned window boxes and hanging baskets.  As the cameras panned the town and surrounding countryside, Jeff and his mother were wallowing in nostalgia . This was their home town.  Jeff had been born there and his parents had once owned an extensive  wheat farm with acres of prime fertile land.  As the images appeared on the screen, Grandma could hardly contain her excitement.


"Look this is where I grew up. This was the old school house.  It makes me kinda nostalgic to see the old place again."


"I know what you mean, Mother.  I was thinking the very same thing," mused Jeff. "Do you boys remember the ball games we used to go to?"


"Sure do,” said Scott


"My, how uncomplicated life was back then," sighed Grandma.


"Well, life has never seemed uncomplicated for me,” replied Jeff.  “I was busy training to be an astronaut. Then when my career took off and I had a family to raise, I was sure glad you were able to have the boys during those long summer holidays."


"Yeah the times we had on that farm. We were never bored," added Virgil. " I remember riding on the combine with Grandpa helping him bring in the harvest."


"Ah those were golden days," sighed Grandma wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.



  Their reminiscences were interrupted by an announcement that there would be a short commercial break before the start of the game. The first commercial showed a large archway over what looked like the entrance to a ranch.  It had 'Welcome to Happy Valley'  written across it.  A cartoon character of a large brown harvest mouse, clutching an ear of wheat appeared on the screen.  It stood under the archway and beckoned the viewers inside.


"Welcome to Happy Valley," it exhorted in its shrill mousy voice, "There's nothing corny about the big Kansas welcome waiting for all of you kids out there.  Whatever your age, the kid in you will always find something to do in Happy Valley."


"Is that place still going?  I remember my folks taking me there when I was a girl," said Grandma.


"You and Grandpa took us too," said Scott. "Look, I remember that roller coaster ride."


"So do I," said Virgil. "Put me off roller coasters for life!  It was a real bone shaker back then.  I'm surprised it hasn't been condemned.  I recall spending most of the ride picking bits of Alan's hot dog out of my hair!"


Everyone started to laugh, except Alan who looked mildly embarrassed.  The trouble with being the youngest in the family, was that your older siblings never forgot your most embarrassing incidents.


"I was just a kid," he protested. "And it was a greasy hot dog.  When we looped the loop my stomach did too."


"Still it was good training for a would-be astronaut," laughed Jeff. "When you first went into Space you spent most of your time feeling sick."


 Alan was keen to change the subject. "Look, the game's starting now."


At that moment the eyes on John's portrait began to flash.


"Oh no!" groaned Scott and Virgil in unison.


"Go ahead John," said Jeff, pressing the switch under his desk, which upended a crystal ashtray disguising a hidden intercom.


John's handsome face beamed impishly from his portrait frame. "Just checking to see if you are watching the game."


"Of course we are," Virgil almost snapped at him.


"You haven't got a call for us have you?" asked Scott tentatively.


"Nope, just thought I'd wind you all up.  It all seems quiet at the moment."


"Good, let’s hope it stays that way for at least the next two and a half hours," said Scott looking more relaxed


"So do I.  It promises to be a riveting game." And with that John signed off.


"Poor old John," remarked Alan. "Half the fun of watching a ball game is being with other people.  It's not the same on your own."


"I know what you mean," said Scott. "You need the excitement of being in a crowd."




   As the crowd cheered their home team, it seemed as if the entire population of the state of Kansas were either at the game, or watching it on their sets at home. However, there was one person who had more important things on his mind.  Five miles down from the stadium, a bloated middle-aged man was sitting at his desk in the shoddy portacabin he used as his office.  He was having an argument with one of his employees.


"What do you mean it creaks!" he drawled. "Of course it creaks.  Metal structures do that from time to time, especially in this heat. Metal expands and it contracts.  AND IT CREAKS!"


"But sir, this sort of creaking just doesn't sound right."


"A few creaks are nothing to worry about. it has been running for years. The old stuff was built to last."


"If it has been maintained regularly."


"Of course it has been maintained.  Like I said it has been running for years."


"That's what I'm worried about.  This structure must be about fifty years old.  When did it last undergo a safety check?"


The fat man behind the desk looked furtive and mumbled. "The safety officers came and looked it over a week ago."


"Well let me see the report.  What did they say?"


"The fat man started to perspire and look flustered.  "Well obviously it's getting old, and there are a few minor repairs that will have to be seen to.  But that ride is the centrepiece of the park.  Yesterday we pulled in as much money in one day as we usually do in two weeks and that's all due to the ball game bringing in the tourists.  Over the next two days we stand to make a tidy sum of money, and Lord knows we need to make a profit.  We have been barely making ends meet, and there are certain folks in this town who will only be too pleased to see me go belly up!   Now there's just no way I'm going to close one of my most popular rides."


"But if it's not safe!"


"Of course it's safe!" blustered the fat man.


"But Al, I'm the one in charge of the ride.  It's me who will take the rap if there's a serious accident."


"Are you telling me you don't want to do your job?!" barked Al.


The amusement park assistant looked down at his feet.  He was poor and uneducated.  He lived in a trailer and had a wife and four children to feed.  He needed his job.


"No sir, that's not what I'm saying."


"Then you had just better get out there and do it," snapped Al.


The other man knew it was useless to argue and sloped out of the office.


  When he had gone, Al nervously lit another cigarette.  He opened a drawer in his desk and took out a folder marked 'Safety Report'; he sifted through a pile of notes until he came to the report on the roller coaster ride.  The list of faults filled a foolscap page.  There were missing screws, rusting bolts, traces of metal fatigue in one of the main support pillars, jagged edges and one of the rail tracks looked as if it was slightly buckled. the report concluded that the ride was deemed unsafe until all these vital repairs had been carried out.  Al put his head in his hands.  He knew he was facing bankruptcy.  The truth was, he did not have the money to carry out the necessary repairs.  He already had a massive overdraft that the bank was threatening to foreclose on.  He had lied to the officials of course.  He shook them warmly by the hand, thanked them for bringing the matter to his attention and promised that the ride would not operate until the repairs had all been carried out.  If it had been any other weekend he would have carried out his promise, but this weekend saw his home town crowded with people.  People with families who would spend their hard-earned cash in his amusement park. This weekend could set him back on his feet.  He had to take a chance.  He scooped up the report.


"Two bit nit picking jobs worth!" he grumbled as he fed the report through the paper shredder. "A couple of days won't make any difference.  The darn thing looks fine to me.  I'd be a fool to close now."




  Young James Redmond and his seven year old brother Sam could hardly contain their excitement.


"Easy now.  Let's get our bearings first," said their father as he studied a site map of the amusement park. "Now where do we want to go first?"


"I want to go to the boats Dad," urged Sam.


"I want to go on the roller coaster," said James.


‘And I want to go to the ball game!’ thought their father, but this had been a promised birthday treat.  It was just unfortunate for him that Sam's birthday fell on the day of the match, and Sam was not particularly interested in the ball game.  Both he and his brother just wanted the amusement park.  Their father was divorced from their mother and had accessed every other weekend.  He was determined to give them a day to remember.


  The park's mascot Harvey the harvest mouse came up, shook the children's hands and wished Sam a happy birthday while their father captured the event on camera.  Afterwards they raced towards the boating lake and clambered into one of the little boats bobbing up and down.  The boys’ father observed that the lake was rather overgrown with slimy weed and that the little wooden boats could do with a lick of paint.  The boys were oblivious to such minor details as the boat began to chug around the lake.  The lake led to a waterway which ran around the park.  The boys were able to pass each attraction and decide which ones they wanted to go on.  Of course they wanted to go on everything, but there just wouldn't be the time.


"Well as long as I can go on that." James pointed to the high roller coaster which dominated the park's skyline,  with its twists and turns and plummeting dips.  As the boat passed, they counted twelve dips before a massive loop the loop.  They could hear the screams of excitement as the occupants of the roller coaster plunged downwards after looping the loop. 


Their father gulped.  "I think we'll leave that one 'til last, what with all the sweets and ice creams you two have been eating."




  Back on Tracy Island, The atmosphere was tense.  The away team had just scored the first goal.  The crowd consisting mainly of home team supporters fell quiet.  Grandma rebuked Gordon for biting his nails.


"Come on Rangers you can do it," urged Scott.


 The crowd started to roar again, the Rangers had control of the ball and were heading towards the goal.  One of their players was then tackled by a rival.  He lay on the ground holding his leg in pain.


"You dirty varmint!" yelled Grandma leaping up and shouting at the Television set. "Did you see that?  It was a foul!  A dirty foul!"


"Don't think the ref saw it," said Alan, "He's letting him off."


"That's not fair!" protested Grandma.


"They've got the ball again," announced Virgil in an excited tone. "They're going to have another try."


"YESSSSSSS!"  The cry was unanimous.  Gordon grabbed Grandma and danced with her in front of the TV set.


"Don't know which of them is worse," laughed Jeff


At half time the score stood at one all.  When Tin Tin entered with refreshments they were embroiled in a discussion about the tactics of the game.  They barely noticed she was there.  Grandma saw her looking forlorn and gave her a hug.


"There's only another hour to go.  Why don't you stay and watch. You might enjoy it."


Tin Tin sat down next to Alan, stealing Scott's place when he left to visit the bathroom.


"You must tell me all about the game.  I must confess I know nothing about football."


"Well," began Alan, "You have eleven players and a ball and... oh it's starting again, you'll just have to try and pick it up as you go along."




   Mr Redmond looked at his watch and sighed.  Four fifteen, the game would be finishing in a few minutes.  However he was determined not to listen to the radio broadcasts.  He had recorded the match to watch later when his children had gone back to their Mother.


"I guess we had better make the next ride our last.  Your mom will be wanting you back by six o’clock."


"We haven't been on the roller coaster yet," piped up James.


Mr Redmond had hoped that his son might have forgotten about it.  He had never been fond of roller coaster rides, even when he was a boy.  As an adult he did not relish the thought of hurtling at breakneck speeds in a bumpy metal car on bumpy metal tracks.  He liked his vertebrae where it was!


"You're right, son," he said with false enthusiasm. "How could I forget?"


"Let’s go."


 Both James and Sam dashed off excitedly.


'Well best get it over with now,' thought Mr Redmond.  When the ball game finished there would probably be an influx of more people and longer queues.  Right now there appeared to be no-one else waiting.


"Good we can sit at the front," said James.


Mr Redmond looked up at the mass of twisting and turning metal secured by huge pylons.  He was involved in structural engineering and knew a little about the stresses and strains of metal.  He was well aware of the pounding the structure took as the roller coaster cars careered at speed along the rail tracks.  Of course it must be safe, he convinced himself.  All these rides must undergo stringent safety checks and he wasn't about to let his sons sense his unease.  He didn't want them to think that their dad was a wimp!


  The ride was beginning to fill up now.  He could see more people getting in behind them.  The first six cars were full and so was the last car.  The ride operator had been told to operate the ride with the maximum number to save on running costs, there were three more cars to fill.  He waited for another five minutes but people were getting impatient.  After another five minutes some were threatening to get off and ask for their money back.  Mr Redmond, a tall man, was already beginning to get a stiff back from sitting with his knees under his chin.  The ride operator checked that their safety straps were secure and ordered them to keep their arms inside the cars at all times.  With a flick of a switch, the cars slowly started to climb the incline.  At the top they paused for a few seconds before hurtling downwards with a grating clatter.  The Redmond boys whooped with delight.  Their father clenched his teeth.  A painful creaking noise accompanied them on the long haul up to the top of another loop. Seconds later they were hurtling downwards again.


"Whoa!  This is fun isn't it, Dad?"


"Terrific," he lied. He was counting the number of loops to go. He had noticed about twelve as they passed in the boat. They were whooshing down again. The G forces flattened him against the back of his seat. Only nine more to go before the ultimate thrill, number thirteen - the loop-de-loop. and then he would have the joy of enduring it all over again.


At the top of the tenth loop, the car paused on the edge again for maximum thrill effect.


'It moved,' thought Mr Redmond. 'The structure moved.' He felt it sway ever so slightly, but then the downward rush took his breath away before he could speak.  On the way back up the grating noise seemed louder.  Something was not quite right.  He began to feel alarmed.  The structure was swaying.


"Hey!" he called out, but there was no-one near enough to hear him.  The ride operator was listening to a commentary of the ball game on his transistor radio and the other passengers were whooping with excitement, oblivious to any danger.


  Mr Redmond wondered if there was some sort of emergency button he could press.  He looked around but could find nothing.  They were climbing slowly again.  Coming to the highest part of the ride - the assent before they looped the loop!  They were still climbing higher, at a guess they were about seventy feet above the ground.  The boys were in awe of the view.  They could see the town, the fields and the crowds leaving the stadium after the game.  All this was lost on their father who sat frozen with fear.  If this structure collapsed now they would all plummet to certain death.  The first car, the one they were travelling in, had reached the brow.  It paused  for what seemed to Mr Redmond, to be more like hours than seconds.  He actually closed his eyes and dug his nails into the palms of his hands.  He felt the car move.  This was it; he braced himself for the G forces again, but then he heard a crunch and felt it lurch sideways.  The screams of excitement turned into screams of terror.  When he opened his eyes he saw the ground below him, with miniature people running around.  They were staring upwards and pointing.  Some of them were screaming and crying.  He saw the terrified faces of his children as they dangled over the edge.  They were crying with panic and trying to move, fortunately they were secured by their safety straps.  They couldn't move.  They dare not move.  For they were dangling over the edge.  One of the rails had become misaligned and had derailed the car.  It was rocking too and fro.  The people behind were screaming for help.  They were worried that they might slide backwards down the slope and the weight would pull all the cars off the track and send them crashing to the ground below.


"Don’t move!" shouted Mr Redmond. "Nobody move." The cars stopped swaying. A strange silence fell, broken only by ominous creaks from the fatigued metal.




  Alan whooped with joy and hugged Tin Tin so hard she thought her ribs would crack.  Gordon leapt up and hugged Brains as he walked in to the living room.  At the end of the game the whole room echoed with their delight.


"I- I g- guess it's safe to come in now." Brains was also not a particular fan of football. "B- by the way who  w- w won?"


Scott hurled a cushion at him. "The Rangers of course, who else?"


  "We interrupt this programme to bring you a news item coming in a few miles away from our stadium.  While the crowds here rejoice in the victory, there is terror in Happy Valley.  A roller coaster ride has been derailed, leaving the cars dangling ninety feet above ground.  The fire crew are in attendance but their ladders cannot reach the victims.  We spoke to fire chief John Morgan. 'This is a difficult situation,' he said.  'My men are having trouble. We are going to try to attempt to rescue the people at the top, but we run the risk of upsetting the delicate balance which at present is stopping the lead car from crashing to the ground taking all the others with it.'


"Hey this is serious," said Scott. "These people need us and quick."


"On your way Scott," sanctioned Jeff.


 He scrambled to the revolving panel in the wall, grabbed the lamp brackets and swung around into the silo that housed Thunderbird One.  He stood motionless on the gantry as it reached out to the nose cone.  As it engaged a door opened and Scott positioned himself at his controls.  While Scott ran through a series of pre- flight checks, a computer controlled trolley trundled Thunderbird One into launching position.


"Brains get the pod ready, We'll need the grabs and cutting gear. I want you to go along too," ordered Jeff. "Virgil, you take Alan with you.  He has a good head for heights."


"Can I do anything, Father?" asked Gordon.


"Just how many of those beers have you downed during the match?" asked Jeff.


Gordon looked sheepish. "One or two."


"Or three or four," said Jeff sternly. "You stay behind!"


  In a matter of minutes Thunderbird One emerged from beneath the family swimming pool.  With a fiery blast from its booster rockets, it streaked up in to the sky and then sped away.  Scott sat at his controls now clad in the blue uniform of International Rescue with its insignia of an outstretched hand emblazoned across a light blue sash.


 "Changing to horizontal," he reported as his seat swivelled backwards to enable him to travel like an aeroplane.  "Increasing to maximum speed.   E.T.A. approximately forty minutes."


"F.A.B. Scott.  Virgil is just preparing for take off now," said Jeff.



 From his balcony, he watched the massive bulk of Thunderbird Two emerge from its hangar. The rows of palm trees used to disguise the runway flattened out, to allow for the wingspan of this huge green transporter.  Virgil was a calm and steady pilot who knew the limitations of his craft and took pride in his job.  The runway tilted slightly and a pit opened to take the blast from the thrusters as they boosted Thunderbird Two in to the sky.  As it was heavier, it was not as fast or manoeuvrable as Thunderbird One, but it carried equipment vital to the job.



  Thirty five minutes later Scott flew over the Florida coastline; three minutes later he was hovering over the state of Kansas.  He could see the hallowed ground of the football stadium, and could make out groups of merry people rallying around, still intoxicated by the drink and the excitement of the game.  He could see large crowds gathered around the stricken roller coaster.  Most of them had come to stare and they were distracting the fire crew who had a tough enough job as it was.  Scott hated 'rubberneckers' as he called them.  He swooped as low as he dared and used his loud hailer.


"This is international Rescue.  Now will all of you people not actually involved in the rescue, or with the park, please leave the area immediately.  This is for your own safety as well as for the success of the rescue.  I'm sure all you people are as keen as us to see these people safely down.  For those of you who have friends or relatives on the roller coaster, if you can make your way to the restaurant area, you will find refreshments and specially trained counsellors to help you.  Thank you for your co-operation."


He was alerted by a flashing red light on his console accompanied by a harsh bleeping noise.  From his window he spotted a man aiming a camcorder at his craft.  He swiftly activated his magnetic beam.


"Please do not attempt to photograph any of the personnel or craft involved in this rescue.  We carry magnetic equipment capable of wiping your film and we will not hesitate to use it to guard our privacy.  Now it would be a pity if some of you have once in a lifetime memories stored on those films.  Thank you again for your co-operation."


He flew as low as he could over the roller coaster.  He could see people waving to him.  He was afraid their movement might upset the balance so he called to them in a reassuring voice.


"Will everyone keep absolutely still.  When my back up team arrive we are going to attempt a rescue.  But please keep as still as you can."


 "It's okay Sam," said James to his brother. "International Rescue are here.  They will soon get us down."


"Mummy will be worried," said Sam. "She told Daddy that we should be home by six.  I hope she doesn't shout at him again."


Their father felt guilty.  If only he had persuaded them not to go on the ride.  If only they hadn't come to this crummy run down park in the first place.


"Look here comes another one.  A big green one this time."


 The boys’ attention was diverted by the arrival of Thunderbird Two.  They seemed unable to comprehend the danger they were in and were now even beginning to enjoy their predicament.


"Wow!   What I would give for a ride in one of those," said James.


'I just hope they do something soon,' thought Mr Redmond.  He could feel the car swaying as it caught the down draft from Thunderbird Twos hover jets.


"Pull up Virgil.  You're too close," ordered Scott's voice over the radio.


" F.A.B. Scott. Did you manage to get a good look Brains?" asked Virgil. " That's as low as I dare go."


"Yeah Brains, what do you reckon we should do? enquired Alan.


Brains stroked his chin pensively. "I-I n-need to a-ascertain the correct angle to attach the grabs to maintain the balance.  W-we have a delicate situation here.  W-we need to attach magnetic grabs to stop the rear carriages slipping back.  B-but if we further dislodge the front two cars from their um track, their w-weight will cause them to detach and c-crash to the ground."


"So we try to attach the grabs first," suggested Alan.


"Y--es y-you or I will have to be winched down manually to attach them.  We can't risk those heavy metal cables d-decapitating anyone."


"I will go," said Alan, stepping in to a harness.  Virgil opened the hatch as Alan was lowered into position carefully guiding the heavy magnetic grabs.


 Alan landed on the buckled rail track.  He could feel the structure swaying.


"I reckon this lot will keel over pretty soon," he reported back to Virgil.  "Tell Scott to clear the ground below and Brains we need you to calculate in which direction this lot is likely to fall, so that he can tell the police to cordon the area off."


"F.A.B. Alan."


"Alan," called Brains.  " I er think you should attach the grabs just below the third car.  H-hopefully this will cause the least disturbance."


Alan clamped the grabs on to the sides of the metal car.  The pull of the magnetism caused the cars to roll back slightly and the car carrying the children and their father slipped further over the edge.  There it swung too and fro like a pendulum.  They were now hanging by the rusty metal bolts which joined the cars together.  It couldn't hold for much longer.  The people in the second car were cringing away from the edge.  Their car was slowly slipping off the rails.


"It's going!" shouted Alan.  "I'm going to have to work quickly.  Hoist me up and move me over the first car.  I'm going to cut through the safety harness and get the kids out first."


"Please get my kids to safety," pleaded Mr Redmond


"Will do," said Alan. "Then I'll come back for you."


The car swung from side to side making Alan's job more difficult.  At last Sam was free.  Alan secured him in the harness and proceeded to free his brother.  The added weight on Alan's harness hampered his ability to use the cutters, but at least the car had stopped swinging.  When James was free Alan gave Virgil the signal to pull them up.  It was all a big adventure to the boys and they cheerfully waved to their father.


"Hold tight," instructed Alan.


Fortunately Alan had been able to cut through Mr Redmond's safety strap.  He realised that the first car would very soon detach and plunge to the ground.  As he watched it seemed to wobble slightly.


"Quickly climb in to the second car!  It's going over!" he shouted to Mr Redmond


The boys father, scared as he was, managed to summon the courage to do as he was told.  He was in the process of hauling himself into the second car when he felt the first car slip from underneath him.  It fell to the ground with a sickening crash.


"Daddy!" screamed Sam and James as they saw their father dangling like a hooked fish over an eighty foot drop.


"Pull us up as quick as you can Virgil.  He won't be able to hang on for much longer."


Alan left the boys in Brains’ capable hands and went down to rescue their father.  A couple in the second car were holding out their arms trying in vain to reach him, but they were held back by their safety straps.


"Hold On!" called Alan. "I'll be right with you."


"I can't,  I'm slipping." Alan could see the man was starting to panic. "My arms are going dead.  Be quick."


"I aim to be.  We've never lost anyone yet and I don't intend to spoil the record now."


The man screamed as the muscles in one of his arms gave way.  Alan lunged forward and gripped his other arm tightly.  At close quarters Mr Redmond could see how young Alan looked.  But his grip was strong and his body well toned.  Alan secured the harness safely around him.


"Wow!  That was too close for comfort," sighed Mr Redmond as they were hoisted up into Thunderbird Two.


At the controls of Thunderbird Two, Virgil slowly angled his craft to take the weight of the remaining cars. Slowly he reversed his engines and guided the cars backwards down the loop, carefully controlling the speed until they were safely in reach of the fire services.  Huge cheers came from the crowds below.  Suddenly Scott's agitated voice bellowed over the loudhailer.


"Everybody stand clear!  It's going to collapse!"


The huge loop groaned and then buckled and keeled over, raining rusty metal pieces on to the ground below.  People dived for cover.  In the furore no-one noticed an overweight balding man slip silently out of the park gates carrying a briefcase containing the days takings.  In his flimsy portacabin office, the waste paper bin had just burst into flames, next to a large grey filing cabinet which had been left open.  Soon all the incriminating evidence would be destroyed.  Al knew that he was a ruined man, and like the coward he was, he decided to cut and run leaving his staff to face the music.



    Brains had given Mr Redmond a stiff drink for medicinal purposes.  He was pale and shaking, as he mumbled his thanks to his rescuers. Unaware of just how close they had been to death, his two sons were having the time of their lives riding in the front of Thunderbird Two.


"Wow.  This is the best birthday ever!" exclaimed Sam. "Can we do this again?"


"They must have improved the quality of the hot dogs since we were last here," said Alan to Virgil.


"Look there's Mom's house down there," said James. "We'll even be back in time for dinner!"



The end










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