By Parson Thru
I saw the jet swoop over adjacent farm-land and follow the road slightly below me, flying very low. It had markings on the tail-fin. I made out a German flag.
In much less time than it takes to read this, the jet loosed a small cluster of bombs, which hit a concrete bridge a short distance ahead, about level with the end of my mam’s street.
The bridge disappeared in a column of grey smoke.
The exhaust howled as the jet banked to the left. I saw another cluster fall from under the wing.
This time, the long river bridge carrying the northern bypass was enveloped in smoke and flame.
The whole thing was over in seconds.
I looked back to the first bridge. Smoke was rolling downwind. The concrete structure was blackened and shattered, hanging on its steel reinforcement.
Across the fields, the low arch of the river bridge, which had dominated the view moments before, was sagging into the Ouse; a pall of smoke above it.
Sometime later, I found myself with a cup of tea in my hand talking to Theresa May. We were sitting facing each other on a two-seater sofa and I admit to being disarmed a little by her charm. She had one stockinged leg swung decorously across the other. The tea cups were china – my mother’s best. We held the saucers between our fingers and thumbs.
She seemed quite relaxed about the events I was describing.
“Yes.” she said. “They were German Air Force ground-attack aircraft. They're working on contract to the MoD. We couldn’t do it for the same price. We’re always looking to deliver better value for the taxpayer.”
That didn’t really help.
“But hostilities haven’t broken out yet, and why are we bombing our own country?”
“A pre-emptive strike.” she responded. “The Joint Chiefs of Staff advised Ministers that removal of infrastructure useful to an invading force is essential. Should hostilities commence, enemy ground-troops could use it in an offensive.”
What really confused me was that she seemed to have a point. It actually seemed a reasonable proposition given the prospect of war and the years of austerity cuts.
Something still nagged away at me, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it. I suppose I was slightly in awe of the situation.
We continued drinking our tea in silence.