Image © Mara Eastern used with permission
With the new Year approaching preparations for the annual Grimace Street New Year’s Eve party were well under way.
In recent years much of the prep was done by the inhabitants of the street who joyfully embraced the start of a New Year with untiring enthusiasm.
The reason for their enthusiasm was the fireworks display that Miss Marble at No 46 presented to the locals each year.
She was as excited as everyone else. After all, pyrotechnic skill, was something everyone possessed. She had learned the skill from a travelling pyro technician many years before, a Chinese gentleman very keen to learn the secrets of her life potion and in exchange for Miss Marble’s potion he taught her the secrets and skills of a good fireworks display. Miss Marble didn’t part with her potion secrets to just anyone but this man from the east who dressed and spoke so differently had gained her trust and so the exchange took place.
He went away with her life potion and she looked at the mass of fireworks he left for her to play with. Like all witches though, it was one thing to part with a potion it was another to ensure it always worked. Miss Marble was a cunning witch in that most of her ‘special’ potions had a limited life. The formula would only last a certain time before needing to be changed. She didn’t tell the China man this as she knew his life was limited and so by the time her potion had reached its use by date he would be an old man and soon to die.
But she took to pyrotechnics with a passion. The first year did result in some accidents. She learned it wasn’t a good idea to stand too close, nor allow too big of a crowd to gather too close either. There was a lot of trial and error associated with letting go a few firecrackers.
For this year, like all previous years in modern times, she had developed one surprise display. This year it was the Big Ben. Upon ignition the rocket would rise into the air and upon explosion Big Ben complete with clock tower would appear in a thousand tiny lights before exploding once again as the clock struck twelve bringing in the New Year. Miss Marble loved fireworks and the bigger the better.
So with the occupants of the street assembled outside her house, all manner of tables laden with the cooking efforts of every household the New Year’s Eve street party began. It was a coming together of the street dwellers and Miss Marble would sit on her veranda and chat to this one and that as they wandered past.
At 11.45 everyone gathered in front of her house. With the click of her fingers the fireworks began.
There followed a series of explanations, of wonder and amazement as the sky was filled with lights, explosions and colours of every hue. Then came the finale. All waited in expectation for the ultimate display. As always they were not disappointed at the bells rang the hour of midnight, the pyrotechnic Big Ben exploded in twelve ear shattering rings.
Then it was “Happy New Year” greetings all round as the Grimace Street folk wished each other well, gathered their belongings and headed home to begin the new year.
January first was like any other day on Grimace Street. People went about their business oblivious to the fact that the night before they had witnesses an unbelievable fireworks display. It was Miss Marble’s way of keeping it within the street. The special display was also a potion to make them forget, at least in the present to what they had seen so as not to allow word of the display to spread beyond the street.
Miss Marble liked her neighbours and they liked her.
What happened on Grimace Street always stayed on Grimace Street.