This week’s #writephoto prompt is
‘Phil? Is that you?’ Helen Back adjusted her thick spectacles and squinted at the little hut.
Slowly the figure Helen had seen began to unfurl. And kept unfurling until he loomed over the small slight female. ‘Who’s that?’ The voice spoke of a forty a day habit, a gravelly diet and a gritty outlook.
‘Me, Phil. Helen. Helen Back.’
A morose chuckle rumbled across the distance between them. ‘I’ve been there too.’
Helen sniggered which set off a tsunami of waves in her jowls. ‘You always said that, didn’t you?’
‘True though.’ A large knobbly hand carved a semi circle taking in the wooden steps and rickety bridge. ‘Not exactly where I expected to end up.’
Helen noticed the small trickle of tears. ‘Oh my dear. When I last saw you, you were in the last three for the Bridge of Sighs.’
Phil nodded. ‘I got it too. Mind you,’ the gloom seemed to deepen, ‘they were just trying to virtue signal.’
‘Oh yes. Those Cambridge colleges are all about being on trend. Supporting elemental minorities. They thought having a mountain troll as bridge security would polish their credentials, something they could boast about. They didn’t really understand what they were getting.’
‘Oh dear. Did you let anyone cross?’
‘Nope. After I tossed a couple of dons and a professor of applied nonsense over the parapet they asked me what I was doing. Said I hadn’t explained my philosophy. I mean, Hells, it’s in my name. Phil E Buster. I stop things happening. They had this cutesy Disney idea I’d ask a couple of questions, let off a bellow and stand back like in some toothsome quiz master. Bloody patronising.’
‘Not a chance. Bloody cool gig. Came with its own hut and a patch of gravel all to myself. No, they had me fired?’
‘No.. they doped me, put me in a kiln and fired me. Look.’ Phil lifted his raggedy tunic to show off his abs. ‘I’m no longer ripped, I’m crenellated.’
Helen met his sad eyes. ‘So how did you end up here?’
‘They sold me to a local farmer. He wanted someone to keep down the number of ramblers. I can’t move much I used to, but I can intimidate.’ He pulled a face and a piece of cheek cracked and fell to the floor.
Helen nodded. ‘That’s appalling.’
‘Oh it could be worse.’
‘Not really. But as my old mum used to say, “Mustn’t crumble.”’