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A Letter From China
There was a small, individual hole in the sidewalk. People passed her by occasionally, and unnoticed.

One day, many years later, another woman of a different kind got her heel caught inside her. The invader struggled absentmindedly to free herself in her hurry, and the heel came off. She was furious, because these were her new shoes and worn for a purpose. Immediately she rang the local help-line, and got transferred through to the Department under whose auspice’[s sidewalk security came under. She complained long and bitterly, quoting the latest Health and Safety Regulations from up-state. She also demanded compensation for personal injury, emotional stress, and a new pair of shoes.

The call was monitored, noted, forms filled in - and sent out. In time a requisition order was dispatched to the local council. Day’s later workmen came round and looked at the slight imperfection, for it was a very small hole. They could not imagine how somebody had managed to trap their shoe in it, for it was so timid and harmless. But orders they had; to fill-in the hole and make the sidewalk safe for mankind to use once more, after being freed from this tenacious threat to survival of the species.

They called immediately for back-up, and swiftly secured the outlying perimeters. The road was half closed and a set of temporary traffic lights installed. Pedestrians were advised, then ordered, to cross to the other side of the road for safe passage - and to avoid personal injury, the threat was deemed that great.

They took delivery of a workman's hut that was situated nearby in the closed road section, and made it a temporary home. This was going to be a long job. Another was added for equipment slow in arriving, and private security instigated on a 24/7 basis. The guards also required their own quarters, for eating, sleeping, and shift changeovers. These were also set a small distance apart, upon this insignificant side road.

Finally, word came that tar was not available to fill the hole, for its usage was now banned under a Federal Directive, which had severe Public Health hazards attached to its use: Known Carcinogenic. Knowing not what else to do, the workmen sought a new solution. With the help of a friend in the Highways and Byways Department, they managed to bring on board a clerk who had access to statewide suppliers of concrete.

That evening they relaxed as Security patrolled outside, and eventually shared that they missed their families and friends. Troubled, they fell into fitful sleep, only to be woken at dawn by the Superintendent of the local concrete supplier on his way to work. He called a meeting and they got down to business. The outcome of which was that they could only deliver a full truckload of concrete, or multiples thereof. It needed to be laid within 20-minutes, otherwise it would simply be tipped at the site for the workmen to deal with.

The workmen reported this to their line-manager, who came out to inspect the problem. It was abundantly obvious that all that was required to fix the problem was an eggcup full of pertinent cement; yet they could only order a minimum of 10-cubic tons of ready-mixed concrete. The senior hand let slip that for a few Dollars they could simply walk down the road to Wall Mart, just short-ways down the road, and buy a small mix of instant concrete.

The Foreman told them that this might be a speedy resolution, but unfortunately State government did not approve the supplier. If this was actioned, then they would always remain = Personally liable for any future litigation.

Meanwhile the little hole was very happy. Some kind person had come by and given her a drink of water, and placed a beautiful red rose within her womb. The sweet smell was delicious. She felt very, very happy.

Next day the town planner arrived, and paced out the road. He knew his feet and gait intimately. He immediately smelled a rat, so called from his mobile for a full technical measurements team to attend instantly. Later the road was completely closed for the helicopter drop, as soon technicians in ponzi suits were working to determine the roads bona fides.

The Town Planner knew his stuff well; for it was determined the road was 1.8 inches too narrow, according to State and Federal Regulations. Immediately the power of the State was focused upon this small and less-used suburban street. The contractor appeared the next day, and tore up the entire roadway, needing to begin afresh.

Anguished residents complained that their cars, SUV's, and 4x4's were trapped within their driveways because of this regeneration of their neighbourhood. Subsequently, their concerns were cast aside in name and cause of the greater good of all America. Within hours the road disappeared by: Digger, dump truck and lorry. The curbstones also went, as did most of the existing sidewalks. They had to leave the Cable access points alone, but anyway, they were mostly close to homes; and one was within an inch from a garden's supporting wall. They knew to not go anywhere near these structures; as they had a habit of falling down when undermined = Compensation.

It took 2-weeks for the entire back street to be remade to the latest, transient standard. Resident lost their jobs because they could not navigate their Jeeps out of the miasma - as apparently they did not know what Low Ratio gears were provided for, as they were not normally required for the school run.

The Town applied for State funding, who in turn requisitioned Federal dispensation; for this was ultimately a Compliance issue. Unfortunately, the Town Council had to raise taxes to cover a small resulting deficit, interest on loans, and backhander's to local businessmen. 10% was lost in this agreement between Town and Supplier, for the immediate fiscal benefit of the supplier - but in the longer-term, the Town as a whole. Apparently the owner is a very big wheel in local politick, and running for Governor. Then there were social liability claimants to be addressed with a sweetener. What with service provision tax, which adds another 5%, it means you get 5% + 10-% less concrete; hence the gap.

Eventually, a party was held to commemorate reopening the road, and heralding Acacia Avenue into the 21st Century. Because of the 15% claw back, some of the work was necessarily substandard, and areas around Cable services and by the wall were left untouched. They all left considering the job well done, and media focus switched to Albuquerque.

A little later, someone replace the drooping rose, adding fresh water, tonic, and a background frond. The hole knew it felt very good to be employed for such a great labour. Later, the new-berried leaf dropped a small seed looking for succour, and it took root within her womb. Inside her small self, the hole knew she was merely the vessel for the creation of life.

She had never intended to give birth to one so illustrious as this, a Willow Tree.

Those men with their equipment forgot about her solitude and perseverance. It was wise they did, for Creation is all.

The Blast, when it came was Blinding. The world she new and loved turned to jelly in an instant. Alarmed at first, she considered that she was at the juncture of a Cable TV Node, and would be saved. And so she was. The Willow split in youth, but kept on growing thereafter.

Her womb widened to accommodate this growth, and with it the enduring love of millennia.

Knowing, she at last became whole.
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This work including text and associated photographs is Copyright of Jonno Morris (Unless stated otherwise), and may be reproduced for personal and private use under Collective Commons 3 Licence. An email would be appreciated in such circumstances, as would a reference.

You are not allowed to use this information to make money from my work - regardless of how fancy or well paid your lawyers may be.

Some artistic licence has been used arbitrarily in some of these Letters, and whilst most facts are in essence correct, some personal and literary interpretation may have been employed to greater or lesser degrees.
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