A friend of mine is quite an inventor. He is always in his little hut at the bottom of the garden making different gadgets and things “to make life better”. Or so he claims. I must admit that some of his inventions are somewhat innovative although I can’t see them catching on and becoming best sellers. For example he has put a little red LED light at the back of his cap which lights up when he goes out walking at night so that vehicles can see him. Practical? Yes … Fashionable … I don’t think so!
The other day he asked me to test his latest invention.
He has somehow managed to weave a very thin wire backwards and forwards inside the lining of a jacket which he bought from a shop. He then connected the wires to a battery the size of a small book which he placed in the inside pocket of the jacket. By flicking a switch the wires warm up gently and keep you warm on cold winter days.
Now I’m sure that I read about similar devices somewhere or other; but my friend assures me that his system is different … I couldn’t understand a word of what he said in techno language, so I nodded politely and smiled.
He took my nodding as acquiescence to testing the “Warma-Coat”; as he calls it.
I put the jacket on one cold and breezy morning and walked to the local shops to buy my newspapers and some chocolates. I just can’t read the papers without chocolates. Somehow they make me concentrate better. But I digress.
On my way to the shops the electric system in my jacket must have short-circuited because I got a slight twinge in my right shoulder which made me wince a little.
I ignored it and carried on walking when it happened again, only a little stronger.
Fortunately, it stopped for a while whilst I was shopping, but when I came to the check-out to pay for my goods … it happened again but much stronger this time. I recoiled a little and grimaced somewhat at the electric shock.
“Are you winking at me?” asked the beautiful young female cashier.
“No … I’m not.” I replied embarrassingly as I winked at her once more.
“There … you did it again” she said, “what’s the matter with you?”
I was about to reply when a further electric shock made me smile involuntarily and wink at her twice.
“You’re being suggestive … you are!” she cried in a loud voice, “I’ll call the manager!”
Seconds later the manager appeared out of nowhere with a security man. She must have pressed some hidden panic button, I suppose.
“What’s the matter?” he asked her.
“Mr Thornicroft … this customer is making suggestive innuendos by winking at me!” she complained.
“Is this true sir?” he asked, “we take exception to improper behavior by our customers towards our employees!”
“I assure you that I did not do or imply anything improper” I replied as I winked at him twice.
“Sir … you are quite out of order” he said sternly as he saw me wink, “I’ll have to ask you to leave these premises or we will call the police!”
As I tried to explain my innocence he noticed a plume of smoke rising from my right shoulder.
“Sir … have you been smoking? It is a criminal offence to smoke in public places and I may have to detain you until the police arrives” interrupted Mr Thornicroft as he motioned to the security guard to do his business.
A crowd soon gathered by the check-out as other shoppers became interested in my dilemma. Why can’t people just mind their own business and continue shopping?
“I assure you I don’t smoke …” I protested as the security guard attempted to put his hand on my right shoulder then thought it better not to.
“I don’t smoke … but my shoulder clearly does!” I said trying to make light of the situation.
And that’s exactly what happened next. The right shoulder did light up in green flames and acrid black smoke.
The manager quickly picked up a two-liter bottle of beer and emptied it on my head whilst the security guard got hold of a foam emitting fire extinguisher and covered me in foam from head to toe.
I can announce that beer and foam don’t mix. Some got into my mouth with dire results.
As I was led out of the store coughing and spluttering I heard a customer explain to another “Instant combustion … it happens a lot you know. It’s more common than you think!”
I cleaned the foam as best I could and walked back home never to return to that shop again … and never to trust an inventive friend.