Book Creator

The Great Molasses Flood

by Amelia Pearce

Pages 4 and 5 of 25

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A few people gave her some odd glances and moved away to a further stall in the market. She ran up to a man who remained preoccupied examining some apples at a fruit stand.
“Help! It’s leaking! The tank is leaking, look!” She said pointing at the tank, her eyes wide with concern.
“Oh not to worry. You must be new around here aye. That tank has been leaking since the very first day it was built
“What? But shouldn't somebody be fixing it?” She asked, raising an eyebrow with confusion at the man’s calmness.
“Nah. It's lasted 4 years why worry now”
Another man walks up to the stall muttering a reply as he approaches.
“Because pretty soon some factory mishap will come about and that blasted tank will be “leaking” all over this town.”
“Nonsense don't listen to this fella he's wacko I tell ya”
“I believe him.” mumbled the boy Will, weakly.
All three adults stared down at him, noticing him for the first time. The second man smiled at him.
“No you don't, you're just a child! What would you know? Now be quiet and let the grown ups speak, boy.” screamed the first man.
“My name is Will,” Will murmured, staring at the ground.
The man either didn't hear him or ignored him and turned to face his Mother instead.
“So I didn't quite catch your name there ma'am, I’m Thomas but you can call me Tom.”
“Uh Grace. Pleasure to meet you Tom,” she replied, putting out her hand to shake.
“What’s in the tank anyway,” she asked.

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“Molasses. They used it during the War when they found out it could be heated up in a process called distillation making industrial alcohol to use in bombs. It was a great hit during the war though with the kids and the mothers and bakers. The kids got a sweet treat for free from the leaks and the mothers and bakers had free sweetener for their baking. You two must have good eyesight to see the leaking all the way from here though. Usually people don’t notice because it’s painted brown. That's what Usis did in response to their workers telling them it leaked.” the second man explained, rolling his eyes and shaking his head at the end.
“What! That's appalling! Don't they care that it could burst and flood the town!”
“It wont i'm telling ya it wont. Don’t let his crazy talk get to ya Grace,” Thomas interrupted.
“Well I suppose if it hasnt for 4 years, it should last the 4 days we’re here, but I sure won't be staying here any longer than I have to, I'm telling you now,” Grace said, sighing.
“What’s your name?” Will asked, staring at the second man.
“Me? My name’s Bill but everybody calls me Johnson or Mr Johnson. Feel free to call me either of them,” he said, winking at him.
“Ok. Well, Mr Johnson, why do you stay here if you say it'll leak?” Will asked Mr Johnson with a puzzled look on his face.
“Well you must be a smart boy with such an inquisitive young mind. Truth is I’m stuck here. My wife is committed to staying here with her dying aunt and wouldn't leave if I threatened to leave her. Of course I wouldn't but sooner or later you'll all see that this tank will burst. I'll probably still be here because that old birds lasted a good 7 years already, what's another 10
“Is that when you think the tank will break?” asked Will.
“Who knows. Could be any day now but that old bird will still probably be alive.”
“Now now Johnson, don't scare the boy with your ridiculous tales. This tank won't break til’ the day I die”
“Then let's hope your death is long after my aunt in law’s gone and i’m long gone from here.”
“Why you arrogant fool!”
“What? I just said I hoped you’d live a long time, what’s so wrong with that?”
“Oh you think you’re so smart.”
“Come Will, we best be going. Don’t want to stay out in this raging heat too long” Grace said, grabbing Will by the hand and hurrying away as one angry voice grew quieter behind them leaving only the echo of fist colliding with bone as a one way fight broke out behind them, leaving poor Johnson alone to face a wild man.