by MCJ

This little story was written for the April 2007 Tracy Island Writer's Forum Challenge and has since been revamped.

“Hey what do you suppose Tin-Tin wants to show Alan … in the bathroom?”

Six months ago rumour was running rife and I wasn’t the only one to laugh at Dad’s reaction to that classic Scott Tracy line.

So why now, when Virgil’s asking the exact same thing in reverse, am I doing nothing but frown and roll my eyes at him? Could it be the fact I saw enough of things yesterday when I inadvertently walked in on them in the bathroom? Or is it because the sheer mention of that line still conjures up visions of a swamp swarming with some not so friendly giant alligators?

One thing’s for sure though; I’m still coming to terms with the size of some of those guys.

Brains called it “a freak mutation.” You don’t want to know what I called it.

What started out as a fairly low key rescue effort a few months back ended up spiraling completely out of control, with me holed up in a basement with a gun pointing at my head and three giant alligators who weren’t about to take no for an answer. Add to that a vial of “freak mutation” floating somewhere out there in the river and you’ve pretty well summed up one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

And the terror wasn’t only confined to me.

I couldn’t believe it when Virgil told me about a certain little brother and his crazy over the top heroics. Only Alan would be foolish enough to blatantly disobey orders and use his hover bike as a decoy to try to lure the alligators away. Humph …and only Alan could scare everyone half to death by falling off the said hover bike with an alligator almost the hell smack-bang on top of him. I can tell you right now I wasn’t the slightest bit amused when I heard.

Alan doesn’t realise how lucky he was Gordon lived up to his reputation as International Rescue’s crack shot. Well, he realises it now; namely because I had no hesitation in pointing it out to him all the way back home. His stupid little stunt not only almost left him number one on the lunch menu; it could also have put me straight in the firing line with Dad.

And just for the record … Dad potentially chewing me out for Alan almost ending up in the jaws of an alligator is not the reason why I’m frowning.

My good old line about the bathroom might have temporarily reminded me of past history, but I know for a fact that what Virgil’s referring to at the moment has (a) nothing to do with alligators and (b) nothing to do with what I walked in on in the bathroom. If Tin-Tin’s about to show Alan what I think she is up there, it will be the finishing touch to the day we’ve had around here today.

A Fish out of Water.

I swear if I hear those words just one more time I’m going to explode.

I suppose I owe it to everyone to explain the reason for my aggravation, and to do that I need to take you back to this morning when the whole fiasco began.

Firstly, in case you haven’t guessed it yet, the name is Tracy.

Scott Tracy.

Secondly, when it comes down to International Rescue, I’m not in the habit of doing comedy.

I'm the eldest. I'm disciplined and if nothing else I like a sense of order in my life. I don't always get it. I just like it. The rescue business is unpredictable and I’ve learned how to deal with that in the months we’ve been operational. I distance myself when necessary and I focus on the job. I achieve the impossible because I have to and because I’ve learned to do it from the best.


However, the other side of my life is an entirely different story. Call me old fashioned if you like but I quite like being predictable. When I'm not working nothing pleases me more than to enjoy a peaceful existence amongst the palm trees. That’s what life’s all about for me these days; saving lives when required and soaking up the good life with my brothers.

It was a peaceful existence amongst the palm trees I was hoping for today when I rolled over and gave the dawn my usual one-eyed acknowledgement. At the time, it looked like I was going to be rewarded. The shadows on the wall were familiar; the curtains rustled in and out of the open balcony door; the sea below was calm. The smell of freshly brewed coffee beckoned from downstairs in the kitchen; an aroma which provided the perfect encouragement to drag oneself out of bed and see what life had planned for International Rescue today.

After the usual shower and shave, and a warning from Grandma to go nowhere near the kitchen, it was time grab a cup of coffee and head to down to the beach with Virgil. Virg and I met on the beach every morning to enjoy an early morning meander along the shore together. Watching the sun rise and having an off the cuff chat with my brother always left me in a good mood, even today, when I knew the subject of the discussion would be co-piloting Thunderbird Three for the rotation of the two astronauts.

Another month in International Rescue had once again flown by and it was time for Johnny to return to his beloved Thunderbird Five. He’d had a busy but enjoyable month helping us out in the field as well as the odd day or two lecturing about astronomy on the mainland. It was good to have John around whenever we went out on rescue. His quiet wit and steely determination were invaluable during tight situations we always seemed to find ourselves in.

But for now, there was no talk of John’s impending departure; as my brother and I walked side by side down the shore.

"Should be an interesting twenty four hours." Virgil finally observed; his eyes fixed on the horizon. "From what Gordon had to say, Tin-Tin spent the best part of last night trying to convince Dad Thunderbird Three’s computer needs another overhaul."

It was hard to disguise my amusement at the ingenuity of Miss Kyrano and what a co-incidence it seemed to be that Thunderbird Three only developed problems on the twenty ninth day of the month; every second month; when little brother Alan just happened to be coming home from the satellite.

This time it seemed she was going all out.

A complete overhaul of the computer system would a lengthy business and one that would mean spending hours below ground in a space no bigger than a postage stamp. The perfect place for their little pre-arranged “love fest”, especially when they would only be expected to come upstairs for meal breaks and give the mandatory progress reports to Dad.

“And Dad agreed to do it, of course.” I smirked, trying not to laugh.

Virgil stifled a grin too. “But of course. Wouldn’t you?”

All of a sudden his laughter cut loose and the sound of it echoed down the shore. “To be honest, Dad told her that as soon as the rotation was over, she and Brains needed to get right on to it so we weren’t out of operation too long.”

Now it was my turn to test out the echo with a laugh.

“Brains??” I exclaimed. “Err somehow I don’t think that’s quite who she had in mind Virg.”

Virgil raised his eyebrows.” You honestly don’t say?”

All jokes aside, Dad was absolutely right in deciding the right man for the job would be Brains. Thunderbird Three’s computer should be overhauled under the supervision of our resident engineering specialist but I had to wonder if that was the real reason Dad went out of his way to select him. Dad’s sixth sense was a like a radar when it came down to what was going on between those two and short-circuiting their plans for a happy “subterranean reunion” was the latest and greatest evidence of it. Alan would be expecting uninterrupted time alone with Tin-Tin and Dad being Dad wasn’t about to give it to him. Alan was gonna spit the moment he walked through the door.

Virgil was right. It would certainly be an interesting twenty-four hours on the shores of Tracy Island. There was no way I was going to miss being around when Dad broke the news to Alan OR when Brains figured out he’d just spent five hours in the silo overhauling Thunderbird Three’s computer system for nothing. Thinking about the look on their faces was enough to keep me laughing all the way to breakfast.

Breakfast on rotation day was a meal made in heaven; with Grandma taking charge in the kitchen and refusing to let anyone help. By anyone; she meant everyone and made it very clear Kyrano was no exception. Kyrano didn’t really mind being banished. He had learnt a long time ago the best place to be whenever Grandma took control of a spatula was in the garden and these days he happily stayed there until somebody told him the coast was clear.

This morning he had already made sure he was out of harm’s way; briefly waving to Virgil and myself as we came up barefoot from the beach. Grandma was already in her element and an array of John’s favourite foods had been lovingly laid out on the table. Thankfully for us, the favourite foods by no way resembled Alan’s; whose obsession for half burnt toast and hash browns was enough to make a man feel bloated and air-sick the whole way from earth to Thunderbird Five.

Johnny, thank goodness, was a connoisseur of fresh fruit and cereals and he didn’t choose to wallow in a sea of self-pity either because he had to return to the satellite. Alan was terrible on rotation day, even though we knew most of the theatrics were designed purely to get the desired attention from Tin-Tin.

John wasn’t into theatrics any more than he was into self-pity. He was happy to count down the hours until blastoff by enjoying his coffee, chatting to Dad and assuring Grandma he honestly would remember to eat more this month when he returned to Thunderbird Five.

John’s controversial weight loss.

It was the beginning of the end to what started out as just another peaceful day in paradise.

The moment Grandma took it upon herself to state the obvious; Dad decided it was a prime opportunity to air the concerns he had about the current state of John’s health. Why he’d waited thirty whole days to do it I don’t know, especially as he’d never been backward in the past when it had anything to do with our welfare.

“I want you to promise me you’ll take proper care of yourself son,” the prelude to the lecture began. “Proper sleep and regular meals are important in the life of any astronaut. Adequate nourishment in space is one of the first things they teach you in the program; John. You’re not supposed to forget that.”

John listened to Dad attentively, no doubt wondering at what point he should interrupt and remind Dad he was nearly twenty-five years old.

“I know Father.” he said instead, in his calm, serious voice.

After a little more prompting he ended up divulging his weight loss should have been well and truly expected. Working on his latest book had taken a lot out of him lately and he guessed he’d been too wrapped up in the details to think about anything else. He promised Dad he would pay strict attention to his diet from now on and take things easy during the month which lay ahead.

“I’ll even make sure I have double helpings of apple pie, Grandma...” he assured her with one of his gentle smiles. “… so don’t go worrying on account of me ma’am, OK?”

With that, Dad seemed quite satisfied the problem was only temporary, but Grandma wasn’t too sure double helpings of anything would achieve the desired result. John’s lean, athletic build had worried her for years.

“If you ask me; I think you’re headed in exactly the same direction as your Father went when he left home to join the Air Force.” she commented, eyes unmoving over the rim of her tea cup. “Lost way too much weight in the first few months and then tried to cover it up by saying he’d been far too busy to eat.”

Dad looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable. The last thing he wanted to do with an impending astronaut rotation on his hands was defend himself to Grandma.

“Mother.” he frowned. “I was too busy to eat back then. You know I was training all day, every day and they still expected me to find time to study and meet the requirements of my Master’s.”

Uh oh. When Dad took the time to correct Grandma it usually meant he had memories of some monumental life struggle somewhere and everyone around the table would have to hear all about it and the lessons in life he had learned. It also meant the verbal tennis match would soon be on, particularly if Grandma didn’t mind herself or decide to back down.

Grandma loved Dad, and there was no argument from anyone at how deeply Dad loved her, but they were both equally renowned for their stubbornness. They’d exchange one-liners for hours if they didn’t agree on a subject and continue on until one of them took aim and fired an ace right down the centre of the argument. Things were still pretty amiable at the moment, but it didn’t take much prompting for the to-ing and fro-ing to begin.

“A healthy man’s never too busy to eat Jeff.”


“Oh Mother. A man can be perfectly healthy and still have no time to eat.”

15 all.

“A man makes the time if he cares about his health, son. You just said so yourself.”

30 -15.

“It was different for me back then, Mom. I was honestly too busy and too tired to make time for anything.”

30 all.

“Time management was never one of your problems, dear. You just couldn’t grasp the concept of how to prepare food.”


“Now Mother, I take exception to that. You know as well as I do I was very capable of taking care of myself.”


“No, from memory Jeff, the only thing you and your Father took care of was what was on the table in front of you.”

Advantage Grandma.

“That’s not true Mother!!”

And then she served the ace.

“Jeff Tracy, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten what happened the last time anyone trusted you to prepare food alone in a kitchen.”

Game – Set – Match - Grandma.

Dad couldn’t look left, right or sideways when she reminded him of his past. Even I was indelibly scarred from the memory of Grandma’s fifty seventh birthday breakfast when Dad decided to express his love for her by preparing her a special home-cooked meal.

I may have only been nine years old at the time, but Dad nearly burning the kitchen down is still one of the more vivid recollections of my childhood. He probably would have succeeded too if Grandma hadn’t smelt the smoke when she did and come barging out of the shower in a last ditch attempt to find the fire extinguisher.

I still remember that day as one of few times I laughed out loud in the terrible months after my mother died. Dad was mortified. Not only did he allow himself to be distracted by his cell phone; Grandma scared the hell out of him with her half-naked dash into the kitchen.

She didn’t go easy on him either when the fire was finally out. For months afterwards, every time Dad hinted he might like something special for breakfast Grandma would say she’d love to help him out but unfortunately the kitchen was still closed “for fire renovations.”

But today, Dad wasn’t prepared to dwell on that. Safer to agree with Grandma, smooth over the memory and try to change the subject.

“OK. I guess you’re right about that Mother.” he admitted with a deep-throated chuckle. “I did make rather a big mess of things that day didn’t I?”

Grandma nodded her head, pleased he was finally admitting to it.

“Yes you did…a very big mess;” finally ended the conversation.

Once Dad accepted he had lost the argument, things around the table returned to normal. John became the centre of Grandma’s attention again, Virgil and I continued to debate who’d be co-piloting in Thunderbird Three and Tin-Tin cornered Dad with a hundred new excuses on why Thunderbird Three suddenly didn’t need an overhaul of its computer system.

Dad wasn’t letting anyone off the hook after his little altercation with Grandma.

“No Tin-Tin.” he interrupted her with his usual air of authority. “I think we’ll go with your original judgment. Even if it isn’t necessary, I don’t want to take any chances when it comes to the safety side of our operations.”

Then he turned to me.

“Scott I want to get the rotation underway as soon as possible. I’d like you to go with John. Once Thunderbird Three is back, Brains and Tin-Tin can get to work.”

The scheduled blast-off for rotation was usually timed for 1000 hours but as requested by Dad, John was happy to go upstairs and immediately grab his things. By 0800 he’d said a quick and painless farewell to Dad and the guys, made a solemn promise to Grandma to put on weight and had taken charge of Thunderbird Three ready to set course for the satellite.

“I don’t know about you, but I can’t see anything wrong with any part of this thing.” he frowned. He had already set and re-set Thunderbird Three’s computer several times and nothing appeared to be faulty. After two more attempts he shook his head and lifted his eyes from the controls.

“You know what I think, don’t you?”

“No, what?” I muffled through the International Rescue Uniform I was pulling over my head. It would be most interesting to know what John thought about Alan and Miss Kyrano; considering the rest of us witnessed what was going on, or should I say what they said wasn’t going on, on an almost daily basis.

John looked away and jabbed at a few more buttons; obviously debating whether or not he should say anything. Eventually when he did, he didn’t pull any punches.

“May be I’m wrong but it seems more than just a little co-incidental to me that a fault’s found in Thunderbird Three every single time its my turn to return to Five from rotation. Last time it was the retros. The time before that was the safety beam. Now it’s supposed to be the computer again. I’m telling you Scott, I’m sure Tin-Tin‘s making all this up so she can come down here for a little private canoodling time with Alan.”

“Johnny!” I berated him, pretending to sound shocked. “Replacing Thunderbird Three’s computer system is a kind of big expense for Tin-Tin to justify if all she wants is a little action.”

“I dunno … maybe, “John shrugged as if he hadn’t thought about the money. “But Dad isn’t going to be too pleased when he figures out there wasn’t any thing wrong.”

I laughed at the serious expression on the face of my no-nonsense little brother. Since when had he started worrying about wasting Dad’s money?

“I don’t think you need to worry too much about Dad’s reaction, John.” I smiled with genuine affection. “Somehow I think it’s fair to say he might already know.”

And so the rotation in Thunderbird Five proceeded with its usual minimum of fuss. Granted, re-entry into the atmosphere could have been a little smoother and Alan could have waited at least five minutes before he began to complain about incarceration; but even so, the change-over went without a hitch and before long Thunderbird Three was back in its silo deep within the earth.

Oh boy. If only the rest of the day had gone so smoothly.

Our return to the lounge from the satellite was met with a mix of cheer and agitation, with Gordon grinning from ear to ear about Lord knows what and Virgil pacing around and around the room in circles.

“Hey there you guys.” I nodded, rising to my feet with Alan. “Why the glum face, Virg? Surely it can’t be that bad dealing with the thought of the kid coming back to earth.”

“Good one Scott.” retorted Alan who was already on his way through the dining room, eager for his reunion with Tin-Tin. “One of these days you guys are gonna learn to appreciate me and the sacrifices I make for this outfit.”

“Don’t be too sure about that one.” I joked back after him. I was still recovering from the rocky re-entry he had just given me into the earth’s atmosphere and I wasn’t about to let him forget about it too easily. Alan was a talented astronaut but on rotation day the caution factor tended to slip right the hell off the radar. I could sympathize that after spending thirty days sleeping with nothing but the constellations and his pillow; all he’d want to do was get back to earth and make up for lost time with Miss Kyrano. What I didn’t appreciate was hanging on for grim death while he pulled out all stops to get himself there.

I was actually quite surprised when Virgil chose not to join in the ribbing. He normally enjoyed teasing Alan. But when I saw Grandma sitting at Dad’s desk busily scanning his papers; I soon worked out the reason for his anxiety.

Hours earlier, Grandma had once again pushed Dad to the limit of his patience; so much so that he’d agreed to a little trading of places to hopefully teach her a lesson. Virgil said Dad was OK about Grandma taking up residence at his desk as long as I was back at the base to keep a watchful eye on her. Virgil said Grandma wasn’t the one everyone should be worrying about. The main worry of the moment was Dad and how successful he was going to be in the part which included supper.

“So what am I expected to do about International Rescue while all this is going on?” I tried to communicate behind clenched teeth. “Grandma hasn’t got a clue what to do if John patches through a distress call.”

“I heard that.” Grandma said, without looking up. “I’m old Scott Tracy but I’m certainly not deaf. And for your information, son, you’re wrong. I’m perfectly able to handle myself and International Rescue in the face of any emergency.”

“She’s right there.” Gordon piped up from his position on the couch. “Grandma’s had to deal with just about every emergency there is over the past twenty-two years.”

I wanted to turn around and point out to Gordon that Grandma losing her reading glasses or not being able to coordinate the clothes pegs didn’t constitute a life threatening emergency; but I’d already seen the mess she’d made of Dad’s ego and wasn’t willing to risk it. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to let her be in charge anyway. It might teach her how much Dad had to put up and with Thunderbird Two and the Fire Fly in close proximity to the villa, I was fairly confident we could handle the danger factor of Dad being in charge of the supper.

However, in the back of my mind I was still very uneasy. What if Dad did mess up? I honestly didn’t think I could handle Grandma running through the house half-naked again, especially with twenty more years of gravity strategically weighing her down.

“You oughtta see him, Scott.” choked Gordon, with hilarity. “He looks like a fish out of water in the middle of all those pots and pans. Honest; I don’t think he even remembers which way to open the refrigerator.”

I looked Gordon up and down without saying a word.

I supposed I could see the funny side of Dad’s lack of culinary skills. It was a refreshing change to finally find something he wasn’t very good at. Over the years, he’d surrounded himself with as much armor as he could to avoid any contact with domestic activity. Kyrano looked after his diary and cooked his meals; Grandma handled his laundry. Whenever he was away on business he only ate in restaurants and he was an expert when it came to how to load up the “same day” dry cleaning bags.

But something inside me had drawn the line when it came to Gordon’s comment about the refrigerator. Gordon could laugh and joke all he liked but I remembered all too well watching my tearful Father searching refrigerator shelves in the middle of the night trying to find Alan’s bottle.

“Dad DOES know how to open the refrigerator, Gordon.” I suddenly growled, still feeling sorry for how hard it was for Dad during those times. “He knows more about things like that than you want to give him credit for.”

“Yes Gordon your Father does know.” Grandma piped up, completely oblivious to how I felt. “The trouble only starts when the refrigerator’s open.”

I shrugged, still glaring at Gordon and secretly hoping Dad managed to whip up a five star banquet to prove the two of them wrong.

I also hoped; or more like prayed; that the world wasn’t going to need International Rescue until he somehow managed to do so.

Now that Grandma was firmly entrenched as head of International Rescue, I decided it was a good idea to leave her to get on with things and fix myself some lunch. Dad could probably use the moral support anyway and it was a good opportunity to reassure him I was in a position to handle things in the event we received a call.

I didn’t get too far when I was nearly ploughed over by an unhappy Alan storming down the hall in the opposite direction. By the look on his face Dad had just informed him Tin-Tin was more than fully occupied replacing Thunderbird Three’s computer with Brains.

“What the hell’s eating you?” I snapped as his whole body barreled mine.

“Nothing that’s what,” he spat and continued to push past me. “It’s no skin off my nose if she chooses to spend what little time we have together up front and personal with Brains.”

“Sounds like the news didn’t go down too well huh?” I observed to Father later, taking an extra large bite of my double ham and cheese on rye. I’d been perched at the bench for the best part of half an hour and Dad still hadn’t said anything about Alan or his outburst.

He was also no further advanced in his preparations for supper either. There were a lot of bowls and plates being moved from left to right to centre again but I’m sorry to say he didn’t seem to have a clue what he was actually going to use them for. By the look on his face; Alan blowing up like Mount Vesuvius probably counted for nothing.

“He’ll cool down.” Dad grumbled. “It’s this role swapping thing with your Grandmother that isn’t going down too well. I can’t believe I let her talk me into doing this. Hell, I don’t know why she thinks me being able to cook will improve the way we do things around here. All it’s doing is making me feel like … like … like…”

He paused and screwed up his face in frustration. He obviously didn’t know what the hell he felt like or if he did he was having second thoughts about who was around before he opened his mouth and said it.

“A fish out of water, Sir?” I offered with a grimace; remembering Gordon’s words.

“A fish out of water.” he groaned, surveying the empty plates unhappily. “That just about sums me up. I’m floundering in here and I know I am. What’s worse; I know your Grandmother knows it too and she’s never going to let me live it down. ”

Then he looked at me.

“Do me a favour son and go and find Kyrano for me. Tell him to make contact via our private wrist communicators.”

By this stage, I had to admit things around here were beginning to get a little tense.

As requested by Dad, I stalked the length and breadth of the house trying to corner Kyrano. When I did, he was more than a little worried about talking Dad through the culinary process by means of traceable wrist communicator.

“Kyrano, please.” I stressed as quietly and firmly as I could. “Father needs you.”

“We need you too Sir.” I added soon after, once again visualizing the outcome of Grandma’s fifty-seventh birthday breakfast.

Alan was still sulking about Tin-Tin and taking out his frustrations on everything that moved. Doors banged; chairs crashed. Possessions better identified as errr… private were dumped in the middle of the hallway for everyone to see. He didn’t need their photographs. He didn’t need her letters. And while he was at it he didn’t need to play Daddy anymore to those two stupid fish she’d talked him into buying the last time they were on the mainland.

Romeo and Juliet…

Two fully grown piranha that lived in a state of oblivion right in the corner of his bedroom. Until today, the rare and dangerous fish had given both he and Tin-Tin the perfect opportunity to be together both before and after the lights went out on Tracy Island. Tin-Tin said despite their rather carnivorous nature the fish were very playful and she enjoyed watching them swim backwards and forwards in their tank in the privacy of Alan’s room.

Well, I don’t know about being playful but by the way Alan removed poor old Romeo and Juliet from his room, those fish wouldn’t be doing too much of anything in the next couple of days. Before anyone had the chance to say anything, the two fish were disposed of with a sickening splash right into the pond in the middle of Kyrano’s garden.

Alan didn’t seem to worry bur it kind of made me nervous about what might happen to Kyrano if he got carried away giving Dad instructions on the communicator and accidentally fell in.

“Err… Alan.” I tried to caution him. “I’m not so sure the garden’s the right place to keep those types of fish.”

“They’re not mine. They’re hers” was all he had to say.

If Alan’s ridiculous temper tantrum wasn’t enough for a man to deal with, it suddenly occurred to me I still had no idea if Thunderbird Three was in any way operational. Tin-Tin and Brains had been down in the silo for hours and there hadn’t been any updates. The thought flickered through my mind. What in the blazes were they doing down there?

Then again, maybe I didn’t want to know.

In the meantime, Grandma had finished reading Dad’s paperwork and was busy expending her energies trying to sneak back into the kitchen.

“Oh no you don’t” I blurted in a panic as she tried to inch her way out the door. The thought of her discovering Dad receiving instructions from Kyrano on the wrist communicator had to be any man’s idea of a fate worse than death.

“Errr…” I stammered, when she gave me one of her ”looks”… “I mean, I think you should stay right out of that kitchen until its supper time Grandma. You know what Dad’s like when he’s trying to design anything.”

I couldn’t believe I came up with that one. It was dreadful. Designing had nothing whatsoever to do with supper. Grandma didn’t think so either. Instantly she went all huffy and announced she didn’t intend to spy on Dad if that was what I was implying. She was only intending to go into the kitchen to fetch a cup of coffee. It wasn’t her fault Kyrano wasn’t taking care of her like he took care of Dad.

“You’ll have to come up with something better than that Grandma.” I smirked with more than a knowing look. “Don’t you remember how many times you’ve said to Dad you can’t abide the stuff?

She gave up moments later when we all began to notice the delightful smells which were emanating from the kitchen. Instantly she frowned.

“Where’s Kyrano then?” she demanded with suspicion. “I haven’t seen the man since breakfast. I hope he understands Jeff’s expected to do all the cooking on his own.”

Much to my relief Kyrano came in from the garden less than ten seconds after she spoke. He looked at me, smiled nervously and then asked if he could speak with me in private on a matter of great urgency. He was concerned Alan may be still tired from his month away in the satellite. Was I aware he had thrown live piranha in the pond situated in the garden?”

I was really starting to get frustrated. The whole place was going completely nuts. First Grandma … then Dad ... and now Alan’s jealous rage was being pin-pointed on too much time in the satellite. The only thing that could make matters worse was an unexpected distress call.

It figured.

When the distress call came in five minutes later, John looked at me like I was crazy when I rolled my eyes and said “I told you so.”

A derailed monorail; he began; three carriages dangling off the rails and about to fall into a canyon. No-one dead from what he’d ascertained … but the carriages were full and people were panicking. He had the co-ordinates. We needed to fly.

Grandma sat calmly listening to John’s summary. When he was finished, she stood to vacate Dad’s chair and motioned for me to take over. International Rescue needed to get airborne if we were going to save those lives, she said, and saving lives had nothing to do with Dad’s cooking expertise or whether Alan and Tin-Tin were talking. I agreed. Saving lives to all of us was a deadly serious business.

Tin-Tin and the guys were assembled in the lounge within two minutes of the distress call and nodded their heads as I began to bark out instructions. Alan was to go in One, Virgil and Gordon in Two. We needed Brains. All lines of communication were to remain open. Thunderbirds were go.

“Move it fellas.” I urged. “We haven’t got much time.”

“And take it easy flying low in that canyon, boys. I flew through that one when I was in the Air Force and it’s dangerous.” The voice behind me rumbled with authority.

It was Dad.

As the lounge room emptied he made no attempt to take control of the rescue. He simply perched himself on the corner of the desk like Grandma would do and watched me study a map of the area.


“Fairly treacherous terrain, son” he observed as I traced the length of the canyon. “No wonder the monorail was considered a twenty first century masterpiece How the hell do you think they anchored it?”

“Jeff !!”

“Mmmm. This is a tough one Scott. You might need to pull up a copy of the original construction plans. “

Jeff !!”

“You see here where the …”

Jeff Tracy!!”

Oh for Pete’s sake mother; what now?”

There’s smoke coming from the kitchen again Jeff!!”

Smoke?? Oh shoot, not again.”

As I watched my Father grab the fire extinguisher and run like a madman down the Hall, Grandma turned to me with a smile of satisfaction.

“I guess that’s your Father’s new way of saying “I think you should carry on Scott.”

So you think that’s where this all ends don’t you and it probably should to make for a good ending to a story. But I think you all deserve to find out what Tin-Tin’s about to show Alan in the bathroom.

Firstly, let me summarise.

Dad did set fire to the kitchen again, well only a little, but I’m afraid the steaks he was preparing for Alan’s welcome home dinner ended up a little charcoaled.

Grandma decided once and for all that Dad was never meant to be domesticated and in the interests and survival of all it was better if he never set foot in a kitchen again.

Brains reported that Thunderbird Three’s computer actually did need urgent replacement and luckily Tin-Tin and detected it. Without her attention to detail, Thunderbird Three could have been involved in a very serious accident.

The rescue went like clockwork and everyone on board the monorail was saved. As usual, Alan did fly my Thunderbird a little too low and too fast for my liking but on the whole he did do a terrific job. And between you and me; I also enjoyed Dad watching me take command of International Rescue …even if he was burning the house down around us at the time.

As for the latest developments in the saga of my little brother and Miss Kyrano. … well what can I say?

The two of them are back to normal again, whatever “normal” is supposed to be for those two. I’m still not one hundred per cent sure what she’s about to show him in the bathroom but I hope for his sake it’s going to be the fish. Before the two of them made up this evening, Kyrano happened to mention to Alan that Romeo and Juliet were missing from the pond.

I’d like to think he was helping Tin-Tin teach the kid a lesson but now I’m not so sure.

Grandma’s just announced we’re having fish for dinner, courtesy of the quick thinking of her “dear, dear, sweet, young Gordon.”

Life on Tracy Island. I swear you don’t stay sane for long.

<< Back to MCJ's Page
<< Back to Thunderbird Two's Hangar