Janet was minding her own business in the shower when there was an almighty bang from beneath her feet. The pump slammed to a halt, and the invigorating torrent was suddenly reduced to a pathetic trickle. Worst of all, her hair was full of shampoo.
“Colin!” she screamed. “What’s happened to the shower?”
Colin, however, was in his cave, and wasn’t going to hear no matter how much noise she made. In his mind, he was in New Zealand, checking out an itinerary. So helpful, the people on Trip Advisor, and so many wonderful places he’d love to visit.
In the shower, Janet was now officially Cross. She shut off the insulting dribble, stepped out, and wrapped herself in a towel. The hair and the shampoo would have to wait. Where was that useless husband of hers, and why wasn’t he coming when she called? She stomped downstairs and poked her nose into each room in turn, but there was no sign of him. Of course, he must be in his shed. She should never have let him spend their money on that wretched office at the bottom of the garden: he spent so long in there with his knick-knacks and his computer, it was almost as if he were trying to avoid her.
She grabbed her mobile from the hall table and dialled his number. A gentle warble leaked out from the drawer just in front of her. Damn. There was nothing for it, she’d have to go out there and get him herself.
Meanwhile, back on Aotearoa, Colin was tramping across the wilderness like a hobbit in search of a ring. There were rivers to cross and redwood forests to conquer and mountains to climb, and he was on a mission. The air was fresh, tinged only with the sulphurous fumes of distant volcanic pits. The peak of Mount Tarawera soared above him, and a cool breeze stroked his face.
Then the door smashed open and an angry figure entered, wearing a white robe and with a monstrous foaming head. Was this a wraith, come to slay him and thwart his quest? In a flash, he spun around and wrenched the samurai sword from its holder on the wall behind his desk. And, with one mighty blow, he was free.