Hillary Griffis’ fictional skylark series – Five:
The race is on through the grounds of this historic military college, not only to have the most unique skylarks but to be remembered forever. The cadets want to go down in history but will it be for their greatness and team work or for the danger they put themselves in? With only so many months to make an impression, the skylarks are bolder than ever before. Fun or dangerous, the cadets are skilled and unstoppable.’
Sometimes timing is everything. At the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston timing is everything, always. Ten members of Brock squadron leave Fort Sauvé at 2316 hrs in two ranks running side by side. Six of them place themselves around Mackenzie as sentries. By 2320 , the four others are on the roof and by 2326 fourth-year Darci Bergen and third-year David Wingate are set up each in a swiss seat ready to rappel from the top of the Mackenzie clock tower. Giving themselves lots of time to get started and sort out the kinks. Bergen steps over the small black iron gate on the top of the tower. She takes another step backwards, and begins to position herself parallel with the ground slowly.
There are two small windows side by side above the clocks on the clock tower that Bergen avoids carefully. Bergen slips when she steps onto the bottom of the ledge on the base of the clock and falls a few feet. She yells to her break man at the top, “Tilly Tawrer you better keep your eyes on the mission or explain to Captain Fording why my dead body is lying in front of Mackenzie! Shape up!” Tawrer yells back an apology and helps Bergen climb back the the base of the clock.
It takes a little maneuvering on the clock, but with a little wiggle the giant Mickey Mouse glove fits onto the tip of the hour clock hand, well, like a glove. Bergen tightens the drawstring around the base of the glove and ties two knots to keep it there. The minute clock hand is approaching her quickly. It’s evident that time quickens when you’re racing against it but comes to a stop when you need to hold the plank in gym class.
Confident that the first Mickey Mouse glove is secure. The clock is at 2350 and Bergen can reach the minute clock hand. Bergen checks on Wingate who has been working on the East clock while she’s on the South clock. Wingate shouts back, “Going North!”, Bergen replies, “Going West!”. Climbing the best they can around the clock towel while their break man and woman at the top move with them. It’s a difficult shift. As soon as they get to their new clocks, Bergen and Wingate pull the gloves over the minute hands first since they will be moving away faster. They finish everything off at 0015. Shifting again so that they’re both on south side of Mackenzie building, the front of this massive building. Together they yell, “Ready to rappel!” They start getting more rope as the jump slowly and carefully, avoiding the old shutters beneath the clock and the old windows on the third floor. Bergen finishes smoothly and turns to high five her skylark partner, but he’s not there. She looks up and sees him dangling around in front of the third story windows trying to get right side up again.
“What happened?!” She can see Tawrer moving to help Peterson hold the rope but something’s obviously gone wrong. “Hang on”, Bergen yells, even though she know it does no use to tell him something he’s already trying to do. Maybe it’s just for encouragement that we yell things like that, she thinks to herself.
Bergen runs up to the clock tower as fast as she can in time to see Tawrer and Peterson holding onto the end of Wingate’s rope for dear life. “Who’s job was it to check that the ropes were long enough?” She says as she leaps over to help them with the rope. It’s 0023, and no one else is awake. Bergen realizes the safest possible way to get hm down also happens to be the loudest, but she makes the call anyway. Holding the phone to her ear with her shoulder so she can keep holding on to the rope. It takes only two minutes before they hear sirens. It was hard to tell if Wingate was red from the lights on the firetruck or just from embarrassment. Not only did the fire department get Wingate down by 0045 but they also woke up the whole college. Bergen and the rest of Brock squadron know now that sometimes timing is everything, but checking your kit is too.
MacKenzie Tower Clock Transformed Into a Mickey Mouse Watch in 1984 / L’horloge de la Tour MacKenzie transformée en montre Mickey Mouse en 1984