A Dream of the Future by Kevin Murphy

I don’t remember my dreams no matter how hard I try. There are five exceptions from a lifetime and I have no idea why they stuck. They relate to getting a new job or railways (I am not a spotter).

If any of you feel like interpreting this, (aside from the obvious Animal Farm reference) I welcome comments.

The one about the pigs

I jumped down off the wagon with a shovel over my shoulder. Another holiday job labouring in another new place. What a strange place – a quick three hundred and sixty assured me that all the houses were of a uniform light muddy colour.

Looking back at the old hands, I saw they were engaged in auto-pilot lifting the aluminium mess-hut down – ‘first priorities Spud – let’s mash up!’ They wouldn’t miss me for a few minutes.

I soon realised that it wasn’t only that the houses were mud coloured, but that everywhere was mud-covered. It was a poorer suburb of town, full of terraces of two-up and two-downs, probably built for the mill-workers, with an occasional break for a ginnel to get down to the backs. We were on a hill overlooking the town, quite a refreshing prospect, especially on this bright but crisp day.

The excited cry of children playing some way off, drew me towards its cheerful sound. On my way I looked for signs of habitation. No one was about, no curtains twitched.

A brisk tip-tip-tap approached from behind. I turned to see an incongruous shooting-stick making the tap as a gentleman, dressed in a tweed hacking-jacket, deerstalker and plus-fours, out of which protruded the source of the ‘tip-tip’ – a pair of trotters. A large bristling moustache bestrode a pig’s nose, thrust high in the air, intent upon ignoring me.

My forced cheery, ‘Good morning’, earned only a reluctant reply.

I chose my banana to distract me this apparition. – was I dreaming? – my shaking hand hungrily peeled and stuffed the fruit into my mouth, before lazily dropping it on the floor.

Hearing the slap, Sherhog dropped onto all fours and raced back to gobble up the skin, before scuttling off down a side street.

I had arrived at the source of the noise, now a din of piercing squeals, giggles and shouts of children racing and chasing around a school yard – boys in navy blasers with silver trim; girls in yellow gingham dresses, most with green cardigans, and all smart upright piglets.

So that was why I didn’t know this part of town. It was a new job with a new team – they must have overlooked telling me how secret a locality it was. Sitting in the mess-hut on the back of the wagon, I was intent on attending to the same old bragging of my fellow navvies, I must have missed any sort of checkpoint. Who else knew about the development of so many mutants – and at so advanced a stage? Who was in charge of the project – people or pigs?

The schoolma’am clanged the bell. She was a very large sow. She woke me from my wonder. I realised that I had better get back to the gang or lose my job before I had turned a spit.