Robin had watched his Uncle Andrew build the gyrocopter for fifteen years. Ever since he’d been into Uncle Andrew’s little workshop behind the old allotments.
At first he’d been too small to help, except maybe to pick up the prototype’s plans when Uncle Andrew brushed them off his workbench with an errant elbow. But as time progressed he grew big enough to hold things; important things like the best pliers or pots of glue that so often went into hiding. His speciality was finding nails, screws or staples that had fallen to the ground and lost themselves amongst the woodchips and dust. With the rumblings of puberty, it had been his task to carry the first working scale-model down to the football fields, and hold the fuel can, while Uncle Andrew readied the machine on its launch stanchion. That day Uncle Andrews’s gyrocopter had cleared the kindergarten fence and obliterated their Wendy House, but Robin’s ambitions had journeyed to the stars. He was an Aeronaut in the making.
And so, in his late teens, and still without telling his mum, Robin sat at the controls of Uncle Andrew’s gyrocopter as it sat heavily upon the site of its downscaled predecessor’s first onslaught on gravity. It was dusk; a sensible precaution because the kindergarten would be shut.
“Ready?” asked Uncle Andrew, always a man of few words.
Robin gave him a broad grin and the thumbs up.
Uncle Andrew then fired him sideways three hundred meters, at outstanding velocity and straight into the wall of the Council changing rooms, where he exploded in a fireball that could be seen twenty miles away.
Uncle Andrew pulled the plans from his rear pocket and surveyed them. He gave a ruminative little grunt and then sloped off back to his workshop.