The Knitting Emergency Response Unit
Red lights flashed and alarm bells clanged at the Knitting Emergency Response Unit (KERU) at Agency Headquarters. Agent K, the agent on duty, studied the enormous screen that covered one wall. A red icon in the shape of a pair of empty hands flashed on an electronic map – someone needed assistance at the airport. Agent K picked up a small tablet computer next to the door and ran out of the room.
The tablet had all the pertinent data that Agent K needed for the mission. The empty hands icon meant that knitter had found himself or herself without yarn and needles. The icon had been at the airport, so it was unlikely that he or she would be near a LYS. Finally, it had been red, which meant that the knitter was about to board a plane, where the horrible reality of sitting for a long time with no knitting was imminent. The tablet had all the pertinent data that Agent K needed: name, gate number, departure time, and flight length. Horrified, Agent K noted that the flight was over eight hours long.
The KERU had just opened this month. This new system for knitting emergencies had been implemented to assist knitters in distress. Now, whenever a knitter found himself or herself without knitting or in knitting difficulties, he or she could activate an app on a cell phone (or a specially-designed Agency-issued device) that would either provide directions to the nearest LYS or link up with the KERU, where an agent kept watch around the clock.
Some knitting emergencies are more dire than others, so a panic button can be pressed when a true emergency (defined as an alien sighting, a life-threatening situation, or more than 2 hours without knitting) occurs. One or more Agents could be dispatched anywhere in the world within minutes.
Agent K headed directly to the Portable Project storage room, where shelves with projects-to-go lined the walls. Agent K consulted the tablet again. While she ran down the hallway, the computer had analyzed the knitter in question, pulling data from Ravelry about her favorite colors, sizes, and latest projects. An algorithm matched her profile with a project in the PP room. As Agent K approached the room, she could hear motors whirring as the selected project was shuttled from a shelf and deposited right by the door for Agent K’s convenience. Agent K grabbed the small pink project bag with sheep frolicking on it and headed for the door to the helipad.
As she approached the helicopter sitting on the pad, the engines started up and the blades began to spin slowly. Agent K leapt into the cabin still clutching the project bag and gave the pilot a thumbs-up. The bird climbed steadily into the air, then sped in the direction of the airport.
As pilot maneuver the aircraft, Agent K glanced throughout the project bag. A skein of the knitter’s favorite brand and color of sock yarn rested in the bottom, already wound into a center-pull ball. A set of sock needles were stuck through it, and a smaller bag of notions (tape measure, tapestry needle, and stitch markers) sat on top. A neatly folded pattern by the knitter’s favorite designer was at the very bottom. Last but not least, a small box of fancy chocolate completed the package.
By this point, the helicopter was approaching the airport. Agent K cinched up the project bag and reviewed the tablet information. Gate 14 on Concourse Foxtrot. Of course it was on the opposite side of the airport from the helipad!
Agent K leapt out of the helicopter and raced for the terminal door. She burst through the door and dodged down a hallway full of road warrior businessmen and texting teenagers. She leapt over a row of empty seats and skidded around a stall selling stale sandwiches and wildly expensive bottles of water. She ran into the main central atrium of the airport and looked around. Ah, there was the entrance to Terminal Foxtrot!
Dodging luggage carts piled high with baggage, kids in strollers, and coffee stands, she made it to the Terminal entrance. A moving sidewalk scrolled serenely on one side of the corridor. Agent K consulted her tablet again – the plane door would close in two and a half minutes – she wasn’t going to make it without drastic action!
She looked around and spotted it – a stand of rental luggage carts. Quickly she ran over and swiped the Agency-issued credit card and grabbed the first cart. She pushed it over to the moving sidewalk and settled her bottom into the basket of the cart. Grasping the handrail of the moving sidewalk, she shoved off with all her might. The cart shot forward, rattling down the sidewalk.
“Coming through!” she shouted as she approached a group of tourists standing on the right of the sidewalk. They gasped and jumped out of the way. “Sorry, knitting emergency!” she yelled as she rocketed by.
The end of the sidewalk was coming up, so Agent K stood up in the basket, surfer-style, and prepared to jump. The cart hit the stationary, carpeted concourse floor, and Agent K leapt gracefully through the air, landing cat-like on her feet.
Agent K looked around the concourse and groaned. Gate 14 was all the way on the other side of the circular concourse. Picking herself up from her crouch, she dove into the crowd and dodged left and right, threading through the hoards of people. Gate 14 was just ahead, and Agent K spotted the knitter standing anxiously by the door. The knitter was wearing a beautiful handknit fair isle sweater and was shifting from foot to foot, scanning the crowd for the agent.
“Ma’am, you’re either going to have to enter the plane or decide to stay now, we can’t delay the plane,” the gate attendant said in an exasperated voice.
“Just a few more minutes, please!” begged the knitter.
“No, we can’t…” the gate attendant’s voice trailed off as Agent K slid to a halt in front of her and handed the project bag to the knitter.
“Oh my gosh, how can I ever thank you!” gushed the knitter.
“All in a day’s work, ma’am,” Agent K said, gasping for air. “Now get going, you’re going to miss your flight!”
The knitter wrung Agent K’s hand, then sprinted through the gate door, just in time before the gate agent closed it.
Agent K collapsed into the nearest chair, breathing hard but relieved to have made it just in time.