The Wall: Part One
It was a Saturday in April. About 10.30pm. Suddenly there was a long, rumbling sound of considerable volume from the front of my house. It sounded for all the world like someone had crashed through my ample and sturdy front wall and had propelled bricks and masonry chunks of considerable size towards the front door some 20 feet away.
I rushed to the main door and opened it. Guess what....someone had crashed through my ample and sturdy front wall and had propelled bricks and masonry chunks of considerable size right up to the front door.
I stood aghast! There was a dark coloured Austin Metro, (registration number: missing) not six feet from my portal. Without a word of a lie, not six feet....it was 20.
There was a man (well, boy, to be exact) trying to get out. Problem was, the vehicle was wedged between what was left of the wall and that strange tree with the twisty trunk that no one knows the name of.
I gaped. For the first time in my life.... I was speechless. I just couldn't think what to say.
"You can't park here, its private!" I said to the sole occupant of this British automobile.
Eventually he forced the driver's door against the trunk of that strange tree with the twisty trunk that no one knows the name of. It now has a dent in it and several scuff marks also. The tree. I don't know about the door.
He stepped out and replied: "I'd better turn the ignition off". I agreed. He said he was stupid. I agreed. He said he was 18. I agreed. He said he'd just bought the car for £30. A bargain! I agreed. He said he didn't have a licence, MOT, insurance or road tax and that he'd lost control. I agreed (wondering why I wasn't losing control myself, right here, right now). He said "sorry". I replied. He agreed that "sorry" just wouldn't be good enough.
He asked me if I would walk him home to get his coat. He was in shock. Me too. He lived just around the corner. I suggested that he stayed right here and that I got him one of my coats. He agreed.
As we both stood there in the light of the security halogen lamp (it had triggered the very nanosecond that the car had penetrated my perimeter), surrounded by the bricks, mortar and rubble, we discussed many things.
"Are YOU all right?" I asked him, concerned. He probably replied. But I had just remembered: THERE WAS A SKIP ON OUR DRIVEWAY!
Oh....that didn't matter, of course, it was two thirds full of garden cuttings etc. that Anthony had been putting there yesterday and Thursday. Anthony is a Horticulturist. And not, definitely not, a Gardener. Anthony had told me that himself.
Oh no, that didn't matter. What did matter was that: I COULDN'T DRIVE INTO THE SPACIOUS DOUBLE GARAGE (with automated up and over double door).
So my car....was....outside....on the grass verge. In between the road and where the wall was. And I mean: "where the wall was".
"Have you hit my car too?" I politely enquired. He said he hadn't. Well....he'd been so honest and open so far, I couldn't help but believe him totally. I found a torch and examined the car in minute detail. Oh no! The headlights had smashed The front end was concertina-ed and there were dents and gouges all over. This car would never again play the piano.
No, wait....I was looking at the wrong car. This was his Austin Metro.
By some fluke he missed my car completely.
Just then the fine men of the Hertfordshire Constabulary arrived. As they turned the corner opposite I shone my torch at them to indicate my predicament. Unfortunately, the torch, a rather powerful one worth 6,060 Texaco stars, temporarily blinded the driver as he was negotiating the sharp right hand turn. Suddenly out of control, he swerved to avoid the yellow GRIT bin and came full tilt towards the sign that says: "Please do not throw stones at this notice".
I'll hold my hands up. This last bit isn't true. I didn't hold my hands up at all.
Recovering control of the high powered pursuit car in an instant, the police driver simultaneously cancelled his application for the advanced driving course and pulled over to the side of the road outside my house.
By some fluke he, too, missed my car completely.
"Good evening!" I quoth, wishing I had the temerity to substitute: "Consternoon, Afterble!" "My name is Julian and this is MY house!" Immediately feeling like a contestant on a late afternoon game show on BBC2, (you, know, the one's you have to set the video for because you're never home in time), I added: "And this gentleman can tell you the rest".
Anticipating "trouble", one
officer asked "
As calming me down wasn't necessary (I was
very calm; my car was all right. I had property insurance and the
deed had most definitely been done....and was irreversible. Oh
yeah, and that guy "
He asked for my name. I said he couldn't have it, as it was still in use. My address. Well....here, actually. And my DOB. Now, call me old-fashioned, but where I was brought up DOB meant "Dead On Arrival". But no....he needed my birthday. Obviously part of new and progressive police human relations training, the plan must surely be to send victims of crime a Happy Birthday cheer up message. Probably via that Internet thingy. What grace! What charm! What style!
His personality and professionalism crackled before me like static on a radio. I thought I heard ghostly voices, chanting on the wind: "Confirmed. Julian, DOA" and my address. Wonderful thing, that Internet thingy.
Still in "Must Keep The Victim Out The
Way" mode, the officer who had been assigned to me, kept me
out the way (as "
"Its a good job he didn't hit that strange tree with the twisty trunk that no one knows the name of. He'd be dead now" said the policeman. I agreed.
In the fullness of time, "
The coat! He'd still got my coat. Luckily I caught him before he left. In my haste to draw his attention to the ownership of the garment, I must admit, I did open my front door and go haring after him. And, yes, it must have looked like I'd finally flipped and was out for revenge through aggressive behaviour.
And, no, I don't blame the two police officers for dropping the large chunks of masonry on the driveway that they were trying to clear and give chase. It was all right though when they realised what was happening. Problem was, it took some time for this to happen.
Picture the scene. It was Saturday night. The destruction. The chaos. The bricks and masonry chunks of considerable size. The blue flashing lights. The crackly radios. A high tech truck winching what was left of the Metro from out of what was left of the wall. And me running up the road at midnight yelling: "He's still got my goat!" My diction is somewhat impaired when I am tired and emotional.
It was Saturday night.
I slept like a log. But I can tell you: I left the security halogen lamp on just in case....well, just in case.
The next day dawned. It had all been a dream! So vivid though. So real. I looked out of the window. All was....as it was. Hang on....this is the back garden. Back round the front there was destruction. Chaos. Bricks and masonry chunks of considerable size just everywhere.
By some fluke
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