CIRCUS UNLIMITED! Circus Stories:  The Wall - Part Two
Circus Stories

The Wall: Part Two
[Click here for The Wall: Part One]

Your Honour, I further submit....

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 he missed my car completely.

It was a Sunday.

I felt sick. I had a headache. I was all cold and sweaty. Everything ached. But this is Sunday....the day after Saturday night. And I always feel like this early on a Sunday, don't you?

In the cold light of dawn the damage caused by the Austin Metro (driven by "Luke" someone who shall remain nameless) when it crashed at high speed through my front wall was....well, er....just as bad as it looked last night actually. Those nice policemen had done their best to (at least) clear the path that led to the front door. Of course they had got distracted by some fool running up the road at midnight yelling: "He's still got my goat!" My diction is somewhat impaired when I am tired and emotional.

Car Gone. Wall Gone.

Cars were slowing down as they passed the scene. People were coming down the road, having a good look and then turning around and going back again. The bravest of these souls would sometimes approach more closely and venture a cheery: "Good Morning!" Guess what came next. "What happened here then?" or "Ha Ha! Lost your wall then?"

I should explain, at this point, gentle readers, that in the aged eyes and aged ears of my neighbours, I am still that weird new clown who lives in Roy's house. ("Roy", the previous owner, has long since gone to that great Ottery St Mary in the sky....well, Devon actually, but I digress).

Here are a selection of witty replies to the question:

"What happened here then?"

....It was a new routine for the act that went terribly wrong!

....My Mum has come to stay for the weekend!

....We're having that new digital TV put in!

....If I ever catch that Humpty Dumpty I'll throttle him!

....All the King's horses and all the King's men asked me to run a team event for them. This is part of a training exercise which is designed to highlight effective teamworking techniques.

It wasn't many minutes before I realised that what was left of the wall (a section some one metre high by fifteen feet long) had separated from its foundations and slid down the hill some 18 inches.

Wall shifts downhill, blocks gate.

Because it wasn't many minutes before I opened the front gate and found the gateway full of wall where (before) there was no wall at all. If this sounds confusing, you're beginning to get a sense of how I felt.

The remaining wall was upright, 18 inches from where it used to be and rocked gently from side to side in the wind. Being a responsible resident, and fearing a possible lawsuit, I immediately fashioned a sign which read:

"Please do not throw stones at this notice DANGEROUS WALL".

I placed the sign against the wall where everyone would see it. As I did this, the wall rocked alarmingly from side to side. Quickly, I telephoned that guy who is drilling under the Leaning Tower Of Pisser in Italy to get it back stable again....and it seems to be working! Unfortunately he was down the pub. I left a message but he never did get back to me. Call that "customer care"? I don't!

Instead I rang the insurance company helpline. (Mission statement: "We believe claiming should be straight forward"). "Hello, my name's Nicola....how can I help you?"

I explained that a car had driven through my wall and that I needed help from her helpline. She suggested that I should call back tomorrow when head office would be open. I enquired on which number I should call head office tomorrow. She gave me the same number that I had just called her on. I began to realise that we were both going to have to work very hard on our relationship.

Eventually Nicola and I decided to try again (for the children's sake) and came to an understanding. She would organise a builder to come, look at and then demolish the rest of the wall (and quick). I would put the toilet lid down, not squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle and stop going out with the lads every Thursday night.

Meantime, I began to remove the bricks, rubble and concrete chunks, stacking them neatly on the edge of the driveway where my car hadn't been parked and close to that skip two thirds full of garden cuttings etc. Anthony is a Horticulturist. And not, definitely not, a Gardener. You may remember this.

Just then the telephone rang. Well, played a little tune, actually. It was Nicola. She'd just called so I could go through it all again with her. I did.

As I returned to clearing the debris I came across various components of "Luke"'s Austin Metro. Headlight glass. Registration plate. ("Did you get his number?") Plastic trim. Wing mirror. Furry Dice. Windscreen (no road tax disc). Austin Metro maintenance manual (still sealed in its original packing). Copy of a leaflet entitled: "How to crash through a wall". Brief case containing bundles of used 20 notes and so on. All this, I consigned to the skip risking the wrath of Anthony.

Just then the telephone rang. It was my Mum angling for an invite to afternoon tea (make my day complete). She would later come round and make a point of shutting the garden gate behind her despite the fact that there is no wall either side of it!

The telephone made that annoying beep it does when there is someone else on the line. It was Nicola. Could she just check a few details again? Was it every Thursday night? and did this apply to both toilets?

Oh yes....and there would be a man round later to do the necessary.

A little later Richard called. He's a builder. I don't need a builder, I need a demolisher. Yes, he does that too. He'd just called to say he'd be here soon and could he just check a few details? Did "toilet lid" include toilet seat? And could I just go through the whole thing again? I did.

It was round about now that I swear I saw "Luke" pass by on the other side of the road, smirking. I couldn't be sure. I realised that I might be hard pushed to pick "Luke" out from an identity parade. He lives just around the corner. Accessed that Internet thingy and printed out "How to pick someone out from an identity parade when you're hard pushed ". Hope it won't be needed.

Richard arrived and expressed concern that my claim reference number (it was the only thing that Nicola had ever given me) began "WM" rather than "WIS". This suggested to him that my insurance may not cover "accidental damage". I asked Richard what if "Luke" admitted he had done it on purpose? Richard had never come across this one before. But then he had also never come across a wall that had slid down a hill some 18 inches.

Richard tells me that it costs 200 to demolish the wall and I might have to pay it! Thank heavens half the wall was demolished already....otherwise it would cost 400.

And I'll need a "grabber truck" to pick up all the rubble etc. and make it disappear. Some trick! That's another 125. And I might have to pay that too!

Apparently "head office" and only "head office" have access to my computer records. And "head office" is closed on Sundays. The fact that I hold in my hand a piece of paper categorically stating that I am covered for accidental damage including "collision by any aircraft or other aerial device (or any articles dropped from them) or by any vehicle or animal" seems to hold no water.

So....just in case, I attempt to use my finely developed negotiating skills to reduce the cost of both the demolition and the grabbing. Skills refined and fine-tuned during a lifetime of cut and thrust in the business community.

Especially as my feeling at this point was that the wall would demolish itself before our very eyes (all props can be freely examined by members of the audience after the show).

Quickly, I telephoned that guy who walked through the Great Wall Of China....and it seems to work! Unfortunately he was down the pub. I left a message but he never did get back to me. Call that "customer care"? I don't!

Anyway....Richard is having none of it.

Work progresses on his terms. ("If it turns out you aren't covered we can talk about it". Subtext: "But it will still cost you 200").

Richard demolishes the wall in 10.3 minutes. It takes him much longer to remove the bricks, rubble and concrete chunks, stacking them neatly on the edge of the driveway where my car hadn't been parked and close to that skip two thirds full of garden cuttings etc.

The grabber truck will be along tomorrow.

Just then the telephone rang. Well, played a little tune, actually. It was Nicola. She'd just called so I could go through it all again with her. I did.

All the while I'm picking shards of glass and brick out of the lawn and flower beds. The "Heebee" plant is lost forever along with smaller plants that, as a mere man, I had never noticed. That strange tree with the twisty trunk that no one knows the name of had survived!

Next day, it was Monday.

The grabber truck arrived, backed into position and attempted to grab. Unfortunately, part of its lifting mechanism caught on that strange tree with the twisty trunk that no one knows the name of. Dark brown hydraulic fluid began to spurt all over the driveway....and to fill up the skip....

With much bouncing and hissing of air brakes in annoyance, the grabber truck, gave up and moved off. The skip would have to be moved first and then the bricks all shifted 6 feet to the left.

Once again, I thought I saw "Luke" pass by on the other side of the road, smirking. I couldn't be sure. This time he was wearing one of those collars.

Nicola had told me that someone from the insurance company (head office) would call me today. “To put the claim in progress”. They didn’t. I called them….

….next day, Tuesday.

"Hello, my name's Alison....how can I help you?"

I told her, straight…. By some fluke he missed my car completely.

Alison said that she would send round someone to assess the wall.
It was only afterwards that I realised: there was no wall left to assess!

No wall at all (at all).

Just then the telephone rang. Well, played a little tune, actually. It was PC Luker from the Metropolitan Police. “I don’t want to worry you, sir, but your Mother has been involved in a serious road accident….”

It turned out later that she had crashed through someone's wall.

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CIRCUS UNLIMITED! Circus Stories:  The Wall - Part Two
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