Vehicular Larrikanism

“I’ll check it later,” he said, scratching beneath his oil-stained baseball cap as her bottom lip dropped while staring up at him with pleading puppy-eyes. Shaking his head, he leaned down to the rear tyre.  “Y’know, mechanicin’ isn’t magic. It’s just a process of elimination.”

“But—”

“You realize it’s a car, an’ not moving camouflaged-art?”

“But—”

“This is a two-wheeled drive —not four-wheeled drive.”

“But—”

“It’s not a billy goat or a reincarnated army tank.”

“But—”

“Not a born-again gecko gripping metallic-mud-wrestler.”

“But—”

“My truck’s tyre’s bigger than this teeny, tiny, car. Our cattle’s bigger than this vehicle. It’s a toy-car designed to never leave city limits.” He reached beneath the chassis and sighed heavily at the sight. “You know, cars perform much better when they’re not luggin’ a forest’s worth of tree,” he said, dragging out a long branch from under the wheel arch. “What did this little car ever do to you to deserve this kind of treatment?”

She jumped into the front seat and started it up. Her feet barely reached the pedals as she crunched the car into gear. “It’s survived everything we’ve put it through, so far.”

“Poor car. Especially with you drivin’ it. Where d’ya get it?”

“It fell off this road-train, Uncle. No one claimed it.”

“Course no one would want it, kid, not when we’re in four-wheel drive country. I’m surprised the bull-dust hasn’t swallowed it up yet.” He closed her door and the whole car shook. “How come you’ve got it when you’re not old enough to get a license?”

“There’s a wager goin’ on what it’ll take for me to kill it. But, I’m not allowed to shoot it or hit anythin’ to trigger-off the airbags. Hey, do you reckon it’ll float? I wonder if I can hook the outboard motor onto it?”

“Get gone, girlie,” he muttered, wiping his grimy hands on a rag as red dust billowed out from behind the tiny car cutting through the open plains. Wallabies raised their heads from under the shady eucalyptus trees, watching her drive past, upsetting a screeching aerial escort of white galahs to fly above her trail of red dust. “That’s it, I’m buyin’ that kid a bloody TV, to get ‘er away from all this country….”

(377 words)

FROM MOVING MOMENTS

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The Car.

‘You’ve gotta love European luxury,’ said Macka, with one hand on the steering wheel, the other rested on the gear stick. He stared beyond the headlights slashing through the misty-grey fog, producing a tunnel-like vision of the shiny motorway ahead. ‘I feel like King-of-the-road in this car.’

‘I’m hearin’ ya,’ said Robbie. Wearing the standard blue-collar grunge, while this car whispered white-collar-royalty. He embraced the moment with nose in the air, waving like the Queen of England. His body was perfectly cocooned in the passenger seat as he admired the sumptuous leather detailing. ‘This is the best chair on the planet. Seriously, this chair belongs in my lounge-room. It’s even got that new car smell.’ He adjusted the vents and the air brushed against his ruddy cheeks like a warm summer’s breeze. It was a welcoming break from the external winter night. ‘You can’t hear the outside world. This thing’s got no rattles and no engine noise.’

‘It’s like we’re in a travel-bubble,’ said Macka, nodding slowly while maneuvering the prestigious vehicle into the misty back streets of suburbia.

Robbie poked at the many buttons, dials and gadgets on the centre console. ‘So, whose car is it?’

‘It’s no ones,’ replied Macka.

‘What’d’ya mean, no one’s?’

Macka tenderly stroked the side of the door. ‘No one was there when I found her. An’ she just sang to me…’

‘You on somethin’, Macka?’ He arched an eyebrow at Macka feeling-up the car like it was a pet dog.

‘No.’ Macka frowned while caressing the steering wheel. ‘She had this song playing on her stereo, Jump-in-my-car—’

‘Don’t you dare sing to me!’

Thankfully stoping Macka mid-gasp.

Robbie shook his head as he opened the glove compartment. ‘There’s no papers? You’d expect there’d be some manual, even rentals have advertising crap in their cars. Everyone has some rubbish in their cars, like receipts, chip packets, chewing gum wrappers…’ He twisted around to the back seat that was completely empty. No dirt on the carpet. No prints on the windows. This car was brand spanking new. ‘Seriously, Macka, where’d ya get it?’

‘In the park and there she was all alone. Door open. Engine running. Stereo singing to me. I reckon I’ll keep her. Reckon I’ll drive her round for a bit.’

‘Cops’ll be lookin’ for it.’

‘Err, why?’

‘Think about it.’ Robbie pushed one palm to the ceiling, the other hand gripped the door and braced himself.

‘Bugger! We’re in a STOLEN CAR!’ Macka slammed both work-boots onto the brakes and the car screeched to a halt in the middle of the street.

Flinging both front doors open, the two men bolted into the night leaving the car all alone. Doors open. Engine running. Lights on. Stereo singing…

First published 02/11/2015

(465 words)

from   ‘MOVING MOMENTS’

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