Never Again – Part One

Twenty odd years ago on American Independence Day the dawn had broken with the sound of someone outside our house, just below our bedroom window, trying to start a car. They were the days when I, like most people I guess, never saw that time of day. On and on they tried to start the car by which time we were both awake and just a tad annoyed given the hour. Eventually my wife got up to have a look. She calmly got back into bed and said “Don’t panic but someone is trying to steal my car”. I immediately leapt out of bed to see for myself. Sure enough there was a blonde haired man sitting in the little black Fiat Uno turning the key for all it was worth. It was as if the blood had drained from my head and any sense of reason had instantly disappeared. Wearing only a pair of underpants, I quickly put on a pair of trainers and ran downstairs having to collect the house keys en-route to get me into the early July air. My own car keys were on the same fob which would prove to be more than useful. By this time the man had started the car and had driven off. My brand new shiny company car was sitting on the drive though this was before the days of remote opening. There I stood in my pants and trainers fumbling with the car key in the door. Looking back, what a sight that would have been to the casual stranger on their way to work an early shift. As I sat in the drivers’ seat I remember thinking that if he’s left the village there’s one of three directions for him to go so it would be pointless trying to pursue given those odds. That being the case I thought I’d just have a quick look around the village. I took a turn into a little lane that links the two major roads in Gretton and, lo and behold, there was the little black Uno, engine still running, parked outside a substantially large detached stone house. I pulled up behind it deciding to confront the driver – on reflection, stupid I know, yet when all reason disappears anything ridiculous is possible. Imagine my surprise to find that, instead of the blonde man sitting in the drivers’ seat, I was now confronted with a rather large, ruddy faced woman. ‘This is becoming weirder’ I remember thinking. She just stared at me as I breathlessly mumbled the first thing that came into my head. “Is this your car?” No response. I repeated the question two or three times without response. Then I noticed that the little car was packed to the gunnels with small antiquities of every shape. Clocks, ornaments: things that looked incredibly valuable. Then, without saying a word, she put the Uno into gear and drove off at a speed that defied logic for our little car. I immediately gave chase.

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