This story

DES BUYS A NEW SHED

by Robert Williams

"I've come to a major decision," announced Des one morning in the cafe. "I can't put it off any longer."

"Oh thank goodness," said Mick.

"Yes, it's been something of an embarrassment for ages," said Des. "So the time has now come to splash out and buy a brand new one!"

"You're joking?!" exclaimed Clive. "Have you finally come to your senses?!"

"Yep," said Des. "I'm going to get a really nifty top-of-the-range model!"

"Fantastic!" said Clive. "Maybe this will mean house prices will finally be on the rise round here!"

"Why are you always so bothered about house prices?" said Mick.

"Because when my house finally reaches a reasonable price I'll be able to sell it and leave you bunch of muppets behind forever!!" said Clive.

Just then Mike the Manic Mechanic walked in.

"Hey Mike, great news, Des is finally going to buy a new car!" said Clive.

"Brilliant Des, about time too!" said Mike. "Now I've got some fantastic deals on at the moment, how do you fancy a brand new used 1983 Fiesta XR2 with a mere 4000 totally genuine honest guv miles on the clock and a sunroof!"

Just then Mrs Greasy came out with their lunch.

"Oh my goodness, look at the time!" said Clive suddenly. "I'm due at the squash club!!"

He got up and dashed out of the cafe.

"No, no, Mike, I'm not buying a new car!!" said Des. "Clive misunderstood what I was talking about!! What would I want to buy a new car for, I could never sell my beloved Fiat 126!!"

"Darn," said Mike.

"I was talking about my snowdome!" said Des. "Look at it, it doesn't even work any more!"

He took his snowdome out of his pocket, shook it, and nothing happened.

"Well it is summer, you don't get snow in the summer," pointed out Mike.

"Oh yes, and I'm getting a new shed as well," said Des. "But first I must clear out the old one."

After having to endure Mrs Greasy's lunch, Des went back to his house and down his garden to begin clearing out his shed. Mick came along as well since he evidently had nothing better to do.

"Good grief, you need a new shed more than you need a new snowdome!" said Mick. They looked at the shed - the walls were all leaning inwards, there was no glass in the window frames and there were numerous holes in the canvas roof.

"Okay, you open the door," said Des.

"Why me?" said Mick.

"Well...I haven't been in there for about ten years," said Des. "I'm afraid that if I open the door the whole thing might just collapse!"

"Well I'm not opening it!!" said Mick. "Do you think I'm mad?!"

"Let's find someone else to do it then," said Des. "Like Clive!"

"But he's gone down the squash club!" said Mick.

"No he's not, he's over there in his garden!" said Des.

Clive was sitting on his garden, sipping an ice cold drink, as it was quite a warm day. Des and Mick walked across to the fence and peered over at him.

"What do you want?!" snapped Clive. "Can't you see I'm busy!!"

"You're supposed to be at the squash club!" said Mick.

"I am! The orange squash club! Membership of one! And I'd like it to stay that way!!"

"We were just wondering if you could come and open my shed door," said Des.

"Are you mad, I'm not going in that rickety old thing!" said Clive. "And that's final!"

"Um...I've got some rare vinyl Bee Gees albums in there!" said Des.

Immediately Clive put his drink down, walked over the fence, straight across Des's garden and opened the shed door. He walked inside the shed and started searching for the Bee Gees records.

"Oh," said Des, slightly disappointed to see that the shed had not collapsed around Clive's ears. "See Mick, perfectly safe!"

"Where are these records then?!" said Clive.

"Umm, well actually I haven't really..." said Des.

"Oh here they are!" said Clive, picking up a box in the corner. "Cor, there's some classic stuff here! Thanks Des!!"

Clive walked out of the shed carrying the box of Bee Gees records while Des looked on in amazement.

"You're not a secret Bee Gees fan are you?!" said Mick.

"No I'm not, it's so long since I've been in that shed I've no idea what's in there!" said Des. "Anyway, Clive has proved it's perfectly safe to go in there, come on!"

"Hmmm, I think I'll just hang around outside, it's quite a nice day today!" said Mick.

"Suit yourself," said Des. He went inside the shed and started searching through piles of stuff.

Before long the contents of the shed were piling up outside. Other than the usual garden equipment, they included a moose's head, an old gramophone, a model skeleton, a birdcage, a trilby, ten garden gnomes, an old cooker, a rocking horse, some flying ducks, and a massive poster of Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog.

As Mick looked on, he kept expecting the shed to come crashing down at any minute, but remarkably it still managed to stay up. After an hour or so, Des had finally finished clearing it out, and he and Mick looked round at all the junk that had taken over Des's garden.

"Did all that stuff really fit inside that small shed?!" said Mick.

"Certainly did!" said Des.

The shed now looked even more precarious now everything had been cleared out. Mick peered inside and saw there was still one thing left inside - a rake that was leaning against the wall.

"Oi Des, that's my rake, I always wondered what happened to that!!" exclaimed Mick.

"Is it?" said Des. "Oh no, I wouldn't..."

Mick strode inside and claimed his rake. Immediately the wall collapsed inwards. Mick tried to dart out the way, but then the other walls began to fall inwards. Mick went through an empty window frame, and then right through the canvas roof as it crashed down. He was left standing there with his rake, covered in dust, in the middle of the remains of the shed.

"Oh Mick, that rake was the only thing holding the shed up!" said Des, who was stood well back.

"Was it really?!?!" exclaimed Mick.

"At least it saves taking it apart!" said Des.

"Oi you lot, keep the noise down, I've trying to enjoy a peaceful sit in the garden!!" shouted Clive.

"Hey Clive, you don't want a moose's head, do you?" said Des. "Oh, you've got one already! Ha!!"

Clive snarled.

"Seriously though, is there anything you do want?" said Des. "Poster of Bob Carolgees? I can see you're tempted!"

"No!" said Clive.

"What about you, Mick?" said Des.

"I don't want a poster of him either!" said Clive.

"That's just a pile of ridiculous old junk!" said Mick, who was busy wiping the dust off himself. "Why don't you just get rid of it all!!"

"Naaah!" said Des. "Might be worth something one day!"

Des cleared the bits of the shed out of the way. Next came the big purchase - a brand new shed! But first of all Des had to go and quickly buy his new snowdome. Then he went to the garden centre, with Mick tagging along.

"What a vast selection of sheds on offer!" said Mick, looking at the vast selection of sheds on offer. They were located outside the garden centre itself, in an area adjacent to the car park.

"I'll have that one," said Des, pointing at the first shed he saw.

"Aren't you going to have a look around?" said Mick. "See what else is on offer? Perhaps buy a copy of 'Which Shed'? That's what I did!"

"You would," said Des. "Look at them, they're all the same! I'll have this one, looks good enough to me!"

Des handed over the cash to the sales assistant, and the shed was now in Des's possession.

"Now the only problem is..." said Des. "How am I going to get it home?" He tried lifting it, without much success, obviously.

"Couldn't you just get the garden centre to deliver it?" said Mick.

Just then Mike the Manic Mechanic came up to them, carrying a large garden gnome.

"Oh hi there Des and Mick," said Mike. They looked at his gnome. "Oh no, it's not for me, it's for my Aunty Mavis's birthday. I don't like her, so I thought she'd hate this! Is that your new shed?"

Des stared hard at the shed for several seconds.

"You know what Mike, I think it is!" said Des. "Thanks for pointing it out!"

"No problem," said Mike.

"Actually, I have got a bit of a problem," said Des.

"I know that," said Mike.

"How am I going to get this shed home?" said Des. "Could you perhaps..."

"The answer is obvious!!" exclaimed Mike. "Bring round your car!"

Des drove round his car from the car park. When he got out, Mike started taking off the wheels.

"Mike, what are you doing?!" exclaimed Des.

"Simple!" said Mike. "I'm going to transfer the wheels, engine, chassis and steering column from your car onto this shed. Then you can drive it home!!"

"Riiiight," said Mick.

Des was a bit unsure about this idea, but since Mike had already started the process he didn't like to interrupt.

"Erm Mike, this won't take long, will it?" said Des.

"Naaah, three or four hours should do it!!" said Mike.

"Okay..." said Des.

"And then when we get it home, I'll transfer everything back onto your car and it'll be as good as new!" said Mike. "Unless you'd like to pop round to my garage and choose a classy little number from my selection of hot Fords!"

"No thanks," said Des.

They watched as Mike busily took the body of Des's Fiat 126 away from the chassis.

"I can't help thinking there must have been a simpler way to get that shed home," sighed Des.

"Like asking the garden centre to deliver it?" said Mick. "Or asking Mike to deliver it on a pick-up or something?"

"What's that, Mick?" said Mike.

"Oh nothing, nothing," said Mick.

After about five hours Mike had finally finished. The shed now had wheels, lights, an engine, a chassis, a steering wheel, bumpers and number plates, all donated by Des's Fiat 126. As the floorpan was taken from the Fiat, the engine had to be placed at the rear of the shed. At the front Mike had removed the door from its hinges, and plonked a seat there. Bolted onto the front was the steering column, pedals and a load of wires.

"Whaddya think!!" said Mike. "Pretty nifty, eh!"

"Super," mumbled Mick.

"Just one thing," said Des. "How am I going to get my car home?" He pointed at the shell of his Fiat.

"Umm..." said Mike. "Can't you ask the garden centre to deliver it?"

"Too late, the garden centre's closed!" exclaimed Mick. "It's starting to get dark!"

"I know what to do!" said Mike. "I reckon your car's just small enough!"

Mike set about removing one of the side walls of the shed.

"Good grief," sighed Mick.

Mike, Des and Mick heaved the shell of the car inside the shed, and Mike replaced the wall.

"There!" said Mike. "Now all you have to do is drive it home!"

"Thank goodness it's getting dark, hopefully no one will see me!" said Des.

He carefully went and sat down on the seat at the front of the shed.

"It should drive just like your Fiat!" said Mike. "In other words, terribly!"

"Are you sure it's road legal?" said Des.

"Course it is, you've got lights, seat belt, number plates, tax disc!" said Mike. "What more do you want, an MOT document?!"

"Umm..." said Des.

"Just start the engine!!" exclaimed Mike. Des did so, and the familiar rumble of the Fiat 126 engine was heard.

"I'll give you a lift home, Mick," said Mike.

"Thanks Mike, I wouldn't be seen dead in a thing like that!" said Mick.

"Too right, nor me!!" said Mike.

They watched as Des put his foot on the accelerator pedal, and the shed began to trundle through the car park.

"'Ere Mike, is this as fast as it will go?!" shouted Des.

Because the shell of his Fiat 126 was weighing the shed down, Des was finding that the engine barely had enough power to propel the shed along at any great speed.

"Sorry Des, not a lot I can do about that!!" shouted back Mike. "I'll see you in the morning to put your car back together again!!"

Mick and Mike whizzed off home in Mike's Cortina, while Des was left trailing in his motorised shed.

"He could at least have put a turbocharger in," grumbled Des.

Des trundled along the road at a speed that would make a milk float look fast.

"I hope PC Plod's in bed!" thought Des. "I'm not sure if this is exactly legal!"

Unfortunately he wasn't. Des soon noticed Plod riding behind him on his bike. It didn't take long for Plod to catch him up.

"Excuse me sir, may I have a quick word with you?" said Plod.

"Oh no come on, no way was I exceeding the speed limit this time!" exclaimed Des.

"Is this your, erm, vehicle, sir?" asked Plod.

"Well...yeeees...but..." said Des.

"Have you a vehicle registration certificate?" said Plod. "It doesn't exactly look roadworthy to me."

"Oh yes it is, it's passed its MOT and everything!" said Des.

"Can I see your vehicle registration certificate please?" asked Plod.

"Err...tell you what, I haven't got it on me at the moment, so come round my house tomorrow and I'll show it to you then!"

"Right you are, sir," said Plod. "I'll see you tomorrow." He raced off on his bicycle to continue fighting crime.

Des decided he would deal with the problem in the morning. When he finally arrived home, as it was now getting very late, he decided to leave the shed parked in the front drive overnight, and hoped no one would steal it (yeah right, as if anyone's going to steal a motorised shed).

The next morning, when Des got up, he looked out of the window and was surprised to see Clive looking at his new shed, weeping. He went outside to see him.

"Clive, what's the matter?" said Des.

"Why me?!" moaned Clive. "Why me?!?!?"

"What are you talking about?!" said Des.

"Of all the millions of people on this planet, why did I have to end up with you as my neighbour?!?!"

"I don't know what you mean!" said Des.

"You can't do anything sensible, can you?!" exclaimed Clive. "All you had to do was to buy a new car!! But no, you have to go and buy a shed on wheels!!!!"

"That's not my new car," said Des.

"It's not?" said Clive.

"It's my new shed," said Des. "The wheels and engine are only temporary."

"Oh thank goodness," said Clive. "So where's your new car then?"

"I'm not getting a new car!!" said Des. "There's nothing wrong with my Fiat 126!! I will keep it forever!!"

Clive started weeping again. Just then Mike the Manic Mechanic turned up.

"What's wrong with him?!" said Mike.

"I don't know, he's just got some ridiculous in-built prejudice against both Fiat 126s and sheds on wheels," said Des.

"Well, whatever, let's get your car shipshape again!" said Mike. "Or even carshape again!"

Mike spent the next five hours returning all the car bits and pieces from the shed to the car.

"There, what did I tell you!" said Mike. "It's as good as new!!"

Des had to admit, his Fiat 126 was now just as it had been before Mike started meddling with it.

"That'll be £500 + VAT please," said Mike.

"What?!?!" exclaimed Des. "I thought you were doing it as a favour!"

"I was!" said Mike. "And an extremely inexpensive favour it was too!"

Des handed the cash to Mike, who then went back to his garage. Just then PC Plod came along.

"Good afternoon sir, have you managed to produce a vehicle registration certificate for that shed yet?" asked Plod.

"PC Plod, what are you talking about, why do I need a vehicle registration certificate for a shed?!"

Plod stared long and hard at the shed. It was indeed an ordinary, common-or-garden shed! He scratched his head and then tried rubbing his eyes.

"Err, well, err...sorry to bother you sir, I did have rather a long night..."

Plod hurried back to the police station to book a long holiday. Meanwhile Des went over to Mick's house and rang his doorbell. Mick answered.

"Mick, I've got a problem," said Des.

Mick groaned.

"You see my new shed?" said Des. "How are we going to get it from the front drive to the back garden?"

"How about taking your house apart, lifting the shed across and then putting your house back together!"

"That's a good idea...naah, it'd take too long!" said Des. "Quicker to take the shed apart!"

Des grabbed a reluctant Mick over to his front drive.

"Now this can't be too difficult, I'm sure I've done it sometime before..." said Des. "All I need is a hammer. Because if I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land."

"What about the afternoon?" said Mick.

"Tea break," said Des. He went and fetched a couple of hammers and they set to work taking the shed apart. Then they carried the parts through the garage and into the back garden, which was still covered in moose's heads, skeletons, bird cages etc.

By now Mick was exhausted, so Des single-handedly put the shed back together, in its new, permanent position at long last.

"There you go!" said Des. "Looks great, doesn't it!"

"No," said Mick.

Des was about to start piling all his junk into the new shed when Mick decided to point something out to him.

"Des," said Mick. "Your new shed looks as though it's about to collapse!"

"Really?" said Des. He stared carefully at it. "Oh yes, you're right!"

Following Des's rebuild, all of the walls were now leaning inwards. In fact they were on the brink of falling right in.

"Now I remember why the walls on the old shed always leant inwards!!" exclaimed Des. "Tell you what, can I borrow your rake?"


Copyright © Robert Williams
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