by Robert Williams
Mick, Wayne and Mike the Manic Mechanic were sitting about in the cafe one morning.
"Dear, dear, is this it?" said Mrs Greasy. "Just you three? Business really is floundering these days!"
"It's not much better round my garage!" said Mike. "No one's after fast Fords any more, they're all downsizing and buying small Fiats, of all things!!"
"The credit crunch is biting hard," said Mick, who was reading all about the dire financial situation in his newspaper.
"I think you mean the Credit Crunch is hard to bite!!" said Mike, looking at Wayne who was having some difficulty chewing through the topically-named new breakfast cereal that Mrs Greasy had made for him. "Incidentally, does anyone want a small Fiat, I've just had one sold to me by somebody you and I know quite while."
"What - Des?!?!" said Mick. "He's sold you his car?!?!"
"Yes, and he didn't even buy anything off me in return, the rotter," said Mike.
"Maybe even Des is downsizing!" said Mick.
"From a Fiat 126?!" said Mike. "No chance. Surely, if there's one person the credit crunch is going to have no effect on, it's Moneybags Des!!"
Mick continued reading the newspaper, which was full of ominous predictions about the economy.
"I see house prices are on the slide," said Mick. "Clive's not going to be happy about that!"
Just then Clive burst into the cafe. He had a massive grin from ear to ear.
"Hi there everyone!" he exclaimed. "I've bought a new car!! It's a BMW!!" This news was greeted with apathy from the others. "Come and have a look!!"
They all lookd unenthusiastic until right on cue, Mrs Greasy came out of the kitchen with their lunch. Straight away Mick, Mike and Clive rushed outside to look at Clive's new car.
"Look at this beauty, it's a brand spanking new BMW Z4 roadster, set me back a cool £44,000..."
"Fascinating," sighed Mick, who was not the slightest bit interested in cars. "You're always buying new BMWs, in fact didn't you buy one earlier this year?"
"Yes," said Clive, "that was my BMW X6, which got squashed by an elephant, would you believe. No matter, now I've got this beauty, all 338bhp of it..."
Whatever Clive said next was not heard by the others, for it was drowned out by a roaring noise that came rapidly towards them.
"What's that racket?!?!" shouted Mick.
"That's not a racket, that's the sound of a Lamborghini Murcielago V12!!!!" shouted Mike. "Listen to it, it's beautiful, it's like music!!"
Sure enough, a bright shiny new Lamborghini Murcielago came rushing past. Mick and Mike looked in awe at it.
"Never mind that, what about my bright shiny new BMW Z4!!" said Clive. "Top speed 155mph (limited of course)..."
"Look, it's turning into our road!" said Mick, still watching the Lambo.
Mick and Mike walked off after it.
"0-60 in 6.2 seconds...hey, where are you going?!" said Clive.
"It's stopped outside Des's house!!" said Mick. "It's reversing into Des's driveway!!"
"He can't have done?!" exclaimed Mike. "Shirley Knott?!?!"
Mick and Mike hurried up the road, followed by Clive. They arrived at Des's house, where Des was just climbing out of the Lamborghini.
"Des, what's going on?!" exclaimed Mike. "What do you think you're doing with that Lamborghini Murcielago V12?!"
"Hello everyone," said Des. "I've bought a new car!!"
"This is your car?!" exclaimed Mick. "Des, you've bought some strange forms of transport in the past - milk float, hearse, double decker bus, horse box, helicopter...but this really takes the biscuit!!"
"Great, isn't it!" said Des. "Set me back a cool £197,000! 631bhp, top speed 211mph, 0-60 in 3.4 seconds..."
Mick could see that Clive and Mike were turning green with envy.
"I don't understand!" said Mick. "You've spent thirty years driving tiny little Fiats, now you've gone to the other end of the spectrum and bought a supercar!!"
"Just fancied a change," said Des. "Still Italian, isn't it!! Hey, that's wrong with him?" He pointed at Clive, who was turning from green to purple. "He spends all these years moaning about my old car, then when I buy something completely different he's still not happy!!"
"House prices are on the slide regardless!" grumbled Clive. "Anyway, who wants to go for a ride in my new BMW Z4 roadster, 338bhp, 155mph..."
No one looked in the slightest bit interested.
"Who wants to go for a ride in my new Lamborghini Murcielago?!" said Des. "631bhp, 211mph..."
Clive, Mike and Mick immediately stuck their hands up.
"Great, it'll have to be one at a time, though, there isn't much space in there!" said Des.
First Mick went for a ride with Des in his Lambo, and then it was Mike's turn.
"Phew, that was amazing!!" exclaimed Mike, as they arrived back at Des's house. "Even though you insisted on keeping to every speed limit like some goody two shoes!!"
"Well anyway, you'd better get back to your garage, you've got cars to sell!!" said Des. "I'll just reverse it into my garage!"
"Hey, you don't want to leave it in there!!" said Mike. "You never know who might want to steal it!!" He pointed to Clive, who was still hanging about outside. "Why don't you park it in my forecourt?!"
"Why on earth would I want to do that?!" said Des. "I think it'd be a lot more secure locked in my garage!!"
"But..but...I'll be able to keep an eye on it, won't I?!" said Mike.
"Hmmm..." said Des. "That's a good idea. We'll drive it over there now."
As they drove out of Des's driveway again, Clive banged on the window.
"What do you want?!" exclaimed Des, winding the window down.
"Excuse me, could I come for a ride in it too?!" asked Clive.
"Nope!" said Des, driving off.
Des parked the car right at the front of Mike's forecourt.
"Now don't forget to leave the keys with me as well," said Mike.
"Whatever for?!" exclaimed Des. "It's not as if you'll be needing to drive it anywhere, is it?!" Mike tried to look as innocent as he could. "You've got a busy, thriving garage to run!!"
Mike looked over at his garage. Apart from Des selling him his old Fiat 126 that morning, he hadn't had any business all day.
"Anyway, I'll be needing it tomorrow," said Des. "I'm taking a day trip to the 'Top Gear' test track, where I can unleash the full power of this beast!!"
Mike turned bright green.
"Are you feeling all right, Mike?" said Des. "I think you should have a lie down!!"
"Cor, the liberty of some people," grumbled Mike, as Des walked off - with the keys. "Still...with this thing parked outside, maybe it'll entice a few more people in...how much is this worth...£197,000...hmmm..."
"And don't get any ideas about selling it to anyone!!" called Des.
The next morning, Clive and Mick were sitting about in Mrs Greasy's cafe. Clive was in a foul mood.
"Oh stop moaning about house prices!" exclaimed Mick.
"It's not that!!" exclaimed Clive. "It's Des and his new car!! He has to go and upstage me like that!! How dare he just goes and buys a supercar, that the rest of us would never be able to afford!!"
"You're not jealous, by any chance?" said Mick.
"He wouldn't even let me go for a ride in it," grumbled Clive. "I need revenge. I need to borrow that car somehow...and get Des a speeding ticket..."
"Oh Clive," sighed Mick.
Clive took out his mobile phone and rang Des.
"Des, my old mate!" said Clive. "We've been friends now, for many, many years, I was just wondering if there was any chance..."
"No!" said Des. "I'm busy!!" He put the phone down. "How dare he interrupt me when I'm just about to go for my 'Top Gear' driving day! I'd better just get this post cleared up first, though."
As soon as he had picked up the post from off the floor, he was surprised to see another letter pop through the letterbox.
"That's strange," said Des. "The post usually comes in one go! It doesn't come through in drips and drabs!!"
He opened his front door and was surprised to see Mike the Manic Mechanic walking away from the house.
"What are you doing?!" said Des.
"Oh!" said Mike. "I...um...got the wrong house..."
"That's strange, because this letter just came through my letterbox after all of the rest of post," said Des. "Doesn't that seem slightly odd to you?!"
"Hmmm, no, not really!" said Mike. "Aren't you going to open it then?"
"Yes!" said Des. He opened the letter, and his heart sank. "Jury service?!?! Today?!?! That can't be right!!"
"Jury service?" said Mike. "Well, if you've got to go, you've got to go!"
"But I only went on jury service last year!" said Des. "Surely I don't to have to go again so soon?!"
"You went last year?!?!" exclaimed Mike, puzzled. "When?! I don't remember that!!"
"Yes, I did!" said Des. "It was when...oh..." Des remembered that Mike had been on trial at that very same time. "Oh, never mind." He continued reading the letter. "Jury service...for one day?! That's even stranger!! Last time it went on for two weeks!!"
"Well, it's going to be a very short trial," said Mike. "Of, a, er, short man, who, erm, shorted out the circuit on a short, er, street light..."
"How come you know so much about it?!" said Des.
"It's been in all the papers!!" said Mike.
"I don't remember reading anything about it," said Des.
"Umm...apart from the one you read," said Mike.
"If I was a suspicious person, I'd reckon there was something very fishy going on round here," said Des. "But luckily for you, I'm not a suspicious person. I'd better drive over to the court now in my new car!"
"Oh no, you don't want to take that!" said Mike. "You don't want to risk parking an expensive car like that in a public car park!! Far too risky!! You're best off taking the bus!!"
"Good advice," said Des. "What bad luck my jury service coincides with my 'Top Gear' driving day. I'm really annoyed about this. I'd better ring them and tell them I'm not coming."
"No don't bother, I'll do it!" said Mike. "You need to get to court, and quick! Oh, and I'll look after the keys, don't want them falling into the wrong hands, do we?! Those courts are full of criminals, you know!!"
"Thanks mate, you're a Mike!" said Des. He handed Mike the keys, and walked off in the direction of the bus stop.
"Don't forget to close your front door!!" said Mike.
"Whoops!!" said Des. "Silly me!!!"
Half an hour later Des was contending with busy traffic on the bus, while Mike the Manic Mechanic was whizzing across Surrey in Des's Lamborghini, headed for the 'Top Gear' test track at Dunsfold.
"Hi!!" said Mike, when he arrived. "Hi there Jezza, hi there Hamster, hi there The Stig, hi there the other bloke!! I'm Mike the Manic...sorry, I mean I'm Des the, er, Dozy...er...oh, never mind. I'm here to unleash the power of my brand spanking new Lamborghini Murcielago!! I'm ready to TAME THE BEAST!!!"
Late that day, Mike returned to Tolworth having had a fun packed day driving Des's Lambo to the limit.
"Phew, what a day I've had!!" said Mike, walking into the cafe. "It's been AMAZING!! The best day I've had in YEARS!!""
"What have you been up to, Mike?" asked Mick.
"I've been..." started Mike. But then he noticed Des was there. "...oh...selling a few cars, you know, nothing special."
"Fair enough," said Mick. "Where have you been, Des?"
"I've had a really strange day!" said Des. "I was supposed to be driving my Lambo round the 'Top Gear' track, and instead I ended up having to go on jury service again!!"
"Jury service?!" said Mick. "That can't be right, you only went on jury service last year!!"
"I know!" said Des. "Turns out I wasn't supposed to be there after all!!"
"Darn, what a shame, well never mind," said Mike.
The next morning, the usual people were gathered in the cafe as usual.
"Des," said Clive. "My old friend. One of my longest serving friends, in fact. Is there any chance I could possibly borrow..."
Just then Mike the Manic Mechanic burst into the cafe.
"Hi there Des!!" said Mike. "Any chance I could borrow the Lambo?!"
"What for?!" said Des.
"Err...umm..." Mike hadn't actually got as far as thinking of an excuse.
"Mike, if you don't mind, I was about to ask first!!" said Clive. "Des, my old mate..."
"Des, my old china..." said Mike.
"Des, my old comrade," said Clive. "Could I go for a drive in your car, please, pretty please..."
"No, no, no!!" exclaimed Des. "What's the matter with you lot?!! You've both got your own cars, which are perfectly adequate for getting from one place to the other!! What on earth could you possibly want to borrow my 211mph V12 Lamborghini Murcielago for?!"
Just then Mrs Greasy came out of the kitchen with Des's lunch.
"I'm just popping to the loo," said Des, hurriedly. "I might be some time."
As Des disappeared off, Mike and Clive started eyeing Des's jacket that he had left hanging on the back of his chair. Then, in unison, they reached over to it. Mike plunged his hand into the left pocket, and Clive into the right.
"Ha ha!!" exclaimed Clive, dangling the car keys in Mike's face. "I win!!"
He rushed off outside and made off in Des's car.
"That's funny, where's Clive gone all of a sudden?" said Des, coming back from you know where.
"He's stolen your car," said Mike.
"He's done what?!?!" exclaimed Des. "Wait till I get my hands on him!!"
"Now now Des," said Mrs Greasy. "You don't want to get into a rage on an empty stomach!"
Mrs Greasy made Des eat an entire bowl of rice pudding. By the time he had finally got through it, Clive had returned.
"Oh sorry, Des, your car keys just accidentally kind of fell into my hand by mistake..." said Clive.
"I'm going to ring the police," said Des.
"Come on Des, my old chum, let's not make a fuss, I just wanted a quick spin in your car, that's all, no harm's been done!" said Clive. "Here's your keys back! I'll even let you drive my BMW Z4! (That's after you've filled in all the insurance forms)."
"Hmmm," said Des. "Okay, it'll let it go this time. But don't let it happen again, otherwise PC Plod will be feeling your collar!! And I'll make sure I'm on jury service that week!!"
Des was horrified the next morning to find a speeding ticket arrive on his doormat.
"This can't be right?!" exclaimed Des. "80mph in a 30mph zone?! I've been sticking to all speed limits since I got my new car!!" Des had never had to worry about sticking to speed limits in his Fiat 126, for obvious reasons. He peered at the document more closely. "Cheam Common Road?! I never drive down there!!" But the photograph taken by the speed camera quite clearly showed that it was his Lamborghini - with the personalised number plate he had bought specially for it, D1DES. He then looked at the time and date. "Yesterday - 11.37am...but I was at Mrs Greasy's cafe then!! Oh, of course!!"
He went right round to Clive's house.
"Clive, you nincompoop, you've got me a speeding ticket!!" exclaimed Des. "I shouldn't have to pay this!!"
"Not on your nelly," said Clive. "It's your car, you pay it."
"I'm going to the police, tell you them you were driving a stolen vehicle!!"
"No proof!" said Clive. "You can't see who's driving it in that picture. It's your word against mine!!"
"Hmmm," said Des. "I know..."
He went round to Mrs Greasy's cafe, and luckily found that the bowl of rice pudding hat he had been eating while Clive had been 'borrowing' his car, had not yet been washed up. He took it to the police station, along with his speeding ticket.
"Hello, I wish to complain about this speeding ticket I was issued with," said Des. "Clive Kippers was driving my car at the time, so I am not responsible for this!! And to prove it, here is the bowl of rice pudding I was eating at the time!! There's still a few traces of rice pudding left, so you can carbon date to prove I'm innocent!!"
"With respect, sir," said PC Plod, looking grimly at the bowl, "a bowl of rice pudding is hardly going to be able to provide conclusive proof of your innocence!"
"All right then," said Des. "Will Mrs Greasy's CCTV footage do instead?"
Des was indeed able to use Mrs Greasy's CCTV recordings to prove that he was at the cafe, eating rice pudding, at the time that the speeding offence took place. And so not only did Clive have to pay the fine, he was also charged with stealing Des's car.
"That does it!!" exclaimed Clive. "I can't take it any longer!! I am declaring WAR!! Mick, I am going to CRASH Des's car!!"
"Great idea," sighed Mick. "And are you going to be driving?"
"Do me a favour," said Clive. "I'm going to get in touch with somebody renowned for crashing cars." He got out his mobile phone. "Hello, is that the 'Top Gear' office? I'd like a word with Richard Hammond..."
Meanwhile, Des was over at Mike the Manic Mechanic's garage, where he was still leaving his car parked on the forecourt.
"Des, could you do us a favour?" said Mike. "Could I borrow your Lambo tonight?"
"Not again!!" said Des. "What do you want it for this time?!"
"Des, I really need it this time!!" said Mike. "I'm taking out Trendy Tracy from the laundrette! I need it to impress her!!"
"Oh all right then," sighed Des, raising his eyes to the sky. "Here's the keys. Oh, there's one thing I think you should know..."
"Not now Des, I've got to get ready!!" said Mike.
"Fair enoughski," said Des, shrugging his shoulders.
That evening, Trendy Tracy arrived at Mike's Manic Motors, for their trip to a swanky restaurant in Des's car.
"Hi there, Trendy Tracy!" said Mike. "Like the motor?"
"Wow, is that your car, Mike the Manic Mechanic?!" said Trendy Tracy.
"Certainly is!" said Mike. "Well, sort of...it lives on my forecourt, anyway..."
"Wow, Mike the Manic Mechanic, you're so flash!!" said Trendy Tracy.
"I know," said Mike. "So let's go for a spin!!"
Mike and Tracy got into the Lamborghini.
"I've made this mix tape," said Mike. "Lots of romantic tunes on here!!"
"Sound great, Mike the Manic Mechanic!!" said Trendy Tracy.
Mike popped the tape into the tape player. But instead of the sounds of Barry White, the sound of Status Quo filled the car. Trendy Tracy turned her nose up. Mike looked at the tape cover.
"'Dickie the Vicar's disco mix tape'?!" he said, confused. "How did I end up with this?!" He stopped the tape. "Let's not listen to that, the sound of this car's engine is music enough!! Wait till you hear this!!"
Mike started the ignition - but instead of hearing the blistering roar of the V12 engine, they heard nothing.
"I can't hear nothing, Mike the Manic Mechanic," said Trendy Tracy.
"That's odd," said a confused Mike. "Very odd." He listened carefully - all he could hear was the whirr of an electric motor. He took the brake off and the car started to move silently, and very slowly, forward. He grinned nervously. "Wow, check out the performance...um..."
"Cor, this is so slow, Mike the Manic Mechanic!!" said Trendy Tracy. "Look at that snail race past!!"
Mike didn't quite know what to say, as the world's slowest Lamborghini made leisurely progress up the road. It only made it as far as the cafe before it ground to a halt.
"Is this it then?! Mrs Greasy's cafe?!?!" said Trendy Tracy, looking extremely unimpressed. "Is this the 'swanky' restaurant you're taking me to?!"
"Umm...well..." said Mike.
Trendy Tracy stormed out of the car and walked off down the street. Then she came back again and peered in through the window.
"Actually, I am a bit hungry!!"
She walked inside the cafe.
"Oh no, don't go in there..." mumbled Mike. "Oh great. Just great." He got out his mobile phone and rang Des. "Des, what have you done?!?!"
"I did try to tell you," said Des. "I had it converted to electric power!!"
"Converted to electric... Are you insane?!?!?!?!?!" exclaimed Mike. "Whatever for?!?!"
"I got the idea from you converting Clive's BMW to electric a few months back," said Des. "Only my one runs off batteries, not the mains! I thought it'd be more environmentally friendly!! Plus I thought it was a bit noisy."
Mike was livid.
"Your alterations have ruined my evening!!!" he exclaimed.
"Don't tell me the batteries have run out already!" said Des. "I thought those Duracells were supposed to last years!!"
Mike slapped his hand across his face.
The next morning, Mike and Clive were in the cafe as usual. Mike was still grumbling to himself, but Clive strangely had a smile on his face.
"Can you believe it," said Mike. "What a dipstick. Des converting his 211mph Lamborghini into a 5mph milk float!!"
"He's done what?!?!?!" exclaimed Clive, the smile instantly disappearing from his face.
"Hello!" said Des, walking into the cafe. "Anyone fancy a drive in my Lambo today?"
There were looks of apathy from the others.
"Well, you can't," said Des. "Because I've sold it!"
"Sold it?!?!" said Mike, shocked.
"Yes, and I got £1500 for it," said Des. "Apparently, there's not much demand for electric Lamborghinis. Anyway, I'm not sorry to be rid of it. It was a bit ostentatious, and there wasn't even enough room to put a packet of chocolate biscuits!!"
Just then who should walk into the cafe - but 'Top Gear' host Richard Hammond!
"Hi there!" said Richard Hammond. "I'm Richard Hammond from TV's 'Top Gear'! Now I understand someone wants me to crash their Lamborghini Murcielago for them..."
Des glared at Clive and Mike.
"I'll let you two sort this one out," said Des, walking out of the cafe. "I'm off to buy a new car...a small Fiat, perhaps..."
Copyright © Robert Williams
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