by Robert Williams
It was the hottest day of the year. So Des decided that they should all go to the seaside. Des, Mick and Wayne in Des's Fiat 126 and Clive, Greasy and Files in Clive's BMW 525i. They set off, with Des driving in front, to the south coast.
But it didn't take long before they reached a traffic jam on the M25.
"Whose idea was it to go on the M25?!" exclaimed Mick.
"Mine!" exclaimed Wayne, feeling pleased with himself.
"No it wasn't, it was Des's! He always says we should go via the M25, whether it's anywhere near where we want to go or not!"
"I've never seen a jam as big as this before," said Des.
As far as they could see, four lanes in both directions were totally at a stand-still, chock-a-block with vehicles.
"We could be here for hours," sighed Mick.
"What shall we do then?" said Des.
There was a long pause.
"Have you got a paper back there, Wayne?" asked Des. "What's the headline?"
"Donald Duck's told off Huey, Dewey and Louie for taking Minnie Mouse's hat," said Wayne.
"That's a comic, not a newspaper, stupid!" exclaimed Des.
"Is it?" said Wayne. "Could've sworn they were politicians on the front page!"
"I've got a newspaper here," said Mick.
"What do my stars say?" asked Des. "Not that I believe them, of course! They do write rubbish, these astrologers!"
"It says, 'You are on top form, and your immense intelligence and talent will amaze others today. You have a perfect opportunity to exercise your mental abilities.' I see what you mean."
"Immense intelligence and talent - these astrologers know what they're talking about!" exclaimed Des.
"Well exercise it then!" said Mick.
A very long pause.
"How long have we been here now?" asked Des.
"Twenty minutes," replied Mick. "And we haven't moved once."
"I spy with my little eye..." started Wayne.
"What happened to Clive and that lot then?" asked Des.
"I don't know," said Mick. "I think we lost them about Leatherhead. They've probably reached the coast by now. I expect Clive had enough intelligence not to follow you onto the motorway."
"I wouldn't bank on it," said Des. "Here he comes now!"
Clive popped his head through Des's open window.
"Where are you then?" asked Des.
"Standing outside your car."
"Yes, yes, I can see that! But where's your car?!"
"Over there in the fast lane. Bet your Fiat's never seen the fast lane! Ha, ha!!"
"Ha, ha!" laughed Wayne.
"Be quiet," said Des. "What do you want, anyway?"
"I've just checked my dipstick and the oil level's low. Got any oil I could borrow?"
"Yes I have, oddly enough. There's a can in the boot."
Clive got the can of oil and disappeared off.
"Actually, I suppose I'd better top up my oil as well," said Des. "I wish Clive would hurry up."
Clive soon came back, with an empty can.
"Sorry, used it all up. Farmer Files gave most of it to his pigs."
"Oh botherations," said Des. "What shall I do now?"
"I've got some lemonade!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Oh that'll do," said Des, taking Wayne's bottle and going over to the engine compartment. "Um...where does it go?"
"Where the dipstick is," said Clive.
"And where's the dipstick?"
"He's standing in front of me."
"Oh I remember," said Des. "I took it out once but it was covered in oil so I threw it away."
"What a stupid thing to do!" exclaimed Clive. "Who knows where the oil goes now!"
"I think it must be there," said Des, pointing to part of the engine.
"No, no, it wouldn't be there! It's probably over there!"
"You're both wrong! I think it goes in there!" said Mick.
"Never!" said Des.
He ended up pouring lemonade in every hole in the engine he could find.
"Now that should please everyone," he said, getting back in the car.
"Well that was a bit of excitement," said Mick. "Filled up ten minutes."
"Is there any chance of us moving yet?" said Des.
"No chance," said Mick. "What shall we do now?"
A long pause.
"I spy with my..." started Wayne.
"Look! We're starting to move!" exclaimed Des to Mick, who was nodding off.
"Eh? What? Are we moving?"
"Ha ha, only joking."
Mick sighed. There was yet another long pause.
"Have you ever noticed," said Des, who was staring through the windscreen, "that if you stare at the clouds long enough you can see faces in them?"
"Hmmm, no," said Mick, who was reading the paper, and was not very interested in Des's cloud-staring exploits.
"Like that one over. That's Prince Charles, isn't it."
Mick looked up from his newspaper.
"No it isn't! Looks more like...Michael Jackson to me!"
"Never! And that one! It's a man with a big nose, long chin and glasses."
"What? Bruce Forsyth?"
"Bruce Forsyth doesn't wear glasses!"
"How do you know? What about that one, then? That's got to be Ronnie Reagan!"
"That one over there? Looks like Clive Kippers!"
"That is Clive Kippers, stupid!" said Mick.
"Oh what does he want?!" moaned Des.
"Have you seen the time?" asked Clive.
"No, I haven't got a clock in my car, my super-dooper ultra-reliable mega-watch was eaten by one of Farmer Files's pigs and Wayne hasn't learnt how to use his Mickey Mouse watch yet."
"Err...the small 'and's on the four and the big 'and's midway between the one and the two," said Wayne. "Seven thirty."
"I wonder if Mickey Mouse wears a Wayne Coach watch," said Des, but no one was listening.
"It's one twenty, actually," said Clive.
"Lunchtime!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Precisely," said Clive. "And you've got our lunch in your car."
"It's in the boot," said Des. They looked in the boot - and it was empty.
"So where's our lunch then?!" exclaimed Clive.
"I must have forgotten to pack it..."
"Oh that's great!" exclaimed Clive. "What are we going to do now? If we end up getting Mrs Greasy to cook us lunch with her portable kitchen I'll be very angry!"
"You won't be angry," said Des. "Just sick."
"Has anyone got any money?" asked Mick. "I can see a fish and chip shop over in the distance."
They had a whip-round - and it turned out no one had any money with them.
"I've got an idea!" exclaimed Wayne. "Why don't I pop round the other cars in the traffic jam, give their windas a clean and get some cash off 'em!"
"Who'd want their windows cleaned?" asked Des.
"Oh you don't ask 'em!" exclaimed Wayne. "Yer just go up to 'em and get on with it, and then demand dosh!"
"Like those people at traffic lights who jump out in front of you and wash your windscreen," said Des.
"But you haven't got your equipment with you," said Mick.
"Oh yes I 'ave!"
Wayne got out of Des's Fiat 126, went over to Clive's BMW 525i, opened the boot and got out buckets, water, rags etc.
"I didn't know you kept all that rubbish in there!" exclaimed Clive, who was concerned about his upholstered boot.
"Show's 'ow often you look in yer boot!" said Wayne. "I've kept me spare gear in there for months!"
Wayne disappeared off to clean the windows of some poor unsuspecting drivers, while Des and Mick were back to twiddling their thumbs.
"Did you ever find out about that sausage dog?" asked Mick.
"No," replied Des.
There was an extremely long pause.
"Is this jam ever going to move?" said Mick. "We've been stuck here for hours."
"It'd be funny if it did move now," said Des, watching Wayne running round the cars and cleaning their windscreens.
"Why don't we play word association?" said Des.
"Boring," said Mick.
"Uninteresting," said Des.
"You're out!" exclaimed Des. "Let's play word disassociation now. I'll start. Fishcakes."
"You're out! You can eat fishcakes in your shed."
"We'll try again," said Des. "Cookery."
"Very good, I can't think of any logical link there. Air traffic controllers."
"You're out again! You can't have repeats. And anyway, Mrs Greasy could become an air traffic controller."
"Mrs Greasy can't even control her kitchen," said Mick.
There was yet another long pause.
"Why can't Wayne hurry up," said Des. "My stomach is suffering."
"What's on the radio?" asked Mick, just as the windscreen became covered in soapy water.
Des switched the radio on and turned the dial, but no stations could be heard.
"What's wrong with it? Why aren't I getting any reception?"
Immediately, Wayne's head popped through the window.
"I 'ave an apology to make," announced Wayne.
"What is it?"
Wayne put his hand through the window and poked Des in the eye with what was in his hand.
"Ouch!! What's that?"
"Yer aerial. I broke it when I was washing yer windscreen. Sorry."
"Anyway," said Wayne. "I've washed it now, so I want me dosh!"
"I haven't got any!! Why do you think you've been going round cleaning all those other cars' windscreens??!!!"
Wayne was quite taken aback.
"How much money did you get, Wayne?" asked Mick.
Hours later, it was getting dark, and the jam had still not moved.
"I spy with my little eye something beginnin' with C," said Wayne.
"Cars," said Des, hungry, tired and fed up.
"You're right! My turn again! I spy with my little eye something beginnin' with C."
"Cars," sighed Des, still hungry, tired and fed up.
"You're right! My turn again! I spy with my little eye..."
"We've been playing this for two hours," said Mick, "and the only thing anyone has come up with is cars!"
"Well can you see anything else?!" snapped Des.
"Yes," said Mick. "I spy with my little eye something beginning with L."
"Lorry," said Des. "Do you think we'll ever get moving? It's been eight hours now."
"It's too late to go to the seaside now," said Mick.
"We'll have to go another day," said Des. "And next time we definitely won't go on the M25!"
"Good," said Mick.
"We'll take the M1 instead."
Copyright © Robert Williams
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