ROADS LESS TRAVELLED
SHORT STORIES TO HORRIFY OR DELIGHT ANYONE WHO ANYONE WHO USES OR ABUSES THE HIGHWAYS, TRACKS AND TRAILS ANYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD.
Shed a tear, laugh a little, or smile smugly - there are stories here in situations you'll know so well.
Try this one - the complete 4-minute story of IGOR - Traffic Warden Extraordinaire
As I told the bloke trying to squeeze in, three cars down, ‘Igor, our traffic warden is very keen, paid by results, six-feet-five and a body-builder. So you don’t cross him, not by an inch or a minute, or you’re dead – and broke. Only stay one hour, not a second more. And it’s four quid in the metre, over there.’ I pointed.
I was already parked on the end of the short-stay section on the High Street, my front bumper dead level with the start of the double yellow bars. I climbed out and admired the accuracy of my parking before watching this bloke defy the laws of space and motion by parking in a gap that tiny.
‘I’m sure Igor memorises every single vehicle’s expiry time and strides between them to be on hand exactly on time. He’s a record-holder for bookings in a day, in a week, a month… and for power-lifting down the gym, where he’s twice been voted “Most aggressive member” by a highly cowed, tongue-in-cheek membership.’
I left Tight Parker to his squeezings-in, had him classified as a future victim for Igor, and checked my shopping list – to be completed within fifty-seven minutes.
So, I finished my shopping. Great, I’m a minute early, when I arrived back at my car.
Ah. A minibus-sized van had parked right in front of me – on the double yellows. It was one of these with a single, big back door. He’d left it gaping wide open.
Must be delivering something big close by, I assumed, and hadn’t bothered to close it if he had his hands full. But, I looked, the wide-open rear door was only six inches from my front end. There was no way I could get out. Igor’s coming – thirty yards down the road. Panic… panic… He’ll do me. I slammed the van door shut and leapt safely into my car, really pleased I had enough space to get out now.
‘That’ll do nicely,’ I said to myself. ‘I’ll be able to swing out at that, and Igor can book him – nice juicy fat Double-Yellow Fine for his bonus packet and—’
And that was when the high street erupted. Three men came hurtling past me – nearly had my wing mirror off. They grabbed at the back door of the van, jerked. Pulled. Twisted. Cursed. Dropped their bags down to twist the handle undone with both hands. Oh, dear, having a problem with it. Shouldn’t I have shut it?
Not that I cared – I needed to get away before my last half-minute was up.
I admit I was shaking and panicking at the thought of Igor. He’ll be persecuting me – again. So I started up – quick as I could. They were still yanking at the rear door. Must need the remote to key it open, I was thinking. They’re totally stuck. Igor’s upon them.
One of them leapt towards the driver’s seat. Igor got to him. ‘You don’t get away from me like that,’ he shouted, and slammed the door on the would-be driver’s leg as he tried to get in. In full pontification mode, Igor had his notebook out; camera swinging; attitude on public display.
The other two went for him. I slammed into gear, thinking I’ve got to be well gone before he books me, as well. A mite distracted, though, I just shot straight forward instead of swinging out into the road. Smashed into the back of their van. Shit shit shit.
And so it was that Igor and I hit the front page of the local rag. ‘Hero pair defeat bank robbers!” the headline ran. I was credited with quick-wittedly closing off their retreat by driving close enough so they couldn’t open the rear door, and pinning three bags of cash to the road under my wheels. Igor got the plaudits for “quelling three violent thieves without thought for personal safety.”
‘Without thought?’ he told me when our interview was finished. ‘I wasn’t missing out on a bonus catch like that: I got them for parking on Double Yellows; and you for the same, plus overstaying a One-Hour Limit.’
‘But… but… Igor, darling,’ I protested, ‘I wasn’t over time, or parked on the double yellows.’
‘Dorothy, dear lady,’ he said, when we eventually arrived safely back home, ‘when you moved forward and hit the back of their van, your front end was on the double yellows, and the rear end over-stayed its time in the parking space.
‘Anyway, what do you have planned for tea, my dear?’
OUT ON AMAZON THIS WEEK