by Robert Williams
Des and Mick were at the house of Mick's recently deceased Uncle Henry in Chigwell in Essex, where they were faced with the problem of getting Mick's inheritance, a beaten-up old Rolls-Royce without any wheels, back home.
"I know," said Des. "I'll ring Mike the Manic Mechanic, he'll be able to help!" And so he did.
"Hi there Des!" said Mike the Manic Mechanic on the phone. "Sorry, whatever it is, I can't help today, I'm currently on my way to this year's Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed!!! This year they've even changed the 's' to a 'z' in 'Bonkerz', and added two extra 'e's into 'Speeeeeeeed'!! That just proves how crazee it is!!!"
"Oh no, you're joking??!!" exclaimed Des. "I've got tickets to it as well, I didn't realise it was today!!"
"Why on earth have you bought a ticket for that load of rubbish?!" said Mick. "Watching cars driving round in circles all day? It's difficult to imagine anything more boring!"
"I know, but it's taking place at the 'Top Gear' test track in Dunsfold this year, so I was hoping to get Angela Rippon and Noel Edmonds's autographs," said Des. Mick rolled his eyes. "Now if Mike can't help us, who can? Hmmm... we need someone who's got a trailer we could load this old Rolls onto...ah, I know!"
Des got on the phone to Farmer Files, who agreed to help. Files arrived at Uncle Henry's house with his Land Rover and trailer, that he usually carries his pigs around in, in surprisingly quick time. They all heaved the Rolls-Royce onto the trailer, and Des and Mick joined Files inside the Land Rover. However, as Files drove them home, he insisted on playing loud thrash metal at them.
"What is this racket?!" shouted Mick at Des.
"Umm...Megadeth, apparently!!" shouted Des, looking at the cassette cover.
Des and Mick noticed that Farmer Files's mouth was opening and closing, so they deduced that he must be saying something, however they couldn't hear him over the noise.
"What's he saying?!" shouted Des. "I know, I'll turn the music down!!"
Des turned down the volume control on Files's stereo so they could hear him.
"...you see, we didn't 'ave Land Rovers in those days!! So oi 'ad to carry this great big ram roight across seven fields..."
"Oh, he's just droning on about the old days on the farm," groaned Mick. "Turn it back up, I'd rather listen to Megadeth!"
As they drove onto the M25, Des and Mick discovered why Files had arrived so quick - they were bombing down the motorway at some considerable speed! Before long, they noticed a blue flashing light in the rear view mirror. Des and Mick sunk as low into their seats as they could, but Files seem unconcerned, and continued speeding down the motorway.
Eventually, they arrived back in Des and Mick's street, having outrun the police car.
"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files, turning the music down at last. "Where you be wantin' to me to unloadin' this 'ere tatty old Rolls?!"
"Mick's drive," said Des. So Files drove up to Mick's drive.
"What?!?!" exclaimed Mick. "We agreed on the train up there, you would have it!"
So Files reversed back down to Des's drive.
"Yes, but that's before I found out it didn't have any wheels!" said Des. "It's your uncle's car, you should have it!"
Files drove back up to Mick's drive.
"I've not having that tatty junk parked in my drive!" said Mick. "It can go in your drive."
So Files again reversed back down to Des's drive.
"No it can't, there's no room, my Fiat 126 is taking up all the space in my drive!" said Des.
"Oh no it isn't!" said Mick.
Indeed it wasn't - following the events of the previous story, Des's Fiat 126 was in fact missing, presumed abandoned at an unknown location somewhere in the metropolis of London.
"I know," said Des. "Is Clive out?"
"His car's not in his drive," said Mick.
"Great, we'll stick the old Rolls in his drive," said Des. "By the time he gets back he won't be able to move it!"
And so Files reversed a little further down the road to Clive's drive. However, as he did so, they heard the sound of glass and metal smashing. They looked round to see that Files had reversed right into Clive's bright shiny Tesla Model X that he had just driven back from the garage.
Clive got out of his car in an absolute rage.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY CAR?!?!?!" exclaimed Clive, looking at the smashed up front of his Tesla.
"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files, getting out of his Land Rover. "Hello Cloive, oi didn't see you there - or hear you!!"
"Of course you didn't hear it, it's electric!!!" exclaimed Clive.
"Steady on Clive, you're turning purple!" said Des, getting out of the Land Rover.
"Oh, I might have known you'd be behind this," said Clive. "Des Wednesday, I am passing you the bill for getting my Tesla mended! I will e-mail you the details in due course!!"
"E-mail?" said Des.
"Right, straight back to the garage then!" said Clive, getting back into his car and driving off again.
"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Roight Des and Mick, before oi go, oi will do you the courtesy of lettin' you know that oi be chargin' you for listenin' to moi music!"
"WHAT?!?!?" exclaimed Des and Mick.
"Are you serious?!" exclaimed Mick. "You actually want us to pay you for listening to that racket?!"
"Ooooh arrrrrr!! Under Performing Roights Society rules, it be constitutin' a public performance!!" exclaimed Files. "Do you deny you be members of the public?!" Des and Mick shook their heads. "And so in order to be coverin' the costs of moi PRS/PPL licence, oi be forced to pass the cost onto you two! Oi be sendin' you both invoices via e-mail in due course!"
"Oh that's all right, I haven't got an e-mail address," said Mick to Des.
"Neither have I," said Des. "Hey Farmer Files, we haven't got e-mail, can we pay by cheque instead?!"
"Shhh!!!" exclaimed Mick, elbowing Des in the side.
"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Now let's be gettin' this 'ere Rolls unloaded!!"
Unable to agree on whose drive the Rolls-Royce should be unloaded into it, instead they unloaded it into the street. As they did so, who should come walking along the street, but Wayne. For some reason, he was dragging along six dogs, all of different breeds, on their leads.
"'Allo Des, Mick and Filesy! It's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!"
"Wayne, what on earth are you doing with all those dogs?!" said Mick.
"It's me new sideline!" said Wayne. "Wayne's Woofers! Walkin' dogs for people! Easy money! Woah, watch out doggy!"
Wayne was having some trouble keeping control of all the dogs.
"Oi, stop sniffing my trousers!" exclaimed Des. "(That's the dog, by the way, not you Wayne)."
"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Well oi can't stand around 'ere chattin', oi've got to get down to the 'Top Gear' test track in tha' there Dunsfold for this year's Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed!!!
"Hey Filesy, you got a ticket as well?!" said Wayne. "So 'ave I! Can yer give us a lift?!"
"Sure thing Wayne!" said Files.
"'Ere Des, could you look after these dogs for me?!" said Wayne, quickly handing the leads to him. "Thanks!!" He got into Files's Land Rover.
"But...but..." stuttered Des. "Hey Wayne, how do I know who they belong to?!"
"I'll e-mail yer the details!!" shouted Wayne from the Land Rover.
"But...but..." stuttered Des. "Wait a minute, I'm also going to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed, can't you give me a lift as well?!"
But it was too late - Files and Wayne had driven away, with the sound of Megadeth blaring out of the Land Rover.
"Oh great," said Des. "So here I am, I've got no car, well, no car that's got any wheels, I'm meant to be at the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed, and I've now got a load of dogs I'm supposed to look after. Surely things can't get any worse?!"
Just then his mobile phone rang. It was Mrs Greasy.
"Des, just calling to remind you that I'm expecting you at the cafe at 2.00 for your annual appraisal," said Mrs Greasy.
"What?!?!" exclaimed Des. "What are you going on about?!"
"You should be fully aware, I did e-mail you all the details!" said Mrs G.
"But I haven't got an e-mail..." mumbled Des.
"Under recently introduced EU law," continued Mrs G, "I am obliged to undertake an appraisal for all of my regular customers."
"Eh? I thought we'd left the EU!" said Des.
"Don't worry, it'll only take an hour of your time," said Mrs G. "Oh, and I haven't been able to get hold of Mick, he must be out. If he's with you, remind him that his appraisal is at 3.00."
"Bye Mrs Greasy," said Des. "Mick, your appraisal is at..."
"Never mind that, what we are going to do about this old car?" said Mick. We can't leave it here, it's cluttering up the street and holding up the traffic!"
"If it had any wheels, we could just take it down the scrapyard," said Des. "I wonder if they do a collection service? I know, I'll ring up Sid the Smashing Scrap Merchant." However, when he did so, he got a recorded message.
"Oh dear," said Des. "Looks like the scrapyard's closed today, Sid's another one who's gone down to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed! Which reminds me, I'm meant to be there as well! And I've got no car to get me there! We really need to track down my missing Fiat 126!"
"You'll have to get on the bus and go and look for it then," said Mick.
"Good idea, you go then," said Des.
"Why me?!" said Mick. "Why can't you go?!"
"Because they won't let me on the bus with all these dogs!" said Des.
"Des, I'm not going to spend my afternoon riding around on various buses on the slight off-chance that I might happen to come across your car at some point!" exclaimed Mick.
"Okay then, but that means you'll have to go and have your annual appraisal with Mrs Greasy at 3.00," said Des.
"I'll be off to the bus stop right now then," said Mick.
"Thanks Mick, I knew you'd see sense!" said Des. "Give us a call if you find my car!"
"How?" said Mick. "I don't own a mobile phone! And there are hardly any phone boxes left! How do you expect me to contact you? Carrier pigeon?"
"That's a good idea, yes, do that," said Des.
Mick headed off to the bus stop.
"Now what am I going to do now?" said Des to himself. "And what am I meant to do with all these dogs?!"
He got into the Rolls-Royce and sat down in the driving seat to think, leaving the dogs to run amok in the back seat. Before long, PC Plod came walking along. He knocked on the driver's side window. Des wound the window down.
"Excuse me sir, is this your vehicle?" said Plod. "You do realise you're not going to get very far. It has no wheels, you know." He chuckled.
"Oh really?!" said Des, sarcastically. "I hadn't noticed! That must be why I don't seem to be going anywhere!"
"I hope you realise sarcasm towards a police officer is a serious offence," said Plod.
"You don't say!" said Des, sarcastically. "Anyway, if you're asking me to accompany you to the station, I haven't got time, I've got to go for my appraisal with Mrs Greasy in a bit."
"That reminds me, I've got mine at 4.00," said Plod. "In the meantime, I would ask you to move this vehicle as soon as you can, it's causing an obstruction on a public highway."
"Yes, yes, I will, I will," said Des. "Hey, PC Plod, do you like dogs?!"
However he had already walked away.
"Hmmmm," said Des, thoughtfully. He looked around to see if there were any pigeons in the vicinity that might have notes attached - there weren't. "No news from Mick. If only this car had some wheels...I could move it out the way...in fact, I could drive it to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed! Hey I know what I could do! I'll pop down the garage right away!!"
Acknowledging that leaving all the dogs inside a parked car would be a bad thing to do, Des rounded them all up and dragged them with him to Mike's Manic Motors. In the absence of Mike the Manic Mechanic, his wife Trendy Tracy was looking after the place.
Des walked into the office where Tracy was reading a magazine. As soon as she saw all the dogs, she gasped.
"Doggies!" she exclaimed.
"Oh, do you like them?" said Des. "Hey, is there any chance perhaps you could look after them for a bit?"
"No, I'm allergic to them!!!" exclaimed Tracy. "Get them out of here! Tie them up outside!" Des did so. "Now what do you want?"
"I'm just after some wheels," said Des.
"You mean you'd like to buy a car," said Tracy.
"No, just the wheels."
"Take whatever you want, I don't care," she said.
"Thanks!" said Des. He went out onto the forecourt and went up to the first car he saw - an early 80s Fiesta XR2. Being somewhat of an expert in removing wheels, having changed wheels many times on his Fiat 126, he soon had all four wheels off the car.
"Now how am I going to get these wheels home?" he wondered to himself. "Hey, Tracy! Is it all right if I leave the dogs here for a minute?!"
"No, get them out of my sight!" called Tracy.
"Oh well, one at a time then," sighed Des.
And so, taking the leads of the six dogs in one hand, he wheeled off the first of the wheels with the other hand, rolling it back down the road to his house. Then he traipsed off back to the garage with the dogs to collect the second wheel - then the third, and finally the fourth. Having got all the wheels back home, he tied the dogs' leads to the Rolls-Royce's bumper, and set about putting the wheels on the car.
"There! All done!" said Des, rather pleased with his work. To any passers-by, the wheels from a Fiesta looked comically small on a Rolls-Royce. "What do you think, doggies? They must be getting hungry! I wonder if Mick's had any luck tracking down my Fiat 126 yet? Hmmm, still can't see any pigeons. Oh well, at least I can still get to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed in this!" He got into the Rolls-Royce and sat in the driver's seat. "At last, I can't believe I'm almost on my way! If I leave now, I might still be in time for the afternoon session!"
He was just about to turn the ignition key when his mobile phone rang. Des sighed.
"Des!" said Mrs Greasy on the line. "It's 2.00, I'm expecting you at the cafe now for your appraisal!"
"Owww, Mrs Greasy!!" moaned Des.
"Don't blame me, blame the Eurocrats!" said Mrs Greasy.
Des sighed, and got out of the car. He untied the dogs' leads from the bumper and dragged them off to the cafe.
"Oi oi!!" exclaimed Mrs G when she saw Des arriving with the dogs. "You can't bring those in here! This is a hygienic eating establishment! Tie them up outside!" Des did so. "Now sit down here, I've got your objectives for the past year written out for you to take a look at. Let me tell you, Des, your appraisal this year makes grim reading. I'll leave you for a moment to think about what you have to say for yourself. Oh, and here's a plate of pie and mash, to give you some food for thought."
Mrs G plonked down a plate of revolting gooey mess in front of Des, along with a sheet of paper listing his objectives.
"Oh look, a pigeon!" said Des, looking out of the window. He peered closely at it.
Mrs Greasy gave Des a very strange look, and then disappeared into the kitchen.
"No, it's not from Mick," said Des to himself. "So what's this rubbish then?" He picked up the sheet of paper and began reading.
"'Objective 1. Des is expected to consume 100% of all meals served to him at this establishment. Objective 2. Des is expected to enjoy 100% of all meals served to him at this establishment.' Oh, I can't be bothered with this!" He put the paper down and got a nasty whiff of the food that was in front of him. "Ugh!! Hmmm...I wonder..."
He picked up the plate, took it outside and put it down on the pavement in front of the dogs. They each took a sniff of the food, and backed away.
"For goodness sake, even dogs won't eat it!" he exclaimed. "Oh, I haven't got time for this, I've got to get to Dunsfold! Come on, doggies!"
Leaving the plate where it was, he untied the dogs and took them back to his house. He got back into the Rolls-Royce and turned the ignition key. Not a sound was heard. He tried again - nothing.
"Funny," said Des. "Maybe it's electric, like Clive's car."
He got out of the car and opened the bonnet. He was shocked to find that the engine bay was completely empty.
"No engine!" he gasped. "Oh no, what am I going to do now! I must get Mike the Manic Mechanic to fit one...oh, but he can't at the moment...well I suppose there's only one thing I can do. But first, now it's got wheels, I'd better wheel this car out of the way before PC Plod starts going on at me again. I'll just wheel it into my drive...no, Mick's drive."
Having done so, Des then removed each of the wheels, and, one by one, wheeled them back up the road to Mike's Manic Motors. Trendy Tracy rolled her eyes as she watched Des again make four separate visits, rolling a wheel with one hand and dragging the dogs with the other. He then fixed each of the wheels back onto the Fiesta XR2.
"Hello Tracy," said Des, walking into the office. "Loved the wheels, so much so that I've now decided to buy the entire car."
"I don't know why you couldn't have just done that in the first place," she said.
"It's funny you should say that," said Des. "I'm starting to wonder that myself now. Would have caused a lot less trouble."
"How much does it cost then?" sighed Tracy, reluctantly getting up from her chair and going out onto the forecourt with Des, making sure she took care to avoid the dogs.
They looked at the price stickers in the windscreen of the car, which had been poorly attached and were starting to peel off.
"£800, it says," said Des. "I'll write you out a cheque now."
Having given Tracy the cheque, Des got into the Fiesta, removed the price stickers from the inside of the windscreen and chucked them out of the window.
"Hmm, what's this?" said Des. There was another sticker lying on the passenger seat with a large '0' on it. Shrugging his shoulders, he chucked it out of the window as well. He then started the engine and drove off.
"Oi!!" called Tracy after him. "You've left your dogs behind!!"
"Owwww," groaned Des. He reversed back onto the forecourt and collected the dogs. With the Fiesta being a small car, four of the dogs went onto the back seat, and the other two on the front passenger seat. "Now please behave you lot, I don't want any of you doing a whoopsie on my upholstery! I'll pop into the pet food shop in a minute."
Des stopped off to buy some dog food, and then finally he was on his way to the 'Top Gear' test track at Dunsfold for the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed!
However, being used to his rather slow Fiat 126, Des was not used to driving a 'hot hatchback' (the XR2 being the performance version of the Fiesta, for the uninitiated), so he didn't realise how fast he was driving. As he drove down the A3 dual carriageway he soon noticed some blue flashing lights in his rear view mirror.
"Oh no," groaned Des. "Hey...if it works for Farmer Files, it might work for me!"
And so instead of stopping, Des just carried on, going faster and faster. But there was no sign of the police car disappearing.
"Actually, I think maybe I had better stop," said Des. "Ah, here's a lay-by."
However Des was still going faster than he thought, and as he attempted to drive into the lay-by, he overshot it and drove right into a lamp post.
"Whoops!" exclaimed Des. "Hey, are all you dogs okay?!" They were fine. "Good thing you all had your seatbelts on!"
A police officer knocked on the window, and Des wound the window down.
"Excuse me sir," said the police officer. "Do you think you're Stirling Moss?"
"Who?" said Des.
"You've made a right mess of your car," said the officer. "I don't think you'll be driving that again."
"Oh, do you think it's a write-off?" said Des. "Shame, I've only just bought it!"
After a quick trip to the local station where he had a pleasant chat with the police, Des walked the rest of the way to Dunsfold with the dogs. As a result, when he finally arrived at the 'Top Gear' test track, it was getting dark, and the evening session at the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed was under way. He located Mike the Manic Mechanic and Farmer Files, who were watching the fascinating spectacle of cars driving round and round and round.
"Oh hi there Des, what are you are doing with all those dogs?" said Mike.
"Don't ask," said Des. He looked at the cars driving on the track.
"Oh look, there's a Fiat 126!" he said.
"Yes, the organisers seem to let any old rubbish in these days," said Mike.
When the Fiat 126 came round again, he peered more closely at it.
"It's just like my car," said Des. "Same colour, everything!"
When it came round for a third time, he took an even closer look.
"Hold on a minute - it is my car!!" he exclaimed, spotting the number plate. "What on earth is it doing here?! And who's driving?!"
He got the answer a little later, when a man walked up to them and took off his crash helmet.
"Hi there Des!" said Wayne.
"I...don't understand!" said Des. "Please someone explain!"
"Yeah, me and Filesy were drivin' along when I spotted yer car by the side of the road!" said Wayne.
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" said Files. "That be roight, it were in Princes Avenue!!"
"The next street from mine!!" said Des. "It was right under my nose the whole time! Oh dear, I hope Mick doesn't mind, he's spent all day on the bus looking for it all over London!"
"So I decided to drive it 'ere to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed!" continued Wayne.
"Rather than let me know and return it to me?" said Des.
"That's right!" said Wayne. "And when I got 'ere, I took a wrong turnin' and drove onto the 'Top Gear' test track!"
"So, um, where is it now?" asked Des.
"Ah, now, I 'ope you don't mind too much, I only rolled it over a couple of times!"
Wayne took Des, Mike, Files, along with all the dogs, to Gambon corner, where Des's Fiat 126 was sitting on its roof, all smashed up.
"It's ruined!!!!" exclaimed a furious Des. "Mike, surely there's something you can do?!"
Mike the Manic Mechanic took a sharp intake of breath.
"Not sure about that, Des," he said. "Tell you what though, I've just had something come onto my forecourt that'll be right up your street! An absolutely spotless 1983 Fiesta XR2 - low mileage, everything original, mint condition! You don't get many like that any more!"
"Ohhhhh...." said Des, his heart sinking.
"Yours for a bargain £8000," said Mike. "I'm practically robbing myself!!"
"Eight thousand pounds?!?!" exclaimed Des. "So that's what that extra '0' was!"
"Tell you what, I'll ring up Trendy Tracy now, tell her to set it aside for you!" Mike went to get out his mobile phone.
"Nooooooooo!!!" said Des, quickly, to Mike's surprise. "No, there's really no need!"
Just then Wayne's mobile phone rang.
"Oh, 'allo Mrs Wiggins," said Wayne, "'Ow yer doin'...you're wonderin' about Rover? 'Ere Mikey, were there any Rovers?"
"Er, yes, there was a souped-up SD1 on the circuit," said Mike.
"Yeah, there was a souped-up SD1 on the circuit..." repeated Wayne to Mrs Wiggins. "Oh, you mean yer dog...oh yeah, Des's been lookin' after 'im...who's Des?...well, he's brought 'im to the Crazee Bonkerz Festival of Speeeeeeeed...yeah, I dunno why either... 'Ere Des, Mrs Wiggins would like a word?"
Wayne passed his phone to Des, for Mrs Wiggins to give him an earful. As this was going on, Des's own mobile phone rang. Des answered it and put it to his other ear in order to listen to Mrs Greasy giving him another earful about walking out of his appraisal. When the calls were over, Des sighed.
"So, for the real reason I came here," he said. "Has anyone seen Angela Rippon or Noel Edmonds?"
"No?!" said Mike, looking askance at Des. "Why would they be here?!"
"Oh never mind," said Des. "Any chance someone could give me a lift home?
"Why?" said Mike.
"Because...um...I thought I might take a bit of a break from driving for a bit..."
Copyright © Robert Williams