The Skoda's Tale. (Flash fiction)
This one is absolutely for Joan ...!
It was all Eve's fault really. After all, if her inconsiderate little sister hadn't left those two boxes of recently taken down Christmas trimmings in her garage, then Miranda's near side wing mirror would never have clipped the left hand door frame as Juno was reversing out.
Juno had owned Miranda for quite a number of years now, and was indeed privately rather proud of the reversed status symbol that the Czech built Skoda conferred. And as 'quirky wheels' go, so much more individualistic than yet another of those French deux chevaux tin snails. Although not that 'Miranda' had been Juno's first choice of name. No, when she had first acquired the then three year old Skoda its mid-blue paint work had suggested maleness, and thus Juno had initially christened him 'Wenceslas' after the patron saint of the country of his birth. But no more than a couple of weeks into ownership Juno became convinced that the Skoda's soul was indeed most definitely feminine, the anomaly of colour notwithstanding, and after experimenting with 'Martina' for a day or two finally settled on 'Miranda'.
“I simply cannot contemplate why you persist in keeping this dreadful old communist buzz box,” was Mother's invariably expressed opinion concerning Miranda. “I don't expect they drive them even in Bulgaria any more. Why don't you get yourself a nice little Micra, or else one of those little electric cars like on The News recently?”
Juno picked up the dislodged and smashed wing mirror from off the concrete floor, and eyed the scar on Miranda's flank disconsolately. Parts for these older Skodas were not so easy to come by now. She knew she could always look on e-Bay of course, had done so before, but that could take many weeks, and in any case Juno had never liked the idea of buying goods unseen. Far too many internet rip-off merchants about!
This was hardly proving a grand start to 2011. But then Juno felt that special light bulb illuminating inside her mind ...!
She knew practically every Skoda joke off by heart by now, but hadn't that lanky new junior been making some inane comments about Miranda and then some scrap yard across town at the office Christmas party? Some place where he supposedly sourced cheap parts for his mum's Renault or something? Juno glanced at her watch. Shopping and Little Sis would have to wait. She retraced her steps indoors, hauled the Yellow Pages out from under the coat stand, and thumbed to the letter 'S'.
It seemed like an alien world, and for a moment Juno thought of that film 'All Quiet on the Western Front'. Acres of wrecked vehicles, seemingly all laid out in never ending rows three and four high. Oozing, muddy wet lanes in between. And, chained up in front of a ramshackle portable building, two loudly barking, Alsation type dogs. The nearby large sign read: 'A.S. Bennet and Son. Vehicle Recyclers. CAUTION! GUARD DOGS. STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE AND SOUND HORN.'
Eventually a youngish man in a filthy blue overall Juno believed to be correctly called a boiler suit approached. He angled his head back slightly.
“Uh ...” With uncertainty Juno risked getting out of Miranda, though she still positioned herself behind the open driver's door. “I was wondering … uh … I want a new wing mirror for my Skoda.”
The lad ran his blank gaze over Miranda, then half turned back toward the metallic wasteland.
“Dad! Lady here wants a new wing mirror for a Skoda!”
A similarly attired but much older man with a huge beer belly lumbered out from a little side alley in the nearest wall of stacked up vehicles. He too eyed Miranda for a few seconds, then Juno, then turned and wordlessly disappeared back the way he had come.
The wait seemed interminable. Juno risked a little smile, and nodded in the general direction of the thankfully now quietened dogs. The two canines stared back with sullen, evil eyes.
“What are their names?”
“Well, I expect they're quite friendly if you go up to them, aren't they?”
Bennet Junior betrayed no expression. “No.”
Finally Bennet Senior re-appeared from a totally different direction. He halted some little way off holding something aloft in his hand. “I got this one.”
Suppressing her fear of the two chained up guardians, Juno moved away from Miranda. Closer to Bennet Senior revealed nicotine yellowed teeth and several days of beard growth. Within his hand Juno could make out a black plastic car wing mirror inside a sealed cellophane wrapper.
“It's brand new.”
Juno was seriously regretting her bright idea of earlier. This was most definitely not shopping as she understood it! But still, a wing mirror was a wing mirror after all, and Bennet Senior claimed it was new. Although she'd definitely take Miranda to the garage that did her servicing to get it fitted.
Bennet Senior shuffled his Wellington boots on the oily, muddy ground. “Well, want it then?”
No, not a good idea at all! Juno forced a polite smile. “Yes ... uh … I'm sure it will do nicely.”
Bennet Senior gave a nod, and to her surprise and not inconsiderable consternation Juno watched as Bennet Junior deftly stepped around Miranda's still open driver's door and slid his greasy overalled backside onto her driving seat. Bennet Senior thrust the cellophane wrapped wing mirror into her hand.
“There you go then, princess! Fair swap ...”
Copyright Terence Hugh Hazelton, 2011
Published on writebuzz®:
> Stories & Scripts