25th October 2017
Took a trip into a city earlier today. I shan’t mention names, we’ll just agree that it was… busy, a busy city. That’s ten-a-penny to all of them, but it still counts when you’ve had to leave hill-welding normalcy behind to get there.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; when you aim for a city in England, it means dusting your chance and rolling the dice of activity along any number of our numerous motorways. I like a motorway, in principal and general practise they move wheels about like no one’s business. And no, I am not talking about dual carriage ways here; they are for the weak, for engines that aren’t still idling at eighty… ish. But sometimes they jam up, and we call those a bad time. By some fortune I was riding shotgun with my dad behind the wheel today, so I could get inky with some writing and salute the continual enormitude of magpies that thrive around the Shrewsbury ring road. Do not begin the process of saluting magpies unless you a have sympathy towards preoccupation. Do they bring you luck? I can’t say enough to say no. I’d have to stop saluting the bastards to find out and I’m not about to start forgetting, so let’s say yes they do.
Regardless, my dad and I are on the M54 and laughing through every minute of it. But its nervous laughter, the kind of staccato amusement that knows the M6 is approaching. You might know the M6, perhaps even better than me, in which case I offer you biblical sympathy. Perhaps then you know of the M6 toll road? I call it ‘My favourite slice of the Midlands’. It’s smooth and clear and generous with the speedometer. It does cost you money though, hence that toll bit that adorns side signage beforehand. They mean the word as well; you’re going to be charged enough to assume that a gin and tonic is going to be dispensed at the end of the transaction. It never comes though, despite all my assumptions each and every time that I chew on her.
Anyway, all that is just a waste of words because on this occasion we couldn’t finger our pockets for the toll; our direction was going to keep us west and take us on a route that that the toll road exits were poorly devised for. We were heading into the belly of the beast, and there would be speed restrictions.
They came on slow, a grammatically illiterate piece of signage here, the reflected rain-light glow of a distant brake light over there. Then the brakes! They came on hard, then pitiful as the great West Midlands train of engines was brought to ignominious stand still. I played it cool for the first minute, then I remembered that I get bored very quickly if I’m forced into a gridlock. Once you’ve had a look around and decided that the motorway is no place to have to admire the finer details of, it all becomes tight, like I think I might have to just step out and fly the rest of the way. It might have been rude to my dad to just set off like that though, so I sat with him and kept answering no when he asked if it was moving down the middle lane. At least I didn’t need to take a leak. Dad did, though, and he went through the denial that he didn’t for all of about no time at all, then shut down the engine.
‘Fuck it, I have to go and take a piss’ he said and set off through the traffic towards the bank. It was jammed all the way up the road so I carried on with my work to the beats of someone else’s radio. Dad didn’t come back, then the outside lane we were resting on began to get restless. Then it was running, unlike the engine of my car. Do you like an emergency procedure? I do, if the evacuated has left the keys in the ignition and my scrotum hasn’t caught up with the gear stick on my way across the seats. So I was off with the outside lane, not flying (though reaching third gear) and yet still feeling that my dad had just been dealt a poor hand. If only I could drift over to the hard shoulder and wait for him. Well I couldn’t, because of all the odds in all the world it happened that it was only my lane that was waving bye bye to the gridlock. Luckily, being a lover of disparate cultures and local attitudes, I know the correct Albanian terms to yell at truck drivers so they are aware that I need to sneak over into their lane. That only took a few attempts over a few hundred yards, and after my dad had gone for a wander about the lanes to find his car again, he did a dad style run along the hard shoulder towards me and fell into the passenger seat, wondering why the fucking Nazis hadn’t blown up the M6 when they’d done over the rest of The Midlands?
I held his arm, said that he wasn’t allowed to freak out if I was determined not to myself. Then I slipped the car into first gear and we rode the hard shoulder to Walsall.
The card you seek is the thief, but the hangman might just bring relief…
JW Bowe xx
P.S! Anna urges to point out that to our credit, neither my old man or myself were crying in anger by the time we got back. No tears at all in fact, and not because we were too cross. I’m going to have earned a cuddle with Anna in bed tonight. Grown up cuddles.
If you enjoyed this blog, and you’re impatient for something else to read, feel free to bunch up close to a free sample chapter from JW Bowe’s debut novel, The Meifod Claw, which is available now at Amazon, iTunes and on various other international eReaders.
You can also double up your sampling by following this link to the forthcoming fictional autobiography of The Meifod Claw’s wheelchair-in-chief, Derek Gainsborough. His life and apologies will be released next year under the sail of The Brine in Me.
JW Bowe can also be unearthed on YouTube and in various other ways through the Serious Biscuits homepage. Scroll down for further links, action and disclaimers.
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