My First Car

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My First Car

Postby Big Al » Fri May 10, 2019 8:15 pm

Taken from the Eribafolk forum.

Clutch in, two three... crash the gears, two three... clutch out, two three...

I remember the nervous excitement that came with settling into the dark red seat. I remember the fabulous smell of damp carpet, rusty sills, and British craftsmanship.

I remember twisting the key in the ignition with shaking fingers and a dry mouth.

No matter how many times I did it, each time was like fretful fingers’ first frantic fumbling with a bra fastener warmed by smooth adolescent skin beneath a crisp white blouse. Each time, too, my heart was in my mouth, and my gut churned with that same feeling of intense excitement mixed with a primeval and almost uncontrollable urgency.

I remember how the mighty engine coughed, expectorated, and burst into life, whooping great draughts of petrol and air into its carburettor, all the while trying to twist itself out of the chassis as it strained to be unleashed.

There was nothing quite like the sensation of all that raw power.

I was pushed back into the seat as if by a giant, irresistible hand. The engine roared and the countryside went backwards at an incredible rate as the car pummelled towards the horizon in an intoxicating surge of acceleration. The speedometer needle fairly raced around the dial – not that I had much time to check. The universe went into overdrive, and it was all I could do to hold onto the writhing steering wheel as the front of the car went light.

Vicars’ wives on bicycles with baskets full of chutney dived for the hedgerows as we shot past. Rooks spilled from tall treetops, cawing in alarm, and corpulent woodpigeons clattered from the wheat fields like bursts of wild applause.

My eyes narrowed in fierce concentration as the first bend appeared. I sawed at the wheel like Nuvolari around the Nordschleife as the cross-plies howled their shrieking protest beneath me, and the differential tried to tie itself in knots. I wrestled huge armfuls of opposite lock while peering out through a fly-encrusted windscreen from between the steering wheel rim and the scuttle as the slipstream of our passage flattened the cow-parsley on the verges. The G-forces were so strong that the little yellow plastic ashtray that was stuck to the quarterlight with a rubber sucker came off and flew across the car.

I struggled to keep the engine bellowing lustily in its narrow, fierce power band as the exquisitely engineered orchestra of components ahead of me combined to produce a symphony that reverberated from the window of the Post Office as we flew past. I left-foot braked and heel-and-toed until the air was thick with the smell of tortured Ferodos. As we neared the bus shelter, our velocity was incredible. The drums glowed as I furiously scrubbed off speed. There was a fierce backfire, and I could see in the mirror as the unburned fuel, ignited in brief flashes of flame from the half-inch diameter exhaust pipe, set light to Mrs Carruthers’ chrysanthemums.

At the top of the lane I squealed to a halt, undid the racing harness and hit the kill switch.

As the car cooled, pinging and ticking quietly to itself, I got out. Slowly, the world returned to normal. Mrs Golightly's three-legged cat resumed licking its parts. Sparrows chirped enthusiastically in the hawthorn, and a collared dove in the laburnum cooed gently in appreciation.

I lifted the oil-spattered goggles onto my brow, and, drawing deeply on a Woodbine that I rapped briefly on the back of my still-quivering hand and lit by touching its tip to the still-glowing brakes, I exhaled a triumphant plume of smoke.

I leaned on the sinuous curves of the aerodynamic monocoque, and ran my hand over the firm swell of the warm bonnet. My fingers lingered in the intimate curves, and the car’s smooth loins trembled gently under my touch. The heady aroma of multigrade, mixed with hot rubber and clutch lining hung around us.

For all the world we could have been beside the Mulsanne Straight, Eau Rouge or Knicker Brook.

I closed my eyes and let the sun warm my back as I imagined us hurtling along the endless sands of Pendine in search of yet another land speed record, man and machine as one.

And all the while, sophisticated and pencil-skirted ladies in headscarves and sunglasses forgot their envious beaus and cheered, waving their pretty handkerchiefs and blowing extravagant kisses.

My first car.

My first car.

Titled: Morris, a Minor Miracle.
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Big Al
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