I thank my little team of helpers, Sue, Angel and PapaGus for their assistance in preparing this short tale for posting.
This one should be read with a certain amount of scepticism when it comes to exactly what the narrator is telling you. But generally I'd suggest that that same scepticism would be advised when reading most of my stories. Very rarely will anybody relate a story in a manner that doesn't put themselves in the best possible light.
Clarification: - Tea-leaf, a thief. Usually of the sly sneak-thief kind, rather than a blatant robber or crook.
I Hadn't Expected That!
Look, I've fired off my shotgun more times than most folks have had hot dinners. But I really hadn't expected how loud it would sound in the enclosed environment of our bungalow's lounge.
Maybe it was because the noise gave me such a shock that I let off the other barrel a moment or two later. Mind you, it could have been the shower of plasterboard and loft insulation that, besides taking me by surprise, had all but completely blinded me for an instant.
A point to remember, folks! If you are going to fire your shotgun inside the house, then don't point the bugger at the ceiling directly above your own head. You will really not believe how much of a mess powered plasterboard and shredded loft insulation can make of your clothing as it comes down all over you.
Secondly, I discovered that it's advisable to only fire off only the one barrel. Plasterboard and loft insulation are designed to be non-combustible. But I completely failed to take into account the fact that we had more than a few boxes of assorted detritus stored up in the loft space. You know, old receipts and papers that the tax people like you to hang onto for-bloody-ever and general shit like that.
The first blast must have made a good job of shredding one of those boxes and its contents. The second -- at such close range -- had apparently set some of the shredded papers alight.
I'm told that most of the roof was burnt off the building before the fire brigade could put the blaze out.
I was still kinda trying to see -- through the dust and shit -- how much damage I'd done, and reload my shotgun at the same time, when I spotted the fire. That fire was something I really hadn't expected.
So -- as the dust cleared a little -- there I was, wondering what I should do about the flames, when suddenly a movement out front of the house caught my eye. On closer inspection I noted two all-but butt young naked men rush past the lounge window. I really hadn't expected that, either!
Putting the shotgun down on the sofa -- I didn't want to give anyone the idea I was physically threatening anybody with the thing -- I sauntered over to the window -- as you would -- to see what in heaven's name was going on outside.
Then I watched as the two men, dressed only in their underpants, leapt into the two strange vehicles that had been parked on my house driveway, and hastily "tried" to drive them away.
I thought it somewhat odd that the two guys had had the foresight to keep their car keys handy. After all, their clothes were liberally scattered on the floor between my lounge and the bedroom area at the rear of the bungalow.
Oops, forget I said that! That was one piece of information that I didn't pass on to the court.
Unfortunately for them, legging it to their respective vehicles had been a manoeuvre that I had kind of anticipated a little, and one I'd taken precautions against them successfully carrying out.
Maybe it was their haste to depart the premises that prevented them spotting the length of chain that snaked its way from the nearside front suspension of one vehicle, to the offside front suspension of the other. That showed a distinct lack of observational aptitude on both guy's part, in my opinion.
Both cars rather noisily -- as those poseur type vehicles usually are -- began to move forward. One, apparently with the intention of turning to the right, the other obviously to the left.
Then there was the very loud sound of three-quarter inch anchor chain tearing it's way trough metal added to the noise of the vehicles screeching tyres. As both vehicles proceeded directly across the street -- albeit bouncing off each other as the chain progressively wrapped itself around the car's front wheels or entangled itself further in the vehicles front suspension. Whatever it did, it brought them together with an almighty crashing sound.
They'd picked up a remarkable rate of speed before ploughing through the neighbour opposite's neat front garden, and rather efficiently demolishing his garage.
I was somewhat pleased that I didn't have to explain to my neighbour how the deed had come about.
After I saw the garage collapse, I really can't tell you much of what else happened, because I'd suddenly become aware of a kind of muffled bang and everything went black.
All right, I'll start at the beginning and explain it all as best I can. Well, as good as I could to the judge and jury anyway; with just a couple of exceptions.
Look, I was unconscious for over a week after that day, so I have to be given a little leeway as far as my memory of the events is concerned.
That weekend I had planned to join my brother Brian for a couple of days sailing and fishing off the south coast on his little yacht. I'd set off directly from work right after knock-off time to drive down there.
I suppose I was probably three-quarters of the way through my journey when Brian called me on my mobile phone to inform me that he'd eaten something that must have been a little off. Brian didn't think that a couple of days on the yacht with bad attack of Delhi-belly was really a good idea, and I had to agree with him.
As a matter of fact I couldn't believe how fortuitous Brian's attack of the screaming sh ... the runs was. For weeks my wife Shirley had been harping on at me to paint the hall at home. She'd even got as far as talking me into buying the paint the previous weekend. But I hate decorating when Shirley's around the house. God, the woman never did get the idea that the whole house can't be spotlessly clean, whilst you are actually decorating part of it.
Now, because I was going to be away for a couple of days, Shirley had arranged to go off to stay at her sister's place, rather than spending the weekend alone in the bungalow. Doubly fortuitous for me, because I couldn't stand the stuck-up bitch, or her insufferable Bible-punching husband either.
Shirley going up there on her own for a couple of days, meant one less occasion that I'd have to put up with the buggers.
No, I could nip back home and get the bloody hall painted in peace, and make as much mess as I liked while doing so.
So, after Brian had called me, I spun the car around with a smile on my face and headed back home post haste; thinking how pleased Shirley would be when she arrived home on Sunday evening to find the hall all freshly painted.
It was quite late when I made it back to the house, and I was somewhat taken aback to find that two strange cars had been reversed into my driveway.
You know, the first thought that crossed my mind was that we had burglars.
After all, the two cars were a Mitsubishi Evo VIII and a Subaru Impreza, two of the quickest production cars available. And, I was well aware from all those TV police chase programs, the getaway vehicles' of choice for young criminals.
Only the week before, there'd been a program on where sneak thieves had entered a house to get their hands on the ignition keys of an Evo VIII, because the cars are virtually impossible steal any other way.
I kind of pictured the scene inside the house in my mind. The cars had been reversed almost up to the door of our integral garage. I could almost see the crooks quietly ransacking the house in the dark, and stacking all of Shirley and my valuables behind the garage door. Then, when they were ready, they'd open the door and throw everything into the back of the two vehicles before making their high-speed getaway.
I'd actually hit the first two nines on my mobile phone, when another thought crept into my mind. "Had I got it wrong?"
What if Shirley's sister and her old man had come down to see her, instead of Shirley going up there. After all, I'd headed off to my brothers place directly from work; there could have been a change of plan that I didn't know about.
Perhaps they'd come down to visit Shirley instead! I'd look like a complete bloody banana if I called the cops on my own Mrs and her family, wouldn't I? And, bloody poseurs they were, I wouldn't at all be surprised if Mr and Mrs "Shit don't stink" didn't drive an Evo and an Impreza. It would be just like them to bring both vehicles along, just to bloody-well show them off to Shirley and the neighbours. I could picture them standing outside my house, polishing the cars whilst secretly smirking to themselves.
Bugger, they'd probably planned to hang around until I got home on Sunday night just to rub my nose in it, as well.
For a few minutes I sat there, wondering what to do for the best.
Why calling Shirley on the telephone never came into my head and asking her where she was, I just can't tell you.
Look, as I explained, I was out of it for well over a week after that evening. I can't be a hundred-percent sure about what I was thinking, or of exactly what, or why I did anything.
Anyway, the idea of blocking both vehicles in the drive with my own car was out of the question. Thieves would not think twice about bulldozing my car out of the way, or driving over my nice manicured lawn either.