Continued from yesterday.
We chug towards home at a steady forty miles per hour. Short Tony looks at me strangely.
“I don’t want to alarm you,” he says, “but the accelerator’s stuck.”
I smile at his little joke, and make some mental calculations. We probably have twenty quid’s worth of logs in the back of the Land Rover which is not bad for five hours work between us. If I can get away with not paying him a share of the diesel I will be even more up on the deal.
“No – it really is stuck.”
So if that represents three fires’ worth, and we have a fire every day, and I still have half a shedful at home, and we do this logging thing every weekend, I probably wouldn’t have to pay anybody for more wood this year.
“Look!” he explains, lifting his feet from the pedals.
We career down the single-track lane, out of control, the engine revving away of its own accord. I start to realise the gravity of the situation. Short Tony kicks the pedals. Nothing happens.
I frantically rummage through the front shelf to see if there is a note from some Dennis Hopper type madman from the film ‘Speed’. I cannot see anything from a Dennis Hopper type madman from the film ‘Speed’, and I have left my phone at home so don’t know if he has left a message.
An expensive looking BMW is coming towards us in the opposite direction. Short Tony removes the ignition keys and steers us up onto a verge. The engine runs on slightly, but we shudder to a halt and alight ruefully.
“That was exciting,” he breathes.
I agree, with the proviso that we are now in the middle of nowhere in a broken car. It suddenly seems to be getting a bit dark and I don’t want to be stuck here and have to spend the night in the woods, especially if Dennis Hopper and his friends are lurking out there, chuckling quietly.
We open the bonnet and poke around. It seems clear what is wrong – there is a dingly-dangly thing that is not connected to a pokey device, which means the engine is stuck on maximum RPM. We make some abortive repair attempts, but it needs a man with a tool.
Theremin music drifts from the woods.
With nothing else for it, we decide to forego engine control for the journey home. We work out that there are only two T-junctions to negotiate and some stretches of single track lane – the steering wheel still works, and we have the option of either turning the engine off again or waving our arms to warn other road users.
We hurtle off, a fast banjo soundtrack playing in my head.
Lucky with the traffic at both junctions. it works a dream, and we drift to a halt in front of Short Tony’s garage door. We sit for a moment in quiet reflection. I am still gripping the seat.
“Fancy a beer?” he asks.