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DROPPING THE SAUSAGE

sausage
 

Dropping the Sausage is the pacy, exuberant, artfully related and very funny story of Twyford Headley, seventh generation Australian and one of life’s intrepid misadventurers. Twy, the sensitive and hyperactive boy, apparently an ‘accident-pronee’ from the age of three, survives an eventful childhood of lunatic game-playing, holiday trauma and domestic mishaps to become Twy the hyperactive, misadventurous adult.
A sufferer of the dreaded Crazed Weasel Syndrome, he becomes a father almost before he becomes a lover and then goes on to excel in his wacky accidental life.
He blunders from marriage to divorce, mishap to misadventure, awake or asleep, in the workplace, on the sporting field, in the bedroom, in holiday destination spots and on the roads (where he participates in a variety of bizarre adventures behind the wheel). As he continues to slide down the razor blade of life, Twy holds it all together despite his migraines, haemorrhoids, spinal damage, obstructive sleep apnoea and the sporadic attentions of the wilful Midnight Skulker. This is a laugh-a-page, entertaining true story.
It isn’t incredible. What’s incredible is that Twyford Headley survives his misadventurous life.
 

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ISBN:   978-1-921919-93-0
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 284
Genre: Non Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: James H. Mannell
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2013
Language: English

  

James H Mannell, the author of this unforgettable page-turner, is also the writer of A Chalkie of the State. Jim is a skilled raconteur with a background in comedy and theatre. A trained teacher of English and several foreign languages, he retired from teaching in 2006. He lives in the Clarence Valley of NSW, teaches French and Italian to interested adults and is still actively writing and plans to publish a further three books.

1 – The Road Toll - sample

 

There was really no good reason for Twyford Headley to be behind the wheel that day, except perhaps to give Lauren the opportunity to show that she had implicit trust in him as a driver and hadn’t been at all perturbed by his accident record as a motorist, pedestrian and teacher in the years they’d known each other. Unfortunately, when he’d first met Lauren, just before his 29th birthday, and then had fallen hard for her, he’d told her true stories of his accident-strewn life. It was supposed to win her heart and make her laugh and it succeeded, but there was a downside: she seemed to have concluded that he was unsafe to be around. Pretty outrageous, he thought. And it had turned her into a nervous travel companion.

In its sixth year, their relationship was under review again. In an effort to make up for the last split-up, Twy had put tenants in his townhouse and he and Lauren had combined their two households and briefly become a family of four in her villa in the St George area. Kent, 14, now had a seven-year-old brother Ben to resent after having his father to himself for five years. Twy had loaded some of his furniture into a rented van and transported them seven kilometres across the bay to the villa, without running into anything. Most of what was in the van, including his refrigerator, was stored at the back of Lauren’s garage between a large disused fish tank and the access door that led through the laundry and into the villa.

Before the trial living arrangement came to a shuddering halt because the three males in the equation couldn’t cope with the co-habitation and Lauren couldn’t deal with refereeing, there was time for one more mishap to punctuate the wider misadventure Twy was living in at the time.

Lauren had bought a new car – another automatic – and they were in the habit of taking whichever car was handy when they went somewhere. Family outings were a rarity because Kent spent the weekend with his mother and Twy’s second future ex-mother-in-law often took Ben off Lauren’s hands to give the couple time together. Twy had just started to drive the new Gemini, not exactly nervelessly, because he was unfamiliar with the brake/accelerator/where’s-the-clutch-pedal combination and because in the back of his mind there still lingered the fear of mechanical ineptitude that was rooted in his adolescence.

On his third excursion behind the wheel of Lauren’s car he’d driven around the local area quite competently, occasionally trying to change non-existent gears using the windscreen wiper lever, stamping his left foot down on a non-existent clutch pedal and giving the simple drive/park T-bar unnecessary exercise. Lauren sat beside him, to all appearances the perfect passenger, relaxed and supportive, and just a little desperate to get home again.

If she breathed a sigh of relief when she got out of the car in her driveway, she didn’t show it and walked over to open the garage door. Now he was feeling under the gun: he ratcheted up his state of tension as he stared at the T-bar. Get this right. He looked back up and saw Lauren walking into the garage in front of him. What’s she doing that for? Concentrating ferociously, he eased the bar to drive and touched the accelerator gently and the car moved forward. He even stopped it without any drama. Yes! He relaxed, knowing that the latest little driving test was over.

“You’re not far enough in!” Lauren called.

“Bullshit!” he called back.

“I won’t be able to shut the garage!”

“You will! I’m in far enough,” Twy persisted, as if she didn’t know her own garage.

Standing in front of the car, she started waving him forward with both hands while taking a couple of steps towards the back wall and the open access doorway to the laundry and the rest of the house. He watched her for a few seconds, wondering if she had a death wish or something. Then he gave in to her. OK, clutch and first.

Wrong, of course. There was no clutch. Just an accelerator. And when he took his foot off the brake, the car was in drive. It roared forward. Drag racer stuff. Lauren disappeared somewhere. The Gemini ploughed into his unused fridge and her disused fish tank. The tank exploded and the fridge went through the fibro wall of the garage and ended up standing next to her washing machine in the laundry. There was a huge dent in the bonnet of the car where the handle of the fridge had done its worst. The Gemini stopped and stalled because it didn’t have anywhere else to drive to inside the laundry. He jumped out of the car and looked for Lauren. She was clambering to her feet in the doorway next to the second doorway he’d just put in the back wall of her garage. She’d been saved because he’d hit the fridge. He hadn’t run her down. She’d fallen backwards into the open doorway, the only space available.

“I’m OK,” she said quietly as he hugged her.

He couldn’t speak. Stared mutely at her car. Her laundry. Instant depression.

To her great credit, she spared him the tirade about the damage to her car, not to mention her laundry, which was now part of her garage. Lauren not only had astounding beauty, she had class.

The latest inanity was eventually forgotten, but for at least the next 10 years or so of its life the fridge, which had somehow survived the high-speed removal from the garage into the laundry with minimal damage, bore mostly just a crushed handle as testimony to its owner’s extraordinary ability to create a freak accident out of nothing.

The motoring mishaps, not to mention the ones that took place in the home, at work, on holidays and everywhere else, were now officially a worry. Twy did a quick mental count. 14. Fourteen car accidents since he was 18. He was now 34. Some of them were only minor scrapes. A couple probably shouldn’t even be counted. If you fall asleep at the wheel, which was what he did to chalk up his first accident, and you run off the road, but you just miss that telegraph post and you’re woken up by the crash of the chassis hitting the gutter just in time to slam on the brakes and stop short of ploughing through the paling fence and hitting that house, does that count?

The truth was that no accident depressed him more than the freshest one and it took him weeks to drag himself out of the slump each time. As always, he told himself it could’ve been a lot worse and shuddered when he thought of what he might’ve done to the woman in his life, besides re-arranging her garage and laundry, crunching her shiny new car and wiping out her no-claim bonus with the insurance company. It wasn’t until the car was as good as new again that he could begin to forget his misdeed. Not that he couldn’t recall in detail every road accident he’d ever had...

 

 

 

 

“Can we go now?” he asked as he watched his pretty young first future ex-wife fiddle with the passenger side door.

“I’ve just got to tie it up properly to the door handle,” Glenda chirped.

She was in a cheerful mood and when she flashed her vivacious smile and her eyes danced, Twy was reminded of what had attracted him to her back in ’64. But he was keen to get to the new house and as she dithered with her monstero deliciosa plant that was in its pot on the floor between her feet, he shook his head and tutted impatiently.

“It’ll just flop over and break if I don’t,” she went on, mainly to herself, as she finished tying off the plant with a length of her crochet yarn. It now stood proudly upright thanks to the lifeline that held it to the car door handle.

“Oookay!!” Twy yelled in mock excitement and, for the benefit of their tiny son, started making a noise like a stockcar revving up.

Two-year-old Kent, standing on the front seat between them, giggled at his father’s antics and watched him start the car for real and then stall it on purpose. Glenda lurched forward, almost onto her monstero. She snapped at Twy to be careful. Kent laughed his endearing little laugh.

Finally they were driving away from the flatette for the last time. Once the family rumpus room, it had been converted into a primitive but habitable two-room dwelling that had been their home for the past two years. Twy and Glenda had survived there on their meagre Teachers’ College married students’ allowances and the charity of the Headley family, which included free accommodation and occasional handouts of food. The young married couple had come a long way in a short time since then. Buying a car had given them mobility and a measure of independence. Thanks to two mortgages and a personal loan from Glenda’s father, they were now moving into a brand new home on the western outskirts of Sydney. One teaching salary was going to become two when Glenda took up her first teaching appointment in the New Year.

The future was looking decidedly rosier on this hot, hot day in December, just a few days from the start of the summer school holidays. Twy now turned off the highway to take the alternative route he’d found during an earlier trip to the new house, one that cut out several sets of traffic lights and a considerable amount of traffic. They were all excited about the new life that was about to begin for them. Kent was looking wide-eyed at everything outside the car; Glenda seemed to be reassuring her monstero, whose name Twy could never remember, that they’d only be on the road for a few more minutes. Twy himself was in too good a mood to be on the lookout for runaway cement trucks or suicidal cyclists.

It all happened in seconds. Just as they came to a stop at an intersection a mere kilometre or so from their new home, two other cars entered the intersection on a collision course and at an obviously excessive speed – the panel van on the right, the other coming straight towards the Headleys. The second car ran the stop sign, hit a dip in the road and leapt across the intersection. There was a deafening smash as it slammed into the car on Twy’s right and continued head-on into his Datsun. He blinked and gasped as the impact spun the panel van into a 180° turn. For a moment there was just silent wreckage. Two crushed bonnets away, the members of an Italian family, bleeding from the face and head, seemed so close to Twy that he could’ve reached out and touched them.

 When he looked to his right, his jaw dropped at the sight of a baby lying on the road just a few feet from his door. The bleeding occupants of the car that had bored into the intersection from his right were scrambling out of their wrecked van. A woman was rushing over to the child, screaming hysterically. The impact of the collision had wrenched the baby from her arms and catapulted it across the faces of the driver and another front-seat passenger, out the driver’s window and onto the roadway near Twy. The other two cars, which had carried a total of 10 passengers, would subsequently be written off by the insurance companies.

In Twy’s Datsun 1100, the full extent of the crash was only now being confronted. The impact had twisted the chassis just an inch or so, causing Glenda’s length of wool to tauten, neatly decapitating her beloved monstero.

The family of Italians had now come to life, wailing their distress and confusion, examining each other’s wounds and then wailing even louder. The occupants of the panel van were still distraught over the plight of the baby, oblivious of their own injuries. The ashen-faced father was wringing his hands, while blood ran from his leg, the calf of which had been sliced to the bone. Glenda Headley was appalled at the horrific injuries to the monstero plant, most of which was prostrate at her feet. They got out of the car and she started looking around for someone to blame for the carnage. She was loudly demanding that the other two drivers be executed for the rest of their lives. Twy sidled up to her.

“Cut it out, will you? Everyone’s bleeding.”

But Glenda was on a roll, telling everyone she came across that some people shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car. Twy edged away from her, taking Kent with him to the other side of the street. A fleet of tow trucks arrived and then the police. A resident from a house on one corner, apparently used to the regular carnage there, was directing the walking wounded into her home. Glenda phoned her mother from the home of the kindly woman and when Twy’s mother-in-law arrived, she relieved Glenda of the job of castigating the other drivers and homing in on the driver with the slashed leg. The towie who’d just secured Twy’s signature for the tow-away and repair job to the Datsun and assured him that it’d be off the road for “only a couple o’ weeks, chief... tops,” now looked over towards the two women Twy was related to by marriage, both still complaining about the other two drivers.

“Fuck, who are they, mate?” he asked.

 “Couldn’t tell you,” Twy lied calmly. “I think they live across the road there.”

As it turned out, the flying baby remained miraculously uninjured and in fact the only one in a critical condition was Glenda’s decapitated plant. For the third time that year Twy was left to sadly contemplate his battered but still quite new car, which was now being towed away to a smash repair yard in Silverwater, where it would sit for months, leaving them without a car for the long vacation and the worst city heatwave in years. One of Twy’s assignments in the holidays was to track down the other two drivers so he could find out the names of their insurance companies for his claim. Both parties lived in remote suburbs of Western Sydney and he was able to make contact only after hours of bus travel. He found the two families sitting around, recovering from their injuries and was mildly miffed to learn that the non-English-speaking Italians were unaware that there was a third car, his little green Datsun, in their pile-up. There was also no discussion of the possibly touchy matter of their driver being charged by the police over the incident.

The once shiny new car had been the first step towards escape for Twy and Glenda from the confines of the tiny flatette at the rear of the Headley family home and from the close scrutiny of Twy’s parents, as he and Glenda struggled with premature marriage and child raising. But for Twy the newfound mobility had also opened the door to what was to become an almost uninterrupted procession of motoring misadventure... 

Four years earlier he’d taken a giant stride on the road to an accidental life by going for his driver’s licence. Bloss Headley was a wonderful mother, but possibly not a candidate for Driving Instructor of the Year. Each time they went out for a lesson, she was so uncomfortable in the role that she left scratch marks on the inside of the passenger door as she tried to escape from the situation. She yelled out a lot of warnings and startled Twy into making mistakes. His parents tried a kind of tag team strategy where they shared the teaching, but finally his father took over and brought to bear his sanguine approach to the potentially anxiety-charged task of teaching his son the basic skills of driving, the same calm approach he’d used throughout the course of his older son’s boyhood accidents, which had started at the age of three.

Twy had even got his driver’s licence at the first attempt. It was the early Sixties, after all. Now Edwin, showing he could be an understanding dad, was rash enough to grant Twy liberal access to the family sedan, especially when he was led to believe he was only going to use it to go tenpin bowling. Twy had, of course, withheld possibly vital information: that he was really going bowling with Glenda, then parking for nefarious purposes and finally abandoning the ten pins altogether and just parking. The earliest stage of Ed’s older son’s sexual apprenticeship was completed exclusively in the front seat of the family Austin, mostly in the driveway at his future ex-father-in-law’s place. The lovers had once come close to being caught by her father, when they forgot it was garbage night, when the old man struggled past their trysting spot with the bin. Only the steamed-up windows stopped him from getting the whole picture.

That close call was alarming enough for Twy to briefly experiment with the age-old “lovers’ lane” approach to adolescent sex and he found a promising nook by the George’s River, but after the first attempt he abandoned that option as well. With what was to become legendary mistiming, Twy chose a time shortly after floodwaters had receded. Spotting a suitably concealed parking spot, he drove across a boat ramp to reach it. But the greasy, muddy surface under the wheels of the car left him with minimal control and the car began an inexorable sideways slide towards the murky depths of the river. He frantically wrestled with the steering wheel, as if he were speeding through a series of hairpin turns, accelerating pointlessly, but he managed to get one wheel off the ramp and the car ended up bogged in the mud next to it. Four other “lovers” helped him push it out and after thanking them profusely, Twy aborted the plan and drove away from the area, spattered with fetid black mud that also covered his light-coloured trousers up to his knees.

 It was only a few weeks later, after resuming the intense sessions with Glenda in her driveway, except on garbage nights, that he was on the way back home one night when he noticed the centre line moving around under his wheels and ten winks later he had his first road accident, only a few blocks from home, when his father’s car left the road and came to rest inches from the paling fence on the opposite side of the street. The 18-year-old had fallen asleep at the wheel, and not for the last time in his life. One day, years later, he’d learn that there was something about sitting behind the wheel of a car that lulled him to sleep.

Before he became a car owner, it was train travel that put him to sleep as soon as he sat down. Throughout his unutterably boring post-graduate diploma year, he’d travelled the 20 stops to Redfern and back five days a week and if he got a seat on the way home, he struggled to stay conscious, even when he noticed that his stop was coming up. One day it took him two-and-a-half hours to make the 40-minute return trip. He fell asleep one stop before home and woke up four stations past his stop, necessitating a change of lines to get back. Then he nodded off again and was carried through his stop and halfway back to the city before he snapped awake. The sun had set by the time he’d trudged up the steps at the station he was supposed to get off at according to his concession pass. Within 12 months, of course, he’d stopped travelling anywhere by train because he had his own wheels and wouldn’t fall asleep on the way to work. Maybe.

 There were only 70 km on his odometer when he had his first road accident in the Datsun. Actually it was a driveway accident. As he was coming up his parents’ driveway, his younger brother Will reversed out of the garage without checking his rear vision mirror first. Twy leant on the horn but Will’s Holden panel van was merciless. It really wasn’t a major incident, but it caused a rare full-family skirmish. At the sight of his damaged new car, Twy was tearing his hair out and generally overreacting. Instead of staying in the wings, Glenda hurled herself into the fray, shrieking at her brother-in-law in a way that was a grim forewarning of her confrontational potential. Her reaction had the effect of alienating the whole family and Ed stepped in, adjudged Twy to be the villain of the piece, waved a fist under his nose and told him he didn’t want that sort of behaviour in his home, spraying his son’s face with liberal amounts of spittle as he made his point.

The next accident was slightly less depressing, if only because the recently repaired Datsun was already damaged goods. Now a first-year teacher, Twy used the car to drive through the busy St George area every morning on the way to school and relied on an early arrival to fully prepare for the day’s teaching. In the same year Glenda was studying for her Diploma in Education and when she had to complete her final teaching practicum, she chose a school not far from where Twy was working. But Glenda had a reputation for tardiness that had always tested her husband’s patience and so, in the second week of the practicum, after arriving right on the bell for five days in a row only by dint of extraordinary (and possibly risky) driving, his luck ran out.

It was a day of drizzling rain and they’d left home even later than previously. When it happened, although he wasn’t speeding, he was stressed out and pushing the envelope, keeping one eye on the clock. Only minutes from Glenda’s school, the line of traffic he was in came to a stop and he did too, after rear-ending the car in front. Twy’s luck held. He wasn’t charged by the police, on account of the weather and the condition of the road surface. It was still the Sixties, after all. And no one was hurt except Twy, but not in the actual prang. He’d half-opened his door and was offering his apologies and his particulars to the other driver through the space between the open door and the roof frame because the rain was getting heavier. But he was so flustered and angry with himself for what had happened that when he shut the door again, he somehow contrived to leave his head in the way. The Datsun was towed away to sit in a panel-beater’s yard for a few weeks. Glenda made it to her school with time to spare, but Twy arrived at work with a headache that worsened as the day went on. He had to run to his first class, which happened to be his most obstreperous group and his 16-year-old students took full advantage of his stress, ensuring he’d turn in one of his poorest teaching performances of the year…

After the three-car stop-sign contretemps on the way to the new house, the Datsun that was supposed to have been the freedom machine for Twy and his little family languished in the panel-beater’s yard for months, condemning them to a ferocious summer in a suburb in the western fringe of the city that wasn’t very well serviced by public transport. Eventually the smash repairer got around to their car and when it was returned to them, almost as good as new, it was a time of joy and excitement and it remained that way until six months later when the little green Datsun and a tradesman’s ute collided at an intersection between their home and Glenda’s mother’s. In the days of giving way to the right, the other motorist was deemed to be in the wrong. It was a good thing for him there weren’t any of Glenda’s plants on board, but it did leave Glenda with a fractured collarbone and Twy with a fresh burst of depression at having their wheels taken away from them again.

This time, determined not to be without the car they needed so badly, he went out and bought a wrecker’s yard Austin A50 to drive around in for what he figured would be the regulation three months’ delay in having the twisted Datsun 1100 repaired again.

At least he enjoyed driving the replacement car – a solid, lumbering, early British model. It was like a tank and Twy felt like George Patton as he careened around Sydney in it. Not that it was exactly trouble-free. It was as smooth as silk until he switched on the ignition. Then the battered old Austin would roar into life like a Fokker Friendship. The condition of the gear change was such that Twy had found it difficult to find some of the more useful gears. In fact he’d twice strained his wrist seriously enough to need physio and anti-inflammatory tablets after his earlier motoring forays in the ancient A50. It was at its most powerful in reverse gear, when no acceleration was necessary. This was never more evident than the day he decided to take a few of the boys in his first-grade soccer squad from school to the local oval. The A50 was reverse-parked against a hillock at the back of the staff car park and as his rowdy footballers piled into the old Austin, they passed the obligatory disparaging remarks about their coach’s wrecker’s yard special. At this time of his life Twy was more than a little tense when he had to operate machinery in front of an audience because that was when things went awry. Ignoring the yahooing from the boys, he wrenched the gear lever into first, but found reverse by mistake. With only the slightest pressure on the accelerator, the old Austin roared backwards up the grass verge where it stood almost on its nose, causing two of the three students in the back seat to fall onto the ones in the front. One outsized teenage boot caught Twy behind the ear, sparking a nagging headache that became worse when he was called upon to referee the boys’ grade match with wind and rain buffeting his head.

Sometimes turning the ignition off was no guarantee that the engine would even cut out. Once or twice Twy had shut it down to go into a shop to buy a newspaper or a cake and come back to find the Austin still rocking and rolling. It had the old-style trafficators, only the left-turn one of which worked and it also had a radio, but you could only hear it when the car was making a hard left turn and the volume was on full.

Still, he felt an abiding affection for the old tank, at least until the day it turned on him at the top of the Tempe Hill on the way to a distant weekend soccer match. As he was about to sail down the steep hill leading to Tempe station, he moved up to third, but as he trod on the clutch, something collapsed under his foot. When he looked down he was shocked to see that the clutch pedal had broken off and most of it was lying on the floor. When the rollicking old car reached the flat, it quickly slowed down, started bucking and finally stalled. Twy had to abandon it at the side of the road, walk the last couple of kilometres to the soccer field and play another bruising match, followed by a train trip through 30 suburbs to get back home. A visit to several wreckers’ yards in the Fairfield area finally produced an Austin A50 clutch pedal, which Twy had to pack in his school bag and take to work next day on the other side of the city. A search in the area near the school finally led to a mechanic who agreed to fit the replacement pedal.

Sadly, after the second serious accident in just over a year, the Datsun was never quite the same again. There were post-smash-repair glitches of which the most disconcerting was the reclining driver’s seat that was never designed to recline and did so for the first time on the very day his first major teaching assessment ended. After the hype of giving it his best shot to impress the inspector, he was still wound pretty tight when he threw himself into the car for the long drive home. This time, against his normal practice of not smoking his cigars while driving, in a spirit of celebration he took out one of the cheroots and stuck it in his mouth. The hard end of the cigar felt good between his teeth, not unlike the hardness of an erect nipple, he observed as he drove along, sucking in the smoke and blowing it through the partially opened window. He began to chill out and feel at peace with the world. Then suddenly he dropped the live cigar between his legs.

“Shit!” he yelped and raised his backside off the seat to avoid setting fire to his trousers. He leant hard against the back of his seat and desperately felt around for the cigar, all the while trying to keep the car under control. Then there was a cracking sound from beneath him as the seat broke under his weight and reclined by itself. For a minute he was forced to drive while standing up but he managed to pull to the side of the road. Neither the driver’s seat nor his own was seriously burned. However the L-frame of the driver’s bucket seat had snapped and was lying back at a ridiculous angle. The next day he paid a garage mechanic to weld it back, but after it snapped twice more he gave up and got used to driving around, almost lying down and almost looking out through the rear passenger window for approaching vehicles.

“How come you’ve got your driver’s seat back so far?” one curious teaching colleague after another enquired. Quickly tiring of the question, Twy gave flip replies, saying that when he was out driving he liked to relax, or when he fell asleep at the wheel he wanted to be as comfortable as possible on the long drive home.

The truth was that he just wasn’t into cars and wasn’t the stereotypical male who dreamed of owning a Merc or Audi or Jag and even when he did give up his hard-earned money on a new car, it was only when the ailments of the old one were irritating him beyond endurance. For him a new acquisition was merely utilitarian and functional and he even stopped washing it after a few months.

For a start, he knew nothing about cars. He could top up the oil or water and say, “Fill ’er up!” When self-service became the norm, he learned to use a fuel pump himself. He could clutch start a manual car if it had a flat battery. He could change a tyre and he knew what to do if he ran out of petrol. But if the car became cantankerous or even stopped running, he just declared it broken. NRMA guys and motor mechanics would rabbit on at him about the car’s mechanical problems as if they were his problems, even though he was running OK, in a manner of speaking. And he was a good enough actor to convince them he was enthralled by what they had to say and promised to take remedial action at once, just to stop them from talking.

It was his wife’s idea for the two of them to enrol in a basic car maintenance course at evening college. A fellow who clearly wasn’t a real teacher and with the personality of a slice of bread monotoned on about spark plugs and gaskets, but when Twy put his hand up and politely asked him to explain the process by which a car actually started, the lecturer became evasive. Twy just wanted him to start at Chapter One, but that wasn’t in the programme. He began to doze during the rambling explanations and quit after two nights, leaving Glenda to finish the course and get her certificate in Dithering 101. Just before they separated she was actually doing grease and oil changes and making Twy feel even more mechanically incompetent than ever.

But, he told himself proudly, he remained the expert on vehicular post-accident procedure, which of course he didn’t get out of a manual...

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