Great Miscarriages of Justice of Our Times
I don't have to tell you that when piloting Coventry's Finest a Chap has a natural feel for the correct forward velocity at which to proceed. It's in a true Englishman's genes after all. The calculation is minutely affected by many things including; his surroundings, the condition of his motor, the comely frippet at his side, the distance to the next cocktail, and the time since his last. With Blake's Jerusalem echoing off the burnished walnut and the low purring of the oily thing under the bonnet to comfort him a chap wouldn't dream of pootling along at anything other than the correct speed.
Such was the case last week when the Mem and I were taking a couple of pals for a spin out of Manhattan to look at the changing leaves. It's the closest I can bring myself to nature apart from the greenery in one's glass. With that in mind you can readily imagine the polite manner in which one was passing the gun-racked pick-up trucks and chain gang prison vans that line the 'roads' in all parts outside the metrop.
It was while gliding past a convoy of such dregs that my special-forces-trained vision discerned a brightly painted clown's car that had been abandoned amongst bushes on the central reservation. The ludicrously dressed homeless person who'd made it his home was waving a comedy hair dryer out of his window.
Poor dear, thought I. Should I contact the Septic RAC to get his car fixed? Or the local nut house to get the rest of him sorted? Waving genially at him and making a mental note to send him a Fortnum's hamper I popped the car into some other gear and reached a polite and comfortable Mach II, and I don't mean the razor though frankly I doubt I'd've excited interest even doing a runner from Ratner's on Lewisham High Street after turning the place over.
So imagine if you will my surprise when the aforementioned clown car actually moved off the central res and furthermore switched on some rather ostentatious disco lights. Performance art perhaps? A 'reality show' whatever that is considering how stark raving mad this place is at the best of times. Or something more pernicious?
Traffic cleared before the Clown Mobile to the point where it and my gentleman's club were the only moving objects. The CM settled in some way behind me and I began to feel very sorry for his gear box. When he gamely tried to maintain this odd convoy my sympathy took over and I slowed to a stop to enable him to pass. He pulled in behind me.
Thinking that Halloween had come rather late on this stretch of 'motorway' I observed the clown step from his car and approach my own.
'Lar since surr,' said the miscreant.
'Good afternoon my good man. And what a splendid one it is too. What?' I rummaged around in the glove box for some chocolates and Gentleman's Relish to put in his 'trick or treat' basket.
'Ahh sid lar since surr,' was the noise with which he replied.
Now as you may know, in spite of being entirely top notch and utterly beyond reproach the Mem actually lists a place that is not strictly speaking in England as her place of birth. With that in mind you may understand how it was that she managed to translate this person's 'speech' into actual words.
The Mem handed him a pile of papers to which I had paid scant attention and he made some strange marks on a cafˇ order pad or something.
But that wasn't all. And here's the rub, or indeed the Great Miscarriage of Justice of Our Time.
The cheeky bastard was only giving me a speeding ticket!
I know! Imagine. One touch of the hyperspace button in my Jag and he would've forgotten the droids he was looking for and had no recollection whatsoever of even having been in that part of the country. But no. I'd taken the high road and pulled over to let him pass.
For Gawd's sake. A gentleman doesn't speed. Joy riders, chavs and men in white vans speed. A gentleman knows the correct rate at which to drive and he sticks to it. He pays no heed to mis-spelt historic relics (signs? Ha!) that are clearly left-over from the days of horse drawn carts. The fact that he's prepared to drive on the wrong side of the road is surely concession enough to this woebegone land.
I tried this on the stripy-trousered knuckle-dragger but it fell on deaf ears. Turns out his little present is to deprive me of the price of a very decent bottle of '78 Margaux. Plus they also take it upon themselves to inform the bally insurance company who will want their own pound of flesh, and furthermore they have the bare faced cheek to besmirch something called my driving licence (don't even remember getting that).
Chap doesn't take this lying down I can tell you. There is a re-recorded version of Land of Hope and Glory about to launch itself onto the pop charts to start the appeal and I have spoken to the British Ambassador, the UN and Amnesty International. There will be a day of protest at walnut burnishers across the land and until this wrong is righted my tailor refuses to attend to anyone with an American accent.
I shall have my day in court and this appalling travesty will be shown to the world for what it is. Or I'll do a five stretch on A wing and keep me head down son.
Rule Bloody Britannia.
Your ex-con friend,