A Damascus Moment
I’m a map man. I don’t need your sat nav. If you don’t know where you are going, stay at home. That’s the way I see it. Just the same, I always take the sat nav on a journey. And I have it switched on. Just so that I can torment that nagging woman who lives inside. I never do what she wants, so she spends her life, “Recalculating!”
Now it’s night-time. I’m hurtling south along the motorway at 80 miles an hour. Sod the speeding ticket, you go with the flow in this neck of the woods. I’m in lane-2, wipers swishing, rain running rivers round the windscreen. A northbound stream of never-ending headlights blind the night. There’s a white van six inches from my backside. I’m keeping the statutory two-chevrons from the guy in front. But the gap is forever filling with tearaways, coming aboard from the slip roads, desperate to hurl themselves into lane-3 where the big boys go screaming by in a white blur. My empty chevrons act as a filter-funnel for the hari-kari squad. I fall back, to maintain the space. The van closes to three inches, headlights glaring, horn blaring like a mad elephant. The suicide wannabe’s have already filled the gap. “So live with it sunshine.”
Lane-1 is a no-go zone. Laden trucks rumble and roar, nose to tail, like the wagons of a freight train. None but lemmings ever venture near. There was a bloke back there, on the M56, desperate to leave the motorway for Manchester Airport, but the truckers wouldn’t let him through. He was driving alongside them for two miles with his indicator flashing like a distant machinegun, his car swinging in then bouncing out, as if an electric fence was repelling him. But the truckers were oblivious, eating pork pies and tapping their feet to the music. I guess he missed his plane. He even missed Manchester.
Birmingham is falling behind. Frankley Services is on the direction boards. This is part of the big plan. I’m desperate for pee but I saved it for Frankley. I’ll eat my sandwiches and rest my eyes. Then, refreshed, I’ll re-enter the rat race. I swing off the motorway onto the slip road. There’s a gap over there to the right but it says HGV. It’s full of trucks and truckers. I’m scared of giants so I keep going. Now there’s a T-junction. The arrow to the left says, “Travelodge”. I don’t want a bed. There’s no arrow to the right. So I guess that lane must take me to the car park. There’s no other way to go. So, “Heyho. Now for a rest and a bite to eat.”
I’ve arrived at another T-junction. There’s a barrier across the road with a gap just wide enough to let a car go through. No signpost. A car goes past, heading to the right. That must be the way to the car park. I’ll follow him. As I emerge on to the pitch black lane, I see a sign on the barrier I’ve just come through. It reads, “No Access to the Motorway. All Offenders will be Prosecuted.” There’s no going back then.
Where am I? A minute ago I was I was in the middle of the mad M5; all din and spray. Then I swung onto a slip road, looking for a place to rest. And now I’m on a bible black country lane, hemmed in by the eerie shadows of bushes and trees. No houses. No lights. No signs. No traffic. Nothing but me and the dark, empty night. This is weird. It’s as if that motorway back there was a mad machine of grinding wheels, flashing lights and din. But now it has finished with me and spat me out into… what? Into… where?
I drive into the black oblivion. I don’t where I am, where I’m going, or why I’m in this place. I only wanted a pee and a bite to eat. But it’s as if I’ve crossed some unmarked barrier, fallen down a wormhole or something. And now I’m in a parallel universe, just as quiet and dark as other was light and noisy. Hey! Maybe… Maybe when I swung across lane-1 to go up that slip road, the truckers got me. They’re always there, in that so-called “slow lane,” waiting for the unwary motorist. So maybe this is it…
Then I hear this voice, a female voice. “Drive for three miles,” it tells me. Ah, it’s that woman again, the one who lives in my sat nav. So what’s she up to now? Is this her revenge? Payback time? The truckers have put paid to my dream and now she’s leading me to the Happy Hunting Ground. Still, I’ve no better bet than to do what she says. Maybe, when we get there, she will reincarnate as beautiful angel and we will fly together for ever and a day… “Dream on.”
And so I follow blindly into the unknown, along dark lanes, past deserted houses, through unlit villages, into roundabouts, out of roundabouts, into unnamed towns, along busy streets and dual carriageways. All in a ghostly make believe world of night and lashing rain. Until, at last, Bang! She rejects me and flings me back onto the M5.
And so, here I am, swishing wipers, driving rain, blinding headlamps, trucks and traffic din. Keep your distance. Kill your speed. Do not veer to left or right. Do not think. I’m just another little ripple on rapid flowing river.
But, “Yippee!” I’m alive and heading home. Maybe that was her plan. She would teach me a lesson. Lose me then find me. Convert me into a believer.
Gott im Himmel!
I had one banana for breakfast. Did 45 minutes on an exercise bike. Had one bowl of soup for lunch. And put on 3lb in weight!
A judge in a GBH trial is angry when one of the jurors reveals that she can’t really understand English. Hmmm; if I was innocent I would want everyone on the jury to understand every word I said. But if I was guilty… Know what I mean?
Author... Poet, Novelist and Blogger. My poems are Snapshots of Life. My novels are Sea-stories. My blog is entertainment. I'm a good egg.