One Night Only (Part 2)
Mon, 23 Mar 2015
Here she is...the old jalopy! Well, what do you think of my pride and joy...? Sod it! Would you look at that, Brody! Some wretched bird has left its calling card all over her bonnet! I’ve always had a thing for ‘Moggies’. Had her since new, more years ago than I care to remember. How about I put the top down – feel the wind in our hair? It might have stopped raining, but we’d better be quick, judging by those clouds.”
“She is a beauty, I do have to admit, Cam. Silver, though. Must be a nightmare to keep clean. Come to think of it – that guano looks kind of ‘modernistic’; a splash here...a splash there. Maybe you should try your luck exhibiting her at Tate Modern?”
“Now who’s teasing who, Brody? And just for the record, she’s not silver; ‘snow-cloud’, to be exact, and yes, she is hellishly difficult to keep pristine, but at least it keeps me occupied; not that I’m ever pushed for things to do, you understand. There’s always a round of golf, if nothing else.”
“There’s something so very romantic about these old Morris Minors. Mind if I sit behind the wheel for a second? Thinking about it, these cars have much in common with you, Cameron. Old-fashioned they may well be, but they never lose their charm. Always wanted one myself; if I’d ever learned to drive, that is.”
“First time for everything, Brody, don’t they say? I could teach you, one of these days. Come on – shove over for now. I’m not that sylph-like, and I don’t bite, well only if you want me to. Pray, as never before, that she starts......Geronimo....first time at that! Just listen to her purr. Poop-poop! Open road here we come!
Something the matter, Brody? We’ve been driving now for at least a quarter of an hour and you’ve not said a word. That’s most uncharacteristic of you.”
“I was merely imagining what the others will say...when they miss us, Cam. That’s all, and...admiring the view, now the cloud’s lifted.”
“You kid yourself. Half of them won’t even notice – too interested in who’s getting what. Cousin Mark had his beady eyes set on Aunt Morag’s silver tea-service and that rather impressive looking oil-painting over the mantelpiece in the drawing room. Let them fight and squabble, if they must; you and I are well out of it. Never did like goodbyes, anyway, and we’ve already said ours; to the one person who really mattered.”
He never gives up, I’ll say that for him...the persistent bugger! Reminds me, a bit, of a wasp...especially in that awful striped jumper he’s wearing.
“Cameron, I told you the station would be fine, so here is quite far enough - perfect, thank you. It had quite slipped my mind I’d bought a return ticket I wouldn’t dream of wasting. Don’t blame me, blame the thrifty Scottish blood coursing through my veins. Cameron – damn it! Stop the bloody car! You should have turned right...way back there at the crossroads.”
“Can’t hear you, my sweetheart...not with the din this old girl makes when she’s in full throttle, and I’m a tad, ‘Mutt and Jeff’, these days; left my hearing trumpet at home, unfortunately. Hang on to your hat! Steak and chips, here we come … that’s if she can manage these bastard hills. She is puffing and panting a tad, and I wouldn’t fancy breaking down in the middle of nowhere, as we seem to be right now.
You OK, Brody? You look pale. Not surprising. Like a switchback ride – these roads. Mind you, there goes that lock of hair again, around and around that finger of yours. I’d bet my last Rolo you’re exercising that grey matter again.”
God – the man’s infuriating! Listen to him. That’s all this is to his sort...just one great big belly laugh, and I do mean big!
“Second nature to you, Cameron...this. You’ve done it a million times before, and I notice you don’t even deny it.”
And he can’t think, for one minute, he can fool me by pretending to look concerned. Smug satisfaction is written all over his face. ‘Yet another conquest’, his eyes are saying, plain as day.
“But what about me, and my feelings, Cam – because I do have them, you know? It’s like being a child again, desperately learning how to swim...way out of my depth, and wishing I’d not let go of the side.
Why have we suddenly stopped, Cameron? And please, don’t give me any of that ‘run out of petrol’ malarkey. You’d be wasting your precious breath, and you haven’t even answered my question yet.”
“Hush, for just one second, Brody. Cast your mind back. Remember the Duke of York’s Challenge; our hike up Ben Lomond? Well, there it is – to the right of that tree-lined ridge. I just spotted it.”
“Yes, yes – I see it now. It looks even more beautiful than I remembered...the sun on the heather – except, I’m weary, Cam...and I’m really cold; been a long day. Maybe we should push on.”
“You’re right. The wind sure does blow up the old kilt around these parts. Even those sheep look frozen to death, poor sods. I’ll nip out and put the top back up. Brody, you’re trembling. Here, put my jacket round your shoulders. That’s better, old thing. Reminds me – do you recall what I used to say to you; then, I mean – when we were way up there – at the scary bit?”
He has to be joking...of course I could; every last, little word. But should I tell him, that’s the thing.
“I’d be shivering, and you’d say, with a wink, always with a wink, ‘Twirl around three times, cross your fingers and swear on your hamster’s grave, you won’t look down.’ And, somehow, I didn’t. Then you’d make me sing. How did it go? I forget. My mind’s a wall.”
A terrible liar – me, but then what the heck! What’s an old girl like me to lose?
“OK . So, I think it went something like this. Correct me if I'm wrong, won't you, Brody?
... and when they were up they were up
and when they were down they were down
and when they were only half way up
they were neither up nor down...
Remind you of anyone? Us, perhaps. Neither up, nor down...not at the minute. So, what do you think...about you and me giving it a go? This is our last chance...chance to take a bite of that apple before it rots at the back of the fridge – way past its sell-by date.
“Anyone ever told you this before, Cam? When you sing you sound the dead spit of Louis Armstrong...with laryngitis?”
But then again...given time, it could start to grow on me.