“Steady Gav! Careful! Careful! That’s it… that’s it Gav. Left a bit. Bit more. Careful… aaaaaand STOP!”.
“Cheers Terry”, I shouted as I turned the key to stop the engine, my house key and He-Man keyring still present and intact.
I got out of the car and began circling it, poking and prodding at the dented panels, picking at the areas of flaky red paint around the smashed headlamp cover. I was looking for movement where there should be none, clues as to the extent of the damage suffered by my little Fiesta during its merry dance with Alison Walker and her big dumb Volvo.
“Dun’t look too bad that Gav. At least it’s still fuckin’ runnin’ eh?”
“Aye. New bonnet, ‘eadlamp, bumper, nearside front wing – that’s t’main bits. You still okay ‘elping me wi’ this mate?”
“Definitely you mad cunt. Got some right ideas me, mate. I’ll turn this shit-mobile into a fuckin’ tank Gav. You’ll be able to ram-raid Fort fuckin’ Knox wi’ this cunt when I’m done wi’ me fuckin’ weldin’ gear”.
“That’s awesome mate, I’ll sort you out some food and a few beers for ‘elpin me out. Do us a favour though Terry”, I looked around to make sure no one was listening, a pretty pointless exercise given that the yard was closed on Sundays, the front gate padlocked shut. I lowered my voice and placed a hand on Terry’s shoulder, hoping to add a further level of secrecy and importance to our discussion.
“You need to keep this between just us yeah? You can’t even tell Jonno. Is that cool?”
“Course it is Gav. No worries mate. You can fuckin’ trust me Gav. I won’t tell no cunt mate”.
“Thanks Terry. If me uncle found out I was goin’ banger racin’ in this thing he’d fuckin’ kill me. Just our secret yeah?”
“Course Gav. I’m a safe cunt me, mate.”
“Nice one Terry. I owe you one”.
Banger racing. Good thinking. Let’s stick to that story.
I leaned in to the car to release the handbrake, and we pushed it backwards into one of the empty huts we used for stripping cars in the winter.
“I’ll grab me welding gear,” said Terry as he strode away purposefully.
It was pure luck that we had one and a half similar Ford Fiestas already stored at the yard for breaking; a dark blue one with no engine, and the back half of a white one, it’s front almost entirely missing after what must have been a terrifying accident – possibly a head on collision with a wall, or another car. We never received the full details of any accidents that led to a car’s final resting place here in Frank’s yard, but we had gotten to know which drivers were employed to bring the cars from the police’s forensic testing labs, and sometimes – especially if the car was in a particularly bad state – the delivery driver would pass on stories he had heard whilst picking it up.
We found all sorts in the cars we got brought; kids toys, jackets, sunglasses, packets of fags, bags of weed, CDs – the stuff you’d expect – but we’d also find weird stuff, like we once had an old Citroen 2CV brought in and the fucker reeked when you were sat in the cabin. It had been driven in by a foreign guy, Eastern European I think, and he just wanted scrap value for it because he was selling up and moving back home. The guy was in a hurry, and he had all the right paperwork, so we offered him fifty quid on the spot and he took it. A day or so afterwards we sent one of our younger lads to move it in from the car park to be stripped and gutted.
Frank liked getting the young-uns in to help out in the holidays, they were cheap and they got the menial jobs that no one else wanted, like emptying, cleaning, and refilling the big parts-bins, or cleaning the staff bogs. These kids loved working at the yard, and we’d usually have our summer staff already sorted by Christmas. As far as I could see, there were two main reasons for it being so popular: Firstly they could smoke all day long (mostly anyway, but not when they’re emptying fuel, Kaboom!), but the other reason, the main reason, is that Frank would let these kids drive the cars around the yard, and this turned these brats, these toilet-cleaning, greasy-faced youngsters, into a squadron of solid-gold Brad Pitts as far as the young ladies were concerned. They became kings of the schoolyard, women swooning in their wake at the sheer magnificence of a fifteen year-old that had driven an old Mondeo around a scrapyard, and thus our annual intake of spunky young lads became known as The Fingerblasters.
So anyway, one of our young Fingerblasters, Nathan I think he was called, had been asked to move the little 2CV in for stripping, and the smell had overwhelmed the poor lad. Jonno and Terry had found him on his hands and knees, crawling through a muddy puddle, and vomiting violently whilst the 2CV’s engine chugged and clattered behind him, it’s door left ajar. He’d had beans on toast for breakfast, and thrown it all back up.
After getting him a glass of water, and calling his dad to come and fetch him, the duo pulled their jumpers up over their noses and began investigating the cause of the young Fingerblaster’s ill health. What they uncovered was a mind-boggling collection of human faeces wrapped in plastic shopping bags, and old Coca-Cola bottles filled with yellow piss, all carefully concealed within the little car’s various nooks and crannies. There were parcels of shit in the ashtray, stuffed down behind the interior door panels, and even sellotaped to the underneath of the seats. This weird fucker hadn’t left these gifts lying around by accident – he’d really put some thought into it. He’d actively cut strips of sellotape, and got on his knees, knowing that his task was to attach five Aldi shopping bags full of shit to the underside of the classic car’s driver’s seat.
In the boot there was a little square of carpet that’s used to conceal the spare wheel. Terry lifted the carpet to find the wheel gone, and replaced with four two-litre cola bottles filled with piss, pubes floating in it and everything. This wasn’t all he found though…
“FRANK! FRAAAAAAANK!” we’d heard Terry scream, his voice echoing across the yard. Everyone on shift had come running and was stood around the 2CV.
“What is it Terry?” blurted Frank, his eyes wide and panicked. “What else have you found?”
“It’s terrible Frank. Just horrible. The owner of this car was fuckin’ twisted Frank. Proper fruit loop”
“Terry! What the fuck have you found?”
I was stood there with them, and I could sense the dread as I looked at everyone’s faces. What had he found? A gun? A body part? Terry leaned into the car and pulled a plastic bag from the back seat. He knelt down and placed it carefully on the ground, looking up at everyone’s worried faces – every single person wide-eyed, wide-mouthed, and shaking with raw anticipation. Terry peeled back the plastic to reveal a plastic CD case, emblazoned with big red letters above a picture of nineties football legend Paul Gascoigne.
GAZZA AND LINDISFARNE. FOG ON THE TYNE.
“Terry”, said Frank in his business-voice, usually reserved for dealing with only his most treasured and profitable customers.
“You are a proper cunt”
* * *
The morning rolled by quickly with me locating and removing body panels to replace the damaged ones, and Terry reinforcing each replacement with strips of sheet metal before securing them to the car. By one o’clock we were both shattered.
“Cheers Gav”, Terry plonked his welding mask on the dusty concrete floor, then took the mug of tea from my outstretched arm. He pursed his lips and blew a long hiss, a sign of the level of effort that had gone into this project over the last five hours. He wiped the sweat from his brow with the sleeve of his mucky blue overalls, leaving a dark smear across his forehead, and rested his bum against the side of the bonnet – half standing, half sitting.
“Terry mate, you’re fuckin’ smashing it. You’re turning this innocent little car into a fuckin’ bloodthirsty monster mate. I’ll ‘ave to keep this fucker in a cage mate” I said enthusiastically, trying to show just how grateful I was for Terry’s help.
“Gav you ant seen nothin’. Check this out”. He turned and stuck his head under the bonnet, pointing at his handiwork.
“I’ve reinforced everything Gav, even the panels that weren’t fuckin’ damaged, and I’ve interlinked every cunt too. See this?” He pointed to a huge golf ball sized blob of weld.
“I’ve fuckin’ fused everythin’ to everythin’ else. The ‘ole front o’ your car’s like one big solid fuckin’ lump o’ metal. Everythin’s like welded to t’subframe and to t’engine block. I’ve even filled your front bumper wi’ little metal baffles. I’m gunna pack that cunt wi’ sand too – gie it some extra weight. You’ll be ‘ittin them cunts ‘arder than Tyson’s fist – at least before ‘e become a woofter eh?”
“What? Mike Tyson’s not even gay. Is he?”
“Dunno mate but e’s deffo a fuckin’ woofter. You seen that fuckin’ tattoo on ‘is face?”
I had no idea what Terry was talking about. Weird bastard.
“Ow much longer till we’re done Terry?”
“Coupla hours I reckon Gav. Bit more welding, bit o’ sand in t’bumper, an’ we’re there. You bothered about t’back? Suppose you’ll jus’ be smashin’ them cunts from t’front eh?”
“Aye, don’t worry about t’back. Can look at that another day maybe. Not fussed about t’paintwork matchin’ either. I’ll drop Frank a text – let ‘im know we’ll be lockin’ up by four”
“Is ‘e still usin’ that old phone? Surprised that piece o’ shit even does texts. Frank’s a top boss, totally sound guy, but what a dopey cunt eh? You’d think eeda learned ‘is lesson wi’ that old phone, fuckin’ prankin’ is kid whilst ee’s balls deep in a fat lass.” Terry laughed, a proper honking great laugh, showering me in tea, then poking me in the ribs with his elbow as he guffawed.
“Tight bastard though in’t ‘e Terry. Instead o’ changin’ ‘is phone, ‘e jus’ fuckin’ changed our Aaron’s name in ‘is phone from Aaron to Zaaron. Now ‘e just keeps fuckin’ pocket diallin’ Canton Garden instead – local fuckin’ chinky. Don’t think ‘es doin’ much shaggin’ though mate – probably accidentally dials the poor bastards whilst e’s wanking!”
“Imagine that!” Spluttered Terry, pulling his eyes into long slits with his filthy fingers. “Hewwo Meesta Fuwy. Why you carr me up wankeeng Meesta Fuwy? You wan mee suck yoo bawws Meesta Fuwy? Fuckin’ brilliant Gav!” He laughed.
“Jesus Christ Terry.” I shook my head in feigned disbelief at such casual racism. Feigned because it was Cunty Terry, and this was standard. “Right Terry,” I continued, “let’s finish this shit so we can go ‘ome.”
“Right-o,” said Terry, picking his mask off the floor. “Let’s fuck this mother proper.”