Our Mick Running out of Petrol

Mick was driving back from Christmas at Our Claire’s in LA. He was using the new gps Claire had bought him and that brought him along the old and original Highway to Hell. Not many vehicles use that old road anymore and the desert has reclaimed many of the dilapidated gas stations, diners and motels that used to light up that highway.
After driving for a full two hours without passing, or even seeing a soul, he happened on a gas station. It didn’t look too inviting. It was dirty, the gas was at least a dime a gallon more than it should have been and the only sign of life was a mean looking junkyard dog. Hell! It was still early, he had a half tank left and he knew that within a few miles he’d find a civilised township with cheap gas and coffee to go.
So Mick pressed on. First for one hour then for another; worry was beginning to spread over his face. By the third lonesome hour he was in the grip of fear. He switched off the radio and all the other unnecessary electrics and cut his speed back to a gas-extending two nickels.
It was around about this time that he heard a coughing sound from under the hood. The gauge read empty and the road looked long and straight as his car slowed to a a stop.
At 4pm, two hours before sundown Mick identified a trail of dust approaching from the east. At 4.10pm a vehicle of difficult to identify provenance pulled up on the opposite side of the road. After a further five minutes the filthy window slid down – behind which, was a filthy bearded face. ‘Having trouble mister?’ asked the beard in a tone that suggested a private joke. From somewhere within that same car came a fraught and anxious female voice. ‘What the hell you doing Fergal? He might murder us all!’
Y’aint gonna murder us is ya? asked Fergal Filthybeard. ‘No’ said Mick as reassuringly as he could manage. You just stay where you are with your hands on that steering wheel where I can see ’em.’ Mick told him he was out of gas but Fergal said he’d judge on that and lifted up the hood on Mick’s car. ‘Here’s your problem ya London dumbfuck’ he said holding up some electrical wiring he’d removed from Mick’s engine. ‘Tell ya what! – there’s a mechanics shop not ten miles down the track – I’ll take this stuff to him – get it fixed and be back in an hour – meanwhile I’ll leave Rosehip here to keep ya company.. But don’t think on doing something stupid d’ya hear. We just married Tuesday in Vegas – Come on Rosehip get in the back of the man’s car!’
Rosehip was a sullen seventeen year old who didn’t want to get in Mick’s car. ‘But he talks funny – I don’t wanna! But not wanting to feel the sting of Fergal’s belt on her pretty little ass, she clambered sulkily into the back of Mick’s car.
Fergal left in a dustcloud calling out ‘toodle pip old chap’ in a cartoon cockney voice.
Mick kept his hands on the steering wheel. Rosehip started whimpering on the back seat.
At sundown on that lonely highway, staring as hard as he could, Mick could see no sign of Fergal returning. And as the desert dark night covered his car, Rosehip’s whimpering was turning into hollering.
As Mick sat weighing his options he caught a speck of light in his rear view mirror. Slowly, over ten minutes the speck grew in size until he could also see a red and blue intermittent light and heard the wail of a siren. It was a policeman on a motorcycle.
The policeman got off his motorcycle and walked around Mick’s car. Rosehip stopped hollering and just looked scared. Mick waited for the policeman to speak first.
Staring long and hard at Rosehip and then at Mick the policeman eventually spoke. ‘I’d say you got some explaining to do mister.’ Mick tried to explain his situation as the policeman seemed to become ever more agitated.
‘What you got to say for yaself little cutie?’
‘ I never really married that guy – not in a church nor nothing. I only ever met him Monday’.
The policeman pressed his face against Mick’s. ‘Now, I’m going to get Llewellyn Rodriguez to come out from Redrock and fix this heap of junk with its out of state plates – and he’s gonna want a hundred and sixty five dollars from you – have ya got that?’
‘Yes officer’ says Our Mick.
As the policeman strode back to his motorcycle, Rosehip slipped quietly out of Mick’s vehicle. ‘Can I come with you?’ she asked of the policeman. ‘Y’ever ridden the back of a Harley?’ ‘Sure have’ says Rosehip, now looking more a confident nineteen year old than sullen seventeen.
As Mick watched Rosehip climb on to the motorcycle he could hear her throw a barrage of questions at the policeman. ‘How fast can this thing move? Can we have the siren on? Do you have a girlfriend? Then the motorcycle engine fired up and the policeman hollered at Mick ‘You stay out of our state y’hear!’ and the two sped off down the long straight road.
By 10pm after having sat for three hours in the cold dark car in the cold dark desert, Llewellyn Rodriguez appeared with a can of gas and new ignition wires. He took his hundred and sixty five dollars and left Mick to drive back to Florida. Our Mick arrived at his home three days later, three days older and ten years wiser.

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