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Bob's Car

Russell Thompson

The man stands by his pick-up

truck and whirrs the automatic

windlass into life. Bob, Bob’s 

wife and Bob’s wife’s niece watch.


When he arrived, he eyed Bob’s car,

scratched his baseball-cap, said the ad

had had him understand it wasn’t quite

so… But he’d take it. For parts.


Bob has been busy: he’s jettisoned

the other contents of the corrugated iron

garage. Only two prehistoric oil-cans –

‘good for ten years yet’ – get saved.


The cable tautens, and Bob’s car –

insofar as it can still be called 

a car – ploughs into daylight. No tyres.

No engine. Chassis on the gravel.


The man operates the controls

with one thumb. ‘Can we help at all?’

‘No, it’s OK.’ Bob’s wife’s niece’s small

son’s playing with a bucketful of stones.


The pick-up humps up the unmade lane.

Bob’s car rides piggyback, bumping side

to side. They turn onto the main road

at the top, and everybody goes inside.