Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham



The Thing


I viewed the thing with deep misgivings. The thing in question was a battered high-powered Morgan of doubtful vintage. Doubtless it would have been the latest model twenty-five years ago.


I began to regret that I had ever agreed to accompany Percy Carrington on his first ride in his newly-bought bus. Percy, only holding a learner's licence, needed someone with a current licence, though why he should have picked on me I don't know. Anyway, the point was, I had agreed to go and now I should have to suffer for my folly.


I had just reached this point in my gloom when I spied Percy galloping down the garden path. Admittedly it took me several minutes to recognise. Percy since he was dressed up like an Eskimo, but his long red nose finally betrayed him.


"What oh! Are we ready?" he trumpeted, yanking on the door handle with such vicious effect that it fell off.


I groaned inwardly, and opened the door delicately, taking care not to cut myself on the jagged edge.


I settled myself and then discovered I had a lovely view of a patch of blue sky.
"It's all right," Percy yelled. "It's got good springs. I borrowed your seat because mine wasn't big enough."  I distrusted the springs intensely, but there was nothing I could do about it.


A peculiar sound now began to intrude itself on my ears, resembling in my imagination the last sounds of a dying pig.   Then I realised Percy was attempting to start the engine. At last he managed to get it going, and we set off like a bomb; very much like a bomb, the smoke effects being particularly realistic.


With the ear-shattering roar in my ear drums,  I grew quite excitedwatching the speedometer gyrate wildly from 20 to 50 m.p.h. and occupied myself by working out the average speed.


I was just looking up watching the swoopings of what looked like vultures waiting for pickings, when a bulky object flashed across my range of vision, missing Percy by about six inches. I peered over the side of the car and discovered it was one of the front headlamps which had been shaken oft by the bumpings.


I glanced upward at Percy. His confidence looked a little shaken but nevertheless he kept on. I admired him for it.


Abruptly the hood shot up next, smothering him. Frantically I heaved on the hand brake and brought the car to a shuddering halt in twenty yards. A pungent smell of burning rubber crept in on the car.  Freeing himself from the folds of the hood, Percy attempted to put it back in place, the supports being unusually stubborn. He succeeded only in enmeshing himself further in it.  Evidently tiring of ever getting it back in place, he threw it over the back of the car, on to the pavement.


Red in the face now through his exertions, and short-tempered, he leapt into the car.  In some ingenious way, he managed to get his foot entangled in the steering wheel. Furiously he struggled to free it, and finished by jerking off the steering wheel completely.  Jamming it back on, he settled himself in the seat, the gear stick somehow disappearing up his trouser leg. Starting the engine, he finished the manoeuvre by making a snappy gear change with the brake lever and banged his foot on the accelerator.  The result of this evolution was that the radiator shot off, coming down with a crash on poor Percy's head.


At last we set off again, and eventually came to some traffic lights. I could tell we were in the centre of a town from the loud and numerous blarings of motor horns round the car.


"Watch me go through these lights at red," he boasted. "Hey, you can't do that," I yelled, quaking.
But before I could stop him the car had shot forward, bringing my head up with a crash against the back panel.  Mercifully I was oblivious of the chaos going on all around me. When I came to, we were out in the country again, Percy looking rather the worse for wear, and with a hunted expression on his face.


The end had to come some time, and after rounding a corner going much too fast for safety, we hit a great stout wooden door, that opened into a country house drive, with a crash that sounded like a young atom bomb going off.  The door was hardly marked, however, and as we were sorting ourselves from the remains of the car, an old gentleman opened the door and enquired politely, "Did you knock, Sirs?"





Solution to Crossword



1, Clinometers;  8, Dud;  9, At;  10, Theme;  11, Maria;  13, Airs;  14, Noll;  15, Susa;  16, Dram;
18, Cape;  19, Dam;  20, Riot;  21, Work;  24, Rate;  25, Ears;  27, I.E.;  28,  Etat;  29, Apes.


1, Cut and dried ;  2, Idea;  3, Numismatist;  4, Oder ;  5, Transport;  6, Rails;  7, Stalactites;  12, Roue; 17, Ado;  21, Writ;  22, Oaf;  23, Keep;  26, R.E.



Answers to Riddle-Me-Rees


                (i)    HOMEWORK.        (ii)    GREENHILL.