Apollo 99 Avensis.

Joseph, pronounced with a Yo, was havin a piss when I arrived. His back was to the open door and you could see smoke from the cigarette hanging from his mouth. ‘One minute.” He said. So I waited a minute, observed the spare bulbs and scattered broken parts and read the warning signs on the hydraulic lift. An awful cold breeze came round the garage, in the wide open door, and started taking bites out of my feet. Yoseph landed back, sat at his desk and pulled twenty  duty free cigarettes from somewhere in the dark beneath his office chair. When he’d one lit up, he said: ‘Ok, waz problim…?’

Told him after he’d fixed my driveshaft the car started shaking. Felt like the steering was going to go, it was just waiting for the next bus or truck to come along so I could be properly demolished. He let this sink in, said: ‘Ok, we drive.’

So we drove. Around in circles in the dark empty car park. Reminded me of being a child at the funfair and being on the Wall of Death where you’re stuck to the wall by sheer speed and centrifugal force. None of this bothered Yoseph. Around we went in circles, the car like a confused horse wondering what the fuck was going on. When he was finished one way, he decided to start going around the other direction. My brain swam like a seasick fish, all wobbly and liquid and unsure. When he finally parked he said: “Iz not shaft problem, I wish we find. Come in.”

Up the hydraulic lift. We stood underneath. He explained things about Turkey and a Fiat Punto but I didn’t see the connection. The bottom line seemed to be about balance. If the wheels were off balance, the whole car will shake. So he changed the back wheels to the front and the front to the back and told me it’d all be fine and he was right. I drove it back up the Ennis road and it didn’t shake til you hit 60 M/ph, but then it stopped again if you brought her up to 80 M/ph. He’d put in a new headlight too so visibility had improved. Cars breezed past. A Nissan Quashqai. An Audi A5. BMW’s. And here’s me in the unbalanced Avensis hoping for the besht.  It purred like a dog back from the vet, cured from the pain and glad it wasn’t put down. Put her into fifth and let her run through the shudder. It was like breaking through the atmosphere. I looked down at the mileage. 353, 000 miles on the clock.  Got thinking about when I left the garage. There was a young girl there, waiting for me to finish up so she could explain her dilemma. As I’d pulled away, Yoseph approached her and she’d smiled and said: ‘I’m back again….’



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