Windscreen Blues –

Rang the insurance and said: ‘I need a new windscreen?’

‘Is your current one broken?’

At the risk of sounding obvious, I said: ‘Tis.’

‘Ok. What happened?’

‘A stone came up off the road and cracked it.’

‘Where?’

‘On the bottom left hand side, but it’s it’s spreading now…’

‘No, where did it happen?’ She asked. Testy like.

‘Oh, on the M6.’

‘Going East or West?’

‘West.’

‘West?’

‘Yeah, West.’

‘Hmm…Ok. And it was a stone on the road?’

‘Well there was a truck in front of me, so it might have been debris from….’

‘I see. And what’s your occupation?’

‘Writer.’

‘Ok, let me check your insurance.’

She put me on hold. Packets of stalled data, hopelessly floating in the fallopian sky. Then she came back: ‘Ok, you’re covered for that. Let me put you through to GlassCare and they’ll make an appointment.’

A new chirpy voice said: ‘Hello, GlassCare?’

‘Howya, the insurance put me through to get an appointment for a Windscreen.’

‘Oh, ok. Where did that happen?’

‘Heading West on the M6.’

‘No, I meant what part of the Windscreen is cracked?’

‘Bottom left hand side, but it’s spreading across….’

‘And where did this happen?’

‘I was heading West.’

‘On a National Road?’

‘No, as I explained, it was on the M6.’

She whispered: ‘West….M6….and something came up from the road?’

‘A stone, or some kinda debris…’

“Debris….’ She whispered again. ‘Ok, I’ll put you through to your Insurance to see if you’re covered and we’ll make an appointment then.’

‘But I was just on to them? They put me through to you.’

‘Oh, just hang on there.’

Hold again. Then phone music like you’d hear in a doctors surgery. Lazy piano and rash cymbals like it came from a tattered speaker.

Then a voice said: ‘Hello?’

‘Hello.’

‘Yes, hello.’

‘Howya.’

‘Can I help you?’

‘Hopefully.’

‘What…why are you calling?’

‘Glass Care put me through.’

‘Why?’

‘To make an appointment for a new Windscreen.’

‘Oh, ok. Where did this happen?’

‘On the M6. Going West. Bottom left hand side. The crack is now spreading across….

‘And when?’

‘About a week ago.’

‘About?’

‘No, a week ago.’

‘Perfect. And how?’

‘Stone of the road,’

‘Someone threw a stone at you?’

‘No it bounced up… truck in front of me and….debris off the road.’

“….Debris….” She whispered. ‘Ok, we’ll put you through to the glass company now to get you an appointment.’

‘GlassCare?’

‘No. Not GlassCare. They’re not one of our approved suppliers.’

‘But they put me through to you.’

‘And who put you through to them?’

‘You did.’

‘It certainly wasn’t me.’

‘Someone from your company I mean.’

‘I doubt that. Hold there, please.’

Silence again, then whispering spirits, like souls trapped in the dark world behind television static.

Then: ‘Hello….Windscreen repair. John speaking.’

‘Howya doin, John.’

‘Not too bad now, yourself?’

‘Good thanks.’

‘Can I help you?’

‘Yeah, just about the windscreen there.’

‘What windscreen?’

‘The Insurance put me through.’

‘Why?’

‘I’ve a crack on my windscreen.’

‘And you want it fixed?’

‘I do.’

‘Hmm….hang on.’

Smudging and crunching like he was burying the receiver in a big bag of loud clothes. Then he said: ‘Go ahead.’

‘What do you need?’

‘How did it happen?’

‘There was a stone on the road….on the M6. Going West. Truck in front of me. Think it hopped of the road and now there’s a big crack going across the window….’

He thought, asked: ‘And was it a big stone?’

‘Does that really matter?’

A loud mobile phone rang in the background and he said: ‘Can you hold there for a second?’

—–

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