© Kay Gorring

Oh! I can make excuses; blame a crisis of some sort;
the reasons still elude me but on this much I have thought.
Of all the stupid things I’ve done this beats them all by far
that day I went and bought myself that sporty little car.

The station wagon guzzled fuel. I wanted something small.
The kids had grown and left. I didn’t need its size at all.
But all the cars I looked at were much more than I could pay.
I saw it then with hasty sign – ‘I MUST BE SOLD TODAY.’

Its paintwork was immaculate in British racing green.
It had the thinnest, widest tyres I had ever seen.
It came with spoiler, scoop and skirts and windows tinted dark.
Its duco polished mirror bright without a single mark.

My eyes grew wide in love-struck awe. It surely wasn’t true.
Could I afford to buy this dream in deep metallic hue?
The seller was quite anxious, took my offer straight away.
He said he had some nasty bills he really had to pay.

Now trouble started straight away with one thing I should add;
when pulled up by that copper bloke whose name I think was Brad;
I’d only driven autos for some thirty years before
and this car was a manual with six gears on the floor.

So I was counting out those shifts and didn’t watch my speed.
The sight of Brad had flustered me, my failure to take heed,
and sometimes when I’m really scared I kind of get the shakes
so I forgot the blessed clutch when slamming on those brakes.

That car it spluttered, heaved and jerked, then promptly coughed and snuffed
and from the way that Brad now looked – I thought me goose was stuffed.
He checked out all my papers making sure that car was mine
and went ahead and wrote me out a hefty speeding fine.

He checked that car all over going really extra slow
It seemed like half the day had gone before he let me go.
I swear I didn’t mean it for I’m not an extrovert –
I dropped the clutch and spun the tyres – showered him in dirt.

From then on in he pulled me over every chance he got
and then he got his friends on side – I knew the flaming lot.
They breathalysed and analysed and drugs were tested too.
I had a pile of fines that stretched from here to Uluru.

I had no choice. I made that sign. “I MUST BE SOLD TODAY”
and watched with great relief at last when saw it drive away.
I’m looking at an auto now, a simple little hatch,
or should I get a racing car and one the cops can’t catch!

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