The windscreen wipers could barely cope with the sheer volume of water being deposited on the car. We crept home at a snail’s pace, past flash floods, past urban waterspouts created when the torrents accumulating in gutters would meet an obstruction such as a parked car. It was quite surreal, although the joint we were smoking probably didn’t help make things any more realistic either?
Finally we arrived back at Lane Cove, which is where things began to go terribly wrong again. ‘Scary Bob’ had built his mansion on a highly elevated block, which meant the place had an almost impossibly steep driveway; steep and long. As kids we used to shit ourselves trying to skateboard down it in one piece.
No one had ever made it in one run but plenty of skin had been left on the surface in the attempt. Where the driveway met the horizontal pavement on the street, the angle was so severe that a car would need to come to a complete halt before crossing it or risk bashing the front bumper bar on the upslope.
‘The Brain’, well-rehearsed in this maneuver, did precisely the right thing and we began our ascent. The driveway stretched out before us and after each pass of the wiper over the windscreen, we’d have a brief glimpse of the river of water cascading down the ramp towards us before the whole scene became blurred again. ‘The Brain’ pressed gently on the accelerator and ‘The Scary Bobmobile’ reluctantly started to move forward. No more than five kph could be achieved without the risk of spinning the wheels, so it was going to be a long, slow climb.
We got well past the halfway point, doing just fine, when ‘The Brain’ lost patience and tapped on the gas a little too hard. The old Mercedes, with just one rear drive-wheel, suddenly lost traction and began to slow.
‘The Brain’ hit the panic button and the accelerator all in one smooth move, gunning the engine and causing the drive-wheel to lose whatever little traction it already had. With all the noise from the pounding rain and revving engine, we’d lost our visual bearings and had become totally oblivious to the fact we were no longer moving forward. We had begun to backslide down the driveway, almost imperceptibly at first but rapidly gathering speed as gravity began to act on our two-and-a-half tonne car.
‘Fuck ‘Brain’…use the handbrake!!!’
‘It’s OK, I know what I’m doing.’
‘The Brain’ pressed the pedal to the metal and we accelerated even more quickly in reverse, now going faster downhill than we were previously going uphill, so ‘The Brain’ ripped on the handbrake. This eventually slowed us down, primarily because by applying the rear brakes, we effectively had no steering and slewed sideways into the driveway’s side-wall.
‘Fucking great Fingers…now look what you’ve done.’
‘Me? You’re the cunt driving. I told you to hit the handbrake before we started moving too fast. You just locked up the steering, cunt.’
The sandstone blocks did a tremendous job of washing off both our car’s speed and its paintwork; the grinding of metal on rock was excruciating. Meanwhile we were still going backwards. ‘The Scary Bobmobile’ was more of a ‘Scary Bobsled’ now…
Suddenly, to our great relief the car seemed to bounce off the wall, however the relief was short-lived as we began to re-accelerate, gaining speed a lot faster than either of us anticipated.
We slid all the way to the bottom of the driveway, the rear bumper ploughing into the level footpath as we passed over it, then shot across the roadway before ‘The Brain’ stomped on the footbrake and brought the car to rest in the middle of the street.
‘Are you OK, Brain?’
‘What? Of course I’m OK. It was hardly a high-speed accident, you cunt. The car’s fucked though. We’re fucked. We’re so fucked.’
‘Yeah…us. You’re part of this too, Fingers.’
‘I don’t think so Brain.’
‘Yeah well we’ll see about that. Fuck…we have to get this fucking car off the street.’
Whilst arguing the blame, we hadn’t noticed that ‘The Scary Bobmobile’ had stopped running. ‘The Brain’ tried the ignition but nothing happened. As we found out later, when the rear bumper bottomed out, the impact had apparently crushed the exhaust pipe flat, much like placing a potato on it and effectively blocking the engine’s airway. We got out of the car and surveyed the damage. It looked as though the ‘Scary Bobmobile’ had been through a carwash equipped with angle-grinders instead of brushes on one side. There were deep gouges in every panel running the entire length of the chassis. The driver’s door-handle had been completely ripped off.
‘Gee, that should buff right out, Brain…’
‘Yeah…it’s over for you, mate.’
In the still-pouring rain we pushed the ‘Scary Bobmobile’ to the kerb, parked its sorry ass, locked it and scurried upstairs to our lair to ponder the catastrophe…
To be continued…