Rough Diamond Cut

33 7 18

(prompt: 'trouble' 14/6/2019)

"G'dday! Gotta bit o' car trouble, hey?"

The voice wasn't promising as we emerged from peering under the bonnet. The teenage owner of the voice was a vision... of sorts. Filthy, torn clothes that smelled terrible; old jumper hanging from skinny shoulders, the front wearing an unknown overflow of several somethings. A definitely malodorous presence. Bare feet one end and a mass of dirty dreadlocks the other. He scratched his head unconcernedly, wiped his hand across the back of his jeans and held it out for a shake. And he grinned! (Now I'm laughing. But not then!) He was missing more than a few front teeth, top and bottom, exposing the original Black Hole.

A bit o' car trouble was surely what we had on this long-awaited driving 'get-away'. Several days from home we had dragged ourselves out ultra-early to visit a few 'must-see' sites around town. Big plans awaited later, when everything touristy was open, but this was one 'freebie' to enjoy at our leisure... a community-funded mosaic mural at the front door of the area's hospital. Having enjoyed our solitary viewing in the crisp, frosty morning, we were happy to return to the warmth of our car.

Except... it wouldn't start. Hubby's no mechanic, but he IS an old farmer, the typical 'jack of all trades, master of none'. He can tinker with the best of them, often with amazing success. But not this time. Checked his list of 'things to do' in a situation like this, and I helped enormously by kicking the tyres (also peering knowledgeably under the bonnet and tapping a few bits here and there).

We were desperate. No mobile phones in those days. Lacked courage to knock on the hospital's Emergency door... for a vehicle breakdown! No telephone box in sight, and being on the town's edge, weren't sure where to find the centre. Not a soul in sight at this hour on a Sunday morning - until a roaring, clanging ramshackle had-been some kind of vehicle roared into the parking space alongside, and our unlikely angel stumbled, more than stepped out.

"Bit of a kinda mechanic, yer see. Gizza look..." and while we stood, near speechless, he did. With a spanner and a small hammer he clinked and clanged, tapped, loosened and tightened everything in sight. Hubby rolled his eyes, and I answered with a tight, forced smile.

"Ahh!" Dreadlocks' voice came up triumphantly from the depths of the engine. "It's the distributor cap. That's wot I'm reckonin' anyways."

Hubby groaned. "And it's Sunday. No mechanics working this day, hey?" Before the kid could answer, hubby's face brightened. "Any emergency services here?"

"Aww sorry mate. Nope." Abruptly his eyes shone. "Tell yer wot! I reckon I've got just the thing at home. How's about I take your distributor cap to check among the ones I've got, and I'll be right back, fix 'er up, and Bob's yer Uncle." The look we exchanged must have been a little dubious, because Dreadlocks added, "I'm just 'round the corner. Gotta heap of cars and spares and the like. No worries!"

Being slightly thin in the 'choices department', we reluctantly agreed. Only moments later, he'd removed the offending distributor cap and was off. But would he come back?

To be continued...

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