Through Glass Eyes by pchis

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Through Glass Eyes
Synopsis:

The life-changing day I'd been dreading finally arrived. I'd hoped they may have had a change of heart before now. After all, it was in their power to reconsider such a thoughtless decision. If it had been possible, I would have got down on my bended knees and pleaded with them. 'Don't do this to me, please. Don't.'

But I don't have any knees.

They caught me entirely by surprise. No telltale signs, no convoluted clues, no tantalising giveaways. An 'on the spur of the moment' conclusion reached over breakfast one sultry Saturday morning was all it took to seal my fate. Since finding out, my sleep had been tortured by a dark and menacing presence that wouldn't leave it in peace. To think the final curtain was coming down on a performance that had amused, entertained, frustrated, and delighted its actors in equal measures for the best part of thirty years. I shivered as my imagination toyed with the uncertain future they were pushing me into.

But let's not run before we can walk. There are events that need to be unwound, combed out neatly and rewound before I make my next, unasked for journey.

August this year was wonderful again. In these feverish times it's arguably the only month that truly offers any relief from the hectic and hurried rush of new millennium life. School runs are slid into limbo for the duration, neighbourhoods are hushed as their residents pack their bags and jet off on bargain holidays abroad, and the few factories that are still left standing in this part of the country temporarily close for their annual shut-down. Leaves are slowly but steadily changing from a flecked pallet of greens to the shimmering golds, browns and russets of autumn, and the air is sharp with the city tang trapped in the sequinned dews of early morning. This is the only time of year that you'll find the Road Menders noticeably absent. They too, have more pressing arrangements with the clamorous bars and beaches calling out to them from Spain and the Greek Islands, like irresistible sirens to forlorn, bewitched seamen. August is manna from heaven.

No. Better.

Normally at this early time of morning the uncomplaining main roads would be at their most laboured, their brawny backs rippling with the weight of the inconsiderate traffic rolling up and down them. The skinnier feeder roads are almost at breaking point, supporting an endless stream of crawling vehicles, multi-coloured dots in a choreographed workday pattern. Relief for them comes when the dots at long last spill out onto the muscular arterial roads, where like sprinters racing to the finishing line, they are accelerated to a speed which might get the Drivers to their destinations if not on time, then tolerably late.

It was now my turn to say goodbye to the feeder and partner the by-pass in our ritual dance. My old engine began to rev higher as I cautiously pulled out and gathered speed as quickly as I could on the by-pass.

Not quickly enough for some.

"Parp...parp...parp! Out of the way, old man! I'm in one helluva hurry! Parp...parp...parp! Move over!"

A stolen glance behind me bore out my suspicions. Well, well, what a surprise! I might have guessed it would be a silver one. Nowadays it nearly always is. They seem to be everywhere. Silver is the in colour; the first choice of professional footballers, minor celebrities, and the newly minted.

High on flash, low on taste.

"Come on...come on...MOVE OVER!" he screamed as he closed to within inches of my rear end.

I tut-tutted and concentrated hard as the man inside me gently and carefully coaxed me closer to the litter strewn verge of the by-pass. Nowadays it takes me some time to manoeuvre as the reflexes aren't what they were, and I'm much more aware of the dangers that lurk along the kerbside for the unsuspecting. Time and experience has taught me that a belief in immortality is only for the young and the foolish.

"About bloody time! Why don't you get yourself a Collector!" the silver one spat at me as he flew by, far in excess of the designated speed limit.

There is definitely something about the silver ones I've grown to dislike. My lights don't focus as sharply as they once did, and I sometimes get confused in watery daylight or bright sunshine. So on occasion the silver ones catch me unawares. When that happens I know their bad-mannered abuse won't be too long in coming.

"Move over, old man!"

"Get out of the way, old man!"

"Is there something the matter with you, old man?"

"You should be on the scrapheap, old man!"

"About time a Collector took you, old man!"

There are now far too many silver ones on the roads for comfort. They are arrogant, self-centred, have no respect, and show a complete absence of good manners. Many red ones have a similar temperament, but you don't see so many of them nowadays, and they were never as offensive as the silver ones. Some say they have nigh on eradicated the red ones, just as the more aggressive Grey Squirrel bullied its smaller cousin the Red Squirrel into obscurity. (There's even a parallel in the colours).

Of course, it may be that nearly all the silver ones are Foreign Makes, whereas I'm a British thoroughbred, and arguably we've a more even-keeled temperament. You won't hear us honking our horns at the slightest excuse. That would be quite inappropriate behaviour. (Sometimes I wonder why the Designers even gave us horns.). Not so the Foreign Makes, they revel in using their horns all the time. Mind you, they dominate the roads now and we British are in a tiny minority. Many speak English well, sometimes very well. Although that's not surprising as many of the Foreign Makes are made in Britain and they hear English from the day they're first screwed together. Though one must never, ever, refer to them as 'Foreign Makes'. Oh, no, there are severe laws to punish you if you did that! As far as they're concerned they are every bit as British as I am. They even consider themselves superior to their relatives who are assembled abroad and shipped to Britain. Would you believe that?

"I bet he's a sales rep" remarked Roger dryly as he gently eased me away from the beckoning kerb. (Roger Bunting is my Driver, and you'll be getting to know him much better later on).

"Does it matter, darling? Just concentrate on your driving. We don't want to have an accident, particularly today, do we?" soothed his perennial passenger. Roger's wife Sylvia.

Her words made me shudder.

Particularly today.

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The life-changing day I'd been dreading finally arrived. I'd hoped they may have had a change of heart before now. After all, it was in their power to reconsider such a thoughtless decision. If it had been possible, I would have got down on my bended knees and pleaded with them. 'Don't do this to me, please. Don't.'



But I don't have any knees.



They caught me entirely by surprise. No telltale signs, no convoluted clues, no tantalising giveaways. An 'on the spur of the moment' conclusion reached over breakfast one sultry Saturday morning was all it took to seal my fate. Since finding out, my sleep had been tortured by a dark and menacing presence that wouldn't leave it in peace. To think the final curtain was coming down on a performance that had amused, entertained, frustrated, and delighted its actors in equal measures for the best part of thirty years. I shivered as my imagination toyed with the uncertain future they were pushing me into.



But let's not run before we can walk. There are events that need to be unwound, combed out neatly and rewound before I make my next, unasked for journey.



August this year was wonderful again. In these feverish times it's arguably the only month that truly offers any relief from the hectic and hurried rush of new millennium life. School runs are slid into limbo for the duration, neighbourhoods are hushed as their residents pack their bags and jet off on bargain holidays abroad, and the few factories that are still left standing in this part of the country temporarily close for their annual shut-down. Leaves are slowly but steadily changing from a flecked pallet of greens to the shimmering golds, browns and russets of autumn, and the air is sharp with the city tang trapped in the sequinned dews of early morning. This is the only time of year that you'll find the Road Menders noticeably absent. They too, have more pressing arrangements with the clamorous bars and beaches calling out to them from Spain and the Greek Islands, like irresistible sirens to forlorn, bewitched seamen. August is manna from heaven.



No. Better.



Normally at this early time of morning the uncomplaining main roads would be at their most laboured, their brawny backs rippling with the weight of the inconsiderate traffic rolling up and down them. The skinnier feeder roads are almost at breaking point, supporting an endless stream of crawling vehicles, multi-coloured dots in a choreographed workday pattern. Relief for them comes when the dots at long last spill out onto the muscular arterial roads, where like sprinters racing to the finishing line, they are accelerated to a speed which might get the Drivers to their destinations if not on time, then tolerably late.



It was now my turn to say goodbye to the feeder and partner the by-pass in our ritual dance. My old engine began to rev higher as I cautiously pulled out and gathered speed as quickly as I could on the by-pass.



Not quickly enough for some.



"Parp...parp...parp! Out of the way, old man! I'm in one helluva hurry! Parp...parp...parp! Move over!"



A stolen glance behind me bore out my suspicions. Well, well, what a surprise! I might have guessed it would be a silver one. Nowadays it nearly always is. They seem to be everywhere. Silver is the in colour; the first choice of professional footballers, minor celebrities, and the newly minted.



High on flash, low on taste.



"Come on...come on...MOVE OVER!" he screamed as he closed to within inches of my rear end.



I tut-tutted and concentrated hard as the man inside me gently and carefully coaxed me closer to the litter strewn verge of the by-pass. Nowadays it takes me some time to manoeuvre as the reflexes aren't what they were, and I'm much more aware of the dangers that lurk along the kerbside for the unsuspecting. Time and experience has taught me that a belief in immortality is only for the young and the foolish.



"About bloody time! Why don't you get yourself a Collector!" the silver one spat at me as he flew by, far in excess of the designated speed limit.



There is definitely something about the silver ones I've grown to dislike. My lights don't focus as sharply as they once did, and I sometimes get confused in watery daylight or bright sunshine. So on occasion the silver ones catch me unawares. When that happens I know their bad-mannered abuse won't be too long in coming.



"Move over, old man!"



"Get out of the way, old man!"



"Is there something the matter with you, old man?"



"You should be on the scrapheap, old man!"



"About time a Collector took you, old man!"



There are now far too many silver ones on the roads for comfort. They are arrogant, self-centred, have no respect, and show a complete absence of good manners. Many red ones have a similar temperament, but you don't see so many of them nowadays, and they were never as offensive as the silver ones. Some say they have nigh on eradicated the red ones, just as the more aggressive Grey Squirrel bullied its smaller cousin the Red Squirrel into obscurity. (There's even a parallel in the colours).



Of course, it may be that nearly all the silver ones are Foreign Makes, whereas I'm a British thoroughbred, and arguably we've a more even-keeled temperament. You won't hear us honking our horns at the slightest excuse. That would be quite inappropriate behaviour. (Sometimes I wonder why the Designers even gave us horns.). Not so the Foreign Makes, they revel in using their horns all the time. Mind you, they dominate the roads now and we British are in a tiny minority. Many speak English well, sometimes very well. Although that's not surprising as many of the Foreign Makes are made in Britain and they hear English from the day they're first screwed together. Though one must never, ever, refer to them as 'Foreign Makes'. Oh, no, there are severe laws to punish you if you did that! As far as they're concerned they are every bit as British as I am. They even consider themselves superior to their relatives who are assembled abroad and shipped to Britain. Would you believe that?



"I bet he's a sales rep" remarked Roger dryly as he gently eased me away from the beckoning kerb. (Roger Bunting is my Driver, and you'll be getting to know him much better later on).



"Does it matter, darling? Just concentrate on your driving. We don't want to have an accident, particularly today, do we?" soothed his perennial passenger. Roger's wife Sylvia.



Her words made me shudder.



Particularly today.

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