Donald MacInnes: Swooping like an eagle to swap old banger for bargain motor

In The Red

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The Independent Online

Last week, I began relating the tale of how we had bought a replacement for my mother's old car, a Daewoo so wee, if you went to Tesco for half a dozen eggs, you would have to make two trips. Aside from its Matchbox proportions, the car was also in danger of disappearing under a heap of guano, as most of the local ravens had taken to using it as a convenient convenience. In fact, judging by the volume of poo, it was more likely to have been a gang of eagles. And in spite of the fact that all of our neighbours' cars reside under the same row of trees, they remain spotless. But, being BMWs, they probably feature some kind of Bavarian force field.

Hopeful of a trade-in, we drove both car and droppings to our local used car place. We perused the suspiciously shiny motors until we found one which seemed to fit our criteria, ie it was a nice colour, didn't smell and had an actual tape player (meaning we can make use of all those old cassettes on which we recorded the Radio 1 chart show back in the mid-17th-century).

A wiry man with leatherette skin strode over, followed by a burly youth. It was quickly apparent why the hefty-chested lad had been employed at all: the first guy was slight like a pipecleaner, but heavily tattooed, so much so that he evidently needed a supplementary person to provide skin-space for the tattoo overspill.

The first guy spoke: "Help you, my friend?" I said he could and pointed to our chosen motor. "Ah, that's a nice car, my friend," he nodded. "Good mileage," said Her Ladyship. "GREAT mileage, my darlin'," said Tattoo Man. "Mmmm," nodded Tattoo Overspill Youth. "One lady owner?" I said, using the slightly sceptical cadence one usually reserves for questions like: "Dragons? Flying down the M6?" Wiry man placed his hand on my shoulder. "Back and forward to church on Sundays, my friend." Tattoo Overspill Youth looked upwards and mumbled: "Hallelujah."

"Okay if we take it for a test drive?" asked Her Ladyship, never one to be taken in by ecclesiastical sales patter. "Not a problem, my darlin'," replied the boss.

We drove it around the area for 20 minutes, with Tattoo Man crouched in the back like a wheezing crash test dummy. Turns out the car was a bargain, so we agreed the deal and sped off in it, leaving the wee Daewoo in the clutches of Smell Boy and Prodney. So if you happen to see two blokes going back and forth to Lewisham Tesco in a tiny car, with three eggs on the roof rack, you'll know who it is.

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