This is a tale of disaster and destruction caused by a close friend of mind who is a dead ringer for the grim reaper. Let me introduce Fred. Fred is is the sort of guy that if you had a problem would be the first there to help you. If he had a £1 and you needed it more than him he would let you have it.
He does however have a couple of issues. First is his propensity to eat. By eat, I don’t mean take enough calories in to survive. I mean eat like a garbage disposal machine on steroids. He once went with a family group to an Indian restaurant. The waiter came to Fred first, took his order then started to leave. When another guest asked the waiter where he was going he replied “To the kitchen with your order.” No mate, that is Fred’s order, the rest of the table want food as well.
Claim To Fame
For a time he had a minor claim to fame at Harry Ramsdens Fish and Chip shop in Hong Kong. It seems they had a challenge, eat their special fish and chip dish and you got it for free. So Fred being Fred was up for the challenge. When it arrived they reported that it was the size of a small shark. It was huge, with a pile of chips you could have used for mountaineering exercise, and enough mushy peas to fill the moat at the Tower of London.
The waiter explained the rules, you had a set amount of time to eat it, you couldn’t share it etc. When he asked Fred if there was anything else he needed to know Fred told him, “Yes, can I have some slices of bread and butter please as I am quite hungry.” Suffice it to say Fred demolished the dish and ended up with his picture on the wall.
A Modern Day Frank Spencer
Fred’s other trait, is that he is a combination of the grim reaper and Frank Spencer. Now if you are too young to remember Frank, check this video out. Basically he was what could charitably be described as an idiot. He meant well, and tried his best, but whatever he did would set off a chain reaction that ended up in chaos and mayhem.
When the Challenger space shuttle exploded, Fred was in America. He was somewhere in the region when the tsunami hit a few years back. And I have no doubt that once scientists get to the bottom of Covid 19, Fred will be a link in the chain, probably with something he ate.
I was once with him at a Masonic social event, when 2 buttons popped off of his shirt, flew across the table and hit a guy in the eye. He promptly turned and punched a neighbour because he though he had attacked him. That’s the sort of thing Fred can create without even trying.
Fred and His Rides
Anyway, Fred owns a couple of children’s funfair rides, and occasionally we contract him in for jobs. A couple of days after one such contract Fred rang to tell me he had encountered a problem on the job. Now, my standing instructions are that problems are to be reported to me as soon as they happen so that I can contact the client and try and sort it out, rather than them ringing me days later upset. So I immediately went into a rant, questioning the marital status of Fred’s parents when he was born, and introducing him to some other Anglo Saxon phrases. In between a pause for breath, Fred interjected that it hadn’t actually happened on the job. Good, that calmed me down a bit. What he said happened was, well I will let Fred tell you in his own words!
When I set off home in my transit van, towing the ride, the motorway was closed due to an accident, so my sat nav diverted me cross country. I was sat at a nice 60 mph, on a single carriageway road, when I hit a pheasant.
The said pheasant, was catapulted at high velocity, across the road, whereupon it happened to smack the lead rider, in a pair of cyclists, smack bang in the side of the head. He promptly disappeared over the edge of the road, and down a 20 ft embankment.
Now, I felt partially responsible for this state of affairs, so I pulled up to help him. Coming the other way, was a lovely elderly couple in a beautiful vintage car, that I later learnt from them, they had been 15 years restoring it to its current state. They also saw what had happened, and pulled up on the other side of the road.
I climbed down the bank with the other cyclist, his mate was a bit battered and shaky, his bike wheels were bent into weird shapes, so we helped him back up the bank, and then retrieved his bike.
The Incredible Hulk
The cyclist sat for a few minutes pulling himself together, then asked what had happened. I pointed at the pheasant, feebly twitching at the edge of the road and explained. The rider, stood up, then ran at the pheasant and booted across the road.
Straight into the path of a four door pick up truck. The driver instinctively swerved, and ran straight into the elderly couples vintage car. Turning it into a pile of parts scattered over a wide area.
As the pickup came to a stop, the door opened, and what can only be described as a white version of the incredible hulk unfurled himself from the interior. As he walked towards us all, he growled “I have just driven that out of the showroom, its my first ever brand new motor, I am on the way to show me mam, Where did that fu***ng bird come from?”
Deciding that I so wanted to continue living, I pointed at the cyclist, and said he kicked it. Mr Hulk, promptly hit him with a crashing right hand. That sent him over the edge and back down the embankment. He then proceeded to jump on the other cyclists bike in an attempt to create some modern art.
At this point I finally understood the phrase discretion is the better part of valour. Not wanting my initial part in the disaster to be brought up. I decided to test the acceleration of a transit van towing a ride to exit the area. Looking back as I set off, the second cyclist was clinging to the hulks neck, in a vain attempt to save his bike. The little old couple were sat crying by the roadside over their demolished car.
I don’t know why things like this keep happening to me!