Jake cruised the car park and there was only one space but that had a pile of sand and stones on it. He turned sharply, accelerated and the massive truck climbed the heap. He switched off the engine, swung himself to the ground and threw the door shut. Pleased with himself he swaggered into the bar and ordered a Coca-Cola on the rocks. He knew he looked hard, drove a tough man’s vehicle but underneath he quietly obeyed the law not to drink and drive. There was a table in the corner and he moved towards it hoping to get there before anyone else. Luck was with him so now he could relax and think.
There was an important issue. He wanted to set up a business, working for himself but not sure what to do. His skills were limited and education had been sporadic. He had no qualifications to speak of but plenty of energy and a willingness to learn. Funds were sparse so whatever it was mustn’t need much capital.
Two middle-aged women, past their best for chatting up, bustled into the table next to him. There was a lot of fussing with handbags and who was going to fetch the first round, then should they have pork scratchings or peanuts?
Jake felt irritated. Was it unreasonable to ask for a peaceful drink and some quiet for thinking? It seemed to be so. The bleached blonde arrived with a drink in each hand and two packets of peanuts dangling from her mouth. She put everything down and brunette said, ‘Thanks Elaine.’ She started crunching and with her mouth full mumbled, ‘Tell us about your ‘oliday, Cyprus wasn’t it?’
Jake sighed as bleached blonde began the saga. ‘Well where shall I start?’ Try the fucking beginning why don’t you he fumed.
‘We hired this car some foreign make; a gutless wonder but it really needed some power with all those hills. George said we should go to this vineyard up in the mountains and do a wine tasting. It sounded all right and he ‘ad a map. I did think it a bit ‘ard on me ‘cos I was driving but a sip or two wouldn’t hurt.’ She paused for a slurp, wiped her mouth with her hand as Jake silently called her an ignorant bitch.
‘So was the wine tasting good?’ asked brunette.
‘Don’t rush me. We started off ok on the road to Pafos. I was going up these hills, really steep and there were lots of speed bumps in villages. George moaned when I went too fast over ‘em and we bucketed up and down. Then ‘e shouts, ‘turn left it’s a short cut.’ Well the road got narrow, rose up to the brow of the hill and disappeared.’
‘What do you mean, disappeared?’
‘It didn’t go up in a puff of blue smoke, silly, there was no tarmac, just sandy soil and rubble. So I stopped and said, ‘You must be kidding. I’m not driving on that.’ Anyway he persuaded me that it would cut off ten or more kilometres and I was to just drive slow and careful.’ Jake was listening with some interest now.
‘It was a nightmare, going on for miles and miles with me sweating with fear as it did hairpins with a sheer drop and only room for one car, the surface all loose and crumbly. Then, right in the middle of nowhere, we get to this road junction with a sign. I stop, he looks at the map and says just five more kilometres and we’ll be there. I nearly died, had to find a scabby bush to have a pee. Really could ‘ave done it right in the centre of the road, ‘cos there was no bugger to see me. Honest I’d had enough of this off-road driving so I told ‘im straight. He was going to find a tarmac road to take us back or his chauffeur was goin’ on strike.
Jake stopped listening. Off road driving! He was brilliant at it and loved showing people how to do it. He had the vehicle. It would just take a bit of advertising and there were plenty of rough tracks around. He stood up abruptly, stopping bleached blonde in mid sentence. She stared up at him and he bent down and planted a kiss full on her lips. He sauntered away grinning, ignoring the profanities directed at his back.