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 Category:  Humor Fiction
  Posted: April 9, 2015      Views: 25

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Currently reviewing my objects in life, so writing is taking a back seat, it's kicked into the long grass, it's having a break, it's finding some space, it's looking for stronger roots, it's thinking up a new tune to pl - more...

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Sorry. This might be your old banger. Humor.
"Renault 4 Repair" by RichardFann

Replacement brakes.


The screeching sound from the brakes was getting worse.
I knew something had to be done.

Putting it off had gone on too long. So I put my ‘Mr Action Man’ hat on,
and looked in the workshop manual.

( I had purchased it a month earlier in order to fix the speedometer.

As it turned out, it was beyond fixing, and the work was done in a garage.)

However, at least I felt I knew what I was talking about, with the manual stuffed under the front passenger seat.

At the car parts shop the car parts assistant looked at me with
an unbelieving and strange expression. Like a Spanish Inquisitor
trying to ascertain a man’s faith.

‘You want brake pads for a Renault 4?’

He had noticed my demeanour, and my hands that had never done
car repairs. He had concluded that I never would.

‘Yes, a Renault 4,’ I said.

‘What year?’ he asked.

 ‘Probably 1965,’ I said, ‘or the year before they made a Renault 4 which doesn’t break down every week, like mine does.’

‘It’s the brake pads,’ he said, ‘you replace them when they wear out.’

‘I know,’ I replied, ‘but the car has a hundred moving parts, and every week one of them wears out, because none of them lasts more than two years.’

‘We just sell parts, mate. We don’t tell the manufacturers their design strategy.’
I stopped.
I allowed this wisdom to seep into my brain.
Meanwhile he turned to search the metal shelves, which were
constructed as if from some industrial scale Meccano set.

I considered how miles wear out car parts, and how years wear out people,
and how this French car was grinding down my patience and decimating my savings.
So much for a rainy day. Owing to this car, my money would be gone
long before the downpour of the next thunderstorm.

He returned with the parts in a box.

‘Are you doing one back wheel or both?’ he asked, looking at me directly.

For a spark in time, my whole being froze.

Was it one wheel or two that needed new brake shoes?
I panicked. Then I stopped panicking.

I said, ‘Better have two. One for each side.’

I was worried I was wasting my money, replacing a back brake
that didn’t need it. But as always, I played safe. In the chasm of
complete ignorance, I usually play safe.

He looked up, over and above me, as if checking that the
self-illuminated EXIT sign was still working.

He turned again. He went back to the Renault 4 brakes shelf and
got a second box of brake pads.

And now at the counter, he studiously looked at his reference card
for Renault 4. I noticed his black hair flop down over his brow.
It looked unwashed. It looked as if it spent all night under cars to replace exhausts, change gearboxes, and fix gaskets. Every night, leaving no time for it to be washed.

‘That’s 23 pounds, 56 pence,’ he said with a clear voice of certainty,
similar to Daniel Craig, as James Bond, instructing a colleague to
dispatch another bad guy.

I paid by cheque.

‘Thanks,’ I said with a faint, crooked smile, realising my chances of a
successful D-I-Y job on my car were only 50/50.

I got home and got my tools out. I found the manual was unable to help me to remove the first rusty nut that I came to. And what if I
snapped or shredded the thread of the bolt? That would be another jolt
for my bank account.


Author Notes
Apologies for the formatting problem.

Thanks for the inspiring pic.

It's not a Renault 4 but captures my feelings, my emotions,
my thoughts, my motoring deliberations
to a tee.

And at this point, I grant you a coffee.

Can you grant someone a coffee via FanStoree?

Am sure it's possible to send a physical cup of coffee to someone on
the cloud or email or e-group.

Just include the words "physical cup of coffee"
in any order.
And that is my order
for you.

Yes I had a Renault 4.
What didn't go wrong!
Had a gear stick in the middle of the dash board;
you pull it out and wiggle it around.
Lots of fun.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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