The Petrol Drop Cafe - Lemons
Miss Priscilla Smyth-Brown's failing health caused Saint Nicholas to investigate buying a car.Â Just in case he had to rush the good lady to hospital.Â If an emergency dash was called for during the day, an ambulance or taxi might possibly answer a call for help.Â But at night none would enter the no-go zone of Hades.Â Although the landlady could be securely tied face down across the back seat of the saint's motorbike, such was just too undignified to contemplate except in the direst of emergencies.Â A car was called for, and Saint Nicholas mentioned it to Mongrel, an expert on everything on two wheels having a Vee twin engine.
"So you wanna buy a tintop?" said Mongrel.Â He would have had no qualms at all lashing Miss Smyth-Brown across the back of a motorcycle.Â He would have cheerfully lashed the old witch anywhere, anywhen.Â Preferably with a cat-of-nine-tails!Â "I'll come with you!Â That way you won't get stuck with a lemon."
"I'll come, too!" said That Bitch, Mongrel's higher power.Â She was like the landlady in one respect: she, too, was born to command.Â But unlike Miss Priscilla, she fervently believed in growing old disgracefully â€“ mounted on her own rumbling Vee twin motorbike.Â And what she did in the privacy of the bedroom was strictly between her and a grateful Mongrel.Â "Because I think you need a woman's perspective on a suitable car."
Soon the three of them were parking their motorcycles on the road verge fronting Honest John Avarice's Better Cars lot.Â A flapping canvas sign, with coloured bunting fluttering either side of it, boasted: Best Deals in Town.Â And Honest John, in sunglasses and wearing a shark's smile, sauntered out to meet the three outlaw bikies.Â His smile hid his nervousness; for as well as sharks, there were killer whales in the waters of life.
"I'd like to buy a car," Saint Nicholas said affably.Â "But not a sticky lemon!" he added, in case such a one had fallen off the back of a fruit truck.
"No stinking lemons here!" replied Honest John, having misheard.Â "Only the finest cars here!Â "With a free tank of gas with every car over $2,000 bucks.Â What price range are we looking at?"
"Five hundred dollars," replied the saint.
"That'd only get you a free drop of gas!" laughed Honest John.Â "If we were The Petrol Drop CafÃ©."Â He shook his head.Â "But we're not, and don't have anything on the lot for five hundred bucks."
"Let's go!" growled Mongrel.
"Hang on!" interjected Honest John, remembering the licensed wreck, even then in the yard's small workshop to have its odometer wound back.Â "We do have something for $650.Â It's in the garage for our thorough 200 point safety check.Â Seeing it's you, I can let you have it for $600.Â But not for a cent less."
"What set of wheels is it?" asked Mongrel.
"A Vee 8 doof-doof ghetto blaster!"Â Honest John said enthusiastically.Â "It's got real street cred and buckets of attitude!"
Saint Nicholas shook his head dubiously.Â He knew that a Vee 8 with attitude meant it was aimed at petrol heads â€“ at hoons already half brain-dead.Â And that doof-doof was slang for a music system with a bass powerful enough to penetrate the already brain-dead.Â And he was neither.Â However, he was tempted a little. Â For such a vehicle could most certainly rush Miss Priscilla to hospital.Â But he didn't want to send her there in a rocket.Â And ghetto blaster clearly implied a car bomb.Â He deftly shook his head.Â He wasn't a terrorist!
"It goes like a bat out of hell!" Honest John said quickly, thereby his own mouth delivering the kiss of death.Â "Like the devil's at the wheel!" he added with an encouraging grin.
"Bloody wanker!" growled Mongrel.
The boarding house onÂ Hell Street in the ghetto of Hades was the territory of his God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club.Â As things stood, there was an uneasy standoff with the rival Devil's Henchman Motorcycle Club.Â Nothing from Hell Street was going anywhere.Â At least not with the devil or associate at the wheel!
"Let's get out of here!" said That Bitch, noticing Mongrel's hand opening his leather jacket to get at the Colt 45 stuck in the belt of his jeans.Â "Nicholas, you and a tin can on wheels aren't meant to be."Â She smiled at both of her companions.Â "There's always the sidecar in case of an emergency with the old bag."
The saint nodded in agreement.Â That Bitch's idea was so inspirational it just had to have been inspired by a higher power.Â For the God's Hitmen Motorcycle Club had a bike with a sidecar which was used for transporting the club's beer on its road trips when batting for God.Â That's why the sidecar also carried the baseball bats.
"There's an old hearse out the back," Honest John said quickly.Â "You can have it for four hundred bucks.Â I'll even chuck in a drop of gas."
Saint Nicholas shook his head.Â To use a hearse to race Miss Smyth-Brown to hospital might shock her into an early meeting with the Angel of Death.Â He smiled.Â He did have to admit that Azrael had a very inviting mouth.
"Come on, Nicholas!" said That Bitch tugging at his arm.Â "There's nothing here that you want.Â Nothing that's worth having!Â Let's go back to the club for a coffee."
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes