Snow Job
by Michele Christopher

by Christopher Harry

Cars are freedom to me. They transport you from places you don't want to be, and lead you into situations that sometimes you'd rather they didn't. I used to drive fast, a lot, usually late at night. Sometimes I'd be driving alongside someone else, fast, just to see who could get there first, wherever there may be. The police didn't like this, called it "street racing" and frowned a lot when they pulled us over; but that's not where I was heading.

I grew up in the North of England - the frozen north I call it - not so much for the weather, but more for the general attitudes of the people who live there.

One night, many years ago I was heading home after driving too fast - not getting caught and not being beaten too badly - when it started snowing. It was about 2AM. I had work in five hours. I didn't even think about continuing on home. I called my buddy Kelvin (yes, in the UK we had cell phones way back then) and drove to his house to pick him up.

About 4 inches of snow accumulated, fast.carsnow.jpg I drove a mini (not the BMW kind!) with big fat (for a mini) street/race tires that just kind of floated over the snow. We slid around corners completely sideways, did 360's in the streets, spun out and had a blast. But you know how it is, it's only so much fun if you're not the driver.

We went and got Kelvin's car. Stock, old crappy Ford Fiesta. yep like the POS that was sold in the states. Now don't get me wrong. Kelvin is a fantastic driver. We'd drive the single lane country roads flat out with me making up rally style pace notes sometimes. Never a problem. He just had poor equipment.

We'd been out in the snow a while and played and not hit anything or attracted any unwanted attention from the boys in blue. We were heading back to his place, it must have been about 4:30AM. The road we were on is a wide, two-lane residential street. We were doing about 50 on four inches of snow and crappy, skinny tires.

As we got into a sweeping right hand bend I could feel the car fighting to go straight. No problem, right? Kelv's a good driver. He'll get the tail out, apply some opposite lock and power through it in style, right?

He panicked. I felt it before he even touched the brake. A little dab was all it took. Treads filled with snow, straight as an arrow. Closing fast was the only other vehicle in sight. A small van parked safely out of reach on the extra wide sidewalk. BANG. Ow, fuck. You OK? Yeah? You? Yeah! Fuck.

Kelvin asked, whadda we do? I looked around, no one, no lights on, no faces in windows. "Kelvin mate, start the fucker up and lets go." I said. {Cue engine turning over noise} It fired, and idled. He stuck it in reverse, popped the clutch, stall. Try again, fuck. One more time. Shit. Fuck. Bastard. We get out of the car. The passenger side wheel is wedged, oval shaped, between the front bumper and passenger footwell. We're not going anywhere. Too many ID tags on the car to cut 'em off and abandon it. "Let's go knock on doors," says I. We start walking to the house closest to where the van was parked. It's now a good 50 feet from the small patch of bare pavement where it stood five minutes ago.

First house, "No, not mine mate go next door."

Next door.
"Sorry to wake you, but do you have a white van?"
"Yeah? why?"
"Err, we just hit it." I'm talking, I've always had a good supply of quality bullshit.
"What happened?" asked white van man.
"Well we were going around the bend at about 20, 'Cos it's snowing, like, and the car just slid and hit your van. Sorry" Oh shit. Here it comes.

"Are you lads OK?" he asks with genuine concern. Yeeesss! I think.
"Do you need a drink? Tea, whisky or something?"

Now bear in mind this is some dude we've never laid eyes on before, who we've dragged out of bed at 5:30ish AM and told him we'd just destroyed his van, the vehicle he uses to earn his living. Well maybe we hadn't got to the destroyed part yet.

"We're fine, mate" I tell him. "Can we just exchange insurance and all that, It's kinda late."
"Certainly, yeah let's do that." He and Kelvin exchange details, we're clear, all we need to do now is leave and collect the car later.

"Let's go and take a look then" says white van man. Shit.
"You sure? It's really early and cold and snowy out there" I offer.

wreckedvan.jpgHe puts on a coat, we all traipse out to review the wreckage. He looks at the patch of sidewalk with only a thin covering of snow, where his van was left. Confusion creases his brow. He slowly turns his head following the gouges carved into the snow by eight tires.

"FUCKIN 20!!!" he explodes. Fuck.
"Erm, yeah, 20." gulp.

The next few minutes is a blur, of me pointing at Kelvin and three guys slipping and sliding falling, cursing in the snow. Then a long ass hike/run/hike/jog back to Kelv's house.

We recovered the car the next day (or, I guess more accurately later the same day). We parked down the street in my car, and waited to make sure he wasn't around. The van was gone. I took a pry bar and bent the front of the car back from the tire. Took a 4lb hammer and 3" chisel and cut the passenger footwell clear of the tire. The Fiesta started and moved. Success. It limped home to Kelvin's place, abd we parted it out on his driveway.

Kekvin should just about be able to afford insurance again by now.

Christopher Harry never learned his lesson and still does 360s in the snow.


I see you've learned your lesson. Now if I could just get you to drive on the correct side of the road...


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