Heaven won’t have me and hell’s afraid I’ll take over

Today I found myself stopped at a red light behind one of those in-your-face shiny black cars – very high off the ground so that the driver can look down on the likes of you and me, costing at least three years of the likes of your or my wages and never taking up less than one and a half parking spaces. And I don’t know why – I was musing, about meeting my friends for coffee later, then going to Tesco to buy more yoghurts because I had run out and I did like a nice yoghurt with a spoonful of honey for my tea – and I suppose it could have been a senior moment – but I was looking up at this in-your-face shiny black car and I thought:

That’s a very big man! Gosh, he’s taking up both of the front seats.

It was an easy mistake to make. Anyone could have made it. Out of the near-side window dangled a meaty left arm, heavily and colourfully-tattooed. Between the first two fingers of the hand was a newly-lit cigarette. Out of the driver’s-side window dangled a meaty right arm, also heavily and colourfully-tattooed, and also with a newly-lit cigarette. From inside the car came metallic, head-banging, in-your-face music. Smoke drifted back to me, raw and summery, reminding me of college campuses and lazing around on grassy banks on blazing hot afternoons instead of going to lectures…

Wow! I thought – still with half a mind on other things: the red light about to turn green; the traffic sliding to a stop in several parallel lanes; the traffic facing us, also raring to go.

He must some kind of fitness instructor! Or a cage-wrestler!

Two entire seats!

And at no point did it occur to me to wonder how this spectacular specimen was able to change gear and operate the hand-brake, since his massive, muscular hindquarters would be covering both gear stick and brake. Neither did it occur to me that even if he had invented an ingenious method of doing so, he couldn’t have. Not with a lighted cigarette in either hand.

Xindi nanobots had invaded my brain and were scrambling my neural circuits… And then – maybe I shook my head or something, meaning they cascaded out of my ears, those little metal perishers –

Ah – two seats – two men – one arm per man – one cigarette per arm – ah!

They were some way down the road and I was turning right before I recalled something else: that long message-strip in the rear view window, spookily highlighted by the red rear light:

Heaven Won’t Have Me and Hell’s Afraid I’ll Take Over

In which case, if there were two separate men, to be totally accurate the strip should have read:

Heaven Won’t Have Us and Hell’s Afraid We’ll Take Over…

No wonder I got it wrong.

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