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Since Nuro kindly set up this section. Here's TX next one. RR

Christmas, Carole.

Bob was not concentrating on setting up the Porsche properly. I could see him out of the corner of my eye poking around absently with the screwdriver. For goodness sake, it was only two days until the Boxing Day meeting, and that Porsche would have to be running smooth as a freshly buttered Rolex if I was to have any chance of winning the club championship. I had enough on my hands, as it were, doing my forefinger reflex exercises on the couch. 'Blast it, Bob', I said. 'You're wasting my time here. I need another two thousand revs from that thing by Monday or I'll get slaughtered by Cribbins with his GT40. Go home and come back tomorrow. Nice and early. Then you can spend the whole day sorting it properly. I'm going to have a proper rest myself, so the old brain box is focussed on the task in hand.' `But boss… It's Christmas day tomorrow…' 'Of course it is. That's why it's so important to get weaving on the Porsche. It may have escaped the compass of your tiny mind that the Boxing Day meeting occurs, logically enough, on the day after Christmas. I want those gears bedded in like Joan Collins in satin sheets... Here. Give it to me'. I spun the rear axle and felt a slight tug on the 27th tooth. I handed it back to Bob. 'Hopeless. You'll definitely need all day tomorrow on this. You've still got to check the comm. timing yet'.
Bob trudged away into the snow. He only had to go a few doors down the road so the blizzard only whipped at his bare head for a few minutes. What a loser. No competitive spirit, no killer instinct. Bob Scratchbuilt we call him- he's so hard up he has to build his own cars out of cardboard and stuff. I'd shaped him up into a decent enough pitman, but he'd never join me, Club Champion Benny Screws, in the winner's circle. He'd never get his name next to mine on the Phostrogen Cup, but he would be back tomorrow. He wouldn't dare stay away just for the sake of Christmas with his dozy family. I reached for the phone and ordered a takeout. 'Ready in thirty minutes, sir' said Mr Patel. I screamed back at him.' Thirty minutes? What are you all playing at you lazy shower? I'm hungry. Ten minutes as per usual or I'm calling the pizza place instead.' 'Many thousands of apologies sir but it is being Christmas Eve and we are extremely busy with hungry customers. And many of then are rather frighteningly drunk. We are bringing your vindaloo as soon as it is possible, sir.' I dropped the phone, ripped a couple of tins out of the fridge and started sorting my back issues of Model Slot Car to pass the time. It took about four lagers before Mr Patel's runner parked his scooter and rang the doorbell. 'Took your time, son, didn't you? Better not be cold'. The lad looked down shame faced, but didn't move. 'It's Christmas eve sir', he said. 'Yeah. So what?' I replied. 'Maybe you could favour your regular curry delivery boy with a small tip?' Bloomin cheek. 'Sure. I've got a tip for you. Don't hang around on doorsteps in a blizzard'. I slammed the door and spread the curry boxes on the coffee table. Then I had a few more beers to wash the chillies down. So I felt too tired to bother going upstairs to bed, and made myself snug on the couch. Well, the beer and the curry did what it does and I felt a bit restless. And then I realised there was someone else in the room. Or at least I thought there was, but you can never be sure with the old special brew.
I was a bit bleary you understand. But I didn't hear the door go. I'm not good with burglars. So I sort of whimpered a bit and pulled one of the couch cushions between me and him. Whoever it was just stood there looking at me. I realised there was something very odd about him. There were cables wrapped round his neck and shoulders and hand controllers draped down his back and dragging on the floor. His hair was lank and greasy and there was a strong aroma of tyre goop about him. Then he swayed a bit and moaned.
'I am the ghost of Scalextric Past' he said. A joker, eh? `Grasp my hand controllers and come with me'. 'I'm not going anywhere. I've just had six lagers and a vindaloo.' `Come with me!' he said again, only with a noticeable menace in his voice this time. As I said, I'm not good with burglars, so I thought I'd better do what he said. I reached down and picked up one of the hand controllers. An MRRC 45ohm by the feel of it. Immediately the room started spinning round and a wind seemed to lift us both up and hurl us through the window. I was worse off than I thought. The blizzard flew in a tight circle but then started to fade into sparkling sunlight. I could have sworn it was well past eleven. Then I saw my old family home beneath us. We sort of whooshed in through the wall- real weird it was. And there was me and the family gathered round the Christmas tree. Strange seeing myself, as if it was a video, but for real. Only it was a Christmas I remembered well, from twenty years ago. I remember that one because there was a big parcel under that tree. And there I was, ripping it open again. It was great seeing that moment once more, but from a different angle. I was that excited, pulling at the wrapping paper and seeing that chequered flag logo. My first Scalextric. I watched it all happen, just as I remembered it; I shot straight up into my bedroom with it and never saw the family again for a week. But then the scene shimmied a bit, and when it steadied we were up in my bedroom- and I saw myself in a scene I remembered happening a little while later. Bruce from school was round and we were having a race. He started winning. So I nerfed him off and trod on the D-type when it hit the floor. I watched myself with a warm feeling of pride. I handled that well. I always was a smart kid. Not only did I get shot of Bruce- well, bursting into tears showed me the kind of guy he really was- but I even convinced him that wrecking the D-type was all his fault and conned his Mum into getting me a new one. Plus a LeMans start as compensation for my, ahem, distress.
Then suddenly, I'm back in my own house on the couch. Alone again. Or had I been all the time? I looked in the fridge for another beer, but there was none left. Perhaps that was for the best. I turn round and there's another guy standing behind me. Bloomin Piccadilly Circus it is in here all of a sudden. This bloke's all in white like that wizard bloke out of the Lord of the Rings. He whacks his hand down on my shoulder and sort of mutters, real matey like, 'I am the ghost of Scalextric Present. Follow me. Follow me'. Well, he wasn't asking. He grabbed my hand and we were off again. Spinning room, whirly snowstorm, all that stuff again. Anyway, we end up at Bob's house down the road. Well, his hovel, really. Still lives with his Mum and Dad, who are there hanging up their tatty twenty year old paper chains. There's his sisters, chuffing about with raw stuffing on their hands and potato peelings stuck to their blouses. But no-one seems to notice us. They're whining as usual. 'Oh you can't spend Christmas over at Benny's tinkering with cars! We should all be here together. We're doin turkey and everything. Mum and Dad have been looking forward... we always have such a nice time. Scrabble, Monopoly, Morecombe and Wise'. 'Oh do us a favour', I mutter. I take a look at wizard-face, who is sort of frowning at me. 'I'd love to. But I can't let the boss down' moans Loser Bob. 'He's got a good chance of winning the Phostrogen Cup on Boxing Day, but there's a lot of work needing doing to the car. It's my own fault. I could have had it done today, but I was daydreaming. Not concentrating. I was thinking about how one day I might be able to enter my own little car, you know my BTCC Mondeo, Tiny Tin Top I call it. If I had time to prep it up, I could start making a mark in the club championship myself.' So that's his game is it, the runt. Thinking about his own back-stabbing little schemes on my time. I'm going to have to keep young Bob nailed down properly. Then wizard man gave me a shove and we followed Bob up to his room. His box, more like. It's so funny; he hasn't got room for a circuit. He's just got a half circle of track on a chair. He puts his ratty little Mondeo on at one end, hits the throttle and catches it at the other end, and starts again. Over and over again. Sad. Mind you, 'Tiny Tin Top' did seem to take the curve at a fairly awesome rate. And getting faster. I was actually starting to worry. Then wizard-features tugs my sleeve as if to make me pay attention, just as Tiny Tin Top reaches escape velocity and rips off the end of the track before Bob can catch it. Stumbling after it, Bob kicks the leg of the bed. The bed collapses. Tiny Tin Top is underneath it. Tiny Tin Top is a threat no longer. Being slightly less than a centimetre thick and in several trillion pieces. I laugh like a drain. Wizard face just shakes his head, and his beard continues wafting for several minutes after his head slows down. And we're back at home again. Perhaps I might get some sleep….
'I am the Ghost of Scalextric Future'. Here we go again. This one's all jolly looking- red faced, chubby. Except he's got a sort of wreath in his hair made of little Armco barriers woven together. Another loon. 'Where're we going now then?' I ask wearily. 'You'll see.' He sort of grins in a very soppy way and holds my hand like my old uncle used to do. Same thing again; whirly snow, flying sensation, and now we're at the club. And it seems to be the Boxing Day meeting already. What happened to Christmas? There's me, up on the driver's podium. It's great. I can see the track computer and everything, Cribbins is sat in the pits and I'm running away with the race. Bob's lurking in the corner looking well brassed off. Still mooning about his poxy little Mondeo, I suppose. But my Porsche's motoring round like a good 'un. Then suddenly it's all over, and I'm being presented with the Phostrogen Cup. It's great. Except that no-one else looks very happy. No cheering, no applause. Bad losers, all of them. I hope no-one else notices the bits of Cribbins' GT40 still stuck to my shoe- my trusty master plan had obviously worked yet again. But for some reason everyone is talking to Bob instead of me. Some creep even wraps an arm around his shoulders. Mutters something about Bob's Mum and Dad and hospitals and not blaming yourself, but Bob is still sort of gloomy despite me, his best mate, winning. I shuffle up to listen- well the Mr Chubby Ghost with the Armco hairstyle is prodding me closer actually. So then I hear Bob wittering on about how the oven had blown up with the turkey in it on Christmas day and the house had burnt down because he hadn't been there to ring the fire brigade and his Mum and Dad and sisters were all in hospital and he should have been there at Christmastime, not round at my house prepping my Porsche for me.
'Is all this actually going to happen, then?' I ask Mr Chubby Ghost. He knits his bushy eyebrows and comes over all serious. 'Only you have the power to change things, my boy. I have shown you but one of many possible Scalextric Futures. By your actions, you can yet change things, and yourself. Pay your respects to the spirit of Scalextric Christmas- bring joy to your fellow slot-racers. Goodwill, friendship, sharing. The joy of competing, not winning. These are the things that make a true Scalextric Christmas, my boy. But none of this that you have seen need come to pass, if you open your heart to Christmas joy.' Or something like that. He was rabbitting on like a vicar or something, but I was suddenly concerned. As I found myself on my old couch at home again I realised what he had said. It might not turn out like that after all.
I'll have to get Bob cracking on that Porsche in the morning, then.
 

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Brian Ferguson
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3,652 Posts
Howmet TX, Son of Rail Racer, and RR yourself: Take a bow, guys!!! Great writing! Thanks for the entertainment. Keep it coming!

 
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