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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pass the Zircon-encrusted Tweezers

Part 3 of Thumb Rides Again

Now they had it. Fergie and X were on to it, thanks to the all-seeing, ever watchful three-armed man. He had supplied them both with the two key words to punch into the system; 'Slot' and 'Forum'. Everything they needed to make sense of the electronic gobbledy-**** that had saturated their very different shaped heads over the last few weeks. Two sets of eyes, like post-holes in the snow, scrolled backwards and forwards over this minefield of information. They were hooked. Slot racing it was called. In Eltham, the pallid youth in an aromatic black sweatshirt fluttered his white fingers like squabbling hattifatteners over the keys, revealing more information about his own home-town on his screen. In the old days before his birth it had been a centre for the hobby. A huge slot shop had briefly engulfed the town centre, and for a brief period in the late 60s and early 70s of the last century, crime rates had fallen to a point where it was safe to leave your apartment. The youth were racing, not rioting. It could happen again, he reasoned. Then he found the last connection he needed. Spendall. Pausing only to remind himself of his dad's credit card number, he applied himself once again to the keyboard.
In the Yukon, Fergie looked at his collection of 1/32nd scale snowmobiles. They could be converted, he thought. All lovingly made from narwhal tusks and perfect in every detail, they could be adapted to receive the frictionless guide flag. All he needed was the equipment. At the very same time that X logged onto the Spendall website, Fergie was there, likewise prompted by his reading of the Slot Forum. He scanned the pages rapidly, making mental calculations, referring back to the Forum for confirmation or otherwise of the various parts he would need. Fergie paused only to calculate the conversion rate from walrus teeth to sterling before firing off his own order.
Dawn Spendall, a busy woman at the best of times, didn't notice the synchronicity of the two similar orders received simultaneously from opposite sides of the world. Only slightly surprised to be offered payment in walrus teeth on one hand, and impressed by the obvious good taste and mechanical discretion of the two customers. She checked down the lists- 'Hmm. Cool motors those. I'd been expecting a run on them. Gear ratios about right, too. Should handle those wheel-tyre sets OK. Just make sure all the sundries are there. Wonder why they don't want guide flags?' Delivery would be a problem, but nothing to phase Dawn, who had a formidable and hard-won reputation in that department. Within hours a specially commissioned De Haviland Sea Otter was parachuting the carefully wrapped cardboard carton of slot car goodies within the circle of flares outside Fergies snow-bound cabin. And a fully armed commando squad was negotiating the stairwell of X's apartment block in Eltham. Encountering no significant opposition, they were able to lay the similarly distinctive Spendall package at the door of flat 666. They took a few hits on the way down, but the mission had essentially been a success.
Fergie watched the Sea Otter circle away and head south. He noticed the snow was now falling vertically rather than horizontally, and made a darting run outside to pick up the package. He scraped away the ice that had already formed over the brown paper and saw the words on the customs label that warmed his icy heart. Toy Car Parts.
Keeping all the security chains firmly on the door, X was able to open it just sufficiently to reach a slender arm out onto the landing and grasp his own parcel. He quickly retreated, and lay the box on the computer desk, where he hurriedly unwrapped the contents by the flickering light of the screen.
Both men simultaneously applied themselves to the six months of accumulated information on the Slot Forum site, and amazed themselves at the rate at which a viable slot car began to take shape under their hands. As the major parts fitted neatly into place, they both became increasingly obsessed by the need to perfect their work. Certain small parts seemed to offer problems, on the one hand to Fergie who had fingers like terminal moraines, and on the other to X, whose own digits had wasted away over recent years to the point at which they barely had the strength to depress the keys of his computer. But nestling at the bottom of each package was an item which neither of them could recall ordering. A pair of zircon-encrusted tweezers. Lifting the sparkling precision tools from their nests of bubble-wrap, their hands immediately and mysteriously became possessed. Possessed of a robotic accuracy and the strength of a mole grip. The power of the tweezers was inexplicable, yet overwhelming and addictive. Fergie and X, thousands of miles distant from each other, applied themselves to their work again with an intensity that bordered on madness. Their cars drew rapidly closer to completion.

From a computer complex disguised as a muli-storey sand-dune in a little known Arabic state, the three-armed man watched with approval as he lay prone on his couch. His digi-cams saw all, and he watched with fascination as the two cars took shape. All they needed was the frictionless guide, and Inspector Thumb would have some worthwhile opposition in the Cat Ass Trophy meeting. The three-armed man simultaneously typed a new message into his keyboard, poured himself another fig daiquiri and adjusted his towel while the fish in a hat continued massaging his lower back. He smiled with satisfaction. The three-armed man's only true pleasure came from watching a good race, and he wanted to make sure he got one…
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