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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

A lot of crazy things have happened over the years at West Hamley Slot Club. I don't know if it's something in the water around here, but it keeps life interesting. One of the more amazing episodes was the series of alien abductions we experienced a few years ago. I understand the Hollywood director Speve Steelburg is currently bidding for the film rights, so remember, you read it here first.
It all started one evening, as these things do. A perfectly ordinary club evening, running heats for the following week's Epist Trophy, a competition run every year in memory of a local jazz musician and slot enthusiast who died tragically beneath a falling baritone saxophone one night at Hamley's Hideaway Niteclub.
I digress. That evening at the club, the cars were trundling round the track- well, Eric's was back in the pits already, and Bruno's was several laps clear of anyone else, when all the lights in the clubroom suddenly went out. Everything. All the cars ground to a halt right where they were. The race computer crashed. Chloe shouted from the kitchen that the kettle had switched itself off, and after a few minutes of everyone stumbling into one another, Eric announced that the soldering iron had gone cold. It was spooky. What made it really weird was that after what seemed like ages, the lights just flashed back on again all by themselves, the cars took off, the kettle boiled and Eric burnt himself on the soldering iron. But when we looked at the clock on the wall, it still said eight thirty, just as it had when the lights went out. No real time had elapsed at all, yet we all felt as if we had spent half an hour in some strange kind of limbo. And then Barry started groaning, and fell over.
We rushed him round to the pub for some reviving brew, and as he supped gratefully he told us his bizarre story. As the lights went out, he'd felt himself being jerked right out of the clubroom by unseen forces, into the void. Then he'd found himself pinned down on some hard, unforgiving surface, and prodded and probed, very hard, all over his body, by blunt objects similar in effect to steel capped Doc Martens. Next thing he knew he was back on the driver's podium, just as he had been before, but with extra pain. And no hand controller. 'It just wasn't there any more' he said, absolutely bewildered after his fifth pint of medicine. We were all thoroughly spooked by now, and couldn't face going back to the club that night, so we settled ourselves in at the Fly and Firkin, and listened to Chloe doing 'Oh Lord Won't you Buy Me A Mercedes W154' on the karaoke.
No-one wanted to miss their chances for the Epist Trophy, so despite everything, we were all back at the club the following night, lapping briskly, concentrating on getting in a few good lap times- Eric just concentrating on getting his car to go at all, when it happened all over again. Without warning, everything went black, but this time, someone gave out a strangulated yell. Bruno, typically, was ready for it though. He shouted out in the darkness that he had his Dad's old wristwatch with a luminous dial, and it was still going. He counted twenty-five minutes before the lights magically came on again, but the wall clock still stayed mysteriously, unnaturally, at eight thirty. 'Good grief', Barry exclaimed. 'We must have been in that weird time bubble again!' We all exchanged anxious looks, and then a loud groan came from the driver's rostrum. It was Jimmy Mulville, and he was in a bad way. Exactly the same thing had happened to him as it had to Barry the night before. He described this irresistible force tugging at him, sucking him out into the night and pressing him down onto the hard, cold surface, and then the relentless probing, just like being hit all over. Then, just as he thought he might black out, he found himself back in the clubroom, on the rostrum, just as if nothing had happened. Apart from the heavy bruising. And without his hand throttle. Bruno glowered darkly. 'You know what's really strange' he said. 'Jimmy was on pink lane. Just like Barry was last night.'
The pub beckoned once more, exercising it's own weird and irresistible pull on us all. There was really nothing else we could do but drink our way to a solution. By closing time we had all agreed. It had to be aliens.
It fitted all the accounts of alien abductions we'd read about before. We were being taken out of real time, one by one, and being analysed with powerful probes by alien scientists in another dimension. And they seemed to have a special interest in our hand controllers.
You might not believe it, but we all found ourselves drawn back to the club again the following evening. Drawn by some malignant and unquestionable alien power, you might say. And it was Chloe on pink lane when the lights went out again, as somehow we all knew they would. We heard her squeal plaintively and waited, horror-struck, huddled together in the dark until the lights switched themselves on with a suddenness, that even though expected, made us all jump out of our skins. Chloe was there, on the driver's rostrum, in much the same state as Barry and Jimmy had been. 'That was an expensive Professor Motor controller, too' she said before she crumpled to the floor.
We all helped carry her to the pub, where we drowned our anxieties once more. Big Mac said we ought to report it, but we were all several pints in by that time, and as Barry rightly said, no-one would believe us in that state.
Next night was the clincher. If you thought things were strange up till now, just listen to this. We were all in the clubroom by eight, and Bruno, who is quite a practical sort of bloke, suggested we take precautions that night. We all protested- 'you can't stop aliens- they have special unearthly powers and go woo woo woo and things' said Eric to general approval. 'Well,' said Bruno. 'I'm just going to lock the fire escape anyway. The one that's just behind the driver's podium. Where the pink lane jack socket is.' 'Hah' said Eric 'Locks don't mean anything to aliens.' 'Well, let's see' replied Bruno firmly. 'Another thing would be to take a look in the fuse cupboard...' No-one else liked the sound of that, so we left it to Bruno. He strode towards the cupboard, apparently unconcerned, while the rest of us crouched under the track. As well we might. When Bruno swung that cupboard door open, we all got our first glimpse of an alien. A genuine close encounter of the third kind. It was a funny, chubby looking creature, crouched in the bottom of the fuse cupboard with what looked a bit like a screwdriver in one of his hands. He looked up at Bruno, and confirmed our worst fears. 'I'm from another planet, me' it said.
That was too much even for Bruno, who joined the rest of us cowering under the track. But the alien hadn't finished. 'T'mothership's coomin' toneet' he added, his strangely inflected English barely comprehensible to our earth-ears. Then the lights went out again. No-one saw the little alien again, but then all sorts of strange things began to happen. There was a roaring sound outside. The clubroom doors burst open as if on hinges, and a fierce glare of light blinded us all. We heard strange noises, thumpings and rattlings, and gradually became aware of the fact that the whole track above our heads was moving, moving slowly and inexorably towards the doors. 'They
must have some sort of tractor beam' muttered Barry, knowledgeably. Our entire six-lane plexi-track and the trestles it was mounted on disappeared out of the clubroom doors into the blackness. With all our cars still on it. The mighty scraping and rushing sounds continued outside- we sat, petrified, still clutching each other and blinded by the fearsome light that had shone into our now pitch dark and empty clubroom. The wide double doors were still open, and as our eyes gradually became accustomed to the dark we began to discern strange humanoid shadows flitting around the yard. And then more clearly we saw an array of small, bright red lights, apparently hovering a foot or two above the ground, all in a row. But as soon as we began to take it all in, the lights started to move away from us into the deep black night, with a huge roaring and grinding noise. And then, just as suddenly and bizarrely, they split up into pairs, veering off in slightly different directions, but staying just above the ground, receding rapidly into the distance. 'God's teeth!' said Jimmy 'the mother ship! It's taken our track!' 'Those hand throttles they took must have interested their super alien intelligence' said Eric. 'Yeah', said Jimmy, 'just think- somewhere out there amongst the stars, a different life-form is discovering slot racing for the first time.' 'Wow' said everyone. We all kept walking out of the club as if in a trance. We must have been in some sort of psychic connection, minds bonded together by weird alien powers, because although no-one actually said anything else, we all walked slowly together, to the pub.
The next day we returned. We couldn't help ourselves. The alien mind control would not let go. Not far outside the clubroom, in fact in a clearing just a few yards down the lane that leads out of the industrial estate, we found the unmistakeable marks of a rocket ship take-off; deep burn marks in the ground, very much like old bonfires, surrounded by weird debris. There were lager tins from a brewery we had never heard of before, twisted supermarket trolleys drawn by the strength of the tractor beam, old cardboard boxes crushed completely flat, and dozens of thick glass bottles, some completely shattered by the force of the alien power source.
Luckily, the insurance company believed us. We had a brand new sport track installed well in time for the Epist Trophy, and it was a huge success. The new track is super-smooth, and the whole event ran like clockwork. Talking of which, we took the old electric clock down from the wall and kept it, hands set at half-past eight, in the club museum. Coxie Cooper-Archer got hold of a nice Victorian one to replace it from the old railway station. It looks much nicer, even though someone has to remember to wind it up every eight days. By the way, no-one goes to the new club that opened up just afterwards over in Loose Chippings. We checked it out once, but it's run by a really rough bunch of lads- thugs and skivers and hard nuts, all of them. And anyway, they've only got old-fashioned plexi-track… just like the stuff we just got rid of.

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I think I should add a caveat to this contentious article. As an insurance fraudster of long-standing conviction, I should warn club secretaries that such a claim would not be honoured by any known company of insurers. Especially one as transparently false as this. Alien abduction is not usually part of a policy, nor is it an acceptable reason for exchanging obsolete parts, such as track, within manufacturers warranties.
Don't even think about it.
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