AKA - Escape from Wales
I’m hopping mad, which when you come to think of it is a curious phrase. I’ve never once seen anyone hop when they get angry, and I’m not sure rabbits are particularly known for their uncontrollable fury. But anyway, I’m angry. We’re at a service station near Cardiff and our shitty car has broken down. I’m on the phone to my insurance company.
“What do you mean you can’t come and rescue us? I have rescue insurance with you?” I say.
“Sorry sir, but we’ve already sent a service vehicle to see if your car can be fixed. If we’ve already sent a service vehicle we can’t then send a recovery vehicle.” says the soulless voice on the other end of the line.
“But he couldn’t fix it! How was I to know if I needed a service vehicle or a recovery vehicle!? I’m not a mechanic!”
“Sorry sir. You’re policy states…”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what my policy states! This is madness! Insanity! I’m stuck in the arse end of of nowhere (aka Cardiff), with my wife and a sleeping baby! What am I supposed to do?”
“Sorry sir, but you’re policy states…”
“Stop saying that!”
I realise that I’m not going to get very far and I’m very cheesed off. Which come to think of it is another very curious phase as cheese almost never makes me angry. If anything it should be something you say to convey rampant joy.
“Honey!” says Zsuzsa from the car. “Mila’s awake.”
I look in the car and see my desperate wife and confused baby staring back at me. I take a deep breath. This calls for decisive action. This calls for me to be a man. I need to step up to the plate and solve this conundrum and save my family. I call my mummy.
“Mum, we’re stranded at the services. Can you come and save us?”
“We can…but Tony is dressed as a beast.” she eventually replies.
Tony is my mother’s husband and he's playing the beast from Beauty and the Beast at a local play. He’s just finished rehearsal. His painted green, covered in fur and has horns and claws. I’m imagining him turning up to the service station to rescue us…as the beast. I instantly decide that this would be astonishingly wonderful. Alas mother dearest doesn’t seem to share my enthusiasm.
“Can you try your brother first?” she pleads.
I call my brother Ross. Half an hour later he turns up, looking green, although this isn’t related to beast make up. His green-tinge is because he’d been out for his birthday the previous night and has spent the entire day at home in his pyjamas, wallowing in hungover despair. To drag himself here must have required a quite gargantuan effort.
I’m reminded of an occasion from a couple of years ago. I was heading to London from Wales, when I’d realised that I’d left my wallet in Wales. I’d turned around, before then realising that I didn’t have any money for the Severn Bridge and not enough petrol to get to London. Ross had also come to my rescue that time, brought my wallet to England and then had to pay for the pleasure of getting back in to Wales. Good old Ross.
Now here he is, an extraordinary shade of green, standing in the service station like a hero. In this moment he’s very much like Bruce Willis from Die Hard if Die Hard had been all about John McClane helping out a man who’s car had broken down at a service station.
“I’ve got a plan.” he heroically says. “I’m a member of the AA. I can say I was in the car and then when they turn up they can take you to then end of your journey. I’ll just say that I now need to head home and then someone will come to pick me up.”
Fast forward twenty minutes and the AA man arrives.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to be in the car as well. I can’t continue the journey without you.” he says to my green brother.
I briefly see panic in Ross’s eyes. He’s suddenly terrified that he has to sit in an AA van and be driven 3 hours to London with a crying baby, sleep on my sofa and then catch a train back home the next day. This is not a renowned hangover cure. Now it’s my turn to be a bloody hero and save him from this gruesome fate.
“What if we just tow it to a local garage?” I ask.
“Yeah, we can do that.” says Mr AA. “You’ll still have to be in the car though.” he says to Ross.
Ross sighs the sigh of a resigned, partially broken man and secretly passes me his car keys.
Ten minutes later we overtake Ross on the M4 as he’s being towed away to a local garage. We smile and wave, but oddly he doesn’t seem as delighted as we do.
This, I think to myself, is the sequel that Die Hard 5 could have been.