If he’d turned that starting-handle once, he’d turned it a thousand times – truth be told, he’d never ‘cranked’ an engine into life, in his life; but, in his dreams, still he tried.
“Damn and blast this heap of junk!” he cried to the world. The world seemed to ignore him – then sent him a saviour in the form of Alice Pevensey.
“Hullo! Can I be of some help?” came the soft voice to the ears of Henry Hoshper. “It could be your plugs need a clean.”
Henry looked to where the voice was coming from; and had to gather his composure quite an amount before he could remove the caustic reply he had intended and replaced it with the slightly tame: “Be my guest.”
As is the case with dreams, a lot of the details are cloudy, inconsistent, or outright nonsensical; so, the fact that she had exactly the right size spanners and feeler-gauges to remove, clean, adjust and refit the plugs in the matter of minutes was par for the course.
Obviously the engine now started with the lightest of cranks and purred into life.
“Thanks.” Henry offered. Then added, with a bit more control (and a lot less fluster) “Thank you; that was efficient. Most impressive, Miss…?”
“Pevensey, Alice Pevensey; my friends call me ‘The Mechanic!’ ” she laughed. “Actually, they call me ‘Warden’ due to my initials – Rowan being my middle name.”
There was a twinkling lightness to her voice as if it we’re announcing the arrival of angels.
“I’m Henry Hoshper,” he offered, “as if I was Christened whilst the vicar was under the influence – though it’s never ever been ‘Hotspur’ in my family… I checked.” The offering seemed pretty lame even to him, but Alice kept smiling and patted the bonnet of the 1926 Bentley with a polishing cloth that had appeared in her spotless hand courtesy of the dream’s continuing providence.
Then Henry woke. This was the way of dreams, he thought; just start getting interesting and… “Good morning! Reality here.”
Henry thought for a while. He considered the significance of his dream. Then he quickly realised he didn’t have a clue about the significance of dreams. And why a 1926 Bentley? Did that signify his father, born in 1926, but, long gone now? ARP – there was a Second World War reference for instance; or did they have ARPs in the First World War – for the Zeppelins? No, the Bentley meant in or after 1926. Alice? Was she (or her name) relevant? Wonderland was surely a dream for Alice in Lewis Carroll.
Henry’s head had started hurting. It did that when he thought too hard. He went in search of a pen and some paper – or, even better, a notebook.
Armed with these, and a steaming mug of coffee, (always ‘steaming’ as an adjective, he thought – then dismissed that as being ‘off topic’) he went into the sitting-room (‘old-fashioned term’ he thought – almost called it a ‘parlour’). It was going to be one of ‘those’ days.
Anyway, his dad was never a Bentley; an Austin 7 perhaps; but, never a Bentley.
And why would Henry have one? His tastes didn’t stretch to (or couldn’t afford to) the price of classic cars.
NB this is just the start of an idea written whilst on my walks this morning. If it has any hopes for continuation, then my work gas just begun. Any thoughts on the above please let me know. Thank you, G:)