On the Road – by John Barber

I had been driving for hours. I was tired and thirsty, it was getting late. I was beginning to think when I got to my destination I would be unlikely to find a hotel for the night. The thought of a night spent in the car was hardly appealing. As I approached a right hand bend a car came straight at me, completely on the wrong side of the road. I am still unsure how we missed each other. After I had stopped swearing and gesticulating and had got far enough round the bend, I could see why the other driver had ventured onto my side of the road.

They were just lying there, hundreds of them strewn across the road – multi-coloured, in various sizes. I stopped, got out of the car, walked back and just stared. How the hell did they get there? Had they come off the back of a lorry? That was the obvious explanation. Had someone deliberately, dumped them, surely not? A bend would be perfect if you wanted to cause an accident, but then why not a tree trunk if that had been their intention?

The more I thought, the more I was sure they were a lost cargo. Lorries travelled much too fast in my experience and loads were often not secured. I once had a tailor’s dummy bounce off my bonnet, Christ that was scary. But who the devil would want so many of these? I know Norfolk is weird – well that’s the general perception – but a couple of hundred? I couldn’t decide whether to move them to the side of the road, or purloin them and put them into my boot. Although, what was I going to do with them? Maybe eBay or Amazon I suppose.

The fresh air had woken me sufficiently so I set to moving them to the side of the road, praying nothing would come too fast round the bend in either direction. I had just about finished my task when a low loader appeared in the distance, headlights on full, bats and hell came to mind. As it approached the bend it slowed, I guess the driver having seen my car. He came to a stop. The driver got out and looking around, turned to me and said, “Are you alright mate?”

Yes thanks,” I said. “Can I help? Have you lost something?”

Yeh, I’ve lost a load off the back of my wagon. I wondered if you’d seen it?”

It might be them over there. What did you lose?” I said, pointing to the verge.

I’m a bit embarrassed to say.” He walked over to the side of the road. “Yes, that’s them,” he said.

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