Tim Walker’s Rat II

The top of my number four spark lead had been completely shredded.

I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing until peering more closely, I was able to distinguish teeth marks in the rubber insulation. Looking even more closely though I am again rendered disbelieving; the cable’s conductor, whose job it is to transfer current from the ignition coil/s to the spark plugs thereby creating a spark hence combustion, has been completely chewed through – but for one metallic strand. “Well,” I recall though/mumbling, “there’s no way that strand could carry sufficient current to make the cylinder go pop,” leading me to hypothesise that further damage must have been done after I had parked up the previous night.

Unplugging the number four lead I immediately embarked on a ponderous stroll to my local servo although on arrival, checking my timepiece I wished I had delayed my departure by ten or so minutes. Entering the workshop the delectable aroma of coffee and cigarettes filled my nostrils. Suffice to say I was surprised when, despite being mid-smoko, my plight seemed to hold the attention of all staff involved. Strange as I believed the phenomena of a high-tension cable-chewing rodent to be, these guys didn’t seem to perceive it as at all astonishing…

I understand my history in the field of diesel mechanics leaves me somewhat wanting when it comes to bizarre instances of electrically induced engines, but I still thought it was pretty amazing.

…The boss or owner or whatever term he allots himself rose and with cigarette between his lips led me over to the kind of box that every good petrol workshop should have on hand – a veritable pick ‘n mix, an utterly disorganised array of assorted spark plug leads from every model from every make of car imaginable. A speedy ten minutes later he had found a match; handed it to me, discarded his expired cigarette butt and, refusing my offer of payment but offering his well-wishes, sent me on my way.

I arrived back at my car, plugged in the lead and thought/mumbled, “Nice one … Back in business.” Before closing the bonnet however, I did consider the consequences of returning to my car the next day and turning the key only to find that once more the lead had been chewed. Feeling trapped by the frustrating uncertainty of this quandary and determined to even the stakes I ran inside and fetched the two mouse traps…

These I had purchased at the time my cat was going through that springtime, sexually active and high on catnip, phase of bringing into the house live mice, dropping them at my feet, looking up at me expectant of adulation, while the mouse runs off and hides under the range and the cat makes a half-arsed, pathetically belated attempt at recapturing it’s quarry.

…I smeared on both traps some crunchy peanut butter by Pam’s and returned to the garage, taking some time to decide on the best location for them. Finally with both traps set – one over number four plug facing back, the other on number one plug facing forward, primarily because any other style would have upset my OCD – and with the bonnet left up I headed back indoors.

Next morning, following the obligatories, I excitedly opened the garage door and flicked on the lights. I approached the car tentatively as if rip-shit-and-bust might go some way towards ruining the surprise, and peered around the side of the open bonnet. Let me tell you, it was a glorious visage.

The shiny red rocker cover of my car’s GT engine glistening under the illumination of three 200 watt light bulbs, truly was a sight to behold…

(Shit, we’re already over 600 words; we’ll finish it up next time, yeah?)



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Tua-Ly Z Tudae

Photography by Nick S Thyme






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