Today I got in a white Vauxhall Astra van driven by a friend of Marco’s, Jamie, to go to Liverpool and pick up my long-awaited-much-anticipated new computer off John. He did some recklessly effective driving along the way, in a way that made me think he would be well suited to Italy, or perhaps tanks. Something where you treat obstacles and fellow vehicles with utter contempt. We made it to Liverpool fast.
What I actually did there was not terribly interesting to non-#fr00bs and may be added later. On the way out, just after leaving the stadium, a silver car pulled up to us, the window down, a man in the passenger seat waving and shouting something at us. Jamie pulled down the window. “You what, mate?” he said, sincere and confused.
“You taking the piss, mate?” replied the guy in the silver car. His head was, we noted, shaved.
Jamie said sorry again and accelerated away. The other car followed us.
Again, they came alongside, at a red light. The skinhead’s waving was more wild than ever, and he had something small and black in his hand. I didn’t get a good look at what it was. Jamie took one look at it and we fucking red-shifted.
Through the red lights, another car braking hard and honking in a way you’ve seen in a hundred films. The other guy stuck to us like glue. Jamie picked up the pace further. “Hold on, mate, I’m not stopping for anything.” I hadn’t realised real people said things like that from time to time.
I could hear his breathing, fast and shallow. He was afraid. I wasn’t, weirdly. I’d done nothing wrong, I didn’t know what to fear. That we were doing eighty in a built up area was a distant, abstract terror. Cars didn’t blur past, they appeared in the middle distance, wandered by us. I could see the gaps, see the choices he was making, saw the routes he was taking. He slowed before blazing over red lights. He was, through it all, a consummate driver. I didn’t seriously feel the “fuck, we’re actually gonna die” fear until he tore across the grass reservation and was driving down a dual carriageway the wrong way.
It was both more and less scary than an action-movie car chase. There were no quick, jerky cuts, no bouncing and terror, but you could look at something and blink and it would still be there but closer. “I might well be dead in the next few seconds. Hm,” I thought and tried to decide whether bracing myself would make it hurt more or less.
The silver car followed us over the reservation. Jamie turned the van around and accelerated more.
He fumbled for his mobile, chucked it to me. “Call the police! Quick!” I hit 999 and shouted “Police! Police! Police!” Two rings, then a cool female voice started asking intelligent questions. We were still screaming through a busy road at breakneck speed, jumping red lights.
“Some maniac’s chasing us!”
“Where are you?”
“Can you be more specific?”
I started looking for a road sign. There was a police car poking its nose into the road ahead of us, its blue flashing lights unmistakeable. We waved, shouted, flashed our lights, rolled to a stop. Curious-looking cops got out and wandered around. The silver car pulled in just ahead of us and stopped. “Help!” yelled Jamie. “There’s some fucking nutter chasing us-“. “Uh,” I said to the woman on the phone. “I think we’ve found some police. Uh, one second, uh,”
A pair of cops opened Jamie’s door and yanked him out. I got out the other side, still babbling in confusion into the phone. A man was standing in front of me. His head was shaved. He was wearing a police uniform. “Put the phone down, mate,” he said, not unpleasantly. “Who’re you calling?”
“Uh… the police.”
“We are the police.”
They were cops. All of them were cops, the silver car included. They surrounded Jamie, asked me a number of brusque questions. “Who are you? How do you know him? Is there anything in this car that shouldn’t be?” “I’m just a passenger, I barely know him, I only met him today, he’s a friend of my boss. I’m hitching a lift with him, I’m paying for the petrol. I’m here to pick up a computer. My friend built it for me. That’s what’s in the boxes. I can call him right now and you can ask him.” The questioning lasted about forty seconds and was easily the most unpleasant part. Then they told me to sit down and I did.
They told me that the silver car was concealed cops, that they’d been shouting “Police! Pull over!” at us all the time. “Sure didn’t fucking sound like it” became, halfway between
brains testosterone and mouth, “how am I going to get home now?”
“Oh, we’ll have him back here in a minute.”
Jamie got three points on his licence and a £60 fine for homicidal driving, they put him behind the wheel again and he drove us back to Bristol. He could have killed a dozen people, myself included. I am never, ever driving with him again, or even going near Liverpool without a good cause, because the police there seem to be pretty fucked up (they didn’t say why they went for us in the first place) and it’s cold.
But man, if you ever need a getaway driver, put Jamie behind the wheel and convince him his balls are on the line.
Feeling somewhat shaken. Going to bed now.