We recently came home from a week-long holiday at the sea-side. The holiday was wonderful; the drive back may have been just as fun.
The first hour or so was fairly uneventful. We drove straight along one road until we came to the grocery store. Then things started getting interesting. While our parents ran into the store to get juice and things for the drive, my siblings and I watched the various creepy hobo-like people in the parking lot. When our parents came back with juice, we were ready to go. (More than ready. I don't like hobos.)
Juice-bags were passed around, and Kristebel, having consumed a mild amount of her 'Strawberry Kiwi' squeezings, pronounced the contents to taste like vinegar. ('Apple cider, to be precise', she adds, looking over my shoulder.) Mum turned around from her perch in the front passenger's seat and explained loudly:
'IT'S THE KIWI, FREAK!'
just as a man was making his exit from a car next to us. I'm fairly certain he heard us (our windows were open) and we will probably haunt his dreams for the rest of his life.
After we'd laughed about that, we got back on the road and drove. Soon it was Pudding Hour, and we ate pudding.
There was a lot more driving after that, but nothing really memorable happened, apparently, as none of us can recall specific incidents.
But when we were a few hours from home, things started being more interesting. A car pulled up sort-of-next to us, falling behind, then pulling ahead, and falling behind again. There were two men in the front seats, and they had Serious Faces and at least one of them was wearing sunglasses. The following is a speculative recreation of their conversation:
Sunglasses Man: HEY GUIDO. Are we there yet?
Guido: Not yet.
Sunglasses Man: HEY GUIDO. Did you eat that last falafel?
Guido: No. You're holding it.
Sunglasses Man: Ah. Right.
Guido: (wiping tears from his eyes) I can't see the road. Ha ha ha. . .
Sunglasses Man: Just keep driving, Guido.
(They swerve to avoid a flaming tyre.)
They fell behind us for a while after that, and suddenly Mum noticed a car next to us with an enormous opaque trailer behind it. She jumped to the obvious conclusion: this was a man smuggling thousands of contraband harmonicas. After we'd passed the car and laughed at the hapless driver (he didn't look the harmonica-smuggling type), Mum pointed out that it was a good thing the trailer had no windows.
'Imagine,' she wheezed between bursts of helpless laughter, 'the sound it would make!'
It took me a long time to fully get this, but I laughed anyway because I thought she was referring to the sound that would result from a crash.
Around this time, Guido and Sunglasses Man caught up with us again. But this time they had a HUMAN BODY IN THE BACK SEAT OF THEIR CAR.
'OH!' I shouted, flailing and pointing. After I had described the situation, the people around me pointed out that it was not the body of a blond-headed child, as I had previously thought, but in fact that of a rather old woman. We watched with interest.
Sunglasses Man: HEY GUIDO. Where we gonna dump this body?
Guido: I don't know. We're gonna keep driving and then we'll get to a river or something, eh? Or a bridge! Heh heh. . .
Sunglasses Man: Don't look now, Guido - but I think those people know what we're up to.
Guido: (nervous eyes)
At this point we may or may not be staring at Guido and Sunglasses Man through the two pairs of binoculars I brought along for birding. (Okay, fine. We are definitely staring at them.)
Unfortunately, we stopped at a rest stop soon after this and Guido and Sunglasses Man managed to get away. But Harmonica Man parked very near us, and shortly thereafter I realised exactly what Mum had meant by 'the horrible harmonica sound'. This rendered me nearly incapable of breath, and the next few moments did nothing to help me.
Not long after we parked, Skandar Keynes' identical cousin or something came out of the rest stop. I pointed him out to the rest of the car's occupants and noted that he was probably In On It with Guido and Sunglasses Man. This called for special observation, of course, and I was still holding my binoculars, so I kept an eye on him. Unfortunately, this sort of activity is somewhat less subtle when one is in a parked car a few metres from one's target. Kandar Skeynes happened to look up while I was Secretly Staring, and a few seconds after he made eye (lens?) contact, I realised that he had probably noticed the binoculars.
'Oops,' I giggled. 'I think he's probably noticed the binoculars.'
Luckily, he did not try to approach the car and attack us. Unluckily, I didn't think to pull down my glasses and give him The MI5 Look complete with Knowing Eyebrows.
Also, Sunglasses Man looked more or less exactly like this:
But he had a nose.