Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A box of rocks

The Goatmobile generally only gets abused off-road as a hobby. When trips along wadis are connected with work, I’ll rent a Land Cruiser.

So a little while back that is exactly what I did. Unfortunately, whilst casing one particular joint – a wadi clearly in need of huge embankments, cuttings and a load of asphalt – I heard a horrendous metal-versus-stone graunching sound from beneath. I had hooked one of the cheap (I use the term metaphorically only; they’re actually hugely expensive), thin, alumininium side-steps on a boulder and bent it. Whoops. The side-steps are sometimes called ‘rock-sliders’ for reasons that, if this evidence is to be believed, are unclear.

Back in the metropolis of Khor Fakkan, I telephoned my office administratium and explained that woe had befallen me.

“All right Mr Goat, what woe has befallen you?”

I explained. In the Real World, such a minor incident would result in having to explain oneself to Mr Hertz van Rental who would probably then refuse to refund part or all of the insurance excess. That would be too easy. Everyone knows that It’s Tough In The Gulf, hence the need for some frustraneous rigmarole.

“No problem, Mr Goat. You have to get a police report that we can give to the car rental company, and Robert will be your mother’s brother.”

And that is why I spent the next three hours in Khor Fakkan police station.

My opening gambit was that I’d bent the side-step (Exhibit A) and could I please have a police report?

“OK. Come tomorrow.”

“Sorry, but the car has to go back to the rental company tonight,” I explained. “It’s on a one day hire only, and anyway I can’t afford to take a day off work specifically to travel all the way to the east coast.”

“Why did you move the car? You should call the police when and where the accident occurred.”

I explained that the incident had happened way up some wadi in the mountains. There was no phone signal. Instead, I’d come straight to the police station.

“We must see the stone that did the damage.” (Exhibit B)

“What?! There are millions of stones up there!” I protested. “How am I supposed to remember exactly which one it was?”

The officer didn’t have an answer to this. He eventually suggested that we just go and identify the culprit by picking some random, suspicious-looking rock. One that looked shifty and villainous would be favourite. Clearly he was advocating that I should deliberately tell lies to a police officer.

I called his bluff: “Come on then. My car or yours?”

And then, noting the fading light of dusk, I had a brainwave. “Come to think of it, if I’m only going to accuse a random rock, we don’t actually need to go into the back of beyond to go and look at it, do we? I can point out where the car got bent from the comfort of this office. Look at this map. (Exhibit C). It happened here, just on this bend.”

“You are a very silly Goat. In fact, here is your police report, just to be rid of you and your foolishness.”



hemlock said...

good thing you didnt bring the rock with you, you would've been accused of rock-napping, removing evidence from scene of crime, of defacing government property.

Dave said...

You rock!!!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thought grumpies ought to stay together! How adventurous your life is compared to mine but i wouldn't swap. good luck to you.


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