I Don’t Care How I Look
I don’t care how I look. It’s got wheels, hasn’t it? The paint job hasn’t rusted through, has it? There’s no coffin stashed back there any more, is there? No! Then why the hell should I mind driving a hearse?
If you peeled the roof off and stuck a couple of seats in the back, people would be blown away by a beautiful retro American car. But no, apparently it’s a creepy old bone-wagon.
My friends call it the death truck. But you know what? It doesn’t bother me at all. I couldn’t give a hoot there used to be corpses riding round in the back of here. I’ve moved in actually – I live in the death truck. How about that?! I never took down the little curtains at the side windows and, once I’d shoved a mattress – a double, mind you – in the back, it was as fine a bedroom as you please.
People ask me if it’s haunted. What do you bloody well think? Course it is! Transporting people who’ve only just drifted out of their bodies and slowly making their way to the other side like a delicate wisp of smoke, there’s bound to be a bit of them sticking around.
Often it’s just a tiny trace, a little voice , someone’s catchphrase… “Oh dearie me, oh dearie, dearie me,” comes occasionally out of the radio’s speakers; some old girl left her favourite refrain behind. Sometimes it’s a shiver down my back, someone passing through. Or a smell, a favourite snack maybe – toasted cheese on toast, or oxtail soup, occasionally strong lager.
One rogue stuck around in his entirety though; Mickey D. That’s what he says his name is, but my guess is that this half transparent little cockney with his tanned, wizened face that saw many summers, has gone by quite a few names over the years.
He chats a lot. Real backseat driver too. I’m fond of him but, I must admit, when I’m setting out on a drive across town and I spot him in my rearview mirror, perched up on my mattress, grinning and waving, my heart sinks just a little bit. Thinks he knows London like the back of his hand. Did at one time – his time – not now. Not the one-way systems, the dead ends, the pedestrianized areas. the giant skyscrapers rising suddenly out of nowhere.
“Blahdddy hell! What’s goin’ on ‘ere?!” he’d exclaim at each street we turned into. Nothing was familiar, it seemed, except St Paul’s and the river itself. It got very wearing after a while, especially as he wouldn’t accept he wasn’t in a position to give me directions. Drives me mad.
But no, I don’t care what I look like. Zooming around in the death truck, chatting away like a madwoman to a wisp of smoke. People probably just think I’m on my mobile.