So how does one accidentally give away a car? Not any old car either! A car that had been given to me some months earlier by my dad, and was my mum's car before she unexpectedly died in 2002.
Well, the story begins a week earlier than the event itself, with a camping trip to Wales. After failing to unite 2 sets of friends who had pitched their tents on opposite sides of the stream, I decide to give up and get drunk instead. However the more drunk I get, the more indecisive as to which side of the stream I want to be on, I become. On one side of the stream, my best friends are sat reminiscing about our good times together, whilst getting wretchedly drunk. On the other side of the stream, the air is permeated by the sweet smell of grass and in my head there is a prospect of sex with an incredibly drunk and sexy blond (I say in my head because in reality her boyfriend is with her and he is much better looking and bigger than I am).
As often happens when my head is consumed with these kind of decisions, I get more drunk than I normally would and end up being abusive to my good mates, before darting out of the tent to chance my drunken luck with the blond on the other side of the stream. The stream, it turns out is not what it first appears. That is, there is a 4ft ravine on either side of it, which I end up falling straight down and cracking my ribs on the other side of the bank. The pain I incur would probably have been bearable, had I not done a carbon copy of the fall on the way back to my friends side of the river, after a failed attempt to get a grope of the blond. My friends hear my cries of pain as my ribs hit the river bank, but instead of coming to my aid, they rightly decide to laugh at my dilemma. In a mixture of pain and anger I lie prostrate, my feet dangling in the stream, my body immobilised.
I awake the next morning, to the most incredible pain. I have no idea how I have made it back to my tent, but that's where I lie. I am in the foetal position, pain shooting through my rib cage. With my friends aid, I manage to pack up my camping gear and drive back to Liverpool.
The next week is not pleasant. I walk around like somebody that is desperate for a shit. Too scared to make any sudden movements, in case I do any more damage. But it's bearable; at least until I am out with the girls on my counselling course and sneeze with a little too much vigour. Fuck me, the pain is so intense that I spin around to see if I have just been hit by a sniper's bullet. I am forced to go home early and retire immediately to bed.
The intensity of the pain does not lend itself to sleep. I lie there all night, my body enveloped in pain - afraid to move. I have made the decision not to go to work long before my alarm clock goes off.
Around 10 am, I text my friend Debbie and tell her of my predicament. She orders me to go to the Royal hospital. I am reluctant to do this because I know that there is nothing they can do for me (being somewhat of a veteran of the old rib injury). Anyway, take Debbie's advice I do, and I drive to the hospital, some 3 miles away. With the irony I have become accustomed, this turns out to be the most speed bumped route in the world. Each bump, I hit further inflames my pain until I can take no more. It suddenly dawns on me that my wallet is empty and therefore I am not going to be able to pay for the car park.
You can imagine my delight when I see a sign, down one of the seedy side streets that surround the Royal hospital. The sign informs me that I can pay 2 quid and stay all day. I enter the car park and drive into the first available space. I note that the car park is alarmingly empty for this time of day. Before I can exit the car, an apparition is upon me. The fact that this guy looks like he has not washed for some months and therefore smells like a sewer, should have alerted me that something was not quite right. He wears no uniform, no official badge and certainly no smile upon his face. He grunts at me and I detect from his hand gestures that he wants my none existent cash. I explain that I have none, but this neither quells his persistence nor aids my progression. The pain being unbearable by this point, I resort to more desperate measures and throw my keys at him. Yup, you're not hearing things. I have just thrown my car keys at a random stranger that couldn't look less official if he tried. In my head, he is going to hang them on a hook in his little hut, where they will stay until I have seen a nurse, had my x-rays, taken my pain killers and come back to collect my car. Call me what you will, naive, trusting, stupid etc. At that moment, all I could think about was getting some pain relief.
By the time that I have stumbled halfway to the Royal hospital, my mind has gained a modicum of rationality and I am starting to realise that I have just done something more than a little stupid. What was I thinking about? I turnaround and head back to the car park. By the time I get there, I am expecting nothing more than an empty space where my car was parked some minutes earlier. I am not disappointed (hold on a minute - yes I am). My hands clutch my head, my stomach drops through my arsehole and my ribs throb with renewed intensity. Afore my eyes there lies an empty space.
I am not given long to dwell on my predicament because before my mind has assimilated all this new information, a car comes flying around the corner and 2 bald guys jump out. For those that have seen Eastenders, these 2 characters could not have looked more like the Mitchell Brothers if they had made the effort. They cast a look in my direction and shout "What's the problem"? It was actually more crude than that but I only remember the sentiment and not the exact words. Now in hindsight (what a bastard it actually is!), I think that these guys were in on the whole scam (not that there is much of a scam needed when some idiot throws his keys at you). Lets, look at the evidence - they turn up right on queue and without knowing that there is a problem, they are asking me what is wrong, as though they know in advance. More importantly, they look like total criminals. Timidly I explain the events of the past 10 minutes.
The Mitchell Brothers, are visibly (probably faking) angered that a vagrant has been patrolling their car park, but tell me that this is not the first time that something like this has happened. Apparently, his trick is to wait until the boys go on errands and he then jumps in and collects 2 quid per car. Today is his lucky day, he has just been given a Nissan Almera.
The car park owners begrudgingly lend me their phone and I ring the police. I cringe as I relay the tale to them and the officer on the other side says "Now let me get this right........." - "Yes, officer, I gave the tramp my keys".
You thought that this couldn't get any worse right? Wrong, it gets much worse and all boils down to the fact that I have illegally insured my car using my dads address, so that my premium drops by 50 percent. I had often thought about this and come to the conclusion that if anything should happen to my car, I will say that I am indeed living with my dad and renting out my property in Liverpool - where I actually live. Now, this plan would perhaps have been all fine and dandy, had I not been consumed in pain and confusion. Obviously, this is not the case right now, and I inadvertently tell the police that I live at 99 Kings Road (my real address). Shit, I even catch myself doing it but my attempts to rectify the situation only result in an inarticulate mumble. By the time I come off the phone to the police, even I am convinced that I am the guilty one at the crime scene - Christ knows what the police think. As I wait for them to arrive, I ring the insurance company, who are about as convinced of my story, as England fans are about England ever winning the world cup again.
By the time the police have been and taken my statement, I am completely convinced that the guy who has taken my car, is now on his way to my house with the keys to rob me blind. The fact that there are many documents in my car giving my address, make this a very valid concern. I get a lift home from the police and after ascertaining that I have not been robbed. I head to the hospital where, guess what? They can do nothing for me.
That's not the end. It gets worse. To cut a long story short. The insurance company ring me up and want to send one of their people to my house. This is bad, this is real bad. My dad's house (which they think I live), is in Rossendale, a distance of some 50 miles away as the crow flies. In terms of public transport, it may as well be in a different country. With my car currently in the hands of a opportunist vagrant, public transport is my only option. The thought of public transport whilst harbouring an unbearable rib pain do not appeal to me in the slightest, but what can I do?
I arrive at my dad's early in the evening, after enduring numerous modes of transport and an equal amount of pain. Fortunately I have managed to delay the appointment until the following morning. It is only when I get back to my dads house, that I realise that, like a fool - I have forgotten all my documentation. My efforts have been totally in vain and my dad has to run me back to Liverpool again to pick up them up.
The next morning, the insurance woman arrives at 10 am, and my dad lets her in. I lie prostrate on the sofa, giving out winces of pain every 10 seconds to try and gain her sympathy. The lady, it turns out, is a real hard faced cow, who would show no sympathy if I lay there limbless. She reveals that she has been sent from the fraud division because my case stinks of it. I am cross examined for the next hour and eventually manage to convince her that I am more stupidly than criminally minded.
Two days later. I am walking through Liverpool and I receive a call from the insurance company. They have looked into my case and have decided that I shall receive no compensation. I am told that if I look at section 23, clause bla bla bla -I will see that if I give the keys to the person that takes my car, then I am not entitled to a penny.
Two weeks later, I receive a call from the police to say that they have found my car on some waste ground in Huyton.