The Driver and I*

Written by Amina Yussuf and Umar Pirbhai

I told him the station. He replied “Okay.” I proceeded to buckle my seatbelt. I glanced over at my phone making sure he was going the right way. He was. I started playing games on my phone, every few minutes checking the app to see if he’s still going the right way. He was. 

“There’s traffic up ahead,” he said. “I’m going to take a different route.”

“Okay.” I replied.

I wasn’t familiar with this route. There was a mini round-about, a few houses and empty shops. The whole place was deserted. I asked. “Have you been this way before?” To which he replied “No. I’m just following the app.” At this point I should mention, that we continued to drive for an additional fifteen minutes. We were lost. Both our apps stopped working. There was no WIFI either. What are the odds of that? And in case you’re wondering that we should have re-started our phones, we did that? Lo and behold it did not work. 

We can’t go back the way we came because we were running low on fuel. Luckily, it just so happens that there was a sign directing us to a petrol station a mile ahead. As soon as we got there, he got out of the car. I told him I was going to buy a couple snacks since the journey took longer than anticipated. Out of courtesy I asked him if he wanted anything. He replied “No.” 

The driver soon accompanied me inside, waiting to pay. To what seemed like a few minutes to us, was unfortunately enough time for us to be mugged. When we left the petrol station, we noticed that one of our tyres were missing. Dismayed, we reported the crime to the police. They noted down our details and told us to remain vigilant- to state the obvious. 

The police officers arrived and informed us that the CCTV at the petrol station did not work. They said that they would let us know when they found out more. An employee at the petrol station directed us to a garage. Luckily, it just so happened to be a half a mile away. Unluckily, the driver and I had to push the car to the garage.

Now if you’re wondering why we didn’t tow the car, it’s because the employee told us it would have been a waste of time and he would have charged us. To prevent further expenses, we did it ourselves. Now you may also be wondering why I didn’t just call another taxi to go to the station. Then I’m sorry to tell you weren’t paying attention. The app stopped working and I’m stuck in God knows where. The only person I knew was the driver. And at this point in the story, leaving him was not a viable option.

Any who, we arrived at the garage. The driver asked the mechanic for a replacement. Fortunately, the mechanic had one. Unfortunately, it happened to be the one which was stolen. The driver explained to the mechanic that the tyre was his and it was stolen. To which the mechanic replied, “How can you be sure?” In order to help bring a resolution to the story. I called the police. The police officers arrived, we explained that the tyre is the same one which was stolen moments ago. The police officer said, “Without evidence that this was yours, there isn’t much for us to do.” The police left. The driver was annoyed. I felt bad so I offered to split the bill for the tyre. He declined. And I can’t say that I wasn’t relived with his rejection of my offer. 

Now if you think this story is far-fetched then you are not ready for what’s to come next. I think an exclamation mark is appropriate here, but I honestly cannot be bothered to change it.

We decided to go back. To return the way we came. Only problem is that there were a few stumbling blocks along the way. A few minutes into our journey we encountered an obstacle. Let me say this obstacle was not minuscule to say the least. To worsen our predicament, the department of road closures (Clearly, we given this name much thought) decided to administer road works preventing us to drive across. I asked, “How long it will take for the path to be cleared?” 

They replied, “Not long just a few hours?” 

I further inquired “Why are the road works taking place now?” 

One of the employees from the department of road closures stated, “Someone stole the road signs.”

To which I replied, “Isn’t this a job for the police?” 

“Well, we are here to prevent further confusion. Without road signs, people tend to get confused and lost.”

I returned to the car and fastened my seatbelt. The driver looked perplexed. We came to a conclusion that we will continue drive around to see if there’s another way back. As we drove, we noticed a moving road sign. After further inspection, we noticed a well-dressed gentleman selling road signs. We thought to ourselves and soon realised that the signs on sale were the same signs displayed earlier upon our arrival. We decided to notify the police and get a closer look of the mysterious man with the road signs. After a closer look, it seemed as if the man behind the signs bared an uncanny resemblance to a man I have previously seen. He resembles a man we saw earlier at the petrol station. If you are wondering now why I did not mention him earlier, it’s because I didn’t realise the importance of it until this very moment. 

An instance later, the police officers arrived. It so happened that they were the same police officers who met us at the petrol station and garage. They seemed annoyed, almost as if we were playing a practical joke. We informed them about the signs and that he was present at the time that the tyres were stolen. The very same police officer stressed the importance of evidence by repeating the very same line that he uttered earlier. The police officer said, “Without evidence that this was yours, there isn’t much for us to do.” Doesn’t this sound familiar?

We continued to drive. At this point in our journey, we have spent two hours driving aimlessly. There was no way directing us to the station. Probably due to the lack of road signs. We parked the car. After a long journey of driving in circles we proceeded towards the restroom. As soon as I finished washing my hands, I heard screaming from outdoors. I rushed outside and saw that my driver was pacing back and forth swearing. The car was stolen. To cut a long-drawn-out story short, we called the police. The CCTV doesn’t work. To my surprise the police couldn’t do anything.

One hour later, we were now at a bus station. Thankfully, the bus had arrived. To our dismay, the bus driver happened to be the man who robbed us. And if you are now wondering how I am affected since it’s not my car. I left my phone in the backseat and I’m still paying for this journey since I never got the chance to cancel, since the app stopped working. To make matters worse the company went bankrupt the very same day. I told you this story was going to sound far-fetched. Now I know why the app stopped working.

About haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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