among my girlfriends many part time jobs, she used to work for a cheap car-hire company. she would get a call from the office everytime someone didnt take out the extra insurance. she would have to race down to the garage on this little bicylce she had with a kickstart engine and follow the car as it left. then she would wait for them to leave the car unattended and she would scrape a dirty big line right up the side of the motor, kick out one of the lights and throw a brick through the windscreen. what a fuckin bitch. the poor optimist that hired the car would have to pay shitloads of money to the rental place and she got a cut. now my girlfriend is a car owner. and karma has taken it upon itself to come round full circle and kick the living shit out of this little motor from dawn till dusk. this car has every ailment. everything goes wrong with this car. it is a lemon. it coughs and bounces its way along the street like some cartoon jallopy. karma has performed the old switcheroo.
we are forever in the local garage. whilst in the mechanics last, we were ushered over by a throaty man who handed us a small beige card with gold filigree text. ive seen this kind of luck before he said, nothing mechanical can fail in this many ways, trust me, i used to work for a vending machine company. its not a car mechanic you need, its a karma mechanic. the card read,
dr ernest kilroy marsden
the karma mechanic is another schyster in the rain doctor, travelling medicine man, feng shui consultant tradition. i am not usually a believer in the old 'what goes around comes around', but my girlfriends luck with cars made me doubt, so out of curiosity, i went to see what the future held in store for me.
karma consultancy works like this: you go in, tell them a few general things about yourself, answer a few questions and the guy'll give you a reading and tell you when and what you're coming back as. dr ernest was a short man.he had a very strange voice. sounded like hes pushing kittens into the business end of a tuba. it starts out squeky and ends up booming. i asked him to say certain words and we laughed. instead of degrees and certificates on the wall he had a cheap certificate that said hes qualified to handle cooked meats and has passed a general food health exam. he also had a picture of himself coming down one of those log flume things. he asked me for health advice in between chats. ive got this thing on my back he says. can you take a look. it looks ok i say. i dont think its anything to worry about. keep it covered. i told him all about the things i'd done and after he'd stopped crying he typed it into his computer-
'the next-life predictor 3000'
( it runs on windows 95, 98, me, and xp, but not vista.) it clicked out a little punched card. it said,
15 glen close
due for borning 2018
i took the little card, still warm. 10 years time. me and kuv thought it would be fun to see what my next mum looked like, so we looked up the phone directory and there was a jean brodwin living at 15 glen close in pitlochry. we drove up in the car, its only a couple of hours and we staked out the house. we both imagined what lay inside. a coal fire, peachy skin, soft hair. nice eyes. love we thought. theres a lot of love in that crooked house. sniff. sniff. futurepauls going to be a very lucky boy.
i have written about my present parents before. they are wonderful people. and so when the most unremarkable trollop emerged from no.15 my heart sunk. the burst slippers, the greasy hair, the mechanical arm. the hunch. the polar opposite of the motherly figure i had grown up with. it was only then that my lifetime of thievery and barbarity came home to roost. i was going to reap what i had sown, not right now but soon. i hazed out and imagined the mechanical arm brushing my hair and burping me, of being piggy backed on that hunch, and when i came to i was hurtling the car toward mrs brodwin. if she was dead she couldnt be future mom and i'd get somebody else, somebody less metallic. i plowed through future mum denting the bonnet and removing the front bumper. the mechanical arm came loose from future mother and stuck through the windscreen twitching like some sort of clockwork snake. the karma consultant who we had tied up and put in the back seat was screaming like a scabby heided wean. "you crazy people, you've only made things worse for yourself. youv lowered your karma." feck. i thought. the buggers right. we got his karma predictor 3000 out and altered the questionnaire so it showed that i'd murdered my future mother. the card that it punched and spat out read like this,
24 glen close
due for borning 2018
we looked up the street. slithering out from number 24 emerged a gruesome figure. it was female. just. it looked like it had just woken up. it was eating a chicken leg and scratching itself. there was half a jam wagon wheel stuck to the side of its face. horrified i floored the accelerator and cut down future mum mark 2, denting the roof and removing the side view mirror. "stop! stop! shouted the little karma man your lowering it every time, you've got to stop." in a moment of resigned crystal clarity we jallopied off. it was clear that i had travelled so far down the reincarnation ladder that there was no hope of ever getting back up to decent levels of human reincarnation. and so we bumped off the little karma mechanic and dumped the car. we have since typed all manner of things into the karma predictor and we now keep a cute baby seal and a club in the bath and when its time to check out we will perform one last act of cruelty so as to lessen my karma and come back as a tree.