"I know it, I can feel it, we are doomed, this is not going to end well", wails the uncle with Parkinson's from the backseat of the Ford Fo-koos, rented in Kaldenkirchen just across the border from the southern city of Venlo, where Mr Henry's two uncles, after a lifetime of missionary globetrotting, have fetched up next door to each door in seniors living.
It's late afternoon.
Parkinson uncle can only manage brief shuffles, clutching indiscriminately at furniture, indoor plants, small souvenir wood carvings and electrical wiring, but earlier that day his objections to the "little outing" proposed by Other uncle were swept aside. The Ford Fo-koos's trip odometer has recorded over 450 kilometres that day and the outside of Burg Elst (medieval castle) has been admired and also the River Mosel (from whose banks the undrinkable wine comes from), but it's not far from Venlo now and the Ford Fo-koos has managed to divert from the Autobahn, where traffic had come to standstill. Unbeknownst to Mr Henry and his uncles, a mini-tornado has hit the area and off-Autobahn, things are just as bad, with road closures and emergency vehicles wanting to get past, sirens bleating in that quaint way European sirens have.
Parkinson's Uncle has always been Mr Henry's favourite uncle. He used to play audio recordings made during his travels of the slow, purposeful clickety-clack of trains to assist the onset of sleep at night. He used to pretend that recordings of Peruvian trains were the most effective for this purpose.
"Need to do a shit, need to do a shit!", Parkinson Uncle suddenly yells.
Other uncle now takes notice. The Ford Fo-koos is, after all, a rented car, which needs to be returned later that day.
"Are you sure?", he asks.
"Yes, yes, yes. Parkinson's. No muscle control. Going to shit all over the back seat. All over it ! Can't help it. Parkinson's."
"You sure? Because it's very
"Yes, yes, yes."
"Better pull over here", Other Uncle tells Mr Henry, who brakes and indicates a change of direction. Yes, it is a mystery why left-hand drive needs to be complicated by indicator and wiper controls switching sides as well. German commuters toot their horns in dismay at the sudden slow/down and change in direction as the Ford Fo-koos comes to a halt at a village kerb, windscreen wipers waving majestically.
"Why are we stopping?", demands Parkinson uncle.
"Didn't you say you need to do a shit?"
need to do a shit! May
"You didn't say 'may'."
I did, I did. Parkinson's. No muscle control. If, if!
, I need to do a shit. Been in this car all day. If, if!
, I need to do a shit, it´ll go everywhere.''
"But you don't have to do a shit."
"You need to stretch your legs for a bit."
Mr Henry and Other uncle retrieve Parkinson uncle from the back and conduct him along the village footpath in a gentle frogmarch.
Hours later, the Ford Fo-koos is returned unblemished to the car rental depot in Kaldenkirchen and frayed nerves are soothed by several serves of sickeningly sweet Saure Kirschen Schnapps.
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