roly's foot car wash
Roly ached in his bed. His legs were tree trunks and the rods of iron in his back clanked as each beat of his heart pumped despair. Bloody ballet dancers.
His wife coughed behind him, then set down a cup of tea. He continued to gaze through the net curtains at the listless clouds.
She said, ‘I’m sorry, honey. But it sounded so mad!’
He said nothing. What kind of marriage is it when not even the wife is on your side when you announce plans for the world’s first No Hand Car Wash?
Everybody laughed, but they came all the same. Came to watch a man lying on a skateboard using the thick hair of his calves to lather up the sides of a Nissan Micra. Came to snigger as he pulled on the slipper socks with individual toes in order to get up into the most creviced of door handles. They were probably taking bets on him falling off the diving boards he’d rigged to get at the roof.
‘But you were right,’ his wife said. ‘I counted eight today.’
Roly’s heart beat another ache. ‘More ballet dancers?’
‘Chinese acrobats. It’s their low overheads – they go into a human pyramid to get to the roof.’
Roly groaned. Bloody Lord Melville and his bloody Rolls. He’d swept into the car wash then attracted Roly’s attention with an imperious “you there”. There was some guff about Lord Toffy McToff draining his moat to have the world’s first moat parked Rolls, and then the tale of another chinless aristo having paid to have his leatherwork re-stitched with only fishbones for needles.
In a breathy voice, he’d said, ‘The world’s first foot washed Rolls!’
Then things really went mad.
‘And for such an exclusive service I want an exclusive price. Shall we say ten thousand pounds?’
After Roly picked the bits of himself up from the floor he picked up his bucket.
Oh God, the thought of it. The man looking at the bucket in Roly’s hand and then taking Roly’s eyes with his to the sign that said Roly’s No Hand Car Wash. It took Roly two nights of work with his trusty swiss army knife to rig up a pulley system to get his foamy shammies to the roof of the car. The buttock clenching he had to go through to get the tops of the wax bottles.
But he did it! He washed that beast of a car with only his feet and his legs, and now this. Bed. For a fortnight, as acrobats and yoga teachers limboed under the gap in the market he’d left.
‘Maybe this parcel will cheer you up,’ Roly’s wife said. She came around the bed and then to Roly’s horror slipped a garish red box from the staid brown packaging. She was smiling at him, and there was a strange glint to her eyes.
‘Sweetie,’ she said. ‘You don’t have anything to worry about in that department, believe me.’ She took his hand and squeezed gently. ‘But…if you feel you that you want to use something like this’ – and here she glanced at the box – ‘to increase length by twenty five percent, and girth by fifteen, well, I will not stand in your way why don’t you get started now you can use it while you lie here recovering how about that?’
It was the fastest she’d ever whipped back the covers or tugged down his pyjama bottoms.
Roly smiled to himself, thinking of the ballerinas again. So what if they could polish alloys while their spare foot was buffing the roof. Let them try and keep up with this latest big idea.