As I’ve mentioned I have a friend in Sutton Coldfield and I was visiting her and parked in ‘that’ notorious lay-by. I noticed that daily a young unkempt man with long straggly ginger hair wanders along the road adjacent to the lay-by. His demeanour strongly suggested some form of mental health issue or that he was homeless. As I was working at the laptop he approached the window once or twice asking for cigarettes but apart from that he appeared to be in a world of his own.
Some days after I’d become used to seeing him one of the many lorries that use this lay-by frequently had to call a fitter out due to breakdown. The fitter arrived, parked behind the lorry and got out to have a look at the engine and after some deliberating he opened the rear doors of his van, took out some tools and went back to the broken lorry. At some point the ginger lad wandered over to the rear of the van and was looking inside.
The fitted saw him, came rushing over and punched the lad straight in the head. The fitter was a large, strong young lad so ‘ginger’ was sent flying onto his back. The fitter moved toward him so I rushed out to try and explain to the fitter that the lad clearly had some issues and it wasn’t fair to be beating on him when he was so clearly unable to defend himself, especially against such a big, strong man.
The fitter was unimpressed and came out with some hearty language, but at least he backed off and continued with his work. Ginger had got up by now and was muttering to himself, and as he looked OK I left him to it and returned to work. Here’s a gratuitous shot of the view from this lay-by.
Much later that evening I was settled in for the evening, fire on as it had been raining most of the afternoon, when I had a harsh rapping coming from the floor. It took me some seconds to work out where it was coming from, and I also heard a voice.
I went outside but no-one was around. I looked underneath the van and there was Ginger! When he saw me he said “Please turn on the engine. I’m cold.” To say I was stunned would be an understatement, and I began to laugh, however he was deadly serious. It was cold, and wet.
I tried to persuade him to come out but he wasn’t having it, simply asking me over and over to turn the engine on as it was cold. I tried explaining the dangers of doing so, the burn hazard from the exhaust, the poisoning from fumes, and even invited him inside for a hot cuppa, but he simply kept up his repetitive requests, interspersed with some random ramblings.
In the end, I decided to turn the engine on, thinking the noise might scare him out. It didn’t.
I let the engine run for perhaps 10 minutes then shut it off, and within a minute I heard him rapping again and shouting for me to turn the heat on!! lol
I got out again but no matter what I said he simply kept up his repetitive requests. I even grasped his ankles and tried to drag him out from underneath. But he shuffled away to avoid me and when I caught one ankle, he got hold of the chassis and clung on for dear life.
There was no way I would be able to drag him out. I couldn’t drive away either as there is no room for a human underneath the rear axle and he’d get some nasty burns from the exhaust at the front.
I had visions of him clinging on to the bottom of the van in the way Robert De Niro’s ‘Max Cady’ had in Cape Fear, as I drove off!
I finally decided that the only way to get some peace in the short term was to turn the engine back on. Then I had to think about calling the police. I wasn’t happy with that as I had visions of them having a crane come to lift the van off him to ensure his safety. It was all a little perplexing to say the least haha
As luck would have it, I was saved by nature.
I hadn’t noticed that he’d crawled out from underneath until I saw a ginger flash in the trees and at first though it was a red squirrel. It was indeed ‘Ginger’ taking a leak. I’ve never moved so quick as I did, grabbed the keys, ran to the drivers seat and drove off as fast as I could. I was actually exhilarated as I drove away, and started laughing maniacally to myself lol
I returned later and he was gone, although he did spend 2 full days more over the next week under my van, both times when it was raining.
It just shows that a little ginger does indeed spice things up!