Engulfed in flames, an innocent OAP driver was literally... ON THE ROAD TO TERROR!
It was 8 am on a sunny spring afternoon when the Reverend Cameron P. W. “Bimbles” McColander, O.B.E. set out for work. A very careful and experienced driver, he carefully negotiated the tricky left turn onto the bustling main road and reversed at a steady 5mph towards his local petrol station, situated on Cackwell Heath Road.
Having lived in Stoatford for 67 of his 53 years, he knew the surrounding area like the back of his hand. “I had no inkling that this day would be any different from any other,” he recalls. “I was due to arrive at my place of work about 8:30 am, where I am a plectrum tester for a large multinational. Being a careful and considerate driver, I indicated in good time and turned into my local garage to fill up.” Little did Rev. McColander know of his appointment with destiny that fateful day.
As he filled his carefully and considerately maintained Austin Princess with premium, he was unaware of a small split in the fuel hose, which, second-by-second, was leaking highly flammable petroleum spirit onto the arm of his jacket. “I didn’t feel anything at the time,” he recalls, running his hand through his thinning ginger hair, “I was concentrating on trying to stop the pump spraying the last few drops of petrol onto my feet as I took the nozzle out of the car’s filler.”
By now thoroughly soaked in petrol, Rev. McColander’s jacket was quite literally a time-bomb waiting to explode. Any tiny spark could immediately cause the entire sleeve to erupt into a flaming fireball.
After having carefully and considerately paid for his fuel, McColander started up his car and drove away, casually resting his petrol soaked right arm along the rim of his car’s open window. “It was a beautiful day,” he reminsces, idly scratching at his testicles, “the air was so fresh and clear, and thus I naturally decided to smoke a cigarette.”
The Rev.’s 8:15 am assignment with fate was now only seconds away. He lit his cigarette and took a deep, invigorating puff. A smoker for most of his life, the Rev. has achieved an almost superhuman lack of common sense, rivalled only by his lack of sense of smell and taste. As he tapped his cigarette out of the window, a fragment of burning ash fell onto his Arm of Doom.
“In moments my whole arm was engulfed in flames,” he states matter-of-factly, picking his nose, “I was on an urban clearway, and naturally being a safe, careful and considerate driver I continued at my alloted speed until I could find somewhere safe to stop.”
At that moment, quite by chance, a cruising police car happened to be passing in the opposite direction, attracted by the smell of frying. “We couldn’t believe our eyes,” reports Sergeant Pierre ‘Snapper’ Cloget, driver of the unmarked jamjar. “All we could see was a wall of flame quite literally gushing out of his car.”
By this time, the Rev. McColander had managed to find a small picnic spot near the beautiful Chiltern Hills, and had pulled over. Leaping out of his car, his arm still aflame, he was casting about for something to quench the fire.
Seconds later the police car driven by Sgt. Cloget and his partner Harry ‘Harry’ Harbinger (who asked to be mentioned in this story) pulled up next to the burning vicar. “I didn’t stop to think,” says Harbinger. A tough-looking 37 year-old ex-wrestler, Harbinger had some years previously exchanged his leotard and make-up of the professional wrestling circuit for the lacy underwear and handcuffs of the special investigative unit of the Police force. He continues, “I just jumped out of the car, grabbed the man, and threw him to the ground, where I was able to execute my speciality, the ‘Harbinger Hamstring and Double Nut Crunch’. In the process, the flames were fortunately smothered by the damp grass.”
“He was a very lucky man indeed,” observes Sgt Cloget, toying with his truncheon suggestively, “once the flames were out, we could see that the thickness of his jacket had prevented the flames from harming him in any way. The only downside is that once we were sure he was ok, duty prevailed upon us, and we had to arrest him.”
But on what charge?
“Possession of an unlicensed fire-arm”