All Change for the Northern Line
All Change for the Northern Line
Sid looked out the window sullenly as the train he was on limped into London Victoria.
We need to change trains here, Lucifer. Sid reminded his mind passenger whilst his nerves were set on edge. Sid had yet to call Lucifer by his name and timidly hoped it wouldn’t be a bad time to start now.
You seem to have finally stopped being a nuisance. You may carry on in control. Lucifer replied as Sid rose from the seat, jostled into the busy station, and fought his way through the dense crowd. Looking around through Sid’s eyes Satan observed the people around him. A morbidly obese man,
Not long from a permanent cell in Hell by the looks of him, trundled out of breath through the crowd; stuffing his face with food.
A young man wearing a priest’s collar was handing out fliers and urging people to be born again.
I hate born again Christians. Lucifer thought as they walked past him, Sid refusing the offered leaflet.
Why? My mum was a born again Christian. Sid said.
Then no doubt she was stillborn the second time around! Lucifer shouted internally with a scowl before scowling again when Sid briefly looked over his shoulder at the priest. Look at him, thinking he’s saving people from a life time of torture. It didn’t work for your mum, it won’t work for you or anyone else. Do you want me to let you in on what really makes your mother scream? Sid continued to fight his way through the crowd in disgruntled silence, refusing, and too scared of the answer, to take the bait.
Business men and women in starched suits and even starchier faces pushed their way past him with an air of superiority; not stopping to apologise when they bumped into someone. A homeless man who was begging for change, playing what shouldn’t be described as music, had his hat with the day’s earning stolen by a young boy who should have been in school; no-one making any attempt to stop him despite the homeless man’s cries for aid. The devil smirked to himself,
These people are nothing; only to be despised. After all, I am the Prince of Darkness and these sheep are mine for the taking. If only she had been. He thought with a sigh. Sid, still fighting his way through the crowd laughed inwardly to himself, piquing the devil’s interest.
Here am I, Sid, the personal body bag for the Lord of the Underworld, and all he has done so far is cry and weep about a long lost girlfriend. Sid thought to himself, temporarily forgetting his thoughts were not only heard by himself. Prince of Darkness? I thought you got that name for being the most evil; not the most emo. Lucifer was taken aback by Sid’s sudden lack of respect, but this new found confidence was not to be knocked so easily.
There was a time, Lucifer began to think to Sid, as Sid continued to fight through the dense crowd and curse under his breath at his own foolishness, when I used to devise the torture for each and every new soul myself. It was the well-known torture instruments I used at first; red hot pokers, lakes of fires, spiky things inserted in places spiky things shouldn’t go, the usual. Hell was fresh and the number of souls awaiting my pleasure was small.’ Sid, distracted by Lucifer’s recanting bumped into one of the business men, or as he preferred to think of them, “suits”, and growled an instinctive apology. The man didn’t even notice and continued to carve a path straight through the masses, leaving Sid to glare at his back in his wake. The crowd soon swallowed both him and Sid, and Lucifer waited for Sid to regain his bearings, and set off in the direction of their next train, before continuing.
As the years flew by I had to bring in some assistants and soon Hell was being run autonomously by demons and the angels who had fallen with me. I now had little to do and so to pass the time I would hand select a few individuals from each new group to give them a personally tailored eternal damnation. Brian, he was called. Lucifer paused wistfully in his rambling thought, momentarily worrying Sid that he was about to be mentally hugged by the devil. The first person I selected for this high honour of personalised torture; not that he saw it that way, mind. Brian the Belcher as his friends used to call him when he was alive. He was a gasser, in both senses of the word. He would spread rumour and gossip, making it up when little of note had happened in the village, and he would also spend the night drinking and firing gas bombs from his posterior. Lucifer chuckled to himself and Sid hurried his pace. He could see their next train had pulled into the station. Brian had a cruel and unusual game where he’d select a target, especially if it was a stranger to the town, and he’d engage them in conversation. Then, when the target was unable to escape and had been slowly worked into a corner, Brian would release the foulest smelling farts he could muster, until his targets would either pass out or vomit; often both. I created him his own personal Hell in which I switched his anus and his mouth. Sid had reached their train and was just about to press the door-open button when the devil mentioned the swapping of orifices. Temporarily distracted he forgot to press the button and walked face first into the closed carriage doors. He rubbed his nose, cursed the devil for his timing - who was currently laughing - and pressed the button. Once he’d found a seat on the packed train Lucifer continued, humour in his thoughts.
I then recreated his village and forced him to live out his life again, only this time, as I said, with his anus and mouth switched round. Every time he tried to gossip he would dribble excrement down his chin. And when he trapped a victim, for his cruel and unusual game, each time he farted he would whistle. He became the laughing stock of the village and I must admit, I slipped into his private Hell a few times myself for a giggle. My point is, Sid, don’t ever mock me again. You’ll find your eternity in Hell a lot more tolerable if you make sure of that.
Sid swallowed hard as Lucifer’s tone darkened at the end, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He could only dread what torments would await him in Hell if he got on the devil’s bad side. So Sid sat back in silence as the train left the station on their continued journey north, mindful to be more vigilant with his thoughts.
Well, my Lord, if I may? There’s to be another transfer at Eustace Station but for now we have half an hour to waste. Do you mind if I rest? Sid asked, nerves still causing his heart to pound, as the tube train swayed slowly from side to side. Lucifer didn’t reply which Sid tentatively took as a yes and so started to drift, but visions of him whistling from his rear kept him from falling wholly asleep. Just as Sid’s eyes finally did droop shut an announcement shook him awake.
‘The next stop is Eustace Station I repeat. The next stop is at Eustace Station.’
We’re here, Lord. Lucifer had gone strangely quiet, not even thinking back of his times in Eden anymore. I’ll just get on with getting us to Manchester then, shall I? Sid thought, counting the silence at his instantly regretted sarcasm as a blessing.
Again, the station was packed as Sid fought his way through the crowds, only this time without the voice-over criticisms by Lucifer. Sid arrived at their next train in time to see the doors close and so he ran, slamming his fists on the side of the window for fear of what Lucifer would do if he missed this train.
‘One more! Please, one more!’ He screamed in fear. A hand reached down by Sid’s side and pressed a glowing green button. Suddenly, the doors he was banging on slid open and Sid nearly fell through the gap.
‘The train isn’t leaving for another five minutes.’ A voice full of disdain stated from behind Sid’s head. Sid stepped into the train and walked three full carriages away from the owner of the voice, desperate to leave the embarrassment he felt behind him.
Assuming there are no delays; we’ll be in Manchester in two hours. And from there we can find Mary, Lord?
As long as she’s not behind a door that requires a button to be pressed I’m sure you'll deliver me there in good time, Sid. Lucifer replied with mocking laughter, before disappearing from Sid’s awareness yet again.
There was, of course, a delay. Sid listened in annoyance at the tinny voice, as it barely carried over a carriage now flooded with the silent strains of every passenger trying to hear.
‘We regret to inform passengers that there is a tree down on the line between Nuneaton and Tamworth. Therefore the train will be terminating at Nuneaton but a replacement bus service will be made available for passengers travelling further. These, however, may not be available for some hours.’ The news was met by groans and boos from Sid’s fellow carriage mates and he contemplated what to tell Lucifer. The tannoy system sparked into life again and the same monotonal drone barely reached Sid’s ears.
‘A free meal and a hot drink will be made available for all those who chose to wait.’
Well that answers that! Sid thought gleefully as the train pulled into Nuneaton station, joining in with the sarcastic cheers from his fellow passengers.
Sid sat on a bench at the station, waiting for the replacement bus service. He looked down at the free meal and hot drink that had been given to him with barely concealed disgust.
The tea tastes like it hasn’t been less than two hundred yards away from a tea bag and the curry, thanks to Lucifer’s story, no longer looks appetising. I should complain. But being British, Sid knew he wouldn’t.
What’s going on, why have we stopped? Lucifer barked suddenly from the deepest recesses of Sid’s mind: the recess where inappropriate jokes at funerals and automatic judgemental thoughts stem from.
There’s a tree on the line and so the train can’t go any further. Sid replied wiping the hot curry sauce from his trouser leg which he had spilt at Lucifer’s sudden appearance. How can the sauce be molten and the chicken still frozen? Oh, and there won’t be any other transport available for a few hours so we’re stuck here. Sid informed Lucifer, in annoyance.
Not good enough, Lucifer growled back at him, as much as one can growl through thought, get a motorised carriage.
A car? Sid thought back in astonishment, you want me to buy a car? Lucifer had gone quite again and this time Sid didn’t count it a blessing. Seriously, I’m not about to buy a car. We’ll wait a few hours and we’ll get on… Sid’s thoughts were interrupted by images of his genitalia, wrapped up in a big red bow, being lowered towards a kitten’s outstretched paws. Standing suddenly, Sid walked gingerly to the nearest bin. Hot curry stains burned the inside of his thigh but that was not the cause for his awkward gait. He threw away the food and drink before taking out his smart-phone and looking for the nearest used-car dealership, and a bank. Plugging in headphones, and sliding the now programmed smart phone back into his pocket, Sid followed the spoken instructs to the nearest of his banks.
Ten minutes later Sid entered through the bank's automatic doors, sliding out the ear buds of his headphones from his ears, and walking towards the back of a snaking queue.
Wait, will they even let me take out so much money in one go? He thought to himself as trepidation took over; along with the devil.
I’ve had enough of letting you impudent human drive. You’re getting us no where, fast. Lucifer thought as he strode into the bank like he owned the joint.
Wait, no. Stop! Sid shouted internally, cries falling on uncaring ears. Lucifer walked straight past the queue and to an unattended cashier. He stood at the window in front of the young lady and her eyebrow rose questioningly. Hearing muttering from the people in the queue behind Lucifer struggled to think of what to say.
Ah shit, I had something for this. He thought as the seconds ticked by in silence he opted for what he knew best: fear.
‘I want a car, give me the money.’ He finally said, trying to be as menacing as possible; to scare her to her very soul. He put both fists on the side and leant towards the glass, one eye closed and lips curled up in a grimace. Sid inwardly sighed,
She’s a bank teller. She works in a bank. People who work in banks don’t have souls, but Lucifer ignored him and pushed on, trying to stare her out with one eye. The teller sighed outwardly. She did momentarily fear she was being robbed but by the looks of the man before her he was a car salesman, and it’s not normally banks that they fleece.
‘Do you have an account with us, sir?’ She asked with an air of impatient authority, ‘We are not a charity and for those who think otherwise the reality check is in the post.’
May I, Lord? Sid asked in as humble a tone as he could muster. Lucifer relinquished control begrudgingly.
‘Sorry,’ Sid smiled at the teller and leant back off of his now white knuckles, ‘not had any coffee yet.’ Across the teller’s face flickered not a single emotion. ‘Yes, I do have an account.’ Sid fished out his wallet and handed over his card. The teller took it, scanned it, and began tapping away on her keyboard.
‘Can you tell me the first line of your address please, sir?’ She asked, not looking away from the screen.
‘I certainly can.’ Sid uttered with humour in his voice. The teller didn’t glance his way and Sid’s smile faltered. ‘Temple Gardens.’
‘And the second and fourth digit of your passcode?’
‘8 and 2’
‘Thank you, won’t be a moment, sir’
Lucifer was becoming irate at the lack of movement, money, or car.
Come on, hurry up.
‘Please be quiet, I’ve got this.’ Sid said aloud, forgetting where he was. The teller stopped typing and looked up at him, raising her eyebrow again. ‘Sorry, not you. Hands free.’ Sid followed her gaze to the headphones dangling down the front of his jacket. When he looked back up she was back to typing.
‘And how much would you like to withdraw, sir?’ She finally asked, turning from her screen to look at him; hands clasped like a villain in a James Bond film. After some quick mental calculations Sid nearly cried.
‘Two grand should be enough, thank you.’ The teller eyed Sid suspiciously before she started to count out the money to him through the window, licking her fingers before flicking through each note. She placed the notes in two sealed plastic bags and handed them over to him through a window to the side of the booth.
I’ve never felt more like a criminal in my entire life. Sid thought miserably, as he took the two bags off her. He then remembered every single car sale he’d ever done and the thought surprisingly went away.
‘Thank you for your custom, is there anything else I can help you with today, sir?’ The teller asked, eyes betraying the sincerity in her voice. Sid smiled back at her,
‘No thank you, the destruction of my savings is more than enough for today.’ He turned his back and headed out the door. Placing the two bags inside his inner jacket pockets before plugging his headphones back in his ears and phone, Sid searched the map for a used car dealership and set off in the directions the voices in his ears told him to; trying to ignore the voice of the devil in his head.
Not the best choice of names, Sid thought as he stared up at the rusted sign of "Bodgit Used Cars", yet surprisingly apt. Only one car had all the body work the same colour and that was only because it currently didn’t have a bonnet. All of his buyer’s instinct told him to run away, fast. However, his seller’s instinct was sorting through the deals on offer, and where he could get the best car for his limited funds. Or at least one that will get us to our destination with the least probability of killing us. It was a car lot similar to this that had inspired Sid to become a car salesman in the first place and Lucifer watched with greedy eyes as a memory stirred.
Sid had just turned seventeen and his dad had promised to buy him a car; his first car. They’d travelled to numerous car lots across Brighton and nothing had grabbed Sid the way he expected a first car to; well, nothing that was also within his dad’s meagre price range and Sid hadn’t dared ask for any more money. Sid feared his dad and had done ever since he could remember. He was a man prone to bouts of anger which always led to violence. He also had an uncanny knack of turning his generosity into a noose, so whilst Sid was excited at buying his first car, this excitement was also tempered with fear.
When they arrived at the last of the car lots in Brighton, also renowned as the most unreliable car lot of Brighton, Sid’s hopes of owning a car vanished. Still, he loyally followed his dad around and made non-committal noises when his dad gestured and spoke about a car or two. Finally they stopped in front of a fading-gold Rover Estate.
‘This is the one, Sidney!’ His dad proclaimed.
I hate to be called Sidney, and you know it. It makes me sound like a girl! Sid thought in childish anger, remembering the time he’d tried to get his dad to call him Sid, as in Sid Vicious, which ended with Sid unable to sit down for a week. Sid looked in despair at the rusting car in front of him.
‘It’s a four door, dad. I only wanted a two door.’ Sid whined as loudly as he dared. This response was not what his dad wanted to hear, as he cuffed Sidney about the ear.
‘It’s a five door, Sidney, and how will you be able to drive me and my friends around in a three door? Sometimes I do wonder if you’re my son at all.’ His dad shook his head before glancing around for a salesman. There was no price in the window but Sid could tell by the look on his dad’s face that he’d made his mind up.
Well I guess there’s the noose. I’m now a taxi driver. He thought to himself miserably.
‘Good evening, sirs. How can I help you, this fine day?’ Sid turned around to see a man in a green tartan suit approaching them, hand extended. His dad reached for the extended hand but the man walked straight past and offered it to Sid. Sid was caught completely off guard,
Called sir and then offered a hand shake? He felt like a man for the first time in his life as he shook the salesman’s hand dreamily. The man turned and eventually shook his father’s hand; who had gone a dark shade of red.
‘Am I honoured enough to get a chance at selling this fine young gentleman his first car?’ The man asked before turning to Sid and flashing the smile Sid spent the rest of his life trying to replicate.
‘Yes. And the boy has decided on this one, not that I think it best for him, mind.’ His dad replied, pointing towards the dull Rover. The man cocked an eyebrow Sid’s way and Sid fell in love. This man had breezed in and built Sid up whilst simultaneously taking his dad down.
I wish I had half the talent this guy has.
‘A fine choice for such a fine young man, you’ve raised him well…?’
‘Clive. This is my son, Sidney.’ The man looked Sid’s way, flashing him that same smile again.
‘You’ve made a fine choice, Sid. A fine choice.’ Sid’s heart soared at that use of his preferred name.
I so wish this man was my father. Oh, maybe one day I could be as noble as him and be a car salesman. Sid thought with the innocent pride of youth.
They moved into the man’s office after they’d been shown the interior of the car. His dad had tried to sit in the driver’s seat but the salesman, whose name appeared to be D. Turpin according to the name plate on his desk, was adamant only Sid could sit there.
‘The name’s Richard by the way but my friends call me DTs. Can I get either of you a drink,’ he asked as they sat down at his desk. There were thank you cards tacked to the wall behind him which impressed Sid; even if the handwriting in each card looked awfully similar, ‘tea, coffee?’
‘I’ll have a tea. The boy’s fine.’ Sid nodded sullenly to his dad’s assertion. Snapping his fingers the salesman brought over the receptionist.
‘Can we have a tea for Clive and an Irish coffee for myself. A strong one, Lucy.’ The receptionist nodded and returned the wink Mr. Turpin dropped her, before walking away, high heels clicking and a swaying butt mesmerising to the horny teenage Sid. By the time she returned Sid’s dad and Mr. Turpin were well into negotiations.
Are DTs hand shaking? Sid thought as he watched him lift the coffee to his lips. When he realised Mr. Turpin was looking his way he panicked, before the man smiled at him, instantly putting him back at ease. He turned that smile onto Sid’s dad, who instantly went quite and sat back in the chair.
‘I think you’ll find the price in and of itself is a bargain, for what you are getting, Clive. And I’m sure Sid already has his heart firmly set on the car by now.’ He winked at Sid.
‘That’s right dad. Can we buy her, please!’ Sid was unsure why he had just sided with Mr. Turpin. Sid most certainly did not want this car but he realised he wanted to contradict Mr. Turpin even less.
‘Well, erm. If the boy, I mean Sidney, is sure,’ his dad, flustered, looked Sid’s way, ‘are you sure this is what you want?’ Sid nodded instantly, pleased by the look of confusion on his dad’s face.
‘Fantastic,’ exclaimed Mr. Turpin, ‘I’ll go get you the paper work. Now what kind of warranty would you like with that?’ Sid watched in amazement as Mr. Turpin squeezed more and more money out his father. Every time he flashed a smile his dad seemed to cave over whatever additional feature was being offered. The event was made perfect when, after tentatively enquiring about possible apprenticeships, Mr. Turpin gave Sid a form with his direct-line phone number scrawled at the top; albeit in handwriting that looked vaguely familiar.
Sid smiled at the memory, as did Lucifer, albeit darkly, as Sid continued to survey the cars at Bodgit Used Cars; lost in his thoughts and leaving his instincts to decide on a car.
‘Good afternoon,’ a Russian accent called out, disrupting Sid’s thoughts and his instincts; which had finally settled on a 1990 Fiat Punto as the most likely choice. ‘My name is Ivor, can I help you today, good sir?’ Sid turned and flashed his best car selling smile, instantly regretting it when he recognised the same smile on Ivor; no doubt Ivor recognising Sid’s.
No reverse selling techniques on this guy, now. Sid thought to himself bitterly.
‘Yes, hello,’ Sid said, offering his hand which Ivor shook with the grip of a man proud of how painful his handshakes were. ‘I’m after a car to get me to Manchester. Nothing fancy but it does need to get me there. I also need to be leaving in the next half hour so do you mind if we skip the paper work?’ Sid tried to smile but now that the feeling was returning to his crushed hand it was all he could do not to grimace. This was quite clearly a car dealership dealing in stolen or written off cars, and he hoped his mention of paperwork would get his knowledge of this fact across to Ivor. Ivor stood there, staring at Sid, still smiling. After a few long uncomfortable moments the façade was dropped.
‘Follow me.’ Ivor said, his gruff Russian accent disappearing instantly. He then turned on his heels and marched quickly towards the dilapidated building that appeared to be in use as an office. Sid followed, pondering what it was he was about to do.
Sure, I’ve broken the law before; quite a few times in fact. He thought as a memory of when he had fallen into a wrong crowd and walked away with three stolen wallets and someone’s Rolex watch played through his mind. His mates had been proud, although the security guard stood behind him, and then his parents later that evening, had been far from impressed. I also have no problems with screwing people over either, as my customers will attest too. This, however, is slightly different. This time I’m risking my career, my driving license, which I have already picked up points for speeding, and possibly jail time. And for what? A cushier time in Hell; a place which wasn’t known for stocking up on cushions in the first place. And a girl I’m too afraid to talk to? Lucifer chortled to himself in Sid’s head, which unnerved Sid a little.
Don’t worry, Sid. You’ve made a fine choice, a fine choice! Lucifer said in an uncanny impression of Mr. Turpin. Sid continued to be unnerved as he followed Ivor into the building.
The office was worse on the inside than it was on the out, not that Sid had thought that was possible until he walked through the door; a door which wasn’t screwed to the wall and had to be lifted to be opened or closed. Not that it needed a door as no-one would voluntarily choose to use this property in any shape or form, even the homeless. Paint, or what looked like paint, was cracked and peeling from the walls. Some form of broken ventilation system on the far wall sporadically turned on and off, serving only to keep the foul air breathable in the confines of the tiny room. The floor was sticky, like the end of the night in the cheapest nightclub in town, but from observation was only uncovered concrete. Papers were strewn across the floor in places, some yellowed and many more containing what appeared to be chocolate raisins but were no doubt rat shit. Ivor patted a chair in the middle of the room, sending dust motes into the air and the seat crashing through the frame to the floor. Groaning as he stooped to reassemble the chair, Ivor then padded around the varnish-peeling desk to sit in a leather chair; the only thing in the room to have some semblance of being clean.
Yeah, I think I’ll stand. Sid decided, despite the fumes in the room making him light headed and wanting to retch; he attempted an almost successful smile.
‘So what amount are we playing with?’ Ivor asked, leaning back on the creaking chair; panicking momentarily when it rocked back on its wheels perilously.
‘How about you tell me the price of the 90’s Punto at the front. The mint green one,’ Sid replied dryly, ‘with the blue door.’
‘Two thousand, cash, and you can drive her away now.’ Ivor opened with, a hint of faux Russian creeping back into his accent. Sid allowed a moment of relief to wash over him at such a brilliant starting price.
Oh thank Christ! Bartering down from my final offer is brilliant stroke of luck. If this luck holds, and with help from some tricks of the trade, I could be driving away with close to a grand still sitting in my pocket! As he thought this he watched his hand reach across the table and heard his voice say,
Thank bloody Christ, would you? I don’t see that holey bastard in the room anywhere, do you? Lucifer thought in anger. It wasn’t until Sid felt Ivor’s rough calloused hand shaking his own, and the devil relinquishing control, that Sid realised what had just happened and a moan escaped his throat. Ivor raised an eyebrow quizzically but still reached out with his other hand.
‘I assume you have the money on you? Da?’ Ivor asked, fake Russian accent back in full flow and obviously eager for the sale to go through. Despite wanting to cry Sid nodded. He unbuttoned his jacket and removed the two plastic bags of money from the inner lining, handing them both over. Ivor sat back down into his leather chair, opened both the bags, and began to thumb through the fresh notes inside. Sid finally opted for the chair in defeat, which surprisingly held his weight; even if the seat threatened to fall through again.
Why did you do that! He thought at Lucifer, thoughts tinged with vibes of hatred, I could have haggled him down by at least five hundred.
I don’t have time for your games, Sid. Lucifer thought back, slightly irate at the tone being used. I need to reach Mary before Alan seeing as you've already lost him once. She is my only link to him, do you understand? Your money is immaterial to me and when I get back to Hell I’ll be sure to fully reimburse you. With a little extra if you’re going to be a bitch about it. Now be quiet and get me out of this…Hell hole.
Ivor finished counting out the money and then slipped both bags into a locked draw within the desk. From the same draw he withdrew a set of keys and handed them over to Sid.
‘She drives a little rough,’ Ivor said slamming the draw shut and locking it, ‘but as long as you keep the wheel tilted slightly to the left she’ll be fine. Oh, and don’t put her in first gear or you’ll never get her back out. If you can set off down hill that is probably for the best, otherwise slowly in second.’ Sid was regretting the deal already but he took the keys willingly enough, if just so he could get out of the putrid office. As he got to the car and went to put the key in the blue door Ivor’s fake Russian accent cut through the air, and Sid’s nerves, again.
‘She’s unlocked, at least that door is. I don’t have key for that door so only lock if really need too…. From inside.’ Sid let slip another groan, as did the door when it begrudgingly opened. He slipped behind the wheel and Ivor leaned in, the stench of vodka leaning in further.
‘The rev counter, she is broken.’ Ivor said wafting another wave of cheap Russian vodka breath Sid’s way. ‘But you can hear when to change from engine.’ Ivor tapped the roof twice, showering Sid in falling dirt and grime, before he closed the door and walked towards the barrier-ed entrance.
‘I let you out now. Nice doing business with you, sir.’
Sid growled angrily to himself but at the second twist of the key started the engine.
What the fuck have I got myself into? Almost putting the Fiat into first, but at the last second slipping it into second, he set off. Rolling down the window as he drove past Ivor, Sid flashed him another of his car selling smiles, perhaps his best ever.
‘And you too, Ivor Rotten-accent.’ Sid shouted, proud at his own wit. He then drove the Punto through the barrier, stepped up into third, and set back off on his journey north.