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Fic: That's Life, on Cars

TITLE: That's Life, on Cars
AUTHOR: Fionnabair and Andromeda
FANDOM: Life on Mars / Top Gear
SUMMARY: My name is Richard Hammond. I had an accident, and I woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened, it's like I've landed on a different planet. Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, Jeremy Clarkson will stop yelling in my head.
SPOILERS: None.
RATING: White Cortina / PG
WORD COUNT: 8,800
EMAIL: fiandyfic@livejournal.com
AUTHOR'S NOTES:
Andy: This is most likely definitely in the most appalling taste. I would take heart that rionaleonhart actually asked me to write this. But, as she is one of the Zombie!Piers Morgan perpetrators, I suspect that only lends credence to the appalling taste comment. All I can say is "Never again am I going to drink in the Cardinal Arms". Honest, Guv.
Fi: I have no excuse. Actually, I have loads of excuses but Andy doesn't believe any of them. Personally, I'm going to blame rionaleonhart too. And the pint trick. And Messrs Samuel Smith and their pernicious wares. And Andy for coming up with the idea in the first place. And... look, just take it as read, I'm innocent, mmkay? I didn't do nuffink and you can't prove it, copper.
DISCLAIMER: Life on Mars is copyright Kudos and the BBC. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made. Whether or not Mr. Hammond actually ended up in 1973 while he was in his coma in hospital, we cannot prove for certain. But we doubt it. With huge apologies to Mr. Hammond and his family. And possibly to 1973 as well. All persons portrayed here are fictional characters and any resemblance to anyone living or dead or zombified... damn, that's not going to work, is it?

That's Life, on Cars

In the beginning, there was blackness and noise, followed by a voice saying "Richard?" anxiously.

Shit. Ow. Damn.

"I've got to do a piece to camera!"

"We've got it all. That was a nasty blow, although Esther's going to love the footage."

"Esther?"

Richard Hammond opened his eyes to discover a strange face peering down at him.

"Sorry, Richard, didn't realise that kid had lost control of his plane. Still, we're about wrapped up here and I have to get you back to Manchester by dinner time."

Something really didn't look right. It all looked a bit... brown.

"What happened?"

"One of the kids lost control of his model aeroplane and it crashed right into your head. Doesn't seem to have done any lasting damage though. Come on, see if you can get up. We really have to head and Esther doesn't like being kept waiting."

"What?"

"Oh never mind. Come on, get in the car. I'm driving you to Manchester."

Richard staggered to his feet, his head spinning wildly, and lurched for a moment. The other man took him by the arm and guided him to a cluster of parked cars. The place looked familiar but the cars...

"Classic car show going on? Those are in really good nick for crap cars."

"What? I know James Bond wouldn't drive one, but it does the job. And it's cheap to run."

Somehow, Richard found himself manoeuvred into the passenger seat of a very new-looking 2CV. He leant back, his head throbbing a little. The other man got in on the other side.

"I dunno about the retro look. I mean, I know that flares came back, but I think the kipper tie's overdoing the whole look."

His sole response was a very strange look from the other man.

"Look, just lie back and shut your eyes. That was a really bad blow you had. I wonder if I should take you to a doctor first?"

Richard responded with a groan and put his head back. Maybe sleep would be a good idea.

***

He woke up some time later as the car pulled to a halt.

"Here we are," said the man. "Just in time. I'll drop your stuff off at the hotel before heading home."

"Hotel?"

"You're at the Midland, room's booked through the BBC for a week. Now, you'd better go, Esther doesn't like being kept waiting. She said she'd meet you in the lobby."

Richard shook his head and climbed out of the car. He wondered exactly what the production crew were playing at, but he felt too tired to consider it. He pushed the door of the building open and walked in to a reception that made him blink.

It was perfect. The 1970s BBC logo was emblazoned everywhere, and the walls were decorated with photos of BBC stars from the era. The receptionist had a classic flick hairdo and the whole décor was bang on. He grinned to himself. He had no idea what the crew were playing at, and he suspected the fell hand of James behind such a full-scale nostalgia trick, but it was time to play along.

"Can I help you, sir?"

"Um... yes, I'm supposed to be meeting... Esther?"

"And you are?"

"Richard Hammond."

"Richard!" a voice boomed behind him. He turned around and his jaw dropped.

Esther Rantzen walked across the lobby to shake his hand.

It was perfect. No, really, it was absolutely perfect. Somehow they had managed to track down someone who looked exactly like Esther Rantzen thirty years ago. And now he knew that Jeremy was also involved in this. After all, he had ruthlessly mocked Clarkson for admitting to finding her attractive.

Jez's response had been typical. "We all know you wouldn't have been able to cope with her, Hamster. After all, thirty years ago, you would have been one of her nancies. You'd never have survived her."

He beamed, showing the famous Hammond charm. "Esther, how lovely to meet you."

***

Two hours later, Richard wasn't thinking it was so lovely. ‘Esther' had shown all the charm of the original, alternating between frankly nauseating flirting, painfully useless advice and a direct approach to her job that confirmed all the rumours he had heard about her. It was like having dinner with a zombie. She just didn't stop.

"I..." he managed to stutter.

"And then there's your presenting technique. You've got talent, I admit, and you'll be popular with our viewers, but it's far too confrontational and opinionated for the show. You have to be more friendly, that's what's wanted. You're not telling them what to think, you're their friend telling them what's happened. Make them feel safe, make them like you and occasionally make them laugh. Cosy. That's what you want."

"I..."

"You look a bit tired, Richard. Dave phoned me and told me about the accident today. Why don't you go back to your hotel and have a good night's sleep?"

***

It wasn't like Richard to get lost. That was more the province of Captain Sense of Direction. He should have shown up by now, grinning gleefully and dragging Richard off to the pub where he could mock him. Instead, Richard was cold, wet and had spent half an hour wandering aimlessly around a city centre that couldn't possibly be Manchester. After all, regeneration of the inner city? Hello?

He had to admit it all looked grim. He wouldn't have put it past the pair of them – and Andy; after all, if you wanted something to work, you always asked Andy – to have managed to get him to a location shoot somewhere.

They were probably lurking around the corner, waiting for him to give up. Well he wouldn't. Hamsters might be short, might use inordinate amounts of hair gel, might be mocked for their teeth, their taste in cars, their taste in clothes, even their taste in beer, but even that pair admitted they were tenacious. And talking of beer...

With some relief, he spotted a cheery light spilling from a pub down a back street.

Richard stepped inside and into a warm, well-lit bar. A Jamaican was wiping glasses and he looked up at his approach. "Yes?" the barman interrogated.

Richard felt rather unwelcome, but pressed on anyway. It was not as if he was going to find his way back to the hotel on his own. "I was wondering if you could help me, I've managed to get myself lost." He paused there, suddenly struck by his predicament.

The barman looked hard at Richard for a second or two, then his face softened. "It's seems I'm getting more and more lost souls in here every week. I'm Nelson. What can I get you?"

Richard looked hard at the selection on offer before sighing. "A pint of bitter, please, as I don't suppose you'd have diet coke."

As Nelson pulled the pint, he remarked, "This diet coke seems quite popular. I ought to see if I could get some stock." He handed over the drink with a cheerful "13 pence, please."

Richard took a tentative sip of his pint and grimaced. "God, that's foul. James would love it."

At that moment, the door opened, sending a blast of chill air through the smoke. Richard turned to face the new arrivals – a number of heavy-set, rough-looking men – and choked on his beer. "Oh, my God! Gangsters!" he exclaimed loudly.

Nelson, having turned to greet the arrivals, grinned. "No, they're not gangsters, that's the police! Good afternoon, DCI Hunt."

The leader of the party, a tall man in a large camel-hair coat, nodded to Nelson and turned to a shorter man on his left "Your round, Chris. Mine's a pint and a chaser. What have we here?" He turned to Richard and fixed him with a stare. "A civilian?"

Richard gulped and, if anything, turned paler, but before he could say anything Nelson replied: "He's my cousin. He's come over from Jamaica."

"Not got much of a tan, has he?" Hunt sniffed. He fixed Richard with one last glare before turning away. The others, sensing the show was over, also turned away, except for a short man at the back whom Richard hadn't seen come in, even with the black leather jacket, who was staring at Richard as if he couldn't believe his eyes.

"You, your name. Is it Richard?"

Richard was surprised, but nodded slowly. "Um, yes?"

The man continued: "Richard Hammond, Top Gear! I love that show. What..."

DCI Hunt's hand landed heavily on the short man's shoulders. "Come on, Madame Zelda, and I'll let you read my tea-leaves at the next Christmas party," he said as he steered him forcibly to a table in the far corner.

Fans. Great. Richard decided he'd had enough and turned back to Nelson who promptly supplied directions to his hotel.

***

There was beeping on the very edge of his hearing. At first he thought it was his mobile phone, but then he remembered Jeremy had changed the ring-tone to Crazy Frog and he'd not got around to changing it back. It was regular and was in time to the beat of his heart. Then he heard a very familiar voice:

"Oh come on, Richard. Just because James and I weren't there to see your record attempt doesn't mean that you have to lie and sulk there all day!"


Richard awoke with a gasp. He swore he'd heard Jeremy being as insulting as usual, but looking around him forcibly reminded him that he was still firmly entrenched in the decade good taste forgot. He'd not paid much attention to the room the night before, rather collapsing on to the rather lumpy mattress and falling asleep in seconds. However, in the cold light of day, it was impossible to miss the migraine-inducing purple patterned wallpaper and the clashing red carpet.

He peeled himself off the nylon sheets and opened the suitcase which had been waiting for him at the hotel when he got back last night. A brief look through the night before down in the foyer had revealed nothing earth-shatteringly important, but in the cold light of day, doubts were starting to crowd Richard's mind. Did the rest of the gang have such a nasty streak as to wind him up this much? Not just the fake studio, fake Esther, but also the fake hotel and fake pub? Then he pulled out a brown and orange paisley kipper tie. Who was he kidding, this was the exactly the sort of stunt Jeremy would pull and this was exactly the sort of tie James would pick out to annoy him. Richard groaned. It looked like he was going to take this one on the chin and see it through to the end.

The phone rang and Richard answered it while pulling on a particularly hideous shirt.

"Richard? It's Dave here. I'm downstairs, come on, I'll give you a lift to the studio."

Richard put the phone down with a sigh. He was starting to really worry that his so-called colleagues had organised some sort of elaborate set-up which involved him turning up in a seventies car and seventies clothes to a location shoot. He sincerely hoped not. He would rather not been seen on television with those flares and that tie.

Such musings had occupied Richard from his hotel room and into Dave's car. Well, if Clarkson and May had organised all this, Dave would be in on it. Therefore, for the right price, Dave could help him out.

"Dave, exactly how much is it going to cost for me to buy myself out of this?"

Dave frowned. "What are you on about?"

"I mean this elaborate set-up. Dumping me in this godforsaken place, pretending it's Manchester in the early seventies just in order that I show up to work in dodgy clothes. It's not exactly the most subtle of plans. I mean, what year is it supposed to be anyway?"

Dave gave Richard a look of concern. "Is your head all right, Richard?" he asked. "I know that you had a nasty knock yesterday, but you're starting to sound a little crazy. You jumped at the chance of this job. It's a big step up from radio. This is Manchester, this is 1973 and, okay, personally I think your tie is hideous, but, you know, it's not that bad."

"Look," Richard interrupted a little desperately "I'll give you twice what May and Clarkson are paying you to continue this charade. Just take me via a decent clothes shop."

Dave shook his head. "We're already running late. I'll tell you what, I'll have a look round and see if I can find a better tie for you for when we start filming. If you really are that bothered about it." His tone of voice clearly indicated what he thought of that vanity.

"Okay. I give in. If you won't help me, then just stop the car. Now!"

Dave looked shocked, but complied, pulling over to the kerb. "And what are you going to do now?" he asked.

Richard put his hand on the door handle and turned to Dave. "I'm going to get out, I'm going to start walking until I finally hit a proper ‘not stuck in the Seventies' main road, flag down the first car I see and, even if it is a Nissan Micra, I'm going to get in and get back to civilisation. Then I'm going to arrange for both Jeremy and James to suffer very nasty accidents, most likely involving an air rifle, a flock of sheep and several helium-filled balloons. You can tell them that from me." Richard spat the last sentence at Dave and turned to get out of the car.

At that moment, however, the car door opened and a hand landed on Richard's shoulder.

"Richard, darling. How good of you to finally turn up." Richard looked up in to the shark-like smile of Esther Rantzen who had clearly been waiting for him.

***

Richard was convinced he had died and was in hell. Apparently he was indeed one of "Esther's nancies" and worse, he had to work with the woman herself. That was turning out to be one of the most unpleasant experiences of his life. If only he could just go back to Top Gear trying to kill him instead.

By the end of the day, his head was thumping with a headache, and he'd had to tolerate constant complaints from Esther about his performance during the street scene they'd been filming. Esther apparently thought that "oooh, isn't it grim up North, but bless, aren't they funny and good at surviving" would make a good feature for the show. Admittedly, Top Gear hadn't been the most politically correct programme of all time, but even Jeremy drew the line at really patronising people. Somewhere. Richard was pretty sure of that.

The fact was, though, he was most certainly in 1973 and there appeared to be no way out. And the voices in his head kept on appearing intermittently. Mindy's voice was the best, just talking to him (and occasionally yelling) but comforting nonetheless, but it was definitely proving distracting to have Clarkson insulting him, usually at the same time that Esther was.

Thankfully, work was nearly over. But his ordeal was not. Esther stalked off to her car, hopefully to be whisked back to London and out of Richard's life, but Dave came up and hauled Richard off to a pub.

"God, that was crap," he said as he set down two pints.

"Is she always like that?"

"Oh yes. And you're in trouble. You'd better redeem yourself with your next film or you'll be out on your ear."

"Next film?"

"The cars one? The consumers who have been complaining about a dodgy car dealership up here? You're investigating it. Here's the paperwork so far."

"Isn't this a job for the police, if someone is selling dodgy motors?"

"The police won't investigate without anything more substantial. That's where we come in."

"So we're going to investigate ourselves with the hope of turning up actual evidence of wrong-doing?"

"Exactly."

"And my researcher?"

Dave stopped, his pint halfway to his mouth. "You know, Richard, for someone who's just got his big break from some rubbish little local radio station, you seem to think you're like Esther. You're the researcher, not the star, and the sooner you realise that, the better."

Richard buried his face in his hands. "Shit. I... uh, sorry, Dave, I think that plane hit me a bit harder than we thought. I've got a stinking headache and I've been off form."

"Yeah, well, you'd better go and sort things out. Here's the file we've got on the complaints, go and investigate over the next couple of days, and I'll see you on Wednesday."

Dave drained his pint and got up to go, leaving a thick manilla file on the table. Richard reached for it unenthusiastically. If he really was in 1973, then it looked like his only choice was to ensure he kept his job. Maybe he really was the media whore the others teased him about. After all, if he went around claiming to be from 2006, they'd just lock him up.

A thought struck him. 2006. Top Gear. That man in the pub had recognised him and specifically mentioned Top Gear. Maybe he wasn't the only one stuck here after all.

***

Richard spent an hour wandering around trying to find the Railway Arms again. Just as he was thinking that, in keeping with the madness of his current situation, the pub only turned up if you were completely lost, cold and wet, he turned a corner and found it. As he was indeed completely lost, cold and wet, however, that didn't necessarily disprove anything.

He walked into the bar and smiled at Nelson. "That short-haired bloke in the black leather jacket I met last night, have you any idea where I could find him?"

Nelson looked at the clock. "Sam should be here within the half hour, depending on bad his current case is going and exactly how annoyed DCI Hunt has made him today. Bitter?"

"Yes."

A pint of brown beer appeared in front of him and Richard realised Nelson had completely misunderstood him. There didn't seem to be a lager tap, though.

Richard paid for his pint and retired to a table in the corner. As it was, he hadn't long to wait. Sam had obviously not had a good day and he wandered into the pub less than ten minutes later. He bought himself a scotch and downed it before Nelson nodded over to Richard in the corner. Sam stared hard at him for a second, then asked Nelson for the bottle and two glasses.

"What the bloody hell is going on?" the pair of them chorused, staring at each other.

Sam sat down on a stool and leaned across the table. "I mean, what on earth are you doing in 1973?"

"Having to be nice about Hillman Imps. It's terrifying, I can tell you." Richard shook his head. "The last thing I remember was the tyre bursting on a car I was driving up at Elvington. Next thing I know I'm being picked up off the ground by a guy in a very dodgy tie and a small boy is apologising to me for managing to hit me with his remote control aeroplane. With my luck it was probably a ten-year-old James May. How about you?"

"I had a car accident and woke up on a building site. It was all very surreal. I'm still trying to get used to it. I've been here ages, but I still can't cope with the differences. I mean, there's no Blur, no digital TV, no CDs, DVDs, decent PCs."

"I woke up and realised I no longer owned a laptop this morning. That was a bit of a wrench, I can tell you."

"I know what you mean. I feel so lost without my mobile. I mean, there's the radio in the car, but it's nowhere near the same thing. You can't play Snake on it, for a start."

"Mind you," Richard remarked "30p for a pack of Silk Cut. Now that's a bargain!"

Sam frowned. "I didn't think anyone famous smoked in the 21st Century."

"Let's just say that waking up in a completely different decade and knowing that Zonda aren't even going to be founded for another twenty-five years requires a coping mechanism." He nodded to the scotch bottle. "I suspect you know exactly what I mean. So how does all this work, then? Am I hallucinating you as well as all this then? " A thought suddenly struck him. "You know, if Paul McKenna has done this to me, I'm bloody well going to kill him."

Sam snorted. "Cluck like a dog and bark like a chicken, eh? I doubt it."

"Mind you, you were here first. Perhaps I'm a hallucination of yours and I don't really exist." Richard looked fearful for a moment and then shrugged. "Well, at least I exist enough to have another drink," he commented and poured some more scotch into his glass.

"Can I ask you a personal question?" Sam asked quietly.

"Shoot."

"Okay, enquiring minds want to know; have you had your teeth whitened?"

"No! That is a complete fabrication of Jeremy's."

"But they are very white."

"I've just naturally got a nice smile." Richard snarked, then he became more serious. "Have you had any weird moments? Noises in your head, beeping etc?"

Sam looked round then nodded. "Yeah. I hear my mum, the doctors. And I see things."

"What sort of things?"

"Remember the test card on the BBC? The girl?"

"With the creepy doll? Urgh. Still, could be worse."

"How?"

"You think you've got problems? I've got Jeremy Clarkson insulting me in my head."

"That doesn't sound that different to your normal life."

"No, it doesn't, does it? Do you know what the worst thing about all this is?"

Sam shook his head.

"Captain Slow was supposed to be driving the Vampire. He chickened out at the last bloody minute. Oh, don't get me wrong, it was an absolute rush to drive. Three hundred and fourteen miles an hour. Amazing. But, if James had been in the car, he would've had the accident and wound up here instead of me. Which would be good for him because he'd be so much more comfortable here in 1973. I'm not sure he ever left it really."

At that moment the door swung open and Gene swaggered in. He fixed his DI was a piercing look. "Well, well, what have we here? Sammy-boy has got himself a boyfriend."

"Piss off, Gene."

"We're going to have this out, and we're going to have it out tonight."

"Gene..."

Richard stood up quickly and nodded to Sam. "I'd better get going. I've got work to do tomorrow and I can't do it still smelling of whisky."

"Why not?" Gene remarked. "I do."

***

Richard spent most of the next morning going over the paperwork in the folder. There were nearly twenty letters from upset viewers complaining about their cars. It was all rather unspecific, just that they looked wrong or they didn't work properly. At least two he could discount completely; really, if you were going to buy an Austin, then you deserved all you got.

The rest, though, were a different story. All were from the same place, "Harry Lime's Motors" down on the Oldham Road. With an eye for specifics, Richard was sure that the motors weren't just old bangers done up to last until they were driven well off the forecourt, but that there was something seriously fishy about them. Richard resolved to have a look at "Harry Lime's" as soon as possible.

It was a bit of a hike from the hotel, but it was, for once, a pleasant day in the city and Richard enjoyed the walk. It certainly helped the headache, which he blamed on the whisky and cigarettes the night before, and it was not long before he was standing outside your typical seedy car yard, all clapped-out Morrises and Citroens. The faded and peeling advertising board proclaimed "You'll never buy a lemon from Harry Lime." Richard snorted; it was almost certain that's exactly what you got. He walked inside and had a look at the closest car. There wasn't anything special about it; it was just a run-down Avenger. The windows were too dusty to peer in, and the doors were locked, but Richard could be sure that there would be a fair few miles on the clock.

Walking further into the yard, he spotted a couple of cars at the back that looked out of place. While the rest of the cars were clapped out early sixties models, these were fairly new, or were in 1973. A Capri seemed fine from the front, but from a side view looked all wrong. Well, they were typical seventies cars, there were very few good-looking cars from that period, but these looked atypical for their type.

As he was peering more closely at the bodywork, he heard footsteps behind him and then a broad Lancashire accent spoke. "Eh, haven't I seen you before?"

Richard turned around and smiled. "Quite possibly. I'm Richard Hammond, the new presenter on That's Life. I'm pretty new in the city and I'm looking for a car."

Two men, muscle from the look of them, were walking towards him. The bigger of the two spoke again. "A famous chap like you doesn't want one of these, you'd be better off trying Mr. Kendall's dealership down in the city centre. Them's cars for the likes of you."

Richard heard a mutter of "Railway Arms, drinking with coppers" in the background.

"You know, TV presenters don't earn that much money," Richard tried to joke, but the shorter one started cracking his knuckles and Richard took the hint and fled.

So, Harry Lime's was definitely ‘a bit dodgy'. What he needed now was information. A couple of visits to more reputable, but no less run-down, yards gave Richard the impression that Charles Kendall was indeed the top dog in town and the most knowledgeable on the competition. The dealership off Market Street was for high-end cars, Porsches, Ferraris and the like, but Mr. Kendall was more likely to be found at his other yard, the van dealership, out towards Ashton. Richard sighed and started walking.

***

Even the van dealership was a cut above the others Richard had visited today. With shiny vehicles and shiny windows. And there were noticeably a lot of them. Even the Top Gear team, so notoriously bad on the subject of vans, could find something to suit each of them here.

When one of the salesmen came over, he immediately asked to see Mr. Kendall. He was met with a polite refusal, so Richard therefore brought out the big guns.

"Look, I'm a TV presenter, and I've been asked to look into car dealerships in town. I've been told that Kendall's is the best there is, so I thought this would be the place to come. I would really like to talk to Mr. Kendall, hopefully we could give him a plug or something." Richard gave his most winning smile.

The salesman smiled back at that. "I'll see what I can do," he said, and he headed off into the back of the shop.

He was back within a few minutes. "Mr. Kendall can give you five minutes, if you'd like to follow me." He showed Richard into the back and up a flight of stairs. "He's just in there. Give me a holler when you're done," he said and gave Richard a wink.

Richard swallowed, hard. May be he would reserve his most winning smile for the ladies only next time. He opened the door and walked in.

Charles Kendall proved to be a heavy-set man in his fifties. He did not get up when Richard walked in, but fixed him with a stare. "I'm a busy man, Mr. Hammond, what do you want?"

Richard gulped, but pressed on. "I'm investigating a yard down on the Oldham Road and I've been told that you're the man to speak to regarding the low-down on all the yards in town. It's owned by a Mr. Harry Lime?"

Kendall shrugged. "I've heard rumours about something going on. But I've not heard of ‘Harry Lime'. He's probably one of those fly-by-nights. He'll be selling motors in Bolton before the end of next week."

"Oh, come on," Richard said. "We've complaints going back six months at least. He's not that much of a fly-by-night."

A knock on the door silenced Richard's protestations.

"Come in," Kendall called.

The salesman from downstairs popped his head round the door. "DCI Hunt to see you, sir."

"Well, show him in, Clarence. We can't let our boys in blue wait outside, now can we." He turned back to Richard. "That's all I can tell you, Mr. Hammond. I would be grateful if you didn't come around here again. Folk see you coming here, asking questions, and they might get the wrong impression."

"But..."

"Well, well, well. Hello again, Shorty. What are you doing here?"

"Mr. Hammond was just leaving, DCI Hunt."

Gene put a heavy hand on Richard's shoulder. "Wait outside a moment, Shorty. DI Tyler and I want to have a word with you."

Gene turned back to Kendall, as Richard slunk to the door, feeling like a dismissed schoolboy. "Now, Mr Kendall, just to notify you that the Ford Transit you reported stolen this morning has been nicked by our boys, due to it being used in a bank robbery on Deansgate. We need to hold on to it for a bit, but I'm sorry to say it's not looking too good now."

"Thank you, DCI Hunt, much appreciated. What can you do when you're the best-known van dealer in the city? I swear, they only nick my vans because they know we supply the police."

Gene laughed. "Anyway, just letting you know." He turned towards the door and grabbed Richard, who was still lingering in the office. "Come on, Shorty, I need to talk to you. And DI Tyler here will tell you I don't like the press."

Richard could have sworn he saw a malicious grin on Charlie Kendall's face as he was effectively manhandled out the door.

***

Gene climbed into the car, started it and pulled out of the forecourt before he turned to Richard. "Right, Shorty..."

"It's Richard, actually."

"Right, Shorty, just what were you doing at Charlie Kendall's place?"

"Charlie Kendall? That was Charlie Kendall?" Sam interrupted.

"If this is another of your stories from Hyde, I don't want to know."

"Hyde?" Richard asked, bemused.

Sam attempted a complicated shrug while holding on for dear life. "Don't even ask, it's a very long story."

"Sammy-boy here was making coppers' lives a misery in Hyde before he came over here to be the bane of my life. Must be six months ago now."

"Well, maybe not that long a story then."

"Ah, I see," said Richard in a tone that plainly said that he didn't.

"Well, what ever it is, shut it. Mr. Charles Kendall is a good bloke. Now, Dicky, spill. What were you doing harassing Mr. Kendall?"

"Okay. For our next piece, we're investigating a number of complaints about sub-standard cars. It's my feeling that there's a place in Manchester which is chopping up stolen cars and selling them onto the unsuspecting public."

"So you went over there to accuse Charlie of running a dodgy dealership?"

"No! You probably don't know this, not being an investigative journalist, but when you start to research a story and you're not so knowledgeable about the subject, you find an expert who will give you the low-down, so to speak. Charles Kendall is my informant, for the want of a better word."

Sam gave Richard an ironic look, which Richard ignored. If fate had made him an investigative journalist, then he'd be an investigative journalist. After all, how hard could it be?

"Well, he didn't seem to want to talk to you."

"He's apparently a very busy man. I'm going to make another appointment for when he's less busy. In the mean time, I suppose, I'm better asking after some of the ‘unsuspecting victims'. Where did you get this Cortina?"

"What do you mean?" Gene snapped.

"Well any fool can tell you that it's not an original Cortina. It's probably not even two original Cortinas."

"I thought you said that you didn't know anything about cars?"

"No, I said that I'm not au fait with the selling of cars in Manchester in 1973. I happen to know quite a bit about cars."

Sam smiled, but didn't say anything.

"You can't have failed to notice that the front half is badged as a GXL, while the back is badged 2000E. As the 2000E only came out in… earlier this year, it's a bit fishy that you're sporting only a back end. And that dash is all wrong for both cars. It's probably out of a GL model." Richard looked speculatively at the door frame and then moved as if to pick the apart the trim.

"Leave my car alone!" Gene barked.

"Well, I was just going to see if you could see the weld marks on the body."

"Don't. This car is bona fide. As it happens, I bought it from one of the best dealers in town."

"Charlie Kendall?"

Gene was silent.

"Oh, come on" Richard pressed. "Haven't you noticed the shake in the car? I bet it's a real bitch to drive. Permanent understeer round the corners, brakes could be a bit loose, I bet. I'm sure I can hear something wrong with them. I bet the suspension's nearly gone too."

"And what does a poofter like you know about cars?"

Sam interrupted. "Guv, I think you should listen to him."

"And why would I do that, DI Tyler?"

"I, urgh, used to know Richard when he was in Hyde years ago. He knows his cars. If he says there's something wrong, Guv, then there's probably something wrong."

"And what was Richard doing in Hyde?" demanded Gene.

"Uhhh..."

"Hospital radio, Guv, before he made it into the BBC." Sam sent a semi-apologetic grin at Richard.

"So, what Shorty is saying is that Charlie Kendall sold me a bent car? I don't believe it. Quite apart from anything else, DI Tyler and Mr. Hammond, Charlie Kendall is a good mate of the police. In the unlikely event that he was bent, he wouldn't be stupid enough to do something like that."

"Fair enough, Guv," said Sam placidly. "But have you considered that there's a lot of bank jobs that can be traced back to Charlie Kendall?"

"And? It's impossible to keep that yard completely secure, and he does his best. And he always lets us know when a van's gone."

"And have you considered that it's the perfect cover for bank jobs as well?"

Gene and Sam both swerved in their seats to look at Richard, who had just asked the last question.

"What do you mean, Shorty?"

"Well, it just occurred to me, and this is purely speculation, you understand, that if I was a crook who wanted to knock off banks, a van dealership would be a good cover for getaway vehicles."

"Charlie Kendall is a good mate of the police. Shut up, Shorty."

They drove on in silence for five minutes, before Gene spoke again.

"Why would Charlie Kendall be dabbling in getaway vehicles when half of his clients can be found on the pitch at Old Trafford on a Saturday afternoon?"

"Money?" asked Richard innocently. Gene glowered in the rear-view mirror as he parked. Sam decided it was time to interrupt.

"Look, let's just have a look at this. Charlie Kendall isn't going anywhere and your car hasn't fallen to bits yet. Odds are it won't in the next couple of days. We'll do a bit of digging, then you can go and ask him what was going on – or kill him, if you prefer."

Gene took a long, slow breath, and got out of the car. "You're right. For once. I need a drink. Escort Mr. Hammond wherever he needs to go. I think we're going to need a police liaison with the press on this one." He stared at Sam, pointedly. "This means you, Gladys." With that, he turned and stalked off into the station.

Richard turned to Sam, disbelieving. "Gladys? Gladys? He actually calls you Gladys?"

"Oh yeah, and Hamster's such a manly nickname."

***

After another session down the pub, Richard finally agreed to be careful, although he got the distinct impression that Sam was more worried about what Gene would do to him than what Charlie Kendall or Harry Lime might. But he still had a job to do and it was time to get to work.

After a morning of traipsing around Manchester, charming a series of bored housewives and dealing with annoyed husbands, half of whom had forgotten that they had originally complained about a bad car and were more annoyed to discover their wives cooing over Richard, he had had enough.

By mid-afternoon Richard found himself back in the city centre. His stomach was rebelling slightly from the numerous cups of tea and biscuits the wives had pressed on him. Passing Charles Kendall's sports car dealership, Richard decided to take some time out and have a bit of fun. After all, all work and no play made Richard feel very dull indeed.

Looking in the window, he was impressed at what he saw. So this was how the other half lived in 1973. A silver E-type sat glimmering in the sunlight, brand new, and he was pretty sure he saw a couple of Aston Martins behind it. Richard could almost smell the new leather smell even through the window. A car at the back, half in shadow caught his eye. If he wasn't mistaken, that was a Dodge Charger. He turned to the door and pushed it open.

Walking to the back of the shop, Richard waved away the salesman who had started to walk towards him. The fact that the man retreated at that told him all he needed to know about the quality of this dealership. Reaching the foot of the car, he blew out a breath. It was pristine and it was gorgeous. Clearly there were compensations to being in 1973. He loved Dodge Chargers, but he'd never seen one that was effectively brand new. Carefully maintained vintage cars just didn't have that new car feel or smell.

Engrossed in the car in front of him, Richard didn't see the movements in the shop behind him. He finally heard heavy footsteps coming towards him, but it was too late. A heavy hand landed on his shoulder.

"Come on, sunshine," jeered the voice. "Someone wants a word with you."

***

‘Someone' turned out to be a very annoyed Charlie Kendall. Worse, it was a very annoyed Charlie Kendall who was carrying a gun. Thankfully, Richard couldn't tell who he was most annoyed with. Kendall seemed most interested in yelling at the man who had brought him there – primarily, it seemed, for ensuring that Richard had now definitely made the connection between him and Harry Lime.

"Actually, I haven't," Richard interjected politely during a pause in the ranting.

"I am Harry Lime, you moron," snarled Kendall, before turning back to his employees.

This really didn't look good. Apart from anything else, with the conversations he'd had with Sam, and the little Gene had let slip, it was clear that he was dealing with much more than a dodgy car dealer. And he had a terrible feeling that Charlie Kendall had watched the same films as he, so things weren't looking promising for Team Hammond.

Still, if something was going to happen to him, it was worth finding out more. Dying ignorant would be much worse. And hey, it always worked for James Bond. He expected to hear Jeremy laughing at him, but for once the Clarkson voice was silent.

"So, Harry Lime's cars? Stolen or crash write-offs welded together? And I suppose having a van dealership with an impeccable reputation is perfect for providing getaway vehicles, Mr Kendall. How much further does it go?"

Kendall actually stopped yelling and turned to look at him. "You, my son, have far too big a mouth for your own good, as you're about to discover. And whatever you've found out, it stays with you. You're not the only one who can ferret around, and a rubbish little DJ who thinks he's made it big because he's finally got on a late-night telly programme where he says ‘yes, ma'am' to some jumped-up tart isn't going to threaten me. In fact, you don't have a leg to stand on. As you will shortly find out."

"I do have mates in the police."

"The police? I have bigger and more important mates and, most importantly, you're not going to get a chance to go blubbing to your friends."

The door burst open and a salesman rushed in. "Boss, the police are downstairs."

"What?"

"I said, the police are downstairs. They're asking for you."

As the salesman moved back towards the door, Gene and Sam came crashing through, their guns aimed unwaveringly at Kendall.

"Hello Charlie," Gene said. "Fancy meeting you here. We happened to have caught a little bird who sang about Uncle Charlie's hobbies in banks. You're nicked. Now put the gun down."

Kendall aimed his gun at Gene. "Not on your life, DCI Hunt. I run a reputable business here."

Gene snorted. "I said ‘put the gun down', Charlie. There's two of us and only one of you."

Charlie acknowledged that with a brief nod, and started to lower his gun. But it was a feint. He hurled it towards the two coppers with a sudden, strong, over-arm throw. The gun went off with a loud bang, blasting the light fitting in the centre of the ceiling and causing it to shatter.

Richard took the opportunity to duck for cover at this and run towards the door while Sam ran for Kendall, managing to avoid the flying glass, and grabbing Kendall's arm.

"Look out!" Richard cried.

Kendall's goon, in the confusion, had crept up behind Gene and was carrying what appeared to be a crowbar. As Gene turned, the goon took a swing at him with the pipe and Gene fell to his knees. With that Charlie pushed against Sam, nearly knocking him over and the pair ran out of the office. Gene picked himself up. "Bloody Nora! Well come on then, he's getting away!"

As the three of them ran across the forecourt, they heard a gunshot. No-one seemed to be hit, but Gene staggered and Sam caught his arm, "Come on, Guv. We'll lose them!"

But as they got nearer to the car, Gene went down like a ton of bricks, mostly on Richard.

"Christ, he weighs more than Clarkson!"

"Come on," Sam yelled, dragging Gene up. The three of them half-staggered, half-ran to the Cortina. Sam wrenched open the back seat and half-pushed, half-dragged Gene in.

"Richard, the keys are in the ignition, just drive after them, and for God's sake, drive quickly!"

"Hey, I'm not James, you know!" Richard groused, but he jumped into the drivers seat and screeched after Kendall.

Sam reached over and called for assistance on the radio, then bent over Gene and gingerly looked at his head. "He's bleeding like a stuck pig," he remarked and rummaged through Gene's coat pockets until he found a handkerchief with which he applied pressure to the cut.

At that, Gene groaned and moved. "What the bloody hell is going on? And why is he driving my car?"

"Guv, Guv. How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Enough. Now come on."

"You are in no fit state to drive, just sit there quietly and get your breath back."

"At least I can drive, who taught this one? A blind man's dog?"

"Eh. I'm a perfectly good driver," Richard countered. "It's the car that's no good."

"You're as mental as Sammy-boy here," Gene remarked, but made no further move to eject Richard from the driver's seat.

Sam was back on the radio, giving Phyllis directions, Gene was grumbling about Sunday drivers and Richard was attempting to keep the car (mostly) on the road. For all that he was in mortal peril, again, he was having the time of his life. It was a pity though that there was a serious intent to all this. Perhaps he could persuade James and Jeremy to stage a proper cop show car chase once he found his way back. He quite fancied driving one of those Union Jack-emblazoned Minis himself and Jeremy would have fun cramming himself into a Hillman Avenger. Or, at least, James and he would have fun watching Jeremy cram himself into an Avenger.

Richard concentrated on the chase and started directing a rant towards the rear-view mirror. "There's no damn power steering! This thing weighs a ton and it corners like a water buffalo. It's like doing a high-speed chase in a tractor. The suspension is so soft it feels like you're going to be seasick, and not just in a cross-channel ferry way when you've had a couple too many and possibly some dodgy food, but a full-on, clinging to a yacht going around Cape Horn in a major storm way, and the two-litre engine seems to produce, oh, it must be as much as 40 brake horsepower. This is quite possibly the most useless car I have ever driven in my life."

Sam had finished his call on the radio and was looking strangely at Richard.

"Richard?"

"Yes?"

"Are you doing a review of this car while we're in a car chase?"

As the cars tore their way along Peter Street towards Salford, weaving in and out of the traffic, Richard began to hear sirens in the distance, getting louder. The car in front of them was pulling away and, for the first time, Richard realised why. The Bad Guys (as he couldn't but help think of them) had picked the obvious car with which to escape: The Dodge Charger. A loud report from the car in front him made him jump and he narrowly missed mounting the pavement and hitting a red telephone box.

"They're shooting at us!" he yelled.

"Of course they are!" Gene bit back.

Richard decided there and then that the Top Gear team's efforts at a police chase were infinitely superior. After all, they'd all seen what happened when Jeremy was allowed a gun, which was why the Stig refused to be within ten miles of an armed Jeremy.

With that, the car they were chasing swerved, partially revealing a blue-and-white police car in front. A van appeared on the other side, steering straight into the side of the Dodge throwing it off the road, down the bank, and ending up sticking half-way out of the Manchester Ship Canal.

"Yeah, well," Richard commented, "everyone knows the good guys always win." He slammed on the brakes, turned, narrowly avoiding hitting the still-spinning wheels of the stricken Dodge, and pulled to a stop.

Sam leapt out of the Cortina, ran over to the Charger and kicked the gun out of the shooter's fumbling grasp. Police were swarming over the car and they pulled both the shooter and Kendall out of the vehicle, both looking rather battered, bruised and, in the case of Kendall, rather wet.

"Read him his rights, Ray." Gene nodded to one of the men and turned to Richard and Sam. "Well done, boys and thanks for not completely wrecking my car." He cast an eye over the scene. "Not much more to do here then. Pub."

"I don't think you should be drinking, Guv," Sam started to say.

"Nonsense, Gladys. A dram of whisky after a car chase is just what the doctor ordered. I'll see you lads down at the Arms when you're done," he called to the officers at the scene and with that, Gene turned back to the Cortina.

***

Gene steered Sam and Richard into the Railway Arms. "Right, Veronica, it's your round."

Richard looked at Sam, who grinned. "I think that means he likes you."

Richard gave a sickly grin back at that, but went and got the drinks in anyway. Once he was back at the table, he took a large swallow of his bitter and turned to Gene. "So, come on then. What gave you the tip-off that Charlie Kendall was behind the dodgy dealership and the rest then?"

Gene took a large mouthful of whisky and fixed Richard with a glare. "That is official police business, my son."

"After all, I've been ‘helping the police with their enquiries'. You wouldn't have put two and two together so quickly if I hadn't helped. I still need my story you know. I could put in a good word for you, give you a bit of good publicity, let the public know they can trust the police to help them. That sort of thing."

Gene fixed him with a hard stare, then he shrugged. "Just as long as you make sure you're fair and tell it like it is."

Sam looked at Gene, disbelieving. "What's up with you, someone hit you on the head?"

"The missus saw him filming on Deansgate the other day. She thinks he's cute." He nodded at Richard and turned back to Sam. "It'll give me a few points in my favour next time things don't turn out so well, if I've got Dicky here to say a few nice things about me.

"We did a bit of digging. Turned up a nice number of coincidences between vans that had been used for bank jobs. Then we leaned on old Charlie's nephew. It was him who'd sold me the Cortina. He turned out to be a complete idiot, and a complete pansy to boot. He'd decided that the Cortina was too good a car for Harry Lime and moved it to one of the legit dealerships. I didn't even have to slap him once before we got a full confession out of him. Case closed. Course, it helped, Charlie Kendall losing his rag like that when we'd only come over to ask a few questions in a friendly way."

Beside him, Sam choked on his pint. "Yeah, friendly, if you consider Glasgow kisses to be a sign of affection," he muttered.

"That easy, huh?"

"Well," Gene shrugged. "I'll admit that it was handy that we knew where to look and what to look for. Right. Another pint, lads?"

As Gene turned to the bar, Sam leaned over and whispered "You really are in favour at the moment."

A couple of hours later, and Richard was feeling the effects of the alcohol and the day he'd had. "I'll have to go, gents. I've got a briefing in the morning and I need a clear head."

"Just as long as you mention how good we are. If you don't, we know where to come looking for you" Gene threatened.

Richard stood up to go and Sam also stood up to shake his hand. "Thanks for all your help, Richard."

"No problems." Richard shrugged on his jacket and started towards the door.

Gene managed a "Yeah, thanks," but as Richard walked through the door of the Railway Arms and stepped out in to the dark night, Gene shouted after him "But you're still a crap driver!"

The words seemed to echo strangely in his head. Richard staggered heavily against the wall, feeling very dizzy for a second. After a moment it passed and he opened his eyes into a brightly lit room. Blinded for a second, he whispered, "What did you say?"

Then the concerned face of Jeremy Clarkson came into view. "I said, Richard, you're still a crap driver."

fin

Comments

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wheresmycow
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
(wanders in from lifein1973)

Bloody hell, that's brilliant! And funny as hell.

(..and I can't believe I just read real-person fic! *headdesk* Worth it. :D)
sophiedb
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
My thoughts exactly! Real person fic, but good.

I have much love for the Hamster :)
(no subject) - fiandyfic - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wheresmycow - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
bopeepsheep
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC)
That is the funniest thing I've read this week. Brilliant. :)
matgb
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Aye, and thank you for linking me here; I normally avoid fics, but that was genius.
lozenger8
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sure this really is wrong on multiple levels, but it is also very enjoyable. So I think I'm probably morally suspect. Because I like it a lot.

My favourite lines were; "I know what you mean. I feel so lost without my mobile. I mean, there's the radio in the car, but it's nowhere near the same thing. You can't play Snake on it, for a start."

&

"Guv, Guv. How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Enough. Now come on."


Bwaaahahaha.
fiandyfic
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
"I know what you mean. I feel so lost without my mobile. I mean, there's the radio in the car, but it's nowhere near the same thing. You can't play Snake on it, for a start."

You do realise this line was written especially for you and all the other Sam/Mobile OTP'ers over at TRA?

I'm positive this is wrong on multiple levels. I'm regretting having the idea in the first place, but I'm not really regretting inflicting it on the world. Which definitely makes me morally suspect.

;)
(no subject) - lozenger8 - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
rionaleonhart
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
I am really rather proud of myself for having such a marvellous fic blamed on me.

I love the bits you've added; "I'm going to get out, I'm going to start walking until I finally hit a proper ‘not stuck in the Seventies' main road, flag down the first car I see and, even if it is a Nissan Micra, I'm going to get in and get back to civilisation. Then I'm going to arrange for both Jeremy and James to suffer very nasty accidents, most likely involving an air rifle, a flock of sheep and several helium-filled balloons. You can tell them that from me." in particular is utterly fantastic. Even if it's a Micra! Arranging accidents! Hee! It's great that Richard holds onto the conviction that it's all a trick for so long, because he would think that, especially as he's got Clarkson and May for friends.

Also, I am absurdly fond of Dave.

and a small boy is apologising to me for managing to hit me with his remote control aeroplane. With my luck it was probably a ten-year-old James May.

Hee! (According to the profiles on the Top Gear website, James would have been a hundred and one in 1973, but I suspect that they may not be entirely factual.)

I love Gene calling Richard 'Shorty'.

Richard falling in love with the Charger is bizarrely adorable.

‘Someone' turned out to be a very annoyed Charlie Kendall. Worse, it was a very annoyed Charlie Kendall who was carrying a gun.

This is really rather fantastic.

Perhaps he could persuade James and Jeremy to stage a proper cop show car chase once he found his way back.

Oh, that is the best thing to think in this situation ever. And I love 'Jeremy would have fun cramming himself into a Hillman Avenger. Or, at least, James and he would have fun watching Jeremy cram himself into an Avenger.'

Richard reviewing the car while they are in a car chase is still utterly, utterly brilliant and I love it.
fiandyfic
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd forgotten you didn't read some of the later bits!

(According to the profiles on the Top Gear website, James would have been a hundred and one in 1973, but I suspect that they may not be entirely factual.)

*snerk* That only makes him 134 now.

I'm glad you like it - all we have to do now is persuade Fi that she wants to write the Jeremy Clarkson sequel...
(no subject) - rionaleonhart - Mar. 6th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dracothelizard - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
buddleia
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Can't talk, laughing.
jantalaimon
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
oh my lord, this was completely and utterly brilliant. *claps*

upon reading the very idea for this when you posted it at lifein1973, i immediately sputtered in shock at the wrongness, but hoped for great things. i'm a big fan of The Wrong if done well.

had it been disrespectful, of course, it would've been truly wrong. but it wasn't at all. it's totally well-written and well done. i almost died when Hamster started reviewing the Cortina whilst attempting to drive it. XD
inner_starfish
Mar. 7th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh, dear lord, your icon.

I don't know whether to laugh or claw my eyes out.
(no subject) - m31andy - Mar. 7th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand
lo0o0ony_lauren
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. I mean yeah, wrong on so very many levels, but I loved it so we're all in this together. XD
dracothelizard
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
"Now, maybe if I can work out the reason, Jeremy Clarkson will stop yelling in my head."

Best part of a summary in the world ever!

""This diet coke seems quite popular. I ought to see if I could get some stock.""

OMGLOVEHEE.

Oh, SAM!

"With my luck it was probably a ten-year-old James May."

That would be the most adorable thing ever. EVER.

"But, if James had been in the car, he would've had the accident and wound up here instead of me. Which would be good for him because he'd be so much more comfortable here in 1973. I'm not sure he ever left it really."

Hee! Poor Richard. And Poor Sam. Still, I think James would drive Sam bonkers. More bonkers, that is.

"After all, how hard could it be?"

Oh, Richard. Oh dear.

"After a morning of traipsing around Manchester, charming a series of bored housewives and dealing with annoyed husbands, half of whom had forgotten that they had originally complained about a bad car and were more annoyed to discover their wives cooing over Richard, he had had enough."

*sniggers a lot*

"Are you doing a review of this car while we're in a car chase?"

*sniggers even more*

That worked worryingly well, especially the ending! *loves*
dorcas_gustine
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
emiloy
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
I love you I love you I love you!!
this is genius!!
just wow! excellent! Richard doing a commentary on the car during a car chase!! comparing nicknames with Sam! it's all just wonderfully done!
!!! I think I might even have squeed a bit ^^
littlemoose
Mar. 6th, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC)
And possibly to 1973 as well.

Hee!

"I've got to do a piece to camera!"

Oh, very nice.

He grinned to himself. He had no idea what the crew were playing at, and he suspected the fell hand of James behind such a full-scale nostalgia trick, but it was time to play along.

I love that, and I love that he clings to the idea for so long, gives you some idea of the average TG shoot, really ;)

Jez's response had been typical. "We all know you wouldn't have been able to cope with her, Hamster. After all, thirty years ago, you would have been one of her nancies. You'd never have survived her."

*Howls* And he is and he doesn't! Poor Richard!

As Nelson pulled the pint, he remarked, "This diet coke seems quite popular. I ought to see if I could get some stock."

Aww, bless Nelson, his usual cryptic self whilst being all 'you are NOT ALONE!' and Richard doesn't get it. Hee!

"No, they're not gangsters, that's the police! Good afternoon, DCI Hunt."

*sporfle*

And Sam mentions Top Gear and it STILL takes Richard ages to figure it out. And as for Sam, hunh, some detective! ;)

"Oh come on, Richard. Just because James and I weren't there to see your record attempt doesn't mean that you have to lie and sulk there all day!"

Oh, bless Jeremy. That is all.

Then I'm going to arrange for both Jeremy and James to suffer very nasty accidents, most likely involving an air rifle, a flock of sheep and several helium-filled balloons.

Is it wrong that I now really want to see this? :D

You're the researcher, not the star, and the sooner you realise that, the better.

Richard's having been 'demoted' just like Sam fills me with such glee! Obviously 1973 is where people with secret self-esteem issues go.

Sam sat down on a stool and leaned across the table. "I mean, what on earth are you doing in 1973?"

"Having to be nice about Hillman Imps. It's terrifying, I can tell you."


You are killing me with laughter!

a small boy is apologising to me for managing to hit me with his remote control aeroplane. With my luck it was probably a ten-year-old James May

Awwwwww!

"Let's just say that waking up in a completely different decade and knowing that Zonda aren't even going to be founded for another twenty-five years requires a coping mechanism."

Richard's priorities make me giddy with glee.

"You think you've got problems? I've got Jeremy Clarkson insulting me in my head."

"That doesn't sound that different to your normal life."


I love you both so much.

After all, how hard could it be?

Oh. Dear.

Heee! Cut and shunt Cortina! And Richard would pick up on it all immediately. And I love that it's him that puts two and two together regarding the dodgy dealership.

Oooh, car porn! I'm with Richard, I'd jump at the chance to see an E-type in brand-new glory.

"Richard, the keys are in the ignition, just drive after them, and for God's sake, drive quickly!"

"Hey, I'm not James, you know!"


GLEE! And so much love for Police Chase!Richard.

"Richard?"

"Yes?"

"Are you doing a review of this car while we're in a car chase?"


It's a shame polygamy is illegal in the UK ;)

Perfect ending as well. I say again (just as at the time): Bless Jeremy.

You made me happy. I'm going to go now and stop being scary. :)
sideshow_meg
Mar. 6th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
Sam sat down on a stool and leaned across the table. "I mean, what on earth are you doing in 1973?"

"Having to be nice about Hillman Imps. It's terrifying, I can tell you." Richard shook his head. "The last thing I remember was the tyre bursting on a car I was driving up at Elvington. Next thing I know I'm being picked up off the ground by a guy in a very dodgy tie and a small boy is apologising to me for managing to hit me with his remote control aeroplane. With my luck it was probably a ten-year-old James May. How about you?"

"I had a car accident and woke up on a building site. It was all very surreal. I'm still trying to get used to it. I've been here ages, but I still can't cope with the differences. I mean, there's no Blur, no digital TV, no CDs, DVDs, decent PCs."

"I woke up and realised I no longer owned a laptop this morning. That was a bit of a wrench, I can tell you."

"I know what you mean. I feel so lost without my mobile. I mean, there's the radio in the car, but it's nowhere near the same thing. You can't play Snake on it, for a start."

"Mind you," Richard remarked "30p for a pack of Silk Cut. Now that's a bargain!"

Sam frowned. "I didn't think anyone famous smoked in the 21st Century."

"Let's just say that waking up in a completely different decade and knowing that Zonda aren't even going to be founded for another twenty-five years requires a coping mechanism."


*Adores that whole banter*


"You think you've got problems? I've got Jeremy Clarkson insulting me in my head."

*Marries that sentence*
*Marries this fic*
*marries you*
duckyone
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
This American is so very happy she is obsessed with British television so she can appreciate the wicked hilarity of this fic.

I have to go catch my breath now, the laughing kinda wore me out.

Thank you.
faith_less_one
Mar. 6th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC)
Can I marry you?

Seriously.

*loves with a passion completely unsuitable for a piece of fiction*

*adds to memories*

*runs off to recommend to everyone she knows*
gem_pinkeh
Mar. 6th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
Oh dear goodness, I read a piece of RPF and didn't want to smash my head into a glass. You must be marvellous. That was so cute, well done =D x
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