Going to the car wash

I haven’t shared much recently about the Start Writing Fiction MOOC (massive open on-line course) that I have been doing. It’s because I have been doing a lot of mulling over the last week as we’ve had an assignment:

Beginning a new project should be made easier if you have been using your writer’s notebook frequently and wisely… Try to start something new… remember that stories are about characters, so once you have an idea for a story make sure you have a strong impression of the characters that will be at the centre of the story. There is no specific target to meet here. Just start writing and see where it takes you. It might become a story that you want to develop further, and you might carry on working on it.

We had to try to write at least 200 words, up to a maximum of 350 words and it should be something which could become the basis for a longer story later in the course.

As I say, I have been mulling, and I admit getting a little behind schedule. So this evening I thought I really should get down to it, and this is what I wrote – but I have no idea where it came from… although the inspiration was from my magentic peotry!

I’m not sure when I first actually saw her… when I first noticed her I couldn’t really make out her features through the suds pouring down the windscreen and then the flood of water squirted by someone standing to the side. I could see she was well wrapped up, a blue waterproof, dyed blond hair escaping from the beanie with the hood of the jacket pulled up over it. Her face was a red blob, that was all, and I thought she must be very cold, or maybe that was just her weather-beaten countenance. Then the rollers beneath the front wheels jerked, and I was pulled into the car wash and my attention switched from the attendant to what the children call the whirling Christmas trees, the rotating brushes.
I usually go to the car wash once a week – I have to keep the car spotless for business, it wouldn’t do to arrive at a client’s with anything less. However, driving along a country road I was suddenly showered in liquid manure – the muck-spreader on the other side of bare, leafless hedge had turned somewhat recklessly I thought, and I was well-manured with slurry… well, actually it was the car not me. I have to admit I laughed, it was ridiculous and seemed comic… fortunately the client I was visiting was the farmer whose son had been speeding round the field with towing the tank behind his tractor. The farmer laughed a great deal, ‘showered with shit!’ he kept repeating and I began to lose my sense of humour. I drove back to town and straight to the car wash, by which time it was raining which had taken the worst of the muck off – I did think the farmer might have offered to hose the car down.
The dark-haired man with the extravagant moustache, who may have been in charge of the other workers, took my money. ‘Been through a shit-storm, boss?’ he asked, laughing and called to the other workers something which I didn’t understand. It didn’t take a genius to know what he said. I guess he and his friends had to find humour somewhere, it wasn’t a job I’d want under any circumstances, and I noticed it was sleet now dashing against the windscreen, not rain.
I drove round the man with the hose and the windscreen was squirted and then a stream of soapy water directed by the woman with the blond hair and red face. I noticed her hands were bare – could she not afford gloves? Did they get too soggy?
Next time I came I would make sure I looked at her, something about her fascinated me; I didn’t know whether she was young or old, English or from somewhere else but I guess I felt so sorry for her… what a job!

© Lois Elsden 2019

If you missed what I wrote about magentic peotry, here’s a link to my post:




  1. FlowCoef

    That is an IH tractor. I remember going a-visiting a great uncle of mine some years ago. He lived with a son down a private dirt Road, and when turning down to go there, it was blocked by a dude who had pulled a very … “aftermarked modified” pickup down it and stopped. He was busy spraying his hub caps, I prezume to be clean at the end of the road to impress his someone.

    Liked by 1 person

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