Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Ballad of Shouty Merv

Merv Hughes was going to kill us. Well, not Merv himself but it was his doppelganger, his angry shouty doppelganger.

Sometimes I wonder if I had a sign on the back of the Mini inviting trouble, much like the Kick me sign stuck to the unsuspecting George McFly in Back to the Future. It’s not like we went looking for trouble, we were a bunch of yahoos according to my dad but for the most part we behaved ourselves.
 
George McFly
George McFly

It wasn’t long after The Great Chase of ’89 when we found ourselves in yet another sticky situation, this time with Shouty Merv baying for our blood. The truth is, we did nothing to invoke his rage, someone may have provoked him afterwards but that’s neither here nor there.

The usual crew were present, myself and Andy, Big Dame, Little Dame and Lucas, crammed into Morrissey driving around Kerrydale; which is now Robina South or something, apparently they didn’t like their original name. Sooks. As we were cruising around the suburban streets we happened upon a large field with dirt roads and in unison the cry came out, “Bush bash!” We loved a good bush bash so it was with much gusto that I mounted the curb and channelled Scottish rally driver Colin McRae.

After a bit of fun and lots and lots of dust we came to a row of bushes and decided to investigate what lay on the other side, perhaps there were even better dirt tracks! As it turned out there were but they were more suited to dirt bikes than Minis and this had been discovered by some youngsters having a grand old time. We sat, we watched, we got bored so we gave the kids on their bikes a wave and headed off. We didn’t think anything of the strange looks they gave us, turns out we should have.

Colin McRae
What I thought we looked like. We didn't.

Driving down Markeri Street towards Broadbeach I glanced in my rearview mirror and instead of the road behind me I see nothing but white metal. “What the hell is this guy doing?” I wondered as I turned around to get a better view of what was trying to get into my boot.

It was Shouty Merv in his Toyota Hiace van. Normally a Hiace isn’t the most intimidating car but when it’s mere millimetres from your car it tends to be a tad more menacing than usual. “Hold on boys, here we go again!” I shouted as I dropped back to third and floored it trying to outrun him. As one all the guys turned around to see what was going on all the while giving me a running commentary of Shouty Merv’s position.

Despite my best efforts there was no outrunning him and being on a straight road there was no room to outmanoeuvre him either. I was starting to get a bit concerned and wondered what I was going to do when all of a sudden he shoots up beside me and starts swerving his van towards the Mini, it was around then we realised that shit was about to get real.

“What the f*ck is his problem?” Andy yelled then Little Dame shouts, “Look out!” just as Shouty takes an almighty swerve towards me. I swear he was trying to actually hit us. As the Hiace is nearing impact I jump on the brakes avoiding the collision but with nowhere else to go I run off the road onto the dirt shoulder. As we all sit there thinking we’ve somehow been transported into an action movie Shouty pulls his van up about 20 feet ahead of us and gets out.

Shouty Merv
The real Merv, but Shouty was a dead ringer.

To say he was a big man is like saying Uluru (Ayers Rock) is just a red pebble; a massive understatement. He was huge. And he looked angry. Really angry. But why? What did we do?

As we sat there in the car, me at the ready to take off like a bat out of hell, he started his tirade which involved a lot of shouting, pointing, swearing and terms such as “I’ve been to prison before and I don’t mind going back for the likes of you!” I stuck my head out the window and yelled that I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.  Meanwhile Big Dame, Little Dame and Lucas are rummaging around looking for weapons on the floor of the back seat. Armed with empty Pringles cans and some smelly socks we were ill-prepared for an escalation.

Finally I was able to convince Shouty I had no idea why he was so angry at us so he tells us in no uncertain terms that he didn’t take kindly to us chasing his kids in our car.  Now, we hadn’t chased anybody, we weren’t that stupid. “You mean those kids on the dirt bikes?” I asked in the politest voice I could muster. “That’s them” he sneered back.  I assured him that wasn’t the case at all, I don’t know if he completely believed me.  Maybe it was because there was now half a dozen cars stopped looking on at the dramatic scene unfolding. Either way, he gave up and started heading back to his van leaving us relieved things hadn’t gone further south.

I was doing a U-turn and giving a wave of thanks to the drivers who had stopped when Big Dame, in his ever helpful way, yelled a parting message to Shouty Merv out the back window, “Asshooooole!!!”

Ah shit.

Have you experienced road rage?