Flash Friday 26/07/2013: Other Left
Harry never usually took old women for driving tests.
The law said they could, but he rarely saw them. By the age of sixty, people who still didn’t know how to drive tended to just give up on the idea, sit at home and watch Family Fortunes all day. The woman he was sat next to, however, didn’t seem to fit into that niche. Despite her wrinkled skin, mountainous nose, and warts that made her face look like it had independent islands, she was still determined to learn. She was pretty good at it, he had to admit. He had a mother at her age, and she still thought that iPads were something pirates wore.
So far, Janet had been his favourite student.
“Make a left at this T-Junction,” Harry said.
“Right-o,” Janet said.
Harry looked down the road. Janet was making good speed, an impressive set of reaction times and general bravery for a woman such as herself. She was, however, prone to getting mildly confused over small commands. It was only now that he realised that she had flicked the indicator for a right turn.
“No, no,” Harry said. “Your other left.”
“Oh. Got you.”
Harry looked out of the window, watching the fields fly by. He always liked it when the driver was totally competent. It allowed him to stare out of the window, watching as nature passed him. The trees, the cows, the sheep — even the fences were a delight.
Then, slowly but surely, the world began to tilt downwards.
Harry wasn’t sure what was happening at first. In his stomach, he felt the same sensation that he felt when he was on a plane during take-off. It wasn’t until he looked forwards to check the road — only to see pure sky — did he realise what was happening, even if he couldn’t believe that it actually was.
“What the bloody hell?” he blurted. He looked backwards, watching the floor fall away from him through the back window. “Are we flying?”
“Yeah,” Janet said, confident in her situation. “It’s what you said, isn’t it? My ‘other left’?”
“I meant the actual left. Not upwards. I don’t even know how you’ve managed this. This is defying all possible logic.”
“I did warn you, you know,” Janet said, watching some birds fly past the windscreen. “Wrote it in my application, that I was a witch.”
“A witch? Oh,” Harry said. “You meant to say that part in your application said that you were ‘a magnificent witch’?”
“Yea,” Janet said. She shot an icy glare at Harry. “Why? What do you think it said?”
“Nothing,” Harry said, pushing his ‘Ten Ways To Deal With Problem People’ book further into his pocket. “First, we have to discuss this ‘other left’ of yours.”
“Easy, isn’t it? The other left is upwards, ’cause you have that cardinal points thing, and I was going East, and you said that was the wrong one, so I went to the next point which was North. Which is up, by the way.”
“They go clockwise.”
“The cardinal points, they go clockwise. The next one along is South. What you just said has no logic to it.”
“Well, you just said that a flying car is against all of your ‘lojjicks’. Look where we bloody are now. Fat load of good that did, eh?”
“Well, alright, you win. Just get us back down on the floor.”
“Down on the floor? You asked to be taken into the sky–”
“I asked to be taken into Chancellor Lane!”
“–and now that you’re here,” Janet said, seemingly ignoring him, “you want to come back down again. You ever know why wizards don’t get magic brooms? It’s because their big mummy’s boys, that’s why. If you were a witch like me, you’d be loving this. So, so much easier than a broom. You don’t have roadside service for brooms, don’t you know.”
“That’s lovely,” Harry said, “but I think being airborne for longer than twenty seconds is groundings to be failed on a driving test. I am, in fear of being turned into a toad, willing to look over it if you would be so kind as to put the tires back where they belong.”
“Well alright then,” Janet said, sneering as she changed the gear for some reason. “But you really ought to lighten up, you know. Smiling a lot helps you have a long life, and I’d know. Well, that and the anti-ageing potions, but you can’t have it all, can you?”
“Please,” Harry said, borderline on begging. “Get us on the ground.”
Janet didn’t say anything else. With a face that did, indeed, fit a black pointed hat, she rolled her eyes and brought the car into a steep descent towards a road, levelling out at the last moment to land on it with a small screech.
“Well,” Harry said, wiping his brow. “Thank goodness for that.”
“You have to admit,” Janet said, with a toothless smile. “Saves a tonne on the petrol bills.”
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