Discalimer: Really, mistaking me for Douglas Adams is a little stupid.
Arthur had had his first car for approximately 3 ½ days before it broke down.
He lived in London, due to a terrible mistake which had occurred just after he left university. His car was in the middle of an unfathomably quiet back street, late on a wet, windy Saturday night in 1973.
The engine had completely given up on him, apart from the odd snigger at his complete inability to fix it.
Rain was streaming into his ears, and just as Arthur Dent was beginning to think he could take no more, the street light above him went out.
Knowing that he was a good eight miles from his home, and that there was no way of getting the car back on the road on his own, Arthur wandered out into the main street.
All downstairs windows were boarded up and all upstairs ones glowing with warm light, which was more or less entirely not willing to glow upon a gloomy, soggy young man such as Arthur.
It was then that the scrambling came to his ears and not so much later, that the policeman turned the corner. About three seconds then elapsed before someone else rounded the corner. He was a small, wiry man, who could not, for one reason or another, stand up properly. This was all Arthur could make out in the darkness. The man lunged at the policeman, and hung onto him by the lapels.
"Please, baby, tell me you know the way to Betelgeuse!" he cried.
Arthur, who had been feeling inexplicably drawn to the situation, stopped. The man was evidently in need of help, of some sort.
"Don't you think it's time you went home, sir?" said the policeman wearily.
"I'm trying to, baby, I'm trying to!"
Arthur began to walk again, and when he was within three yards, the eyes of both men rested on him. This made Arthur nervous. It didn't get much better when he realised the man hanging onto the policeman was smiling at him. But the smile was hopeful, pleading. "Hello," he said, in a voice that made it sound like he was talking to an adorable dog.
"Hello," replied Arthur, in a voice that made it sound like he was under threat.
The policeman looked between them, with the light of divine hope dawning in his eyes. "Do you two gentleman know each other?"
"Yes," cut in the small man, whom Arthur could now see, was of an appearance which shall be elaborated upon later.
"Well, sir," said the policeman, to Arthur, cheerily, "maybe you could escort your friend home."
"Certainly officer," said Arthur, but the policeman was already walking away like Donald Duck in fast-play. Arthur turned back to his friend.
He was not without an essence of reptile about him, swaying this way and that, but never loosing focus. His tightly stretched skin was white and completely devoid of freckles, which was odd, given that the hair that flopped down the sides of his face was ginger.
"Hello," he smiled. "You're lovely."
"Um," Arthur said. "What's your name?"
"Ford Prefect," smiled the man dazedly, hanging onto the lamppost but leaning closer and closer to Arthur.
"Er," Arthur cleared his throat. "WHAT'S YOUR NAME?" he repeated.
"FORD PREFECT," Ford Prefect repeated.
"…Oh. Oh, I'm sorry. I thought… I thought you said, um, Ford Anglia."
"Hah," Ford Prefect nodded. He looked forgiving for this grievous mistake. "Are we going home then?" he asked brightly.
"Erm," Arthur began to panic.
"Don't panic!" cried Ford. "First rule of survival: Don't Panic! Do not panic, do not panic," he chanted as he straightened Arthur's collar.
"Erm," Arthur decided that Ford was right, surprisingly. "Right. Well, you see, Ford, I'm in a little bit of car trouble. It's just round here…"
He showed Ford the way, trying to help him, but Ford every time insisting he could stand up on his own. When they had reached the car, Ford lifted the bonnet to look inside the engine. "Hah," he nodded. Then to Arthur, "OK, mate, get in."
Flustered, Arthur did just that. There was some horrible jigyerypokery going on out there, Arthur knew that. He could here Ford smirking. "Try it now!" he whooped.
The engine (however grudgingly) did come to life. And Ford hopped in beside him grinning manically.
"I… thank you," said Arthur. Then he was silent. "Look, I am very grateful to you, but, but I don't usually give rides to strangers…" he tailed off, hearing in his ear, his mothers talk about charitable giving.
But Ford laughed carelessly. "I'm not a stranger! We're mates, yeah?" he smiled a large, suspiciously innocent smile. Arthur eyed the satchel he carried. "What? That?" said Ford, sounding a little hurt. "I don't want to show you that, but, think about it: a big strapping guy like you up against me? If I have got a knife (which I haven't) you could break my arm before I could use it. And I did fix your car," he added meekly.
"You're right," agreed Arthur. "I'm sorry, you are right. Where to?"
"My house!" cried Ford ecstatically, pointing ahead. Arthur set off. "You know, thinking it through, it's back in the other direction."
"Aw, you not coming in for a beer?" asked Ford, when he had been dropped off.
"No, I'd better get back."
"Aw, OK. Hey! You come by tomorrow, OK? I mean it, I'm not as drunk as I seem! 8 pm."
And with that and a much exaggerated wave, Ford disappeared into the cellar flat.
It was 2pm when Arthur reached his own flat. It occurred to him that that had been the strangest night of his life. He would go tomorrow, maybe not right up to the house, but stand across from it so that he could see if Ford was looking out of the window for him. If he was, then that was good, if he wasn't, well… He sighed. He couldn't see why, but he felt like he did like that man (his real name may become clear later). He was a little comfortable flitter of excitement.
Suddenly, Arthur turned back to his car… He opened the bonnet, to see what the man had done.
Inside, there was nothing different… except a glowing green pipe lodged next to the heater.
Whatever it was, Arthur never found out, but as long as he kept it there, his car never broke down again.
There you go, darlings! Pleasereview, becauseI have no of course, because you got this far;)