Tough Breakdown News

‘And how long have you been driving that there, uh…’ the policeman looked down at his notes, scanning them for the name.

‘The Isadora,’ I grumbled from beneath the space blanket they’d insisted on throwing over me. ‘Her name is the Isadora.’

‘Is that right,’ the cop nodded. He looked past me to where the charcoal-dusted hull of my vehicle was being loaded onto the back of a truck. ‘Might need a new name after this particular… incident.’

‘Just needs a new coat of paint, some light tweaking,’ I shrugged. ‘She’ll be good as new.’

The cop frowned at me and shared a look with his partner.

‘Son,’ he started, and I preemptively rolled my eyes. ‘Son, have you ever been to a decent mechanic around the Milperra area?’

I shook my head. ‘These aren’t my parts. I was just passing through.’

‘Well, I hate to break it to you, but they might be your parts for a little while yet. Unless you know a truly incredible mechanic, that baby ‘aint flying nowhere.’

I opened my mouth to protest but was cut off by the bumper falling off the vehicle and bouncing along the ground.

‘Fine,’ I grumbled. ‘Can you recommend anyone?’

‘Sure,’ the cop said, adjusting his pants. ‘What’s your budget?’



I picked up the bumper and dusted some charcoal off the side.

‘How much do you think I can get for this as scrap?’

The cops started to laugh, and I threw the bumper to the side with a sigh.

‘Quick,’ the partner guffawed, wiping a tear from his eye. ‘If you go rip out one of the headlights, I know a great auto electrician near me who can sort you out, no issues!’

That set them off again, cackling to each other like they were the system’s best new comedy duo.

I threw the space blanket off me with a growl, and began to walk away.

‘Hey, where are you going?’ the first cop called after me.

‘To find a way off this rock!’

A Midnight Meeting

‘Why did you want to meet?’ Gordon asked, wrapping his coat around himself as the winter air swept through the open building. He remembered when this area had been a thriving development – now it was a graveyard of abandoned construction, graffiti and men meeting on rooftops at midnight.

‘I have a lead,’ came the gravelly voice of his companion from the shadows.

Always from the shadows.

‘What sort of lead?’ Gordon frowned, having long since given up trying to see the other man’s face.

‘His car,’ came the growl. A pair of keys flew through the air and Gordon snatched them before they hit the ground. ‘It’s European.’

‘I know for a fact that these were in the evidence lockup–’

‘European cars require specific maintenance,’ the shadowy figure went on. ‘Good mechanics – not easy to come by in Goth Ham.’

‘Are there any mechanics that work on European cars near here?’ Gordon asked.

‘Just one,’ the figure said. His cape swished as he turned to point at the city skyline. The move gave Gordon vertigo, but he pushed it down.

‘What’s the place?’

‘A decent mechanics,’ the man in black said. ‘I know – I was surprised too.’

‘You sure they aren’t running something on the side?’ Gordon asked warily.

‘I checked.’

‘Yeah, but they could be selling anything from–’

I checked,’ the man repeated. Gordon shrugged, pulling his jacket in tighter again.

‘So they just do work on European cars?’

His companion shook his head. ‘No – can’t imagine they get enough business in a city like this.’

‘What else then? Just regular services?’

‘That, and they advertise as an auto electrician. Seaford used to be their base of operations.’

‘Explains a lot,’ Gordon murmured. ‘So we split up – divide and conquer. I’ll interview this mechanic, see what he knows about that car…’

He trailed off, looking around the empty rooftop. Sighing, he took his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

‘Why do I bother?’

Secret Mechanic Service

I love driving. At first, I didn’t like it too much because I am a slow learner, however, it quickly became one of my favourite hobbies once I got the hang of it. Sometimes when I’m bored, I hop in the car and drive around the city, purely for entertainment. I’ve found a number of secret spots and cool places by doing this.

For example, a few suburbs over, I spotted this bakery nobody had ever heard of. I went inside to discover that it sold the most delicious iced buns in all of Melbourne. I’ll definitely be keeping that one quiet, otherwise next time I go, they will be all sold out!

Another place I’ve found is one of the best mechanic shops Northcote seems to have. It’s always packed with cars, and when I stopped by one day to ask a customer what was going on, they said these guys were the most professional and qualified mechanics in the area. We don’t have one of those shops in my suburb, so I decided if I ever needed work or repairs done on my car, I would bring my vehicle there. As it turns out, one day I did.

I ended up going back to that store a few months later for a transmission service. I had been noticing that every time I drove, my accelerator did not seem to be pressing down properly. When I looked up the issue online, I noticed that most of the results seemed to be showing that the problem could be due to my car’s transmission. Not wanting to wait, I travelled to Northcote to get my car serviced. As always, the mechanical store was packed, however, I was surprised to find that it moved very quickly. By the time I got to the front of the line, the mechanic was immediately ready to assist me. They were friendly and professional, and clearly a team of extremely highly qualified experts.


Running Late For Work

I was rushing to get to work the other day and I did some real damage to my car. I only had ten minutes to get to work and I was about a thirty-minute drive away, so there was obviously no hope of me getting there on time. That’s because I decided to do my skincare routine instead of actually leaving the house on time. Yes, I know that I should have gotten up earlier this morning but I slept so poorly and bed just felt so good. We all make mistakes, I guess.

Anyway, I was low-key speeding to try and make up a little bit of time when I had to slam my brakes on really hard. I didn’t realise that the cars in front of me were stopping until the last ten seconds, and if I hadn’t slammed my brakes on then I would have rear-ended the car in front of me. It needed to be done but I think I really damaged my brakes in the process. I’m going to have to book myself into a car brake service local to Milperra today so that I know I can drive home safely.

I’m already in trouble with my boss for being over twenty minutes late to work (and I’ve been behind on my work all day as a result) and now I’m going to have to leave early to get my brakes checked out. It’s definitely not a good look and I do regret not being more organised earlier this morning. But that’s life I guess. We all make mistakes and I made one and now yes, I’m paying the price for it. Hopefully, the Milperra mechanic will be able to fix my brakes quickly, because I would hate to have to get public transport and be late to work again tomorrow.

There’s not much I can do about being behind on my work other than slowly but surely clawing my way back. I have deadlines that I need to hit.

Driving To Nursing

I’m a nurse and I work really crazy hours. For context, I have three possible shift times (but they always end up going into overtime), which are 7:00am-3:00pm, 1:00pm-9:00pm or 9:00pm-7:00am. I cycle through these shift times over the monthly roster and it’s really important that I can get to and from work easily with my car. As a woman, I’ve grown up fearing being alone at night or in the dark, so I definitely wouldn’t want to catch public transport and walk home alone for any of these shifts. It’s just not safe – especially in my nurse’s scrubs.

That’s why I’m always very serious about staying on top of my log book service. In the Adelaide CBD, it’s not hard to find a mechanic who suits your needs and understands your car, which is even more of a reason why I get my car serviced regularly. It’s not like it’s hard to do and it has significant benefits for me. If I didn’t get my car serviced regularly, I’d likely be in danger going to and from work, which I really don’t want to be. My profession is dangerous and scary enough as it is. I don’t need any extra stress in my life. 

The last time I took my car to the mechanic, I actually needed cooling system repairs. Adelaide mechanics know their stuff, so when the mechanic told me that I needed an aircon regas before going into summer, I didn’t disagree. I have quite a long drive home from the hospital each day and it’s nice to have the added comfort of being able to turn on my car air conditioning whenever I need to do so.

Sometimes I wish that I had chosen another profession than nursing. It would be nice to work regular hours and be able to build relationships with the people around me, but alas, I chose to save lives. 

The Licenced Driver

I just turned eighteen, and I only just got my licence. I took the test pretty much as soon as I was able to, because I’m really excited to have more freedom. I’ve had a job for a while now, which means that I’ve been able to save up enough money to buy my own car. It’s only a second-hand car and it isn’t in the best condition, but it’s still mine and I’m still proud of it and how much effort I put into getting it.

Since getting my licence, I’ve been driving around my local area just to get used to driving by myself. Previously, I’ve always had an instructor, so it’s definitely a little bit different.

This morning I even stopped in front of a mechanic servicing the Underwood area, which was near a main road. This particular mechanic store was a huge building made of bricks and metal, and it looked a little bit like an oversized garage. It was filled with dozens of cars, and had a lot of different employees running around it, inspecting different car parts and repairing those that needed to be fixed. I figured I would take my car for its scheduled logbook service today, since I know how important it is to complete these types of services in a timely manner. In particular, the mechanic told me I would probably need a car suspension repair service for my vehicle, which was quite a fast and affordable service.

This mechanic store was so transparent with their pricing that I was instantly glad I had chosen them. True to their word, my car’s suspension was fixed very quickly. They also checked all the regular things included in a logbook service, such as tyres, transmission fluid, windscreen wipers, lights etc. I was very pleased with their level of service and definitely recommend this store to anybody who is looking for a qualified mechanic.

Car Review Expert

I’m on the train again because my car is still in for a service. My car has been at the mechanic for over a week now, because it’s in such a bad state. The mechanic said there was nothing I could have done to minimise the chance of this major mechanical fault happening to my car. He said some people just have bad luck and unfortunately I am one of those people.

It’s funny being a car blogger and not even having a car. I spent all of last week wishing I could’ve just put my car in for a brake repair rather than a full car revamp or whatever the mechanic is doing, BUT, things are looking up. In fact, if things go well in the meeting I’m on my way to, I might not even have to pick up my car from the mechanic. Why is that? Because a large car brand saw my blog post from last week calling for sponsor opportunities and I might have landed one! Apparently, they really like what I write about cars and really appreciate all the insight I give their customers. They’d be happy to pay me for my efforts… I just have to nail this interview.

I wish I could turn up to the interview in a really fancy car rather than walking from the train station, however, that’s not the case. Even if the mechanic doing my car maintenance in the Melbourne CBD was able to fix my car in time, it probably would’ve been too embarrassing to drive anyway. I can’t turn up to a massive sponsorship meeting in a car that can barely get from A to B. It would look pretty unprofessional.

I really hope I get this sponsorship deal! I would seriously be so happy. It would be so good to get paid to be a blogger and even get to try out the vehicles myself before I review them. 

The Passenger

‘You do know that your car is freezing, correct?’

         My fingers involuntarily started to strangle the steering wheel and I forced myself to take a breath before I accidentally drove us off the road.

         ‘Yes, Judith,’ I said through gritted teeth.

         ‘Mrs. Blake, if you would,’ she said, nose upturned. ‘You may be marrying my son, but I hardly see why our relationship should be so informal.’

         The leather of the steering wheel squeaked for mercy.

         ‘So?’ she said.

         ‘So what?’

         ‘Your car. Why am I so cold?’

         The icy grip of death, hopefully.

‘My air conditioning is broken,’ I said instead.

‘And you haven’t had it fixed? What’s the problem? Can’t find a cheap mechanic near Morayfield? Tell me,’ she frowned. ‘Have you always been this lazy, or is it just since you met my son?’

I calmly looked up at the rear-view mirror, checking there was nobody behind me, then slammed my foot down on the brakes.

         Judith – Mrs. Blake – let out a satisfying squeal as she rocketed forward in her seat.

         ‘Are you mad?’ she screamed at me, once she’d recovered. ‘I could have been killed!’

         ‘Listen, Judy,’ I smiled coolly. ‘My aircon has been broken for a few days now because I’ve been too busy ferrying you around town to your appointments to find a mechanic near me that can do a car air conditioning service. I’m not lazy – I’m an indentured servant!’

         I twisted back to face the road and took my foot off the brake, slowly bringing the car back up to speed. Judith still looked shocked – though from the braking or my speech I wasn’t sure.

         We drove in silence for a few minutes, and I briefly wondered if I’d given the old woman a heart attack.

         ‘I, uh…’ she finally said, coughing into her handkerchief to clear her throat. ‘I may know somebody. For your air conditioning. A reasonable man.’

         ‘Thank you,’ I said, stiffly. ‘I would appreciate that, Mrs. Blake.’

         A beat passed, until she let out a huge sigh, collapsing back into her seat.

         ‘Oh, just call me Judith.’

No Workshop Vengeance?

Charlie was going to hold her tongue, but as she thought about everybody the Ivory Skull had lost in the recent attacks, her blood boiled with wrath. They couldn’t stand around and do nothing. They just couldn’t.

She slammed her fist on the table. “How can you sit there at that desk, up in the corporate boxes of an old football stadium, deciding to do absolutely nothing? Have you even thought about all the people we lost to the Little Men? They need to pay. If you’d seen the Cambridge car service in ruins as I did, you wouldn’t feel this way, I guarantee you.”

Fred Bentleigh held up his hands. “I’m sorry, Charlie, I know this is hard for you, but we’ve already lost too many good people against the Little Men. If we fight back and antagonise them, we can say goodbye to everything we care about, because they’ll be sure to destroy the Ivory Skull in its entirety.”

Although she knew there was logic behind the decision, Charlie couldn’t help the rage within her. There had to be something they could do. “We can’t just let the people they took from us go unavenged. We can’t let them get away with this!”

Shaking his head, Fred turned to the window, looking out at the oval. “The greatest way we can honour them is to keep their loved ones safe. I understand where you’re coming from, but I’ve made my decision. Go take a walk. Grab a coffee, go to the professional suspension service workshop. Talk to the other members of the Ivory Skull, and ask yourself whether it is worth sacrificing them to avenge the few we miss. I’m sure you’ll come around to my way of thinking.”

Charlie sighed, knowing she couldn’t cause a scene here. She’d do as he suggested, but by the end of the day, she was certain she would be no closer to changing her mind.

One way or another, the Little Men were going to pay for what they’d done.

An Offroad Date

I gritted my teeth as James drove us over yet another completely avoidable boulder, whooping and hollering all the time. He’d insisted I come out and see why he enjoyed four-wheel driving so much.

         I remained in the dark.

         ‘Stop hanging on so tight, Jess,’ he cackled at me. ‘Loosen up – enjoy the bumps!’

I flashed him an appeasing smile, teeth gritted. I almost lost a molar as he rammed us just barely over the top of a log.

‘So,’ I attempted as we hit a reasonably “flat” stretch of trail. ‘I bet your 4×4 mechanic loves you.’

‘Hey?’ he asked, frowning.

‘All this… driving,’ I braced for another impact. ‘It’s got to be hard on your car. Your mechanic must love you.’

‘This is what she’s built for!’ James cackled. He saw a loose collection of rocks and a glint appeared in his eye. He shifted the gear down – or maybe up? – and revved the engine, aiming for them.

Instead, the engine cut out.

I breathed a sigh of relief as James frowned, frantically trying to start his car.

‘What the hell?’ he muttered to himself. ‘I just took her to a mechanic that does log book services, near Toowoomba.

‘Seriously?’ I laughed.


‘You don’t know what possibly could be wrong with your car?’

He shook his head, seemingly confused. I rolled my eyes.

‘How about the fact that you just scraped the bottom of it along every bit of granite you could find between here and the road?’

‘But…’ he murmured, stroking the steering wheel, ‘that’s what she’s built for.’

He said it sadly, like the light inside of him had winked out.

Daring to hope, he turned the key again – and the car started! Engine thrumming strongly, he let out another howl of delight, glint returned to his eye.

         ‘Should we head back?’ I asked, relieved.

         ‘Why?’ he looked confused.

         ‘Because your car is broken!’ I growled, pointing at the flashing lights on his dashboard.

         ‘But this is what she’s–’

         ‘I think we should see other people,’ I cut him off.

  The engine died again.