The uphill struggle

David’s knowledge of the ancient Greek myths could not be described as encyclopaedic however he had a nagging feeling that the way he and the others were trying to push this car up the hill was the modern day equivalent of a story he’d heard as a child. Something involving rocks and eternal suffering.

Shaking himself back to the present David placed his hands firmly on the car boot and checked first left, then right, to ensure Pete and Mark had adopted the same stance.

“On the count of three.” David tensed his arms, “One. Two. Three!”

For the next two minutes the silent, damp, night air was filled with grunts, groans, and straining noises as they attempted to move the car upwards towards the top of the hill.

“Hold it, hold It.” Mark panted for breath, “How far have we got?’

“About … about … five yards. “ replied Peter, breathing heavily himself.

“This is stupid.” Mark stood upright and looked at his red hands, “Why don’t we just drive the car to the top of hill?”

“Because people will hear the engine.” David also took his hands off the car.

“What people? There‘s nobody else here. Besides no engine could be louder than Peter swearing when the car rolled backwards over his foot.”

David knew Mark was right. They could just drive to the hilltop but, given the enormity of their plans, penance was called for and pushing the car seemed the correct price to pay.

“Look,” David stared at Mark, “We all agreed to do it this way - it’s part of the plan - so this is the way we will do it.”

Mark considered his reply but decided against it. Instead he bent down and placed his hands on the car again.

“Okay,” he said, “have it your way.”

As the three of them continued the long, slow, struggle, Peter wondered if what they were doing was the right thing. It had seemed a good idea. A way of getting themselves out of serious trouble. Now though it seemed to Peter it must just cause even more problems.

Officially Bob was the leader of their gang however David was the one who always came up with the ideas. In fact before Bob came along David had been their unofficial leader, but Bob was a fighter and in groups like theirs the fighter always won out.

From the car boot came noise. Instinctively the three of them moved their hands off the boot as if an electric current had passed through it, then stood frozen.

“Should we open it?” Peter’s eyes were fixed on the lock.

“No.” David also stared at the lock, “It’s just inertia moving things around in there. Don’t think about it.”

“C’mon,” said Mark, “It not too for to go now. Another ten minutes should see us at the top.”

As the struggle continued, Mark realised he was smiling. The three of them working together as a team reminded him how things used to be.

Bob had been a destructive influence on them. Always finding ways to split them and torment them. Divide and conquer had been Bob’s plan from the start.

At last they reached the top of the hill. As the lane curled left in front of them a section of the protective barrier had buckled; the result of a lorry coming off the road and nearly toppling into the valley below.

It had been reports of this near accident that gave David the idea. It wasn’t really much of an plan but compared to the ones Mark, Peter, or Bob came up with it was a work of genius.

Peter never had ideas, Mark had ideas but it was always easy to convince him they lacked something and would be unworkable. As for Bob, he had lots of ideas but they all concerned mugging ladies or breaking into houses.

That was why David had decided things needed to change for their group.

“Right lads,” David pointed at the buckled barrier, “all we need to now is push the car over the barrier. It will roll itself into the valley and everything will be back to how we want it to be.”

With renewed vigour, the three of them pressed firmly on the car. 1, 2, 3, push. 1, 2, 3, push. 1, 2, 3, push. Soon the car was balancing on the barrier. The task was almost done.

For Peter the completion of the night‘s work meant he could go home and rest. For Mark it meant an end to the in-fighting amongst friends. For David it was a chance to do something good for a change.

Bob, trapped in the boot of the car, was unable to appreciate the importance of the moment.

The three of then looked at each other then took up their positions and prepared. One final push and their task would be over.

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