The political landscape had fallen so far into the depths of chaos that nothing could be done to bring it back. There was panic on the streets as those in power sat with their index finger hovering over ‘the button’. We don’t know who was first, all we know is that in an instant, the skies were filled with the trails of missiles. And soon after, those same skies were filled with a blinding flash. In an instant, all that we cared about was wiped out, including Greggs and Bargain Booze. As men screamed at the skies, women flocked to protect their children. The debris fell, littering the streets with glass, rubble, steak bakes and other detritus. The world as we knew it was over.
In the days after, the people began to mobilise. The local Aldi had been flattened by, annoyingly, the wreckage of a local Lidl. Greggs as we mentioned, was gone. The people that survived were in need of sustenance if survival was going to be a possibility. The land we once knew was now unrecognisable, the earth scorched and the roads blocked. To find our way in this new, bleak world, we needed to forge our own, new path. But how?
Mobility was going to be the key. Walking wasn’t an option, it was 2020 and nobody walked anymore. Not even when prompted by a mass extinction event. No, we needed wheels. But what wheels? The bombs had reduced every Nissan Juke to its component parts. The nation’s fleet of Honda’s Jazz had crumpled at the first given opportunity. The once ubiquitous Ford Mondeo? Forget it, mate. Gone.
In a town meeting, the survivors looked to the beacon of hope that was Not £2 Grand. Stood in our tattered shirt, which looked like that before everything went to shit, we hushed the crowds with one arm outstretched. When silence fell, we uttered our words in a bid to bring about a new optimism. Not £2 Grand had the answers. We held the key to our future mobility within in this bleak, baron landscape. Also known as Bristol.
1 – Any old car
As we start to offer our advice, we are met with faces of disillusionment. ‘Any old car’ we offer. The great unwashed before us snort and begin to question our authority on the matter. The kid at the back starts to shout something about his father’s new Range Rover. “THE RANGE ROVER IS GONE”, we scream. Silence falls. The Range Rover is gone. When the bombs dropped we were plunged into the kind of darkness we’d only read about in books. At the mention of books, the kid looks genuinely baffled. Instead he stares at his dead iPhone.
Our electrical infrastructure was downed in the blast. In light of this, we boldly state, we must go back in time. We need points, condensers, carburettors and manually cranked windows. To move into our new future, we need to seek the sanctuary of our automotive past. As such, that Yugo around the corner is now a hot commodity. Simplicity is key to survival, as complications will only slow us down. The kid shouts about the Range Rover having sat nav. Before we can interject, a large man wearing a bin-lid as a hat punches him squarely in the jaw. The crowd cheers.
2 – The W123 Mercedes-Benz
We crouch down, bringing us closer to the expectant faces of the amassed crowd. We look around cautiously before looking back into the sea of dirty faces and uttering the words “Mercedes-Benz W123”. A lady at the front passes out. A middle-aged man in the middle of the group makes an excited noise akin to that of an otter that’s being tickled. The rest of the crowd stares back at us. Greggs paper bags rustle as they drift by on the heavy breeze. A faint whiff of chicken bakes follows.
“THE W123”, we shout. This is the car, the car. Legend has it that each W123 built by the Germans was not the product of a gathering of automotive parts. No, every W123 was chipped and chiselled out of a solid block of German granite. Scientists, it is said, have an extra periodic table, on which the hardest element is the W123. If it were a person, it would open that jar of pasta sauce you’ve had in your cupboard since 1997 like it was nothing. NOTHING. The W123 is strong, it is rugged, it’s dependable and it can be kept mobile with nothing more than some wool and Vaseline. To cover great distances, to find a new place in which civilisation can once again thrive, a W123 Mercedes-Benz is how we get there.
3 – The Land Rover
“What about a Land Rover?” shouts a voice from the crowd. We give the nod and one of our men slaps the shouter. A hard, firm, dry, back of the hand slap. THIS IS OUR RODEO. QUIET YOURSELF. But yes, a Land Rover. Not a new one, not a garish modern Range Rover (the crowd turns to look at the kid, who squirms uncomfortably). An old one. Four chunky tyres and an engine so basic it would make a jam sandwich look like a Heston Blumenthal dish. Yes, the Land Rover would indeed be the perfect machine to help further mobilise our new land. The W123 would get us there, but the Land Rover, that would be the mechanical mule that would work to build our new home. With winches, power-take-offs, a propensity toward driving up the face of a dam as the old adverts would have us believe – the Land Rover will be the key to our future.
To obtain one will be difficult though. We don’t want a modern, late-model Defender, as it will be crippled by now defunct electronics. We need an old 90, or County. These will be the reserve of farmers and people called Trevor, and these people will have been prepared for the end of the world. They own a Land Rover after all. This will have to be a full-on assault. We will have to storm them without fear or hesitation. In this new, bleak future, Land Rovers are as good as currency, and people are willing to die for that. Sorry Trevor, it’s survival of the fittest out here, and Not £2 Grand is fitter than you.
4 – The Volkswagen Beetle
“Like Herbie?” scoffs a woman in the front of the crowd. We stare at her for 23 minutes until she leaves. We’ve got no time for that kind of shortsightedness in this world. The humble Volkswagen Beetle maybe cheeky, cheery and without any of the attributes we wanted from a car in the old world. But this isn’t the old world. This is now. A singed, scorched land in which people trade their children for a mere chance to hold a cardboard cup from Costa. Oh how we wish we still had Costa. But we digress.
The Beetle is now in its element. Plucky and simple, the Beetle will be a companion to envy. Its simple mechanicals are one thing, but it’s the air-cooled nature of the engine that is the real selling point. With an atmosphere clogged by pasty dust and nuclear fallout, the temperatures are rising. Not only that, water is now a currency. We can’t just be dumping it in our cars. The Beetle doesn’t have this problem. All it needs is fuel, air and oil and it will get you to the other side of the globe. Or what’s left of Swindon. Is it fast, stylish or comfortable? No, but this world has no time for such things.
5 – Military Equipment
There is no escaping it. The world has become feral. The ruined, rubble-strewn streets are now a playground for the ruthless, for the lawless. For there is no law anymore, the bombing put paid to that. Instead, we have have fallen back into a ‘biggest wins’, almost hunter gatherer mentality. It’s shameful to see society take such a backslide, but there is no time to lament the evacuation manners and care for our fellow man. Instead, we’re going down the local army base to steal a tank. We will not, however, attempt to invade Paris. We will use it to defend our newly secured ‘castle’. Should we confronted by men who want to take what is ours, we’ll fire up our tank. Though we will have to hope that the rumble of the tank’s diesel engine is enough to intimidate attackers. We’re mere civilians. We have no actual idea how a tank works.
There’s nothing wrong with that, though. There’s a bloke in our camp, Mike we think he’s called, and he says he knows how to drive one. That’s good enough for us. And so is the tank by simply being in our camp. We don’t need it to fire, we just need it to look like it can. We want to intimidate and frighten our foes, not actually blow them into small, meaty pieces. We will not let ourselves slip so far backwards. There will be order here, there will be a sense of pride and preservation, and why? Because we’ve got a tank, and we’ll f**k you up if you come near us.