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Image by Felipe Simo

Chasing Dad in an Aston Martin

(c) Linda Hutchison, June 1 2020

Photo by Felipe Simo on Unsplash

Tomorrow is rare day off for Daryl and he has decided to treat his daughter, Anna, to a special father-daughter day out. Anna loves fast cars, and it just so happens that Daryl has a friend, Simon, who works at a proving ground hidden in a valley around 20 km from where Daryl and Anna live. Simon owns an Aston Martin and has offered to take them for a few hot laps around the track. Daryl makes it a surprise. As he tucks Anna into bed, he tells her to expect an adventure in the morning, so to dress warmly and be ready by 8:00am. But now Anna can’t sleep. She tosses and turns in bed, imagining all sorts of things she and her father could do. Perhaps Dad will hire a sports car and they will drive down the coast. Or perhaps they’ll go four-wheel driving on the beach or up a mountain. If she’s really lucky, maybe Dad will take her mini-cart racing. She lifts her hands out from under the doona and pretends to steer, then claps several times in excitement.

“Go to sleep, Anna!” calls her mum, Toni.

Anna snuggles back under the doona and wills herself to sleep. But her toes keep twitching in anticipation, and she takes ages to finally doze off.

The next morning, Anna bounces out of bed at 6:30am. She has her breakfast, packs her backpack with snacks and a drink, then searches for her hat. She finds Smoky, their cat, asleep on her hat next to her bed.

“Smoky! I need my hat.” Smoky lifts his head and squeezes his eyes at her, as if to say, “No, you don’t need your hat. I’m perfectly comfortable – leave me where I am.”

Anna tries to push him off, but he’s very heavy and she gives up and goes in search of her mother’s hat. It’s a bit floppy on her head, but at least she won’t get sunburned.

Meanwhile, Daryl is relaxing enjoying his first coffee of the day. He breathes deeply to inhale the aroma of his local roast. The sky is clear, the sun warms his back, and he has an easy day ahead.

“Boing!” The loud sound of a doorbell interrupts his moment of bliss.

“Boing! Boing!” He automatically dashes to the front door, only to remember that they don’t have a doorbell. The noise is coming from his phone.

“Who’s been playing with my phone?” He realises that each time an email hits his phone, it sets off the sound effect and there is a steady stream of emails coming from his work.

“Boing, boing, boing, boing, boing!”

He sternly addresses his screen, “It’s my day off. Go away.”

“No, no, no!” says the phone, as a text message appears.

“What! Arrrrgh!”

“No, no, no!” says the phone again, as another text message appears.

Bill walks in to find Daryl fumbling with the buttons as he tries to mute it. Suddenly it starts vibrating in his hands and it sounds like helicopter landing on their house. Daryl waves the phone threateningly at Bill and answers the call. It’s his friend, Simon, who owns the Aston Martin.

“Hi Daryl, just checking that you and Anna are coming today.”

Daryl pulls himself together and manages to reign in his temper.

“Yes, everything’s fine. We’ll see you by nine.”

“Great. Remember to bring a jacket. It can get pretty cool up there.” Daryl nods to himself then hangs up.


Bill comes over, looking very, very innocent.

“Bill, did you change my sound effects on my phone?”

“It was Anna’s project for school – her teacher asked us to.”

Daryl suspects that the teacher did nothing of the kind, but he quickly mutes it because he doesn’t want any more surprises. He’ll have to fix the sound later.

He calls Anna and they wave goodbye to Toni and Bill as they drive off in the family station wagon towards the track.

“Well Bill, it’s just you and me,” says Toni cheerily, “How does a mother-son mini-golf tournament sound?”

“Yes!” Bill roars, emphasizing his enthusiasm with a rapid fist pump.

“Now, where’s my hat?” wonders Toni aloud. She ends up taking Anna’s hat, even if it is a bit too tight and surprisingly furry.

Half an hour later, Anna is standing with her hands covering her eyes, waiting for the surprise to appear. Dad has driven her to a sort of park with a track through it. She doesn’t know what to expect, but she can hear the sound of an engine.

“Surprise,” calls Daryl and when she lifts her hands, she spies the cutest little sports car that she has ever seen. It’s silver and has only two doors.

“Wow, Dad. What is it?”

“It’s an Aston Martin. Made famous in the movies by James Bond. It’s British, but has this beautiful Italian styling.” Daryl waves his hands over the curves of the bonnet and front guards, a bit lost in awe. Simon hops out.

“She’s pretty special, hey Daryl?” Simon turns to look at Anna.

“Well hello Anna, what do you think of your Dad’s surprise?”

“It’s good! Does it go fast?”

“Only about 200 kilometres per hour. Is that fast enough?”

Anna’s eyes widen and she nods.

“Hop in then.” Simon gestures to the car. Anna looks at the car and then back at Simon. She’s seen that the Aston had a back seat, but no room for feet. It is really meant for only two people.

“Where do my legs go?”

“Don’t worry, Anna. You’re pretty small. Why don’t you sit sideways on the seat? Put your feet down one end and hold onto the back of your Dad’s seat.”

Anna thinks it sounds a bit dangerous but climbs in past the passenger seat. Daryl straps himself into the seat in front of her and soon they are zooming around the track.

“Wow!” calls Anna, as she feels the acceleration push her hard against the back of the seat.

“Wow, wow!” says Daryl, whose stomach has flip-flopped and is slowly returning to its normal position. Simon grins and speeds up.

Anna finds it hard to see out the tiny side window, so she moves her body closer to the centre so that she can look through the middle of the windscreen. The track and trees fly by and her smile is nearly as big as Daryl’s.

“Great idea, Dad,” she calls loudly, patting him on the shoulder.

Suddenly the car hits a rough patch on the track, and Simon is forced to change down a few gears so that they can go more slowly. The cap on the gear stick flips open, and Anna sees a red button on the top of it.

“What’s this, Simon?” she asks, pointing at the button. He is about to answer when the car bounces over a particularly rough bit of track and her finger and the button meet in mid-air. There is a huge bang, smoke fills the car and then Anna feels a strong rush of air. When the smoke clears, she realises her Dad is gone! And part of the roof is missing! Simon slows down and pulls over.

“That, my dear Anna, is the button for the ejector seat. Your father is now up there somewhere,” he says, pointing through the hole in the roof to the sky.

“Oh, whoops,” says Anna, biting her lip.

“Whoops indeed. But don’t worry, the seat has a built-in parachute. Your Dad will be fine.”

Daryl flies upwards into the clouds, stunned by being blown through the roof of the car. The straps hold him fast to the seat, but he can’t see much because of the rushing wind. The breeze starts to feels less and less until he realises that he has topped out and is now falling back to earth. He holds his breath, then there’s another sudden rush and his parachute opens above him. His seat starts to bounce and then sway slowly beneath his parachute. He breathes out again. He feels relaxed until he remembers that he has never parachuted before and doesn’t know what to do. He looks down and all he can see are trees. He reaches for his phone, takes it off mute, and tries to call Simon.

“Boing, boing,” says the phone as it registers two more emails. Daryl nearly flings it into space but manages to restrain himself.

“No, no no!” says the phone as a text message appears. It’s from Simon.

RU OK? 🐱‍🏍

          Fine 🚀 🪂 Where RU?



We’ll follow U


“Boing,” encourages the phone as Daryl shoves it back in his pocket.

Anna and Simon chase Daryl’s red parachute around the course in the Aston. The wind shifts direction, swirling around the valley, and Anna calls, “Left, left again, right, left, back, speed up, slow, slow, left,” as they follow him beneath the canopy of trees. Daryl wonders if he’ll be able to land safely, given that he’s sitting on a sports seat and can’t land on his feet. The wind gusts and ebbs, and after about ten minutes, Simon stops the car.

“What’s wrong? We have to keep following Dad.” Anna is starting to tremble with the cold.

“We’ve run out of track. We’ll have to go out onto the neighbour’s property.” Anna follows Simon’s gaze to see a tall wire mesh fence in front of them. Even more worrying is the approaching edge of the thick morning mist that hasn’t quite cleared from the valley. With mist and the tall forest around them, Daryl is disappearing out of view. They turn around and drive back to Daryl’s car. Anna wraps herself in her Dad’s jacket.

Up in the air, Daryl is getting cold and thinks longingly of his jacket. His seat starts to vibrate and he hears the noise of a low flying helicopter. Grrrr, he thinks to himself, that’s my ring tone. He pulls his phone out of his pocket, only to realise that there’s no call. He looks up to see a helicopter flying over him, and his parachute starts to bob around frantically. He tries waving wildly, hoping they’ll see him. But the helicopter flies off over the nearest hill and out of sight. His parachute is settling down when he looks around to see a bank of mist about to envelope him. He puts his head into his hands and sighs deeply.

“Not the day I wanted,” he calls out to no one in particular.

“No, no, no!” agrees his phone from his pocket.

Fortunately Simon finds the keys in the ignition of Daryl's four-wheel drive station wagon. The Aston Martin is great on the track, but not so good over the paddocks which is where Daryl is headed. Simon drives out of the proving ground and into the neighbouring field. He heads up to the top of a hill and they spy Daryl’s parachute peeking above the mist, drifting southward.

“He's heading towards the lake, but he’ll be fine -it’s very shallow.” Simon smiles reassuringly at 

Anna’s whose eyes grow wider and wraps herself even tighter in Daryl’s jacket.

They bump back down the hill and out onto the road, swooping around the curves until they come to the lake car park. The parking area is nearly empty, apart from a couple of cars with roof racks for kayaks. A third boat owner is backing up to the ramp. Simon leaps out of Daryl’s car, runs over and speaks to the driver.

“How deep is the lake now? I thought it was really shallow?”

“Only a couple of metres at its deepest. Why?”

Simon points up at Daryl, whose parachute is now visible over the trees. The driver stares hard at Daryl’s floating figure, then back at Simon.

“Why is he sitting in a car seat?”

“Long story – can we get to him before he sinks?”

“Hopefully he’ll land in the swamp at the edge. Here – take my spare kayak – there’s room for two.”

“Anna – you wait here and I’ll go get your Dad. Here’s my phone – call him.”

Anna stays in the front seat, wrapped in her father’s jacket, while Simon paddles furiously out towards where he thinks Daryl will splash down. Daryl feels the vibration of his phone and the sound of a helicopter. He answers the call with a bit of an attitude.

“Simon, where the hell are you?”

“Dad, it’s me, Anna.”

“Oh, yes,” Daryl tries to play it cool. “Are you having fun?”

“Dad, you are about to land in a lake. Don’t be funny. Simon’s paddling out to get you. Can you see the green kayak?”

Daryl looks down at the lake which appears to be rising towards him. He spies a lime green kayak off to his right.

“Yes, I see it. He’ll have to paddle faster.”

“The lake is shallow, Dad. You’ll be fine. Just aim for the kayak.”

“Of course, Anna. No problem,” Daryl reassures her, wondering how to direct his crazy flying passenger seat.

“And Dad, get ready to swim for it, just in case,” Anna warns him. Great, thinks Daryl, this day just gets better and better.

“See you soon, Anna.”

“Bye Dad. Safe landing.”

“Boing, boing,” mumbles the phone as Daryl puts it back in his pocket.

Slowly, the parachute glides down towards the surface of the lake and Daryl lifts his feet as high as possible. He can see Simon in the kayak pulling towards him. Ducks, ibis and cormorants fly up around him, loudly protesting his invasion. He touches the surface of the water, then bounces across the surface a few times until he hits a mudbank and flips over. He comes to rest on his side, face half in the mud, and the parachute floats down to cover him.

“No, no, no!” concedes his phone.

Simon pulls up in the kayak shortly afterwards and untangles Daryl. The seat of the Aston Martin is covered in mud, as is Daryl.

“Don’t worry, mate. It was insured. Truth be told, you’re the second person that car has sent into space.” Daryl shivers and wipes the slimy muck from his face.

“Yes,” Simon gazes into the distance, smiling at a fond memory, “the first person I shot through the roof is now my wife. Likes a bit of excitement, she does.”

“She can keep it to herself,” mumbles Daryl. After being shot into the air, nearly run down by a helicopter, frozen in a bank of mist and smashed into a muddy lake, he’d had enough excitement for a very long time.

Safely back home a few hours later, after a long hot shower and probably too much pizza, Daryl is resting on the couch revelling in the peace when an ear-splitting shriek hits the air.


Daryl nearly rolls off the couch in fright, then realises it’s his phone. He looks at the screen. A text message has just arrived.

“Bill…..!” yells Daryl.

“I’m asleep. School night,” calls Bill.


Chasing Dad in an Aston Martin: Work
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