It was Saturday and I was helping out at my friend's Pete's Garage. He runs a small garage in Acacia Avenue, do you know it? Where he fixes cars and does maintenance and so on. The garage has a sign in bright red. It says "Pete's Garage" on it.
I am not a mechanic, your honour. I was helping him in the office. Answering the phone, filing papers, counting paper clips, doing some reception work and so on. Meeting customers as well. The people who come in to have their cars fixed.
Unbeknown to me ... that is ... I did not know anything about it your honour. One of Pete's employees, Tobias is his name. Well he came to work late and he was totally and utterly drunk. No way could you say he was as sober as a judge, your honour. Certainly not as sober as you are right now.
As it happens, Tobias had been out at a party the night before. That is Friday night; this being Saturday. I know it is not Saturday right now, but it was Saturday when all this happened.
As I was saying, Tobias was totally drunk. Drunk as a skunk ... he was. Really drunk as hell, if you pardon the expression, your honour. May the Good Lord forgive me.
He did not know the time of day ... that's the drunk Tobias, not the Good Lord. The Good Lord always knows the time of day.
Tobias did not know the time of day even though he was wearing a watch at the time. He did not even know what planet he was on, even though his colleagues asked him what on earth he was doing getting drunk. I tell you, your honour, he did not even know his elbow from another part of his anatomy, even though each bit of his body is labelled by a tattoo.
Anyway, his colleagues and friends, Matthias and Gareth, being loyal to Tobias, did not want Pete, their boss, to find out because he would fire Tobias. They suggested he hides and sleeps it off before Pete gets back to the garage from delivering a car. But there was nowhere to hide him to get some sleep.
Then they realised that there was a hearse in the garage which had come in for a simple job to be done. Engine needed a change of oil. So they laid Tobias down on the flat bit at the back of the hearse, you know ... where they put the coffin, and they covered him up with a piece of cloth. There was no coffin in the hearse at the time, your honour.
As I said, all this happened unbeknown to me, and to Pete, because he was out on delivery.
Later that afternoon, Pete asked me if I wouldn't mind delivering the hearse to Doug M Deep and Reego Mortice, the Funeral Directors. This is because Pete was short-handed especially since everyone was busy and Tobias had not turned up for work. He had really, but he was asleep at the back of the hearse, unbeknown to Pete and me on account that we did not know about it.
Well ... as I was driving the hearse, Tobias at the back woke up ... I got such a fright and turned sharply left and ran over your cat, you honour, and landed the hearse in your duck pond disturbing a mother duck which was nesting at the time.
It was not me who was driving under the influence of drink. It was Tobias waking up from under the influence of drink.
When the police came they obviously mixed me up with Tobias by mistake and said I was driving under the influence of drink. But I assure you not a drop passed my lips that day, although several drops ran down my legs when it all happened.
I am sorry about the loss of your cat Pancake who was flattened with him being run over by the hearse. I did offer at the time to drive him to Doug M Deep and Reego Mortice, the Funeral Directors, but your wife who came out of the house on hearing the commotion said a few words which I would rather not repeat here in Court you honour.
I am also sorry for all the broken duck eggs which were in the nest at the time. I did offer to buy some more eggs from the supermarket but your wife said a few more words which I would rather not repeat to you.
I think she was upset.
So you see ... your honour, it was not me who caused the accident, but it was Tobias who caused it by waking up from what I thought he was dead, even though I did not know that he was at the back of the hearse at the time, whether dead or alive, but in fact asleep because of him having been drinking excessively the night before. Which was Friday.
And this is how I plead, your honour.
I wish to add that I did offer at the time to replace the dead cat; and your wife did say that she did not want me around the **** house purring all day and filling the litter tray with my unmentionables.
This is an excerpt from my book
MUCH ADO ABOUT LAUGHTER
I laughed so much writing it that I wrote it sitting down.