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A Double Dose of Driving Dogs

He took a deep breath. P retending to drive the car was one thing. Actually doing it
was quite another.
He told himself that he’d watched Mr Hay drive often enough. He knew exactly
what to do. And since Mr Hay had backed the car into the garage, Horace didn’t even
need to reverse it out. Simple!
He switched the headlights on. That went well.
Then he carefully pressed his hind paw down on the accelerator pedal. Nothing
happened except noise.
“First gear would be good,” said Kimi. “Let me help.” She twined herself around
the gearstick. “I’ll do the gears. You put your foot on the clutch and take it off again.
A grinding noise came from the engine. Cautiously, Horace pressed the gas pedal
again. The car began to jerk and bump its way out of the garage.
I’m driving awa y from my past life, he thought mournfully. Maybe when Joshua
and his parents see my cold and empty bean-bag, the y’ll be sorry…
“G-g-g-gently!” begged Tickety, jolting up and down on the dashboard.
“I’m t-t-t-trying,” replied Horace, his teeth rattling. The car bounced down the
drive like a startled rabbit.
Now he had to turn off the drive onto the road. He managed to steer the car on to
Tintern Lane with only a tiny scrape against the gate post.
“Second gear!” said K imi. “Clutch!” The engine coughed like a bulldog with flu.
The car lurched and gathered speed as it trundled down the road.
“Left! Left!” yelled Boo, swinging from the mirror.
With a screech of tyres, Horace swerved left. “Why?”
“I just felt like it,” said Boo.
The car zig- zagged down the dark street, the beam from the headlights swinging
madly from side to side.
“You’re meant to go in a straight line,” said Tickety.
“I know,” said Horace. “I’m just about to get the hang of it.” His paws gripped the
steering wheel rigidly. He dared not let it go; so it was just as well that K imi had the
gear stick under control.
“Third gear!” she called. Crunch went the gears.
“Where are we going?” asked Tickety.
“To the desert,” said K imi, winding herself more tightly round the gear stick.