THE JAG ENIGMA
“Hello Mom! Guess what? I saw the coolest car today – it was a Jag Sports – silver – and ..” Davey looked at his mother bent over the ironing board “that’s weird, the lady driving it had a red jersey same colour as yours.”
”Really? how ‘bout that? Hurry up and get changed for soccer – you need to leave in ten minutes.”
Phew – that was close! thought Isobel, folding Charles’ shirt. He was very fussy about his shirts. He liked them to be ironed just so.
Isobel’s sudden death from a massive aneurism left Davey bewildered and Charles rigid with suppressed grief.
“I’ll help you clear out her things” volunteered his mother-in-law.
“No thanks, I’ll manage” was the curt reply.
Charles tackled the job that weekend. Get it over with, he thought.
“Davey: stop digging in your Mother’s handbag.”
“But Dad, I was just helping” whined Davey “Look what I found”. He dangled a key ring with a set of car keys and a Yale key, on a Jaguar trademark fob.
Charles frowned. “You found those in your Mother’s handbag?” he said
“Mmm” said Davey “look at this cool Jag emblem”.
Whose keys were these? Charles asked himself. They didn’t own a car. Charles felt private car ownership was environmentally irresponsible when there was a perfectly good public transport system. And anyway, Isobel couldn’t drive. He fingered the bunch of keys. On the back of the fob were engraved the initials I.R.F. and a telephone number. Slowly his brain registered the facts. These were Isobel’s initials. This was their home telephone number. Had Isobel owned a car? It appeared to be a Jaguar, one of the most expensive cars on the market. It wasn’t possible. They had no spare money. And where was the car?
Systematically Charles searched the house for car related evidence : registration papers, garage bills, motor insurance, road maps. He found nothing. Which was not surprising, because Isobel had been meticulously careful to keep her car paperwork in a locked metal toolbox in the Jag’s garage.
When the garage lease expired, the exasperated owner, fed up with Mrs Robinson’s non-response to his phone calls, forced open the doors. The discovery of a dusty Jag Sports XK3 Roadster made a brief flurry in the local papers. ABANDONED JAG MYSTERY trumpeted the headlines, but nobody came forward with information.
Davey, like all kids, never read newspapers. Charles was in Dubai on a contract job at the time, so the headline escaped them both.
Davey hankered after a Jag all his life, to no avail. Charles fretted over the mystery car keys for years. He simply could not align his passive, obedient Isobel with a Jaguar sports car. Had she bought the car with Lotto winnings? Did she have a rich lover who bought it for her? Surely not, he thought, recalling her reluctant lovemaking.
Ironically he spent more time thinking about Isobel after her death than he ever did during her lifetime.